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. Though you might think that the Apple rumor mill would have slowed down after the launch of this year’s iPhone 7, that hasn’t been the case so far. So this week, plenty of exciting rumors about next year’s iPhone 8, future iPhone components, and other future Apple products made their rounds online. Read on to catch up on the week’s most exciting Apple rumors.
1. Apple may introduce three iPhone 8 models
Roger Fingas reports for AppleInsider that according to a report from Nikkei Asian Review, Apple plans to offer next year’s iPhone 8 in three sizes: 4.7 inches, 5 inches, and 5.5 inches. The Japanese report claims that Apple is likely to use glass backs for all three models. The source cited by the report also indicated that Apple decided to drop production of a single-lens 5.5-inch iPhone 7 just six months before the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus debuted in September.
But Mikey Campbell reports for AppleInsider that, contrary to the Nikkei report, a source claims that Apple’s immediate plans are to stick with its usual 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch models with the iPhone 8. The source, who “has in the past provided accurate information on Apple’s product pipeline,” says that Apple will unveil just two iPhone models in 2017. The source also indicates that Apple plans a “glass sandwich” chassis for the iPhone 8. That would reportedly include an AMOLED display — though the source also said that fallback designs are being explored.
2. Future iPhones may get wireless charging capabilities
Mikey Campbell reports for AppleInsider that as part of the company’s continued research into efficient wireless chargers, Apple received a patent for an inductive charging method that uses ferrofluids “to reduce or negate energy loss typical of such systems.” The method involves energy transmission by implementing a layer of ferrofluids between an inductive unit’s transceiver and receiver coils. Most inductive charges work by sending energy from a charging station to a battery-powered device through an inductive coupling. An induction coil in the charge would create an alternating electromagnetic field, which would be converted into electrical current by the receiving coil in the mobile device.
Inductive chargers are typically less efficient and require larger internal components to operate. The inductive coils also have to be aligned correctly to achieve a good coupling, and poor alignment reduces efficiency. The technology detailed in Apple’s patent attempts to bypass those drawbacks by adding a layer of ferrofluids in the charger or device. Ferrofluids are liquids that contain ferromagnetic particles suspended in a carrier fluid. The particles can move freely within the liquid and become magnetized when exposed to a magnetic field. When applied adjacent to an induction charging system, a ferrofluid layer can increase energy transfer performance by minimizing the effects of coil misalignment.
Campbell notes that it’s unclear whether Apple intendeds to produce and market an inductive charger enhanced with ferrofluid. But he points out that “almost all Apple products could benefit from inductive charging technology, from Apple Watch to iPhone to the latest MacBooks and accessories.”
3. Project Titan is shifting toward software for self-driving vehicles
Mark Gurman and Gerrit De Vynck report for Bloomberg that Apple has hired dozens of software engineers in Canada to build a car operating system. Many of the engineers were hired from BlackBerry’s QNX for their experience in developing fundamental components of operating systems and power management. The car operating system is “the software core of a future Apple car platform, in the same way iOS powers the iPhone.” There’s also talk that a separate Apple team is developing the software that would guide future self-driving cars and run on the operating system.
The autonomous software is just one of the features planned to run on the car operating system. Engineers have envisioned a heads-up display to show apps such as maps, for example, that are guided by Apple’s digital assistant, Siri. Project Titan employees are also working on a self-driving platform simulation, and the company has developed simulators that use virtual reality to test the self-driving software without taking the system onto public roads.
4. Apple may make more original content or acquire a content maker
Neil Hughes reports for AppleInsider that, in typical Apple fashion, Apple chief executive Tim Cook “evaded questions and offered little in the way of details during his company’s quarterly earnings conference call.” But his comments on original content were enough to spark speculation that Cupertino is planning to either make more original content, or to acquire a high-profile content maker.
Apple is currently working on its “Planet of the Apps” documentary series for Apple Music, and they’ve struck some deals, including one with Drake, for exclusive content. The company is said to have expressed interest in “doing much more” when it comes to original content. Apple is said to have considered a buyout of Time Warner in 2015. And the company is also said to be working on a scripted series called “Vital Signs,” starring Dr. Dre. The rights to James Corden’s “Carpool Karaoke” belong to Apple now as well.
5. Apple has considered releasing iMessage for Android
John Gruber reports on Daring Fireball that Apple has internally considered the idea of releasing iMessage for Android. Gruber writes that he’s “heard from little birdies that mockups of iMessage for Android have circulated within the company, with varying UI styles ranging from looking like the iOS Messages app to pure Material Design.” Gruber posits that iMessage for Android “may never see the light of day.” But he notes that the existence of detailed mockups “strongly suggests that there’s no ‘of course not’ to it.”
Because iMessage is exclusive to iOS and MacOS, it’s rightly cited as a reason that people stick with the iPhone and Mac. If Apple releases iMessage for Android, it seems likely that some iPhone users would switch to Android. But Gruber speculates that that number would be “small enough to be a rounding error for Apple.” In his opinion, “Apple wins by creating devices and experiences that people want to use, not that they have to use.”
6. Apple may help you to find your lost keys with a device like Tile
Mikey Campbell reports for AppleInsider that Apple has patented a lost-and-found electronic tag service, similar in function to the tracking solutions marketed by companies like Tile. Apple’s system would involve attaching electronic tags to commonly misplaced items, like backpacks and keys. The tags would use a Bluetooth Low Energy beacon to periodically transmit a location signal to nearby devices.
When you lose your backpack or keys, the service would enlist nearby devices to find your lost belongings. Campbell notes that Apple refers to the system as crowd-sourced. But “considering the proximity restrictions of BLE, a large number of users would be required if the program is to be effective.” In some embodiments of the invention, the user would register their tag with a central lost-and-found service, which would aggregate beacon identities in a database. As a crowd-sourced service, the system would rely on many connected devices to monitor their surroundings for signals from tags.