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 may launch the week of September 12
Mikey Campbell reports that, according to Evan Blass, Apple will launch the iPhone 7, also rumored to be called the iPhone 6SE, the week of September 12. Later, Blass specified that September 16 would be the actual release date, on which customers would be able to get their hands on the new iPhones. Zac Hall reports for 9to5Mac that in digging for further details, Blass also determined that preorders will begin on September 9. That would mean that the new iPhones would ship to customers and stores the week of September 12, specifically, on Friday, September 16, while Apple’s launch event would be held the week of September 5, probably on Tuesday, September 6 or Wednesday, September 7.
Hall notes that opening iPhone preorders a week before the retail release date aligns with Apple’s actions in previous years, though last year, Apple had a two-week period between orders and availability. A September 16 retail release would be slightly earlier than past iPhone releases, though that could help Apple to sell more iPhones in the next quarter. Apple hasn’t yet made any announcements about its iPhone event or the date for it, but it’s expected that other product lines due for a refresh, like the Mac and the Apple Watch, could also be featured at the event.
2. The home button on the iPhone 7 may not click
Neil Hughes reports for Apple Insider that the home button on the iPhone 7 won’t physically click when pressed, but will simulate a click with haptic feedback. According to a pair of new reports about the home button, it will no longer physically depress. By choosing a static, capacitive home button, Apple could make the next iPhone thinner. The iPhone 7 is rumored to be the thinnest iPhone yet, and could possibly measure just 6mm thick.
A home button that doesn’t click would likely simulate the feel of a click with haptic feedback, like the Force Touch trackpad on the 12-inch MacBook and new MacBook Pros. The Force Touch trackpad also sense pressure, like the display on the Apple Watch or the iPhone 6s, in order to differentiate a tap from a press. The new iPhone home button would likely do the same. Buster Hein reports for Cult of Mac that the new home button may be flush with the rest of the iPhone body, which may help to make the new iPhone more waterproof. A flush home button would provide fewer paths for water to enter the device and destroy internal components.
3. iPhones with iris scanners may arrive in 2018
Katie Marsal reports for Apple Insider that iPhones with secure iris scanners may be on the agenda for 2018, according to current rumors. A report from DigiTimes, a publication that has a somewhat unreliable record when it comes to predicting Apple’s plans, says that Apple is planning to introduce the technology into the iPhone lineup in 2018. That coincides with early reports claiming that Apple could introduce new biometric technology, including face and iris scanning, as soon as 2017. Iris scanning technology could be featured alongside Touch ID, or could replace it entirely on an iPhone without a home button.
Chance Miller reports for 9to5Mac that there are some issues with iris scanning technology, including its performance in low light conditions or the potential for the iris to be affected by activities like the consumption of alcohol or eye dilation. Nonetheless, iris recognition offers a secure way to unlock a smartphone, since every person’s iris is unique. And in the right conditions, iris scanning would offer a secure way to unlock an iPhone without any physical contact, which could be useful in some situations.
4. Future iPhones and iPads may get an Apple Watch-style Digital Crown
Ben Lovejoy reports for 9to5Mac that Apple has filed a patent application for an Apple Watch-style Digital Crown for the iPhone and iPad, which could pave the way toward bezel-less devices. The patent refers to the digital crown as a “rotary input” device for the iPad, and reveals that Apple is at least exploring the idea of implementing the technology on its iOS devices.
Lovejoy notes that a digital crown could be used for scrolling through content without covering the screen, adjusting the volume, or resizing text. The push-button function could complete tasks like locking or unlocking the screen, or taking a photo. At present, it seems unlikely that the technology will really make it onto a future iPhone, especially as Apple seems to be intent on doing away with as many physical controls as possible.
5. The next MacBook Pro may get a USB Type-C port
Neil Hughes reports for Apple Insider that a new supply chain rumor indicates that Apple will bring USB Type-C ports from the 12-inch MacBook to another device in the lineup. Hughes posits that the post likely candidate is the MacBook Pro, despite DigiTimes’ claims Apple will adopt the USB Type-C port on the MacBook Air. The MacBook Pro is due for an update and a redesign, and is expected to be both thinner and lighter than current models. Hughes posits that supply chain insiders who have seen components for the device may “assume the new ultraportable notebook will instead be branded as a next-generation MacBook Air.”
The MacBook Air hasn’t been updated in years, which seems a good indication that Apple intends to phase it out of the MacBook lineup. The MacBook Air still feature a low-resolution, non-Retina screen, and it’s been overshadowed by the introduction of the 12-inch MacBook. The MacBook Pro, on the other hand, is rumored to get a redesign featuring a USB Type-C port with Thunderbolt 3 support, an OLED touch bar to replace the row of function keys, and Touch ID integration for secure login.
6. Apple may make the Apple Pencil compatible with Macs
Roger Fingas reports for Apple Insider that Apple has patented the technology that would make it possible to use the Apple Pencil with a Mac. The patent describes a stylus that Fingas notes is more complex than the current Apple Pencil, and would be able to work not only on trackpads but “in mid-air as a motion-sensitive ‘air mouse.'”
The device could also support rotation commands, or even operate as a joystick. The filing repeatedly references the possibility of using the stylus with a touchscreen, and “seems to be more connected to work on the Pencil for the iPad Pro.” Fingas notes that Apple is unlikely to develop a stylus specifically for use with Macs, but it could make the Apple Pencil compatible with Macs if it offered a way to pair the two.
7. The second-generation Apple Watch may arrive in September or October
Roger Fingas reports for Apple Insider that Apple’s supply chain is expecting the second-generation Apple Watch to debut in September or October. However, it seems that the company isn’t planning a major launch for the Apple Watch 2, and suppliers are reportedly seeing “rather conservative” orders for the new model. In a similar vein, it’s reported that component manufacturers haven’t been making much of a profit from the Apple Watch.
There have been few rumors about the second-generation Apple Watch. It’s expected that the device will be equipped with a faster processor and will offer better battery life than the first version, but other rumored features like built-in cellular service or GPS are uncertain so far. Fingas notes that a report that originally surfaced more than a year ago claimed that the next Apple Watch will look the same as the first-generation model, but will feature a larger battery and a new display that improves outdoor visibility.