With a little distance between us and Apple’s annual iPhone event, there’s an increasing amount of room for rumors and speculation about what’s going on in Cupertino. Read on to catch up on the most exciting Apple rumors to surface this week.
1. Your Apple Music library could be getting a lot bigger.
Eric Slivka reports for MacRumors that right before the launch of Apple Music in late June, Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services, revealed on Twitter that the company was working to increase the limit for iTunes Match libraries, and Apple Music’s similar feature, from the current 25,000 tracks to 100,000 tracks in iOS 9. But the arrival of iOS 9 didn’t bring an increase for the library matching limits.
So MacRumors asked Cue for an update on the limit increase, and learned that Apple is “definitely working on it,” and that Cue expects the increased library matching limits to hit iTunes Match and Apple Music “before the end of the year.” The iTunes Match service, which costs $25 per year, combined with Apple Music’s matching feature enable users to add songs that aren’t available from the iTunes Store catalog to the cloud, which makes them available on all of the devices using the same Apple ID. The services scan a user’s library to determine which tracks are available in the iTunes store, and automatically make those available in the user’s library. Only the tracks that aren’t matched to the iTunes Store catalog are then uploaded to the cloud.
That functionality has been limited to 25,000 tracks since iTunes Match debuted in 2011, though tracks purchased from the iTunes Store don’t count toward that limit. Users with more than 25,000 tracks won’t have to employ annoying workarounds when the limit increases to 100,000 tracks.
2. Apple’s new iMacs are (as expected) faster than its old ones.
The Cheat Sheet has all of the details that Apple shared about its new iMacs and iMac accessories. But with any device, there are a few specifications that Cupertino doesn’t disclose. So tech reviewers who want to know exactly what Apple’s packed into its new devices often run benchmarks and complete teardowns to get the full picture. Apple’s latest iMacs are no exception.
Joe Rossignol reports for MacRumors that Apple’s new 21.5-inch 4K iMacs and 27-inch 5K iMacs have been subjected to early Geekbench 3 benchmarking, which revealed improved single-core and multi-core scores, as compared to previous models. The new iMacs are about 7% and 20% faster than the previous models, though Rossignol points out that the results are based on single data points, which will need to be averaged out against other benchmarking results for a more accurate comparison.
Additionally, Juli Clover reports that teardowns by OWC have revealed that the new 27-inch 5K iMac will support up to 64GB of RAM, an upgrade from the previous 27-inch models that would only support a maximum of 32GB of RAM. Of course, you won’t be able to order an iMac with 64GB of RAM from Apple directly — its options top out at 32GB — but you will be able to purchase 48GB or 64GB kits from third parties (including OWC).
However, OWC has also torn down the new 21.5-inch iMac, and learned that the memory is soldered in and therefore can’t be upgraded. Customers who are purchasing a 21.5-inch iMac should buy as much RAM as they can afford at the time of purchase, because there won’t be any third-party options to upgrade it after purchase. The maximum amount of RAM for the 21.5-inch iMac is 16GB.
3. Apple might be making progress on its TV streaming service.
Apple is reportedly still in negotiations with CBS over the inclusion of the network’s content in Apple’s much-anticipated but as-yet-unannounced streaming TV service. Juli Clover reports for MacRumors that both in an interview with Bloomberg TV and at Re/Code’s Code Conference, CBS chief executive Les Moonves said that CBS would “probably” sign a deal with Apple for its rumored streaming service.
“We’re very excited about it,” Moonves said at the Code Conference, and confirmed that he had met with Eddy Cue as part of an “ongoing conversation” regarding the streaming service. Given the fact that it’s been long reported that negotiations with content providers are holding back the launch of Apple’s streaming service, there’s little evidence of progress made in those negotiations. Apple’s continued failure to secure the necessary deals has reportedly pushed the debut of the service until 2016.
Apple reportedly plans to offer a selection of popular television channels for a price of somewhere between $30 and $40 per month, which undercuts most traditional cable services. The company’s new Apple TV set-top box will go on sale at the end of the month, and includes an App Store, universal search capabilities, Siri integration, and a touch-based remote for navigating the interface and playing games.
4. Apple could make it more difficult to tamper with its devices.
Apple Insider’s Roger Fingas spotted a new patent application, which illustrates a Velcro-like fastener that could be used to prevent tampering with future Apple devices. The patent filing goes into detail on the manufacturing process for the amorphous alloy technology, which Apple gained through a licensing deal with Liquidmetal. But the concept itself is simple, and uses a series of hooks or loops to attach two surfaces either permanently or semi-permanently.
The patent is particularly focused on using the technology to deter tampering with electronics “by either the normal users of a product, package, or system or others with physical access to it.” The filing reveals Apple’s interest in a fastener that either prevents tampering, or renders itself or the device it’s attached to nonfunctional after tampering. Apple could use the technology to block access to the inner components of a device.
Fingas points out that Apple typically denies warranty service to users who try to make their own repairs or upgrades to their devices, and the technology could help Apple to enforce that policy. Apple could also use the technology to deter theft. Apple has had access to Liquidmetal patents since 2010, but so far has done little with them, likely due to the expense of the manufacturing processes involved.
5. Apple might consider making a professional camera.
File this under speculation without much convincing evidence, but Napier Lopez at The Next Web has outlined five reasons why Apple should make a professional camera. Lopez argues that while imaging technology has made significant advances, the way photographers interact with their photos hasn’t changed much since the first digital cameras. But that needs to change, since most people opt just to take photos on their smartphones, where they can download apps to enhance the camera system’s capabilities.
Apple has filed a few patents related to a standalone camera, and Jony Ive and Mark Newson teamed up to design a special-edition Leica camera in 2013. As speculation mounts about a future Apple car, it seems part of Cupertino’s current strategy to branch out from its current line of products. And because the cameras in Apple’s iPhones are among the best thanks to their superior image processing and software, it seems to make sense that Apple would at least consider making a camera with interchangeable lenses to appeal to all of the photographers who already love Apple.