Apple recently introduced a number of new devices, from the iPhone 6s to the iPad Pro. But that doesn’t stop the robust rumor mill that’s constantly commenting on what’s going on in Cupertino (and at the facilities of its suppliers). Read on to catch up on four of the most exciting rumors and reports about what Apple has in the works.
1. Apple could be testing five different iPhone 7 models
Chance Miller reports for 9to5Mac that while the iPhone 6s launched just months ago, a stream of rumors are already targeting its successor, the supposed iPhone 7. The latest of those rumors indicates that Apple is currently testing five different models of next year’s iPhone, each one with distinct features.
One model that Apple is testing reportedly ditches the Lightning connector in favor of a USB-C port. Others use wireless charging technology, multi-touch 3D Touch, dual cameras, and even in-display fingerprint recognition. Wireless charging has long been on some users’ wish lists, though it’s unclear exactly how Apple is testing the technology. A multi-touch 3D Touch feature would enable you to press with two fingers to bring up different options than what would be displayed if you pressed with only one. In-display fingerprint recognition would enable Apple to eliminate the iPhone’s home button (and finally shrink the top and bottom bezels of the phone).
It’s difficult to say which of these features could make it into the final iPhone that Apple launches next year. The fact that Apple is testing a technology doesn’t mean it will be integrated into the final product. Speculation on the next-generation iPhone is already abundant, and at this stage, it’s difficult to tell which rumors will eventually prove true.
2. The iPhone 7 might not have a headphone jack
On the topic of iPhone 7 rumors, one rumor in particular made quite a splash. Joe Rossignol reported for MacRumors that an often-reliable Japanese source anticipates Apple removing the 3.5mm headphone jack on the next-generation iPhone and replacing it with the all-in-one Lightning connector. If so, Apple would likely release Lightning-equipped EarPods to accompany the new iOS devices. With a 3.5mm Lightning adapter, iPhone buyers could still use standard wired headphones.
Rossignol notes that if the rumor proves true, the decision to switch to the Lightning connector for charging and for audio output would likely spark the same kind of controversy that Apple began when it retired its proprietary 30-pin dock connector and replaced it with a smaller Lightning connector beginning with the iPhone 5 in 2012.
Emil Protalinski reports for VentureBeat that it should surprise no one that the iPhone 7 could go without a headphone jack. Since June 2014, third-party manufacturers have been able to make headphones that make use of Apple’s Lightning connector. The removal of the headphone jack would propel more manufacturers to get on board, and Apple will market the move as a choice that enables it to make the new iPhone even slimmer.
3. Apple could unveil a bigger, better MacBook Air
Benjamin Mayo reported to 9to5Mac that a “somewhat sketchy” report alleges that the MacBook Air will get a major upgrade mid-2016. The new design is expected to be thinner and lighter and integrate substantial internal changes. The new MacBook Air is likely to be announced at WWDC 2016 in June, and a change seems due given that the device hasn’t been substantially changed since 2010.
Most interestingly, the report says that Apple is considering the launch of a 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Air, which would introduce a MacBook Air in the 15-inch form for the first time. Apple is reportedly still deciding whether to keep the 11-inch model, which has largely been superseded by the Retina MacBook.
Ben Lovejoy reports to 9to5Mac that a report indicates that Apple isn’t likely to jettison the MacBook Air line anytime soon, but he thinks that that’s what Cupertino is planning to do in the long run. “At some point – be it 2016 or 2017 – we’re going to have an ultraportable range called the MacBook, and a revamped beefier range retaining the MacBook Pro label,” Lovejoy projects, noting that that approach would solidify the differences between the two ranges.
4. The iPhone 6c could appear as early as January
Ben Lovejoy reports to 9to5Mac that the latest iPhone 6c rumor has the new four-inch iPhone launching in January and going on sale in early February. The Chinese report, which cites “Foxconn insiders” and other unnamed sources, is the latest to claim that the new, entry-level iPhone will launch early in 2016.
Rumors have conflicted on the specifications to be expected from the iPhone 6c. The device isn’t expected to support 3D Touch, a feature that Apple likely wants to reserve just for its flagships for now. But some think that the iPhone 6c will get the Touch ID fingerprint sensor and an NFC chip that would enable it to support Apple Pay.
The release date early in the year would be unusual for Apple, who typically unveils its new iPhones in the fall, but still possible given that Cupertino didn’t launch the much-anticipated smaller phone alongside the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. The iPhone 6c would replace the iPhone 5s as the entry-level option in the iPhone lineup.