iPhone 5 rumours reach a new level of stupidity thanks to some bloke in St Albans

I love Apple rumours. I’ve written about roughly forty thousand half-baked suggestions about what might come out of Cupertino. But at some point, they just get too ridiculous. Some days, the Apple rumour mill just breaks entirely.

Yesterday was one of those days. Amid plausible talk of a larger screen for the iPhone 5 and the usual blurry photos from Chinese case makers, one story stood out like a idiotically hammered sore thumb: the iPhone 5 release date has been revealed by…a guy who works in the Phones 4U store in St Albans…


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The report, which has been repeated across the Apple rumour echo chamber, bases its claim on the most flimsy of sources: “…a customer sales representative at the St Albans branch of Phones4U has confirmed that the ‘iPhone 5 has been delayed until November following an issue with the handset’s software.’

Not an indiscrete supplier, not a brave/fool-hardy source within Apple but someone who works in a branch of Phones 4U. How could the rest of the journalistic establishment have missed this hotline to Apple’s plans until now? Why did no one else realise that Apple had installed a Batphone straight from Steve Jobs‘s personal office to the backroom of the St Albans branch of Phones 4U?

The iPhone 4 launch was spoiled by the infamous leak. That probably explains why talk around the iPhone 5 has been more conjecture than ever, with a few unsubtantiated tidbits morphing into an odd orthodoxy about what Apple will do next.

I have lost count of how many stories I have seen discussing reasons for the “iPhone 5 delay” as if Apple had at any point promised a shipping date for the 5th generation phone.

The iPhone 5 UK release date story takes Apple rumour mongering to a ridicuous new low with the sheer brazenenss of its sourcing. Rather than obfuscating the source of its flimsy claims, it goes all out and pins them on some anonymous phone shop salesman who is about as likely to know Apple’s plans as you or I.

Can this descent into the ridiculous go further? Will we soon see stories attributed to some bloke who knows a bloke who the correspondent met in the Wig & Pistle on Saturday night? Is my mum’s idle supposition that Apple might release an iPad 3 this year going to be enough to start a richochet of copycat rumour stories?

Having on occasion sat in meetings with senior network execs, I know that only a handful of them have any idea what Apple’s plans are before the phones start hitting the stores.

Like any Apple obsessive, our man in St Albans is sure to have his theories but to base a news story on them is just barking. That said, the woman in this Starbucks just told me Steve Jobs does like to holiday in St Albans. And so a new rumour begins…

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