Over the past week the iOS rumour mill has been churning through the following rumours: 3D breakthroughs, labour woes and shortages in China, the specter of nano-SIM, and disputed screen sizes.

First up: iPhone 5 will have an awesome and mind-blowing 3D camera and display (More below...) 

Patently Apple posted details from the latest Apple patent application -- for 3D cameras -- made public by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The iOSsphere rejoiced.

Nothing is quite as intriguing as technology almost no one understands. Here's the up-top summary by Patently Apple: "The new cameras in development will utilize new depth-detection sensors such as LIDAR, RADAR, and Laser that will create stereo disparity maps in creating 3D imagery. Additionally, the camera will use advanced chrominance and luminance Sensors for superior color accuracy. And if that wasn't enough, the new cameras will not only include facial recognition but also facial gesturing recognition."

APPLE IPHONEYS: The iPhone 5 edition

Clearly, no one except an elite group of National Science Foundation grant winners has any idea what this means.

Perhaps fortunately, Patently Apple simply summarized What This All Means in its enthusiastic headline: "Apple invents killer 3D imaging camera for iOS devices." It set the tone for much of what followed.

At the iPhone 5 News Blog, Michael Nace was thrilled.

"The 'end' here would be a further extension of Apple's interest in giving mobile users incredibly intuitive ways of not only taking pictures, but also editing, processing, storing, and sharing them," he gushes. "One can only begin to imagine the apps and other related software that could accompany a camera's ability to detect and possibly even interpret things like depth and facial expression."

And if Nace was telling you this via Apple's Facetime and spiffy new 3D camera, little annotations would pop up on your iPhone 5's spiffy new 3D display with interpretations of his expressions like "amazed" and "excited" and "mindblown."

"It begins to fit into the larger picture of artificial intelligence," Nace assures us, creating a picture that no one has painted before. Artificial Intelligence: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the Starship iPhone 5 News Blog. Its continuing mission: to explore strange new rumors, to seek out new blog posts and new technologies, to boldly go where no man has gone before.

"Of course, it would stand to reason that an iPhone 5 with a 3D camera would necessarily have to include a 3D display to go with it," says Nace, even though the Apple patent apparently doesn't mention anything about displays, let alone the practical issues of creating one for the Next iPhone. "It is worth noting that, in addition to 3D camera rumors for the iPhone 5, there have been a fair share of 3D display rumors as well. ... However, none of the recent display rumors for the iPhone 5 have indicated anything about 3D." Like that would stop us from spreading rumors.

"But given Apple's penchant for doing things better than its competitors, it is possible that they have big plans for 3D technology for the iPhone 5 that would simply blow our minds," Nace concludes, reverently.

This is a classic iOSsphere "conclusion." Apple does great things; it's possible they'll do more great things; and those great things will be, you know, really great. Therefore it would stand to reason that Apple will do great things with 3D. After all, it's hard to imagine Apple not doing something great with 3D, and doing so, it's worth noting, in an artificially intelligent kind of way.

iPhone 5 production threatened by Chinese labour strike. But maybe not.

M.I.C. Gadget informs us that some workers at a Foxconn assembly plant in northern China are on strike, that the "next generation iPhone!" is or will be assembled there, and that Foxconn plans to hire 20,000 more employees to build it.

The somewhat murky story by Star Chang seems to be relying on a "local news report" (with no hyperlink). Chang says that "A manager from Foxconn confirmed that some workers had downed tools." But Chang apparently didn't talk to the manager.

Whatever the job action is, it's taking place at Foxconn's plant in the city of Taiyuan. The local news report tells M.I.C.'s Chang that this plant is "holding heavy recruitment to meet the production of the Apple new iPhones. Yes, you read that right, not iPhone 4/4s, it is the next generation iPhone!"

"According to local news report, the factory urgently needs 20,000 more workers because Foxconn has already received orders for the production of iPhone 5 ..."

Oddly, it's CNET UK that has the missing link, to a Google Translate version of the Chinese language original.

Here's an example of the result: "Flourishing industry based on Apple's position, the iPhone product line is Foxconn as the most important one of the foundry business in the mainland. Mr. Yu said, the Foxconn iPhone5 smart phone 85% of orders each year to produce about 57 million."

Even more oddly, CNET UK's Joe Svetlik seems to accept M.I.C. Gadget's account of this garble as gospel, except where he elaborates on it out of whole cloth. Thus he confidently concludes, "The Chinese company has already received the order for the next generation mobile ... and because of strikes, it needs 20,000 more workers."

Yet another CNET site concluded Foxconn has already hired the 20,000. So, from the same original Chinese story, by a local news source, the iOSsphere is certain that Foxconn will start hiring 20,000, is in the process of hiring them, or has already hired them at the company's paltry wage rates.

"What could this possibly mean?" asks this second CNET post, in the iOSsphere's hallmark rhetorical question. "Well, the smart money says that they're there to help with a massive order to build the iPhone 5."

What else could it be?

The Foxconn plant, like so much in Red China, is a mystery. "After some digging from the Chinese internet, we couldn't find too much information on Taiyuan Foxconn," Chang admits (keep in mind, he writes for a Chinese website). "All we know is the factory mainly produced electronic components for mobile equipment." Which is sort of like an American news reporter saying, "All we know about Intel is that it makes some electronic components for computers."

Maybe Chang could have found out more with some help in circumventing the Chicoms' notorious Internet censorship.

iPhone 5 will have a breakthrough nano-SIM card

Even though you won't know, or care, that it has one.

Over at ValueWalk "Financial News with emphasis on Value Investing," Saqib Khan shows he's up to speed with the latest technologies and their implications for value investing.

"iPhone 5 May Come With Nano-Sim Technology," his headline declares. "This new nano-SIM would be smaller than the micro SIM. The company thinks that this way, they'll be getting an edge over their competition, most likely Samsung, Nokia and Blackberry," Khan writes.

He's a bit vague on what that edge actually would be, but he gives the old college try. "The new nano-SIM will be about one third smaller than the micro-SIM," he points out. "This would give Apple more space to add other features to the phone. With nano-SIM, Apple can develop smaller and slimmer devices giving more room for other components."

Brilliant. As we've pointed out before, a persistent and widespread form of iOSsphere deductive thinking relies on the conviction that the iPhone, like Dr. Who's Tardis, is a dimensionally transcendental object -- it's bigger on the inside than the outside. By making the iPhone smaller and slimmer, you create more room for other components.

Now if would just get the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) to embrace the same idea. This week ETSI "decided to postpone a vote on a specification for nano-SIMs, after a row erupted between Apple and the backers of a competing proposal, Nokia, Research In Motion (RIM) and Motorola Mobility," according to a story by IDG News Service.

iPhone 5, which will be just like iPhone 4S but different, arrives in fall 2012

Never mind 3D. iMore has been "hearing" a lot about the Next iPhone, or the "New iPhone" as they're calling it, and they want to share "some additional information" they've "received."

This always sounds way better than "we're reading all these other rumor blogs and want to rehash months-old rumors so they sound fresh."

iMore shares that they "previously reported" Apple will be shrinking the 30-pin dock connector, creating a "micro-dock" that will, you guessed it, "create more room inside for other components" [See "Tardis" above]. This also was "reported" to be planned for the iPhone that was announced in October 2011.

And earlier this week iMore "reported" that Apple "was planning to stick with the current 3.5-inch screen size for the new iPhone." But it turns out that this is one of those special kinds of Apple plans -- the kind that "wasn't set in stone," according to iMore's Rene Ritchie. And that means the stick-to-it 3.5-inch screen could become unstuck and "get a little bigger."

Still sharing, Ritchie tells us the new iPhone "will be 4G LTE compatible." Presumably that plan is set in stone, or perhaps silicon. "That shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone, considering the new iPad supports LTE and it's hard to imagine Apple giving the iPad a feature like that and not passing it on to the iPhone," says Ritchie, using the Analysis by Analogy Mode of thinking. If one Apple product gets X, then it's hard to imagine other Apple products, no matter how different, not getting the same feature.

Ritchie also shares about The Timeframe. "We've mentioned October 2012 as the current release schedule for iPhone 5,1 [this nomenclature is an iMore techie affectation] before and that's still the plan," Ritchie says. But he neglects mentioning the crucial detail of whether this is a set-in-stone plan or a not-set-in-stone-plan. "The exact date won't be determined until closer to launch, but the iPhone is locked to a fall cycle for the immediate future." Ritchie may be relying here on the well-known telepathic link, so widely used by iOSsphere bloggers, with Apple CEO Tim Cook's brain.

"That makes sense for a number of reasons," Ritchie claims. But what they all boil down to is a bet that Apple will release the Next iPhone one year after releasing the iPhone 4S.

iPhone 5 will a 4.6-inch display, not the same old measly 3.5-inch one

Over at Technorati, Dan Reyes does some sharing of his own and Rene Ritchie probably won't like it.

"According to a report, the upcoming iPhone 5 will sport a 4.6-inch Retina Display just like the 'resolutionary' new iPad," Reyes writes. And this "report" is backed up by a "popular and leading technology and gadgets news blog" which points to this same "new rumor."

"And how does this rumor came into being?" asks the popular and leading technology and gadgets news blog with a grammatical deficit.

Rollup has often pondered this very question.

Often, it comes into being because everyone and his brother repeats what everybody and their brother has said about a foreign language blog post citing one anonymous source.

So Technorati links to the "report," which in this case is a Reuters news story about a post, in Korean, at the Maeil Business Newspaper in South Korea. Reyes can call it a "report" because it's a Lamestream News agency writing about, in this case, a foreign language blog post that cites one "unnamed industry source."

According to this UIS, "Apple has decided on the bigger 4.6-inch display for its next iPhone and started placing orders to its suppliers." In what appears to be Reuters' only substantive contribution, the reporter contacted Apple's major display suppliers, LG Display and Samsung Electronics, which "declined to comment" presumably because it's a rumor and commenting on every damn iPhone rumor would require a hiring spree of new PR reps, probably 20,000 at least.

The popular and leading technology and gadgets news blog, let's call it PLTGNB for short, to which Reyes links doesn't itself link to any sources, and simply repeats the rumor the blogger has clearly read elsewhere. The anonoblogger's conclusion: "We'll just have to wait and see while keeping an eagle eye on this sizzling rumor. Stay tuned."

Frankly, Rollup expected a bit more after reading the blogger's "about me" page at PLTGNB: "My friends, fans, and followers call me 'The Ultimate Tech Geek.' I'm an accomplished technology writer, a sought-after tech blogger, and a published tech examiner. Many people regard me as one of the world's best technology news trendsetters. I'm one of only a few technology evangelist [sic] in the world."

We think that's iOSpherian for "I'm not smart enough to make up a rumor but I sure know how to repeat one."