6 Apple Rumors: Is the iPhone 5se Coming in a New Color?

Even though we’re only in the second month of 2016, we already know that there are lots of upcoming Apple products to be excited about. Fortunately for Apple fans interested in all of the details of Apple’s plans, there are plenty of rumors circulating about what’s going on in Cupertino. Read on to check out the most exciting rumors about Apple’s plans and future products to surface this week.

1. Apple’s 4-inch iPhone could offer a hot pink option

Updated iPod Touch in new colors

Source: Apple.com

Mikey Campbell reports for Apple Insider that a recent report indicates that Apple is working on three different color options for its much-rumored smaller iPhone, and may opt for hot pink instead of the rose gold that the company introduced with the iPhone 6s. The report, from Japanese website Mac Otakara, cites unnamed third-party accessory manufacturers as sources. The color is reportedly comparable to the shade of pink seen on the sixth-generation iPod touch or the seventh-generation iPod nano.

Campbell reports that while the exact shade remains “open to interpretation,” the new pink tone would be very different from the rose gold option available for the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. The report is unclear on whether Apple will offer a gold iPhone 5se, or if consumers will be choosing among silver, space gray, and pink. Production on the 4-inch iPhone, expected to appear in March, is reportedly underway.

But fans of hot pink shouldn’t celebrate just yet. Mark Gurman reports for 9to5Mac that his sources say that the iPhone 5se’s pink color option is identical to the shade seen on the iPhone 6s, since Apple is reportedly trying to keep hardware colors consistent across its lineup of iOS devices. Gurman reports that Apple is likely to unveil the new 4-inch iPhone alongside the next-generation iPad Air and a series of new Apple Watch options.

2. Apple could add VR to the “Made for iPhone” program

Ken Ishii/Getty Images

Ken Ishii/Getty Images

According to Mikey Campbell at Apple Insider, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster thinks that Apple plans “to pivot on iOS in a bid for the mixed reality space within the next two years.” Munster cites a basic timeline of Apple’s recent acquisitions and hires, and suggests that the iOS ecosystem could support VR as soon as 2018. Apple’s existing intellectual property, gained through research and development and strategic acquisitions, covers early-stage computer vision technology that could support mixed reality applications.

Munster thinks that there will be a natural progression from smartphones to augmented and virtual reality devices, which could see popular adoption as wearable devices priced in line with modern smartphones. Munster thinks that Apple is currently looking at virtual reality like it does the Apple Watch — as a peripheral for the iPhone. He doesn’t think that Apple will release its own hardware in the near term, but predicts that by 2018, Apple could be ready to offer developers an official framework for hardware as part of the MFi program.

But some are skeptical of Munster’s projections, especially since, as Ben Lovejoy points out at 9to5Mac, Munster is the analyst who repeatedly insisted that Apple would launch a full TV set “next year.” Lovejoy posits that since the analyst has finally given up on his television predictions, “virtual reality might be Munster’s next white whale.”

3. Improvements to Apple Maps are likely coming

Maps app in iOS 9

Source: Apple.com

Apple Insider reports that Apple is expected to announce improvements to its map app alongside iOS 10 this summer, a rumor corroborated by the continual movement of the company’s fleet of sensor-laden mapping vans. The vans have been spotted with increasing regularity since they first appeared, and snapshots submitted to the publication have shown the vehicles out and about on late-night runs through New York City and Boston.

Apple first acknowledged the existence of the fleet of vans last June, and it now provides a listing of the locations where the vehicles are expected to be in the near future. The sensors with which the vans are equipped, including cameras, LiDAR, and high-sensitivity GPS, point to a mapping effort similar to Google’s, which could indicate that Apple plans to expand its Maps app with a feature similar to Google’s Street View. We’re likely to hear more details this summer, since the company is expected to announce iOS 10 at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference come June.

4. Apple may introduce more apps for Android

Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Roger Fingas reports for Apple Insider that Apple chief executive Tim Cook offered some clues about the company’s cross-platform plans at a recent internal “town hall” event. The Apple Music app for Android is Apple’s first experiment with growing its services by expanding to other companies’ platforms. One of Apple’s main goals in launching the app for Android was to avoid losing subscribers of Beats Music, whom it began transitioning over to Apple Music shortly after the service was launched in June 2015.

Supporting the streaming service on Android will help Apple to maximize its user base, and it’s possible that Apple will apply the same logic to its iTunes music, book, and video offerings, or even its rumored TV streaming service. Making such services available to Android users would dramatically expand their potential reach.

5. The TouchID button on future iPhones could get new features

Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

A recent patent application describes how Apple could add new features to both the TouchID sensors on future iPhones and the trackpads on future Macs, as noted by Ben Lovejoy at 9to5Mac. The document explains how the TouchID button could perform different actions in response to different fingerprints, or could even integrate pressure sensors to enable functionality reminiscent of 3D Touch.

By recognizing different fingerprints, your iPhone or iPad could enable you to give it to your roommate, partner, or child to use, while restricting their access to particular apps. The most obvious application is enabling a child to use only a specific selection of apps, and to use the device for a limited amount of time. But Lovejoy notes that a previous Apple patent described how the fingerprint of a specific finger could be used to activate a “panic button” feature.

Pressure sensors could help determine what the device does when it’s unlocked. You could use a hard press, for instance, to launch a particular app immediately upon opening. The home button could also be used to to control apps once the device is unlocked. The button could detect not only the amount of pressure applied, but also the direction of that pressure. The same principle could be applied to a trackpad in order to enable more gestures than are currently supported; the patent also references “near touch” gestures, which is also the topic of a separate Apple patent.

6. The Apple Watch could adjust the volume of iPhone notifications

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Ben Lovejoy reports for 9to5Mac that a recent patent application explains how your Apple Watch could measure the ambient sound in a room and automatically adjust the volume of iPhone notifications accordingly. That may end up being a useful addition for iPhone users who routinely miss notifications because they don’t manually adjust the volume when working from a noisy coffee shop, commuting via the subway, or hanging out with friends at a bar.

The patent suggests that for users with an Apple Watch and an iPhone, the Apple Watch could periodically detect the level of ambient noise. (A reading from an Apple Watch on your wrist would likely be more accurate than a reading from your iPhone, which might be tucked away in your pocket or your briefcase.) By comparing readings from the watch and the phone, the system would be able to automatically work out if you have your iPhone stashed somewhere, and could boost the notification volume to compensate.

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