5 Apple Rumors: From a New Apple Pencil to iPhone 7 Battery

Each week, there are brand-new Apple rumors, reports, and leaks that offer insight into both the software and the hardware that Apple is currently developing. From the upcoming iPhone 7 to the impending update to iOS 10, there are plenty of Apple products to speculate about. Read on to catch up on this week’s most exciting Apple rumors, which offer new details on the iPhone 7, the next-generation Apple Pencil, a major redesign for Apple Music, and a potential collection of Coach bands for the Apple Watch.

1. The iPhone 7 could include the 3.5mm headphone jack, after all

Apple

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Neil Hughes reports for Apple Insider that, in spite of numerous rumors and alleged design leaks purporting to prove that the iPhone 7 will jettison the traditional headphone jack, a new part from China claimed to be for the iPhone 7 casts some doubt as to whether the device won’t include the legacy jack, after all. The leak purports to show a cable for the 4.7-inch iPhone 7, and shows a layout similar to the cable for the iPhone 6s, with space for both the Lightning port and a headphone jack. The part was posted to the Chinese microblogging site Weibo.

So far, most iPhone 7 leaks have suggested that Apple will drop the 3.5mm headphone jack with its next iPhone. In place of the headphone jack and the traditional pair of EarPods, Apple is rumored to be planning to ship a pair of Lightning-connected EarPods (and to push accessory makers to develop their own Lightning-compatible headphones). Apple is also reportedly working on a pair of Bluetooth EarPods, which could recharge through the iPhone 7’s Lighting port. That model would likely be sold separately from the iPhone. Additionally, some leaks have suggested that the iPhone 7 will feature a Smart Connector, like the one on the iPad Pro, which would enable a user to recharge the phone while still using headphones through the Lightning port.

2. The iPhone 7 may feature a larger battery than the iPhone 6s

Two men looking at an iPhone

Two men looking at an iPhone | S. Alemdar/Getty Images

Benjamin Mayo reports for 9to5Mac that according to a Chinese report, the upcoming iPhone 7 will feature a larger battery than the iPhone 6s. According to a post on Weibo, Apple will equip the iPhone 7 with a 1,735mAh battery and the iPhone 7 Plus with a 2,810mAh battery. In the case of both models, those capacities are slightly larger than what’s offered in the current iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, which have 1,715mAh and 2,750mAh batteries.

As with other rumors about iPhone batteries, it’s worth noting that battery capacity and battery life are two different things. Mayo notes that while additional capacity gives the devices a larger “power budget” to play with, the efficiency of the components used to build the device will influence the final battery life rating. A great illustration is the fact that the iPhone 6s and the iPhone 6s Plus represented a significant downgrade in battery capacity, but the battery life remained consistent with what was offered by previous models.

Generally, Apple has maintained the same battery life across its iPhones in the past few years (ignoring the changes it made when it made the iPhone substantially larger). Mayo notes that the company usually uses improvements in battery capacity to improve performance, and leverages increases in component efficiency to make a product thinner. The battery capacity increases rumored for the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus aren’t significant enough to suggest that Apple is placing a priority on battery life in the next iPhone, and battery life is likely to be comparable to that of the iPhone 6s.

3. The next-generation Apple Pencil could feature swappable nibs, Touch ID, and an eraser

 Apple Pencil

Apple Pencil | Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images

Mikey Campbell reports for Apple Insider that a new Apple patent describes a next-generation version of the Apple Pencil, which could be equipped with new features like interchangeable, multi-functioning nibs with built-in sensors. Patent No. 9,329,703 for an “Intelligent Stylus” would use sensors, microprocessors, and advanced algorithms to capture hand gestures for display on the iPad Pro’s touchscreen. Both the current Pencil and the proposed device operate by determining the stylus’s condition when the conductive nib makes contact with the tablet’s capacitive display. Those conditions are measured by a number of sensors, such as the pressure sensor that determines fine changes in input force to result in thick or thin lines onscreen.

The invention detailed in the patent would add more hardware options like swappable nibs and additional sensing hardware. In some embodiments, the patent filing describes replaceable tips that would carry unique identification codes, which would be readable by specialized sensors integrated into the body of the stylus. Input made with each tip type — such as a brush, a pencil, or a felt-tip pen — would be interpreted differently, and users would be able to manipulate the next-generation Pencil like they would a real writing implement or drawing tool.

Additionally, the filing describes other features, like unique device codes to enable collaboration on a single iPad or fingerprint recognition as a security measure and form of authentication. And in addition to the usual nib sensor, the document proposes the inclusion of another sensor in the non-tip end, which would indicate that it’s considering adding an eraser to the next version of the Apple Pencil.

4. Apple Music is expected to get a major redesign at WWDC this summer

Apple Music

Apple Music | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Alex Webb, Lucas Shaw, and Adam Satariano report for Bloomberg that Apple Music is going to get a brand-new interface at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in June. Apple is reportedly planning to update the interface of the app to make it more intuitive to use. The company is also planning to better integrate its Apple Music and iTunes, and to expand its online radio service. Apple Music, like a few other of the company’s apps and services, has been criticized for its perceived failure to meet the high standards that Apple sets for its hardware.

Bloomberg notes that Apple Music has been underwhelming for many Apple fans, and reviewers praised the streaming service’s extensive catalog while criticizing its confusing interface. Apple’s deal to acquire Beats Music two years ago caused a rare culture clash within the company, which led to the departure of several key managers, and Apple is still struggling to unite its streaming and downloading businesses into a cohesive music strategy.

While Bloomberg’s report didn’t offer much in the way of details to expect from the Apple Music redesign, Mark Gurman reports for 9to5Mac that the redesign will include a black and white user interface, “huge artwork,” and lyrics integration. The new user interface will drop the current colorful and translucent look in favor of a simpler design that emphasizes black and white backgrounds and text. Album artwork will be featured prominently, and the app will use additional 3D Touch shortcuts, and better promote the ability to share songs. The “For You” tab will be simplified and better promoted, and the “New” tab will be replaced with a section called “Browse.”

5. Coach may be working on a collection of Apple Watch bands

Tim Cook discussing the Apple Watch

Tim Cook discussing the Apple Watch | Stephen Lam/Getty Images

Benjamin Mayo reports for 9to5Mac that designer brand Coach seems to be developing a collection of Apple Watch bands. According to a post by David Boglin De Bautista at Haute Ecriture, an associate at a Coach boutique told him that the upcoming collection of watch bands could debut as early as June. The bands would be priced at $150 each, and the bands appear to be coordinate with the brand’s spring collection, with similar decorations and charms. While it’s not clear yet whether Coach is developing the bands independently or in collaboration with Apple, Mayo points out that a partnership seems likely given Coach’s high visibility in the fashion world.

Zac Hall later reported for 9to5Mac that more photos and details had leaked, and there seem to be nine Coach Apple Watch bands in total, each one priced at $150. Red, brown, black, and white options will be offered, and variations include charms and unique stitch patterns. It’s possible that Coach will wait to debut the bands until the fall, perhaps to coincide with the launch of the second-generation Apple Watch. It’s also unclear so far whether each band will be offered in both 38mm and 42mm versions.

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