4 Recent Apple Rumors: From Bose to the A9 Chip

Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Andrew Burton/Getty Images

It’s that time again — time to look back at some of the most interesting Apple rumors and stories that have circulated over the past week. This week’s batch of Apple rumors include the return of a previously banned brand to the Apple Store, more leaked information about the upcoming Steve Jobs biopic, and several new reports about the company’s upcoming products and components.

Has Apple settled its beef with Bose?

Earlier this week French Apple news site IGen.fr cited an unnamed source that claimed Bose products would soon be returning to the Apple Store. As previously reported by the Tech Cheat Sheet, Apple removed all Bose audio products from its retail stores in October following several high profile disputes between the two companies. Soon after Apple announced that it was acquiring premium headphone maker Beats Electronics in May of this year, rival headphone maker Bose filed a patent-infringement lawsuit against Beats in a Delaware court, as well as an identical complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC). In the filings, Bose alleged that Beats’ Studio and Studio Wireless brand headphones were infringing on five of its patents, including some that are related to its proprietary noise cancellation technology.

As if that wasn’t enough to create bad blood between the two companies, the NFL enforced an exclusivity contract that it signed with Bose earlier this year that resulted in San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick getting fined $10,000 for wearing a pair of Beats headphones during an interview in October, reports ESPN. According to Bloomberg, the patent-infringement lawsuits were later settled out of court and Beats co-founder Jimmy Iovine characterized the NFL ban on Beats as free publicity, reports TUAW. Still, Bose’s moves apparently angered Apple enough for the company to yank the audio equipment maker’s products from its store shelves.

While the return of Bose’s products to the Apple Store was initially reported as only a rumor, 9to5Mac later confirmed the story with its own sources. More recently, a search of the Online Apple Store revealed that several Bose audio products have reappeared, suggesting that the return of Bose products to the brick and mortar Apple Stores is imminent.

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

More Steve Jobs biopic details leaked

In case you haven’t heard, various sensitive internal documents from Sony Pictures were recently exposed to the public due to a successful hacking attack on the company’s computer systems. Some of these leaked documents revealed previously unknown details about an Aaron Sorkin-scripted Steve Jobs biopic that is based on a book by Walter Isaacson. While the film was originally intended as a Sony project that would have been directed by David Fincher, the film’s production has been in flux and was most recently sold to Universal for a rumored $30 million where Danny Boyle is expected to direct it, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Various names have also been floated for the part of Steve Jobs, with the latest rumors suggesting that Michael Fassbender will star in the titular role, while Seth Rogen will costar as fellow Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, and Jeff Daniels will play former Apple CEO John Sculley, reports The Wrap.

Although it is still possible that the cast could change again before the film enters production, leaked documents from the Sony Pictures’ computer system breach revealed that Sorkin’s script is one component that will likely remain unaltered.  According to leaked Sony emails seen by The Verge, both director David Fincher and Jobs’s biographer Walter Isaacson were blown away by Sorkin’s script.

“Is great. It’s a play, but a really quicksilver, cinematic one,” wrote Fincher in an email to Sony executives and Sorkin. In another email from Isaacson to producer Scott Rudin, the Steve Jobs author wrote, “The script is totally awesome. I have a tear in my eye having just finished. I was deeply moved by the narrative arc and by the beautiful end.”

While it remains to be seen how the completed movie will be received, it already sounds better than the critically-panned Jobs biopic starring Ashton Kutcher that was released earlier this year. That film only garnered a 27% approval rating from the critics at Rotten Tomatoes.

Photo credit: NORBERT MILLAUER/AFP/Getty Images

Photo credit: NORBERT MILLAUER/AFP/Getty Images

Will the next-generation Apple chip be made in the U.S.?

In what has become an annual ritual, rumors about which chipmakers will be tapped to produce Apple’s next-generation processor are already circulating. The latest rumor comes courtesy of DigiTimes, a Taiwan-based tech news site with connections to the California-based company’s supply chain. According to DigiTimes’ unnamed industry sources, U.S.-based chipmaker Globalfoundries is vying to win a major contract from Apple to produce the A9 chip via its advanced 14-nanometer fabrication process. The A9 chips will presumably power next year’s iPhone 6S (or iPhone 7) and iPad Air 3. This means that many of Apple’s next-generation mobile devices could feature processors that were made in the U.S.A.

DigiTimes’ sources claim that Globalfoundries’ main competitor is Samsung, because both companies are willing to drop their prices for Apple. On the other hand, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) — the company that is believed to be providing about 60% of the A8 chips for Apple — is less flexible with its pricing.

If true, the deal would likely be a financial windfall for Globalfoundries and a publicity coup for Apple. Apple has been widely criticized for manufacturing the majority of its products overseas and the company has been taking pains to highlight its U.S.-based manufacturers, such as its Mac Pro facility in Austin, Texas. Unfortunately, one of its most highly publicized U.S.-based manufacturing partners — GT Advanced Technologies — collapsed in bankruptcy earlier this year after being unable to produce enough usable sapphire screens as dictated under the terms of its contract with Apple.

Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks during an Apple special event (Apple Watch)

Source: Justin Sullivan/ Getty Images

Apple Watch production may kick off in January 2015

Apple’s long awaited entry into the wearable tech market, the Apple Watch, is slated for an “early 2015” release, according to an announcement made by the company at its September media event. Since then, several rumors about the device’s exact release date have circulated. A report from IGen.fr predicted a release date of Valentine’s Day (February 14), while a video message from Apple’s Angela Ahrendts to retail employees suggested a launch date after Chinese New Year (February 19), reports 9to5Mac.

While it’s still not clear exactly when the Apple Watch will hit store shelves, a recent report from Taiwan’s United Daily News (UDN) that was spotted by GforGames suggests that the yield issues that were previously plaguing the mass production of the device have now been resolved. According to industry sources cited by UDN, Apple Watch assembler Quanta will now be able to start mass production of the device in January, earlier than the previously reported timeframe of February.

UDN’s sources claimed that “3 million to 5 million” units will be shipped in the first wave, with total shipments in 2015 expected to reach 24 million units. While the report doesn’t provide an exact launch date for the Apple Watch, the optimistic production schedule suggests that a release date in February is feasible.

That’s all for this week’s Apple rumors! Be sure to check back regularly with the Tech Cheat Sheet to get all the latest Apple news.

Follow Nathanael on Twitter @ArnoldEtan_WSCS

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