Now that we know what there is to know about Apple’s latest iPhone, we thought it would be fun to take a look back and see who nailed the speculation. There have been so many rumors (ranging from subtle to over-the-top) over the last six months that it’s hard to keep track of when we all started expecting what. Our friend Google, however, helped us to take a look back and give props to some of the first reports to predict the iPhone that we ultimately got.9to5Mac called it in AprilThe first deliberate reference we found to the name “iPhone 4S” was in a post by Mark Gurman of 9to5Mac back in late April. In fact, this particular piece (dated April 21) pretty much predicted the whole thing. The site reported next-gen iPhones being handed out to a select group of major game developers (Epic Games, perhaps?) to get cracking on updated apps for the A5 chip.The phone was described as having an external design that was identical to the iPhone 4, only toting the updated A5 chip on the inside. It was added that “the person who chose to share this information with us calls it the ‘iPhone 4S.’”Writer Gurman stated that he didn’t know whether the prototype was to be the actual design of the next-gen iPhone, or if Apple just packed an A5 into an iPhone 4 casing so as not to risk leaking any secrets. He did speculate that the iPhone 4S would “probably” carry an updated 8MP camera, and have world phone capabilities.Kudos to Mark Gurman and 9to5Mac for a piece that hindsight now tells us hit the bullseye in just about every way – nearly six months ago.Growing buzz around “iPhone 4S” monikerNot long after 9to5Mac’s piece, the web exploded with speculation about the iPhone 4S. How do we know? A visit to Google Trends shows us the use of the term iPhone 4S during 2011:It isn’t clear whether “iPhone 4s” (the plural of iPhone 4) and “iPhone 4’s” get lumped into these statistics, but it naturally would when typed without the apostrophe. That would explain why the first uses of the term were reported in February or March, when we first had more than one iPhone 4 (the Verizon iPhone 4 launched and the white iPhone 4 was around the corner).I’d suggest taking these stats with a grain of salt for the above reason, but they do appear to shed some light on when the rumor mill really picked up for the iPhone 4S. This is particularly true when taken in the aggregate.Reuters in April: faster chip, similar look, Fall launchDetermined not to let devoted Apple sites get all of the good scoops, the traditional media had a say too, as Reuters first broke the news that Apple’s release slot would be delayed until Fall. They didn’t quite get it (they were saying September instead of October), but considering everyone else was still expecting a June/July launch back then, they definitely got something right. This story ran on April 20, just a few days before the 9to5Mac post.Kelvin Soh cited three people “with direct knowledge of the supply chain” in saying that the next iPhone would have a faster processor, and would launch in September.Of course the next iPhone having a faster processor wasn’t exactly a remarkable piece of soothsaying. Most people with some familiarity about Apple and the industry could see that the (then) new A5 chip from the iPad 2 was likely to supply the guts of the next iPhone.He also said that the next-gen iPhone would look “largely similar” to the iPhone 4. Largely similar isn’t quite “exactly similar,” which is what we got – but it’s good enough to get some props for reporting an accurate leak.All the restOf course the next few months after these breaking stories were filled with so many rumors that it was impossible to know what we would actually see.Whispers of teardrop-shaped iPhones with larger screens and altered home buttons were mixed with various rehashes of the 4S prediction – along with pretty much anything else you could imagine. Of course these leaks could very well have been accurate too, and could show up down the road (or they could have been scrapped by Apple at the last minute).Whether you’re happy or not with the iPhone 4S that we actually got – I think we can all agree that it’s a relief to put the rumor-mongering to bed for a while.And finally the graph of the iPhone 4S versus that of the iPhone 5 over the last 12 months. The iPhone 5 is clearly what people were expecting and searching for, up until the very end (see the iPhone 4S take the lead in the bottom right corner). So, despite the mounting evidence for an iPhone 4S, we can see that very few people saw this coming.