7 Apple Rumors: Is This Really the iPhone 7 Plus?

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 Plus is getting a little more real

Jeff Benjamin reports for 9to5Mac that a high-quality iPhone 7 Plus mockup has surfaced online, drawing attention for its eye-catching deep blue shade and sparking speculation over whether this is what Apple’s iPhone 7 Plus will look like when it’s launched in the fall. The mockup was created by BeSound, a company that’s running an Indiegogo campaign to crowd-fund a pair of Lightning-enabled noise cancelling headphones. The company teamed up with a popular YouTube content creator, Lewis Hilsenteger or “Unbox Therapy,” to show off the mockup and promote both the campaign and the upcoming headphones.

The mockup ticks all the boxes when it comes to iPhone 7 Plus rumors. As you might have guessed, it lacks a 3.5mm headphone jack, but also features a second set of speaker holes, subtler antenna lines, and a dual camera housing. It also features a deep blue color, which Apple was rumored to be considering in past rumors, though later reports have pointed to a black or a dark grey color as a more likely choice. The mockup also features a Smart Connector on its rear, another feature that’s been rumored to appear on the so-called iPhone 7 Pro model.

2. Apple may upgrade the iPhone 7 Plus to 3GB of RAM

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 28: A poster that contains pictures of iPhones is displayed the new Brooklyn Apple Store during a media preview in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn on July 28, 2016 in New York City. The Williamsburg Apple Store opens next Saturday on July 30th, it is a multi-use space with numerous wood cube seats and a giant 6K video screen.

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Mike Wuerthele reports for Apple Insider that according to current rumor, the iPhone 7 Plus may be equipped with 3GB of RAM, instead of the 2GB of RAM found in the current model. That’s according to a DigiTimes report that chip manufacturers Marconi International and Powertech Technology (PTI) both have increased earning estimates based on increasing demand from smartphone manufacturers — increases that are unusual in what Wuerthele characterizes as “a stagnant overall RAM and mobile market.”

The DigiTimes report refers simply to the iPhone 7, not specifically to the iPhone 7 Plus, though the publication’s mixed track record on predicting Apple’s plans should make readers skeptical. Joe Rossignol reports for MacRumors that KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has twice claimed that the next 5.5-inch iPhone will include 3GB of RAM for improved performance. Rossignol points out that while the DigiTimes report “stops short of specifying whether the 4.7-inch, 5.5-inch, or both iPhone 7 models will have 3GB of RAM,” an increase to 3GB would be a major improvement over the 2GB of RAM in the iPhone 6s and/or iPhone 6s Plus.

3. Lightning EarPods are looking like a good bet for the iPhone 7

Apple Earpods

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Mitchel Broussard reports for MacRumors that photos of a possible Lighting to 3.5mm adapter have surfaced online, and Luke Dormehl reports for Cult of Mac that Lighting EarPods have been spotted, as well. The adapter has been previously rumored to be an accessory that Apple will bundle with the iPhone 7 in order to appease users who are unhappy about the expected removal of the 3.5mm headphone jack. The adapter featured in the photos was reportedly obtained from a Foxconn factory in Vietnam, and appears visually similar to the other adapters that Apple sells.

Dormehl reports that the Lightning EarPods spotted in a video online “don’t seem to differ too much from the ones Apple currently makes,” and they retain the ability to control playback and volume with an in-line button. He characterizes the EarPods that appear in the video as looking “legitimate enough,” and notes that it’s more difficult to fake products in a video rather than in a single image.

4. The Apple Watch 2 may get a thinner “One Glass Solution” display

CUPERTINO, CA - MARCH 21: Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks about the Apple Watch during an Apple special event at the Apple headquarters on March 21, 2016 in Cupertino, California. The company is expected to update its iPhone and iPad lines, and introduce new bands for the Apple Watch.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Juli Clover reports for MacRumors that the second-generation Apple Watch could feature a “One Glass Solution” display instead of “Glass on Glass” technology. That’s according to DigiTimes, which cites information received from Apple supplier TPK Holding. A traditional Glass on Glass display features two pieces of glass, while a One Glass Solution display eliminates one of those layers and replaces it with a thinner material.

Switching from the Glass on Glass display used in the current Apple Watch to a One Glass Solution version could enable Apple to save a small amount of internal space in the Apple Watch 2 and slightly reduce the weight of the watch. However, sources at TPK Holding report that technical issues have resulted in low yield rates for the OGS panels, and Clover notes that it’s unclear whether those issues will affect the overall production of the second-generation Apple Watch. In addition to the changed display, the device is expected to feature minor design upgrades, upgraded specs, and possibly features like cellular connectivity, a faster processor, and an improved battery.

5. Apple is reportedly redesigning the Apple Store app

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.

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Mark Gurman and Alex Webb report for Bloomberg that Apple is going to introduce a redesigned Apple Store app. The new app will reportedly “use a customer’s buying history to recommend further purchases, taking a page from Amazon.com Inc.’s playbook.” According to sources “familiar with the intended revamp,” the updated app could launch within weeks.

The app is expected to feature a “For You” tab to suggest items based on prior orders. And while Apple currently has separate Apple Store apps for the iPhone and the iPad, Bloomberg reports that the new app will work on both devices and have the same basic features and interface both places. Gurman and Webb point out that “the shift toward using recommendations would mark a change for Apple, where privacy concerns have traditionally usurped efforts to use customer-behavior data to garner more revenue.” They add that while Apple Music and News “also recommend tracks and stories, they primarily do so based on interests that customers have chosen to declare.”

6. Apple’s negotiating tactics may have hurt its expansion into TV

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 9: An Apple Tv set-top box is seen in the demo area after a Apple special event at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium on September 9, 2015 in San Francisco, California. Apple Inc. unveiled the latest iterations of its smart phone, the 6S and 6S Plus, an update to its Apple TV set-top box as well as announcing the new iPad Pro.

Stephen Lam/ Getty Images

Shalini Ramachandran and Daisuke Wakabayashi report for The Wall Street Journal that Apple’s “hard-charging” negotiating tactics have hurt its efforts to expand into TV. Television “is an important part of Apple’s strategy to reignite growth now that sales of the iPhone … have fallen for two quarters in a row.” But some of Apple’s tactics in negotiating with media giants like Disney, 21st Century Fox, and CBS “have hurt its efforts to revolutionize the TV-watching experience.”

In online TV, Apple’s goal is to combine a selection of popular live channels with an on-demand library of popular shows, for a monthly subscription fee of around $30. But the Journal reports that “media companies worry that agreeing to Apple’s sweetheart terms could allow traditional cable-TV distributors to demand the same deal and make it harder to recoup their investments in original shows.” A cable industry executive tells the Journal that Eddy Cue’s negotiating strategy can be summed “as saying: ‘We’re Apple.'”

7. Project Titan has reportedly shifted toward autonomous driving

A visitor presses the new Apple's CarPlay touch-screen commands inside the Volvo Estate concept car displayed at the Swedish carmaker during the press day of the Geneva Motor Show in Geneva, on March 4, 2014. Apple announced that autos will roll out this year with CarPlay technology making iPhones helpful road-trip companions, complete with Siri tending to messages. Ferrari, Volvo, and Mercedes-Benz will show off the technology this week at a car show in Geneva, but the long list of auto makers incorporating it into models included Honda, BMW, Toyota, and General Motors. AFP PHOTO / FABRICE COFFRINI

Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images

Mark Gurman and Alex Webb report for Bloomberg that the team behind Apple’s car project is placing an increased emphasis on developing self-driving technology. The publication reports that Apple has hired Dan Dodge, the founder and former chief executive officer of QNX, the operating system developer that BlackBerry acquired in 2010. “He is part of a team headed by Bob Mansfield, who, since taking over leadership of the cars initiative — dubbed Project Titan — has heralded a shift in strategy, according to a person familiar with the plan.”

The team is reportedly prioritizing the development of an autonomous driving system (though Gurman and Webb report that Apple hasn’t abandoned efforts to design its own vehicle). Developing self-driving technology “leaves options open should the company eventually decide to partner with or acquire an established car maker, rather than build a car itself.”

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