5 Apple Rumors: From WWDC to 2017 and 2018 iPhones
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. This week, there were new rumors and reports about iOS 10, the upcoming iPhone 7, OS X, and the iPhones that Apple will release in 2017 and 2018. Read on for the week’s most interesting Apple rumors.
1. You can expect news about iOS 10, iPhone 7, and iPad Pro at WWDC next month
Daniel Eran Dilger reports for Apple Insider that Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference is going to bring big news about iOS 10, the iPhone 7, and the iPad Pro. Dilger notes that most rumors about the iPhone 7 have revolved around schematics and component images, which only allude to potential hardware changes, like a dual-lens camera, a Smart Connector, and a Lightning port to replace the traditional headphone jack. But Dilger points out that “many of Apple’s biggest iPhone leaps have been externally invisible, driven by software advances unlocking the power of advanced silicon hardware inside, many of which debuted at WWDC,” an event that’s all about software. Software that in this case will bring new capabilities to the iPhone 7 and perhaps new iPad Pro models.
At this year’s WWDC, Apple is expected to debut iOS 10, along with improvements to Xcode and Swift, and potentially major changes to Photos and Apple Music. Changes to the App Store and its search functionality are also likely to appear at WWDC. In addition, Dilger thinks that Apple should place a new focus on buying up the best apps and ideas that appear in the App Store and integrate those into iOS, perhaps including innovative App Extensions.
It’s also possible that Apple will announce an integration of Siri into iMessage, and a Siri API that enables the enables the assistant to interact with third-party apps. Additionally, Apple may use iMessage as a platform for personal ApplePay, and it could integrate the Digital Touch feature it introduced on the Apple Watch into iMessage on the iPhone and iPad. Other announcements that Apple may make at WWDC? Enhanced Maps-related searches, easier functionality for creating Flyover sequences, OCR features as a system-wide service, and enhanced Mobile Device Management.
2. Siri seems to be on her way to OS X
Juli Clover reports for MacRumors that rumors have indicated that Siri integration will be one of the key features of OS X 10.12, and new screenshots of a Siri menu bar and Siri app icon suggest that Apple really is working on bringing Siri to the Mac this year. The screenshots were shared with MacRumors by a source that has provided the publication with “reliable information Apple’s software plans” in the past. The images show a menu bar that features a simple, black and white icon that shows the word “Siri” surrounded by a box, while the full dock icon is more colorful, and features a Siri waveform in the style of the icons for other apps that come preloaded on a Mac. Clicking on either of the icons reportedly opens a Siri waveform, which gives users a visual cue that the assistant is listening for a command or inquiry.
Apple will also reportedly add support for a hands-free “Hey Siri” activation, which can be turned on in the Preferences menu. While Siri’s Mac integration is still in its early stages, the assistant will reportedly be able to perform many of the same tasks that it can on iOS devices. At WWDC, which is set to take place between June 13 and June 17, Apple will provide the first look at OS X 10.12. It’s likely that we’ll find out at that time whether Siri will really be integrated into OS X this fall, or if Apple will shelve the feature for a future release.
3. Future iPhones may be equipped with wireless charging
Ben Popper reports for The Verge that Apple has been hiring wireless charging experts, including former engineers from uBeam, a much-hyped wireless charging startup. Popper reports that in the past two years, Apple has hired more than a dozen staff members with expertise in wireless charging, which squares with a report that Apple is hoping to add wireless charging capabilities to its iPhones by 2017. Apple reportedly wants to go beyond the convenience of a charging mat and implement a much more advanced technology that would enable you to walk around a room with your device as it charges.
That’s the kind of technology that uBeam has promised to deliver, and a number of other startups also claim to have technology that would enable you to charge your phone at a distance. However, none of them have allowed their tech to undergo rigorous public testing or shipped a product that delivers on their promises. Popper notes that there are many potential approaches to reaching a breakthrough in wireless charging, and likewise many applications for the expertise that Apple is acquiring. But it’s hard to imagine that Apple isn’t at least investigating the idea of an iPhone with wireless charging, which could help it differentiate its product from the many other high-end smartphones on the market.
4. Apple could redesign the iPhone with a glass casing in 2017
Neil Hughes reports for Apple Insider that Apple partner Catcher has added new credibility to rumors that Apple’s 2017 iPhone will use a glass and metal casing. Catcher chairman and chief executive Allen Horng said that Apple plans to introduce an iPhone with a glass casing and metal frame, which will require “advanced processing technology” and costly manufacturing methods. Further, Horng believes that only one model of Apple’s 2017 iPhone lineup will adopt the glass casing.
KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo was the first to indicate that next year’s iPhone could feature a glass casing, since he expects that the 2017 model will bring a major redesign. Kuo reports that though a glass casing would be slightly heavier than an aluminum casing, the potential adoption of an AMOLED screen could make up for the added weight. Kuo thinks that while 100% of iPhones currently feature aluminum bodies, that proportion could drop to just 40% or less following the introduction of 2017’s iPhone.
5. The 2018 iPhone could have a curved OLED screen
Roger Fingas reports for Apple Insider that according to a new research forecast, Apple could ship an OLED iPhone with a curved screen in 2018. Lee Choong-hoon, the president and chief analyst of UBI Research, says that as Apple ramps up its use of OLED displays beyond the Apple Watch, OLED models could make up 30% of estimated iPhone shipments in 2018. The ratio could grow to 80% by 2020 and outpace Samsung’s OLED adoption by 2021.
It’s been reported that Samsung closed a three-year contract to supply Apple with 5.5-inch OLED panels starting in 2017, and Chong-hoon claims that Samsung is the only company that’s currently equipped to meet Apple’s criteria, though LG and other smaller suppliers could eventually gain orders. KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo recently projected that Apple could ship an iPhone with a 5.8-inch AMOLED screen as soon as 2017, though high-quality OLED panels can be expensive, which might explain why the Apple Watch is the only Apple product to be equipped with one so far.