The rumors are flying that Apple will introduce a new device called the "iPhone Math" in June of this year. Since that is a highly improbable name for an iPhone (is this going to be some kind of fancy calculator?), skeptical minds have been trying to find the source of the rumors. The earliest known occurrences of the expression "iPhone Math" are to be found in Taiwanese media, so one suspects that there was some sort of distortion of a hypothetical "iPhone Plus / iPhone +" (semantic garbling) or a hypothetical iPhone Max (phonetic garbling). After jumbled translation or transcription from English to Chinese, then back again into English, either of those names might conceivably have come out as "iPhone Math", which would indeed be a weird name for an iPhone.
Wondering what the Chinese might have been before it was translated into English, I tracked down the original report in Zhōngshíbào 中时报, the online version of Zhōngguó shíbào 中国时报 (China Times). That wasn't any help, however, since the China Times article simply refers to the device as "iPhone Math", with no attempt to translate the supposed English name into Chinese. If any garbling occurred, it may have taken place through oral transmission.
Some English language media harbor suspicions similar to mine:
- "Apple might release three new iPhones this year" (in RT.com)
- "Rumor: ‘iPhone Math’ In June 2013″ (in AppleBitch.com)
- "Rumor mill predicts 4.8-inch 'iPhone Math"' (in The Tech Report)
The last article states: "Apple already has an iPad Mini, so an iPhone Max doesn't sound too out there." That may well be true, but I doubt that Apple will reveal the real name of this new iPhone until closer to the release date. I'd be astonished if it is called "iPhone Math". If, on the other hand, it turns out to be "iPhone Max", the new gadget certainly won't look like either of the devices in this YouTube video.
[A hat tip to Ben Zimmer and thanks to Gianni Wan]