2012's Biggest iPhone, iPad, and iPod Leaks and Rumors

Despite claims from Apple CEO Tim Cook that the company was going to "double down on secrecy on products", 2012 may have been one of Apple's leakiest years so far.

The leaks seem to stem primarily from Apple's supply chain in China. While we were saturated with iPhone 5 and iPad mini parts in 2012, we also had early looks at Apple's iPod and Mac lines. As usual, the challenge is the relatively high noise to signal ratio when tracking rumors.

Here are a collection of some of the more notable and accurate iPhone, iPad and iPod rumors from 2012.

iPad 3

The move to a Retina display for the iPad 3 was not necessarily a foregone conclusion prior to its launch. Despite the move to "Retina" on the iPhone, the sheer volume of pixels needed for a Retina iPad generated considerable doubt. One forum commenter from February:

Do people honestly think this is going to happen?

If it did ship with a 2048x1546 display, then it would be capable of rendering images at a higher resolution than all video game consoles currently on the market.

However, game developers already struggle to produce games that run at 1920x1080 due to the power of the consoles - are people seriously saying that they think iPad 3 will have a better CPU and GPU than PlayStation 3 / Xbox 360?

Thanks to Apple's leaky supply chain, we were able to actually purchase a purported iPad 3 Retina replacement display from an online retailer and place it under a microscope, effectively confirming the rumors of a Retina iPad display:


The rest of the third-generation iPad parts also leaked, providing a nearly complete picture of the final design: rear shell, display, logic board, case photos side-by-side:


iPhone 5

Apple's iPhone 5 design decisions were perhaps the most controversial changes to Apple's lineup this year. Despite persistent rumors about the new taller 4" display, many held out that Apple wouldn't ever make such a change.

What's most interesting is that the first look at the taller 4" iPhone 5 came as early as May 3 -- over four months prior to its launch. iLounge had provided these mockups of the next generation iPhone:


Those mockups generated considerable doubt amongst some commenters:

Apple has 600K+ apps designed for 3:2. They've railed about Android fragmentation. There's no way in hell that they're changing the aspect ratio now. Larger screen? I'll buy that. But they'll be expanding it in both directions. In the mockups there's still the standard bevel on the left and right sides of the screens. You really think they'll expand upwards before using all of that space? My prediction is a 4" screen, same 960x640 resolution, screen goes right up to the side edges, slightly taller and wider device.

Of course, that initial report was followed by rendered mockups, design specs, parts on video, and corresponding cases. We even saw the full final enclosure prior to the device's launch:


iPod nano

Two months before it launched, we saw the first mockups showing a major redesign for the iPod nano that would make the device appear more like a small iPod touch.


iPod Nano with home button - July 2012. (actual product)

The mockups turned out to be quite accurate, as were case designs that manufacturers were working on in the lead-up to Apple's September media event where it introduced the new iPod nano.

iPod touch

In the wake of its iPod nano report, Mac Otakara also published a mockup of the new iPod touch, carrying a 4-inch display and buffed aluminum shell. The report also identified a "small hole" on the lower rear of the device that had an unknown purpose.


iPod touch with 4-Inch Display and aluminum back - July 2012 (actual product)

The mockup did turn out to be mostly correct, with the small hole ending up being for the "Loop" wrist strap attachment.

Accessories

Nearly two weeks before they were introduced at Apple's September media event, the company's redesigned earphones, which ultimately arrived with the "Earpods" name, showed up in photos and video from Vietnamese site Tinhte.vn.


Redesigned earphones - September 2012

Claims of a smaller dock connector for Apple's mobile devices surfaced as far back as February, and photos of the new Lightning connector began showing up a month ahead of its official unveiling.


New dock connector - August, 2012

iPad mini

While the rumors of a smaller iPad have circulated essentially from the time of the original iPad's introduction, the iPad mini picked up steam throughout 2012 as images and drawings began offering an idea of the device some three months ahead of its launch.


iPad mini physical mockup - September 2012 (actual product)

Many of the leaks came from case manufacturers, some of whom went as far as to create detailed physical mockups that provided very accurate views of the final design for the device.

iPad 4

The biggest surprise of the year may have been the second iPad revision in six months. The 4th Generation iPad not only incorporated the new smaller dock connector, but also came with some notable processor improvements.

Looking back, however, the signs were there. Digitimes tends to get a bad rap, and we've been overly critical of the site as well. In this January Digitimes report, we accused them of "throwing ideas at the wall", but we were wrong.

The title of that story was "iPad 4 Headed for October Launch with iPad 3 as Interim Upgrade". Digitimes was first and accurate on the report that the iPad would see two updates in 2012.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
102 months ago
Smile, neiltc13...you're on camera ;-)
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
102 months ago
i love it that vocal posters are called out in a story like this...

I'm like macrumors to take it a step further - and award 'badges' to those who are most off. Like the ones that say an ipod, ipad, etc are stupid ideas that will never work!
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
102 months ago
I miss the good 'ol days of down votes :(
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
102 months ago
Haha! More of this please...there is a certain schadenfreude to seeing incredibly vocal forum users eat crow as they see Apple products come to life that they were so certain were just rumors.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
102 months ago

It's not just leaks that have led to us being easily able to second guess Apple but the fact that they don't really innovate or do anything special anymore.

If you want to guess what they are likely to do next then simply look at what they did the year before and there is your answer.

Up next we have iPhone 5S with speed bump and upgraded camera, thinner iPad and a iPad Mini with retina display.

Are you expecting an iPhone-esque revolutionary device every year? What planet do you live on? iPod 2001 iPhone 2007 ipad 2010. That's a pretty good track record spread out over a decade and if you mistake refining current designs (while developing future concepts/products) for a lack of innovation, you sir, are a moron. Just sayin...

PS I didn't even mention the App Store which isn't hardware and has set the model for that type of environment.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
102 months ago
Lol u guys remember the macrumours members who thought the iPhone 4/4s leaks were fake?

Lol "it has seams! Wahhh! Apple would never put seams in their phone! Wahhh!"

Oh that was awesome

----------

Ahhh...good times. I remember when 90% of MacRumors hated the iPhone 5 leaked design..:rolleyes:


Exactly .

I want one of those guys to come out and kiss our feet.

They own the phone and they called it fake
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Early iPhone 12 Tests Show Ceramic Shield is Stronger and More Scratch Resistant Than iPhone 11 Glass

Friday October 23, 2020 1:21 pm PDT by
Apple's new iPhone 12 models are protected by a Ceramic Shield cover glass that has nano-ceramic crystals infused right into the glass to improve durability. According to Apple, Ceramic Shield offers four times better drop protection than the glass used for the iPhone 11 models. YouTube channel MobileReviewsEh conducted some tests on the iPhone 12 using a force meter to compare its performance ...

iPhone 12 Pro Allows You to Measure Someone's Height Instantly Using LiDAR Scanner

Saturday October 24, 2020 11:12 am PDT by
iPhone 12 Pro models feature a new LiDAR Scanner for enhanced augmented reality experiences, but the sensor also enables another unique feature: the ability to measure a person's height instantly using the Measure app. You can even measure the seated height of a person in a chair, according to Apple. When the Measure app detects a person in the viewfinder, it automatically measures their...

Google Reportedly Pays Apple $8-12 Billion Per Year to be Default iOS Search Engine

Sunday October 25, 2020 2:59 pm PDT by
The United States Justice Department is targeting a lucrative deal between Apple and Google as part of one of the U.S. government's largest antitrust cases, reports The New York Times. On Tuesday, the Justice Department filed an antitrust lawsuit against Google, claiming the Mountain View-based company used anticompetitive and exclusionary practices in the search and advertising markets to ...

Apple References Unreleased 2020 16-Inch MacBook Pro in Boot Camp Update

Monday October 26, 2020 8:42 am PDT by
Last week, Apple released an update for Boot Camp, its utility for running Windows on a Mac. While this update would typically be unremarkable, several of our readers noticed that the release notes reference an unreleased 2020 model of the 16-inch MacBook Pro. While this could easily be a mistake, the 16-inch MacBook Pro is nearly a year old, so it is certainly a worthy candidate for a...

Apple Warns MagSafe Charger Can Leave Circular Imprints on Leather Cases

Friday October 23, 2020 3:23 pm PDT by
If you keep your iPhone in a leather case while charging with Apple's new MagSafe Charger, the case might show circular imprints from contact with the accessory, according to a new Apple support document published today. Apple's leather cases for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro are not available until November 6, but a MacRumors reader has already shared a photo of a circular imprint on...

iPhone 11 Pro Outlasts iPhone 12 and 12 Pro in Extensive Battery Life Test

Friday October 23, 2020 8:36 am PDT by
Arun Maini today shared a new side-by-side iPhone battery life video test on his YouTube channel Mrwhosetheboss, timing how long the new iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro models last on a single charge compared to older models, with equal brightness, settings, battery health, and usage. All of the devices are running iOS 14 without a SIM card inserted. In the test, the iPhone 11 Pro outlasted both ...

PSA: Non-iPhone 12 Models Charge Super Slowly With MagSafe Charger

Friday October 23, 2020 4:11 pm PDT by
Alongside the iPhone 12 models, Apple introduced a new $39 MagSafe Charger that's meant to work with the magnets in the iPhone 12 Pro models to charge them up at a maximum of 15W. The MagSafe Charger is technically able to be used with older iPhones, but it's not a good idea because the charging with non-iPhone 12 devices is so slow. We did two tests with the iPhone XS Max, draining the...

MagSafe Charger Teardown Reveals Simple Design With Magnets and Charging Coil Encircling a Small Circuit Board

Friday October 23, 2020 7:50 am PDT by
iFixit has today shared a teardown of Apple's new MagSafe charger for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro. An X-ray of the MagSafe charger courtesy of Creative Electron reveals the internal charging coil surrounded by a circular arrangement of magnets within the puck. The only seam that iFixit was able to leverage to open the device was where the white rubber circle meets the metal rim,...

Apple VP Kaiann Drance Interview Addresses Battery Life, MagSafe, and Power Adapter Concerns

Friday October 23, 2020 3:37 am PDT by
Apple's Vice President of iPhone Marketing, Kaiann Drance, has provided a new interview to Rich DeMuro on the Rich on Tech Podcast, to discuss the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro. Although much of the interview repeated points from Apple's "Hi, Speed" event, there were a number of interesting tidbits regarding the affect of 5G on battery life, MagSafe concerns, and the lack of a power adapter in...

iFixit Shares Full iPhone 12 and 12 Pro Teardown Revealing Interchangeable Displays and Batteries

Saturday October 24, 2020 1:48 pm PDT by
After live streaming a teardown of the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro earlier this week, iFixit today provided a more in-depth teardown that goes through all of the components in the new devices, revealing several similarities between the two. Early testing conducted by iFixit shows that the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro displays are interchangeable and can be swapped without issue, though the max...