7 Apple Rumors: From Curved iPhones to New iPad Pros

An exciting assortment of Apple rumors surfaces each week and offers a glimpse into the current state of speculation about upcoming iPhones, new iPads, and the next updates for Apple’s operating systems. The Apple rumor mill is kicking into high gear as we get closer and closer to the launch of this year’s iPhone 7. So this week, plenty of exciting rumors about the next iPhone, future iPhones, and other Apple inventions made their rounds online. Read on to catch up on the week’s most exciting Apple rumors.

1. The iPhone 7 could have up to 256GB of storage

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 27: The Apple Store, Upper West Side is shown July 27, 2016 in New York City. On Tuesday, Apple reported a steep slump in revenue and profit, but beat analyst projections. The maker of the iPhone and iPad reported third-quarter profit sliding 27 percent to $1.42 per share, according to published reports. Analysts had expected $1.39 per share, according to the reports. Apple's share price today jumped on forward guidance from the company.

Apple store | Kena Betancur/Getty Images

Roger Fingas reports for Apple Insider, as per a recent DigiTimes post, that Apple could equip the iPhone 7 with up to 256GB of storage. Other reports have indicated that the top-tier iPhone 7 could get 256GB of storage, which would double the ceiling on the iPhone 6s. Apple is also widely believed to be making 32GB the new minimum storage option, in a move that would finally address widespread user complaints that 16GB isn’t enough for modern apps, photos, and music.

In other iPhone 7 news, it’s been rumored that the device could gain quick charging technology. According to a leak, the device could use improved circuitry that would support “at least” 5-volt, 2-amp charging (in contrast to current iPhone chargers, which are rated at 1 amp). Many Android devices offer a form of fast charging, and a quick charging feature could enable the iPhone 7 to directly compete with phones like the Samsung Galaxy S7, which can go from zero to 50% charge in 30 minutes. The iPhone 7 Plus may get a dual-lens camera, 3GB of RAM, and perhaps a Smart Connector, though rumor has it that the device may not get the second speaker that fans have been speculating about.

Though the iPhone 7 release date is still the subject of speculation, the most recent rumor indicates that the device may launch on September 23. Zac Hall notes at 9to5Mac that a September 23 launch date would be a week later than had been previously expected, though both a September 16 and a September 23 launch date would be possible based on the historical context.

2. Apple’s next iPhones will be the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, no iPhone 7 Pro expected

Apple store

Apple store | John Gress/Getty Images

Mike Wuerthele reports for Apple Insider that the iPhone 7 is expected to continue Apple’s normal naming conventions, with a Macotakara report denying the existence of a supposed “iPhone 7 Pro.” Apple Insider notes that the same sources were used to correctly identify the iPhone 5c as a successor to the iPhone 5s, as well as Apple’s decision to use the iPhone SE name instead of one of the many other variants that were proposed and rumored ahead of the device’s March release.

The report about the iPhone 7’s naming also indicates that the new iPhone will feature a Force Touch capacitive home button, but as Wuerthele reports, it’s unclear whether that’s based on new information or is just reiterating previous reports. Regardless of what the new model is called, it’s expected to retain the sizing of the iPhone 6 family at 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch screen sizes. While the dual-lens camera and 3GB of RAM are rumored only for the iPhone 7 Plus, both sizes are expected to drop the legacy headphone jack.

3. Apple’s 2016 MacBook Pro will likely be equipped with USB-C and Thunderbolt 3

Apple MacBook display

Apple MacBook display | Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images

Mike Wuerthele reports for Apple Insider that the new MacBook Pro that Apple introduces later this year will likely be equipped with two key new technologies: USB-C and Thunderbolt 3. He reports that “the long-term lack of revision of the MacBook Pro has resulted in Apple falling behind somewhat in data transfer technologies,” and notes that “two updated standards that the new computer should see are Thunderbolt 3, and USB 3.1 type C. While Apple has used older versions of both in previous, or other, models, there are recent advances in both protocols that need to be examined.” Wuerthele adds that while Apple’s minimal design aesthetic has both hurt and helped users, Thunderbolt 3 could give Apple “a way to finally execute” its vision of the “one port to rule them all” concept on the upcoming MacBook Pro.

Roger Fingas reports that the redesigned and ultra-thin MacBook Pro is expected to debut at Apple’s September 7 iPhone event. The device has reportedly been in “advanced testing” at Apple since early in 2016, and is expected to add an OLED strip to display context-sensitive commands. Pricier configurations of the new Pro are expected to use AMD Polaris GPUs, which were chosen because they are thin and power-efficient, a claim that makes sense given the fact that the new machine is expected to be thinner and have a smaller footprint than its predecessors. Apple is also expected to bring Touch ID to the Mac for the first time with a sensor placed next to the OLED bar.

4. Apple may be working on a “killer new product” for health-tracking

Apple store

Apple store | Kristy Sparow/Getty Images

Neil Hughes reports for Apple Insider that Apple may have a new health-tracking product in the works for 2017. The device will reportedly track users’ heart rate, pulse, blood sugar changes, and other information, and 3D Touch will reportedly play a crucial role in the new device. The report claims that this new product, along with the health-tracking capabilities of the 2017 iPhone, may “set off a new whirlwind” in the tech industry. The report gives no indication of whether this mysterious new gadget will be a wearable device or have a standalone form factor, though rumors suggest that it will be the first generation of a new device.

Ben Lovejoy reports for 9to5Mac that while the hyperbolic report doesn’t give many details on what form the product could take, plenty of people have speculated that it could refer to the next-generation Apple Watch. However, in Lovejoy’s assessment, that doesn’t make sense given Tim Cook’s recent comments that future health products would be kept separate from the Apple Watch in order to prevent FDA approvals from slowing the pace of innovation in that product line. Nonetheless, Hughes notes that one concept that’s been repeatedly discussed is the idea of smart band accessories, which could bring optional add-ons for the Apple Watch to enable advanced functionality like measuring blood oxygen, respiratory rate, blood pressure, or body temperature.

In other Apple news related to health-tracking gadgets, Lovejoy also reports that Apple has applied for a patent for a wearable ECG device that could take the form of a watch, ring, brooch, or similar. Because electrocardiographic readings depend on the electrode’s relative distance to the heart, the patent describes a calibration phase that would prompt the user to take readings from a wide variety of locations on their body in order to create baseline readings from which the device would be able to interpret subsequent tests.

5. Apple may release a 10.5-inch iPad Pro in 2017

Apple introduced the new 9.7-inch iPad Pro at an event on March 21

9.7-inch iPad Pro | Source: Apple.com

Luke Dormehl reports for Cult of Mac that Apple may introduce a 10.5-inch iPad Pro in 2017, along with a low-cost 9.7-inch iPad and an upgraded 12.9-inch iPad Pro, according to a report from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In 2018, however, he expects Apple to make even bigger changes, with a “radical” change in form factor and an AMOLED display. Because the iPhone is expected to receive a similarly major upgrade for its anniversary refresh in 2017, Dormehl notes that it makes sense for Apple to unify the look and feel of its iOS product lines in 2018.

In the meantime, the three new iPads Kuo expects for 2017 would offer an interesting development. Kuo thinks that the 10.5-inch iPad Pro would be targeted at the commercial and educational markets, and writes that the 10.6-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pros could feature Apple’s A10X processor while the lower-end 9.7-inch iPad Pro could use the A9X processor. Dormehl points out that there’s no mention of the 7.9-inch iPad mini, which could be phased out to avoid direct competition with Apple’s larger iPhone models.

Ben Lovejoy reports for 9to5Mac that if the KGI report is accurate, Apple is likely looking at making some significant changes to its future iPad lineup. He notes that the 9.7-inch iPad Pro’s status as a low-cost model is key to figuring out what the iOS device lineup will look like. He posits that if Kuo’s report is correct, Apple is likely to drop the iPad mini, since the role of the small iPad is less clear thanks to the introduction of the 5.5-inch iPhone.

6. Future iPhones could feature curved screens

iPhones at the Apple store

iPhones at the Apple store | S. Alemdar/Getty Images

Raymond Wong reports for Mashable that Apple has just been granted a patent for a smartphone with curved edges, like those on Samsung’s Galaxy “Edge” smartphones. Apple’s patent US009411451 for “electronic devices with sidewall displays” describes how “bent flexible displays may be bent to form front side displays and edge displays.” Those edge displays could function as “virtual buttons, virtual switches, or information displays that are supplemental to front side displays.” The patent also deals with devices with a main display and a side display connected in the middle.

7. Future Macs or iOS devices could respond to gestures

Apple CEO Tim Cook

Apple CEO Tim Cook | Stephen Lam/Getty Images

Mike Wuerthele reports for Apple Insider that according to pair of recently-awarded Apple patents, future Macs or iOS devices could be equipped with advanced camera systems that would enable them to respond to gestures. Patent 9,417,706, describes how hand motions could be observed by a camera and used to signal the user interface to transition between states. Patent 9,417,763 deals with how a mobile device could determine its location in space using sensors to determine relative motion and identifying a frame of reference like a user’s face.

The first patent requires only a camera connected to the device, and refers to a situation where a specific motion needs to be completed by the user to enable an action. For instance, a user who is sitting in front of a desktop computer could raise an arm and then lower it. The second patent refers to augmented reality applications, and outlines a device that would combine yaw, pitch, and roll information with facial monitoring. That would enable the device to keep track of its own location relative to the user, and also to monitor the user’s eye position.

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