This Weeks Apple Rumors – June 21st 2014
Each week, there are dozens of rumors, reports, and patent filings that hint at what’s coming out of Apple next. Some are legit, but many don’t make any sense. We are breaking them down to you.
DON’T COUNT ON IT: Photos Compare “iPhone 6″ With 5s, HTC One
Photos from Japan show what is claimed to be an iPhone 6 alongside an iPhone 5s and an HTC One. The phone pictured matches all the other leaked photos we’ve been seeing, with a protruding rear flash, a 4.7-inch display, and smoother, more rounded edges than the current iPhone design. In the photos, the Space Gray-colored model is sized in between the other two handsets, noticeably longer than the 5s, but not as large as the HTC handset. In a separate video posted on YouTubeshowing a supposed 5.5-inch iPhone 6, the device is longer than the Galaxy Note 3, which would make it an extremely large handset, indeed.
DON’T COUNT ON IT: iPad Mockups Hint at iPad Volume Button Rethinking
Some websites posted photos of some dummy mockups of an iPad Air with a couple redesigned parts, including elongated, recessed volume buttons and no mute/orientation lock switch. The prototype could have been Apple toying with a new design idea that may or may not ever come to fruition. Or it may not be legit at all.
Apple Invents ‘Artificial Muscle’ Camera Lens Actuator
The camera is one of the iPhone’s greatest assets. There’s reason for that: Apple is constantly experimenting with new and better camera technologies. One way Apple could possibly improve future iPhone cameras is with a newly designed lens actuator that uses a solitary “artificial muscle” design instead of traditional actuators to control the mechanism. The idea itself isn’t new, but until now, it hasn’t been appropriate for mass production. Apple describes how micro electromechanical system (MEMS) could be used in a camera autofocus system for the first time, using less power than today’s methods, but with the ability to carry large optics. It could also be thinner than the current iPhone camera design. It works by transmitting an electrical signal across layers of polymers that would cause those polymers to elongate. Attached to a spring, this would take the place of the lens motor.
Apple Toying With iPhone and Remote Sensors for Automated Tasks
Patents published Thursday shows that Apple is exploring ways that the iPhone could serve as a hub for automating your life—and it could be the way Apple’s Health app will eventually work. The first patent, “Method and apparatus for personal characterization data collection using sensors,” describes how the iPhone’s onboard sensors like GPS, ambient light, proximity, accelerometer, and gyroscope, could work with data from a sensor worn by a user to give insight into what the user is doing (jogging, sleeping). This information would be tracked and stored online for their health profile. The second patent shows how such motion data could be used for setting alarms. This system could also see and adjust to abnormalities in the user’s normal routine: If you stayed out late and didn’t go to bed till 2am and you’ve set a reminder for later in the morning, the system could bypass your normal 6am wake up alarm so you get more rest. A third related patent talks about how this could similarly be used to disable an alarm if the system detects significant movement before the alarm is set to go off—clearly you’re already awake, no need for the alarm to blare.
Apple iWatch Production to Start in July
Production of Apple’s rumored wearable device may start in July, according to sources with Reuters. The devices will reportedly be manufactured by Taiwan’s Quanta Computer Inc. Until now, Quanta has only produced iPods and laptops for Apple, while Foxconn (also known as Hon Hai) has controlled production of Apple’s iPhone and iPad lines. According to this report, the smartwatch will feature a display in the sub 2.5-inch range, with a curved shape and wireless charging capabilities. It’s also rumored to track a number of health statistics like heart rate.
Apple Planning Multiple Designs for iWatch
Apple’s smartwatch will feature 10 different types of sensors and will come in multiple designs (including different screen sizes), the Wall Street Journal reports. According to someone familiar with the project, Apple hopes to address the problem that current smartwatches suffer from—namely, that they aren’t all that necessary since they just replicate the abilities your smartphone already performs. The watch could ship in October, with production beginning in Taiwan in two to three months (slightly later than Reuters’ earlier report this week).
iPhone 6 to Feature Air Pressure Sensor, Barometer
Among the new features Apple’s next iPhone is expected to include is an air pressure sensor and a barometer, 9to5Mac reports. Code within Xcode 6 and iOS 8 includes references to altitude measuring in Apple’s CoreMotion APIs. The iPhone can measure altitude already using GPS and its accelerometers, but this code reference clearly suggests a new hardware capability dedicated to altitude sensing. The code also includes references to ambient pressure sensing, which could be used to better detect the current weather, and then iOS could suggest relevant apps. These, and other new sensing capabilities like humidity, could get built into the iPhone’s motion co-processor, which was first introduced in the iPhone 5s.
Apple TV to Get Continuity This Fall
Airplay has always been a key feature of Apple TV, allowing you to stream photos, music, or video from your iOS device to Apple’s set top box. But this fall, Apple TV will likely gain Continuity, one of the new features shown off in OS X Yosemite. Some Macs running Yosemite on the same Wi-Fi network as an Apple TV are getting an “Apple TV is now available for Continuity” message, despite a lack of evidence within OS X Yosemite code. Handoff, a feature of Continuity that lets you start media on one device (like writing an email) and finish on another, requires Bluetooth LE to work, and the third generation Apple TV does include this. It would make sense for Apple to extend Continuity to applicable Apple TVs in order to broaden and unify its ecosystem, so hopefully this will be another feature we see out of fall’s Apple announcements.