Czech website Letem Svetem Applem claims Apple is planning to release a set of ‘smart bands’ that will use the hidden data port on Apple Watch to add new health monitoring functionality to the device. Citing unnamed sources, the website claims the new straps will include sensors to let the watch monitor blood oxygen levels, respiratory rate, and body temperature. The sensors would be located on the side of the wrist opposite the watch, to control for the heat and interference coming from the internal components of the watch itself. The sources claimed the new bands could appear as soon as early 2016 and be available with an array of sensor configurations. The 6-pin sensor port — located within the groove on the lower half of the watch where the wristband attaches — has proven to be capable of transmitting data and power to the watch, but is sealed. Apple’s guidelines for third-party band manufacturers make no mention of the hidden diagnostic port, but that hasn’t prevented speculation about possible uses for the port since its initial discovery in May. [via Apple Insider]
A recent rumor about new upcoming iPods seems to have picked up more steam, with French site iGen.fr claiming Apple will introduce new iPods early next week, possibly on Tuesday, July 14. Speculation first popped up when iTunes 12.2 had images of iPods in heretofore unseen colors, such as a dark blue iPod touch — that iPod touch in question notably shows a “Tuesday 14” date. It’s believed that while iPod nano and iPod shuffle may only get new color options, the iPod touch may be in line for a more noteworthy update, featuring an upgrade to a 64-bit processor.
Microsoft looks to be working on a way to make email conversations on the iPhone more like instant messaging with an apparent new app discovered by Twitter user @h0x0d. A posted image shows a general outline for Flow by Outlook, an app designed to let users have real-time conversations via their email accounts without bothering with the subject lines and signatures of traditional email exchanges. Only conversations started within the Flow app will be displayed there, separating out the more casual instant messaging-style communications from standard email correspondence. Users will be able to continue Flow conversations in Outlook. A disclaimer at the bottom of the image marks Flow as “Microsoft Confidential” and implores users not to discuss Flow or send Flow messages to anyone outside of Microsoft. [via ZDNet]
A person familiar with Apple’s product plans told Apple Insider that the company’s new 12.9-inch “iPad Pro” will feature the Force Touch technology featured in the Apple Watch and new MacBook. The new touchscreen will sense different amounts of pressure from fingertips or the accompanying Bluetooth stylus, providing pressure-sensitive output. An alleged NFC radio inside the device will make for easier pairing of the stylus with the iPad and also allow the new device to serve as a payment receiving terminal for Apple Pay, although tap-to-pay functionality is unlikely. A USB-C port is also likely — cases based on alleged “iPad Pro” designs have included spaces for two port openings.
New images found on Weibo and posted by HDBlog.it may reveal some additional details about the rumored larger “iPad Pro” expected to be coming later this year. The images claim to show the edges and parts of the rear cover of the new iPad, ostensibly revealing a second Lightning port on the left side, a rear camera with the volume adjustment buttons, and the headphone jack and speaker grid. While the veracity of these images is completely unclear, the idea of a second Lightning port is not entirely unprecedented — early rumors for the original iPad suggested that the device would have an extra Dock Connector on the side for docking in either portrait or landscape mode, and an early iPad prototype with a second Dock Connector also later appeared on eBay, suggesting that Apple at one point considered the idea even for the original iPad. Apple has eschewed docks with more recent iPad models, however, it’s entirely possible that Apple may re-introduce a standalone dock or similar solution for the larger-screened iPad Pro.
Apple may be adding support for a “triple-resolution” Retina Display into iOS 8 according to a new discovery by iOS Developer James Thomson. In a series of tweets this afternoon, Thomson indicated that he had discovered a bug in iOS 8 beta 5 that loads a 3X asset instead of a 2X asset, and further explained that this only happens specifically with 3X assets and not other resolutions like 4X, suggesting this indicates a deliberate decision in the iOS 8 code, rather than a matter of simply selecting the highest-resolution asset available.
Basically, it looks like UIImage has had support for @3x retina images added to it in iOS 8, and/or there is a bug in image loading.— James Thomson (@jamesthomson) August 29, 2014
Mark Gurman of 9to5Mac originally reported in May that Apple was testing a 1704x960 screen resolution for the iPhone 6 that would be achieved by tripling each pixel from a “base resolution” of 568 x 320. Daring Fireball’s John Gruber added his speculation earlier this week suggesting different screen resolutions may be used and that the higher resolution would only apply to the larger 5.5” iPhone 6 in order to maintain a proper Retina Display pixel density. It still remains unclear what hardware Apple may ultimately intend to use this on, since although the iPhone 6 is scheduled for release next month, it is expected that new iPad models will also be appearing during the iOS 8 lifecycle, including a rumoured 12.9” iPad which may also require a higher pixel density for the larger display.
The iPhone 6 will reportedly feature haptic feedback, according to Chinese site Laoyaoba. A tactile feedback linear motor would allow the phone to send differing, subtle vibrations to users through the touchscreen. Users would also be able to feel vibrations on specific areas of the screen. It’s claimed this new motor would cost two to three times more than the current $0.60 vibration motor featured in the iPhone 5s. Apple did publish a patent application in 2009 relating to haptic display technology, and although it’s not completely out of the realm of possibility, we would consider the inclusion of haptic feedback in the iPhone 6 to be unlikely.
MacRumors has posted images it believes to be of inside and back of the iPhone 5S. One shot shows the electronic components of the rumored-device, including the battery and logic board, while the other shows a slightly redesigned rear shell. The site notes a few interesting findings: the logic board appears to match one shown earlier in the week, the chip has not been labeled with an A-series name, a date code indicates the chip was manufactured in October 2012, and the battery has a higher capacity than that of the iPhone 5. Additionally, the back of the device shows what appears to be a dual LED flash array.
The fifth-generation iPad bezel has allegedly been leaked, as new photos have been posted at French site Nowhereelse.fr. Photos show someone holding an alleged white iPad bezel, which appears to have the same full-sized iPad screen with a smaller footprint. The photos may be legitimate, but the bezel — though thinner on the sides than the current fourth-generation iPad — still looks thicker than we would expect.
In other news, Japanese blog Macotakara is reporting the iPhone 5S may come in a total of five colors. It’s been reported that the rumored low-cost iPhone will also come in a number of colors. The blog also claims Apple may announce the iPhone 5S in July.
Today, iLounge is introducing Rumor + Speculation Roundups — a new section of the site to keep readers updated on rumored Apple devices. Each page is designed to help readers quickly canvas all the major credible rumors and speculation concerning a specific upcoming Apple product, such as the iPhone 5S or fifth-generation iPad. While recent months have seen plenty of stories on expected Apple products, these pages will contain our editors’ insights as to what’s likely to be real, and what’s not. We’ll also update each of the pages as more information is released. Our first page is for the rumored low-cost iPhone, with more to follow each day this week.
In a Branch thread stemming from discussion of an iPhone production report, Daring Fireball’s John Gruber wrote that he’s heard that iOS 7 is “running behind,” and engineers have been moved off OS X 10.9 to work on the newest iOS. According to The Wall Street Journal, Apple is expected to ship iOS 7 “around midyear.” An overhaul of the user interface is expected, courtesy of Jonathan Ive’s involvement. Gruber also mentioned that he’d heard nothing regarding a new event, but speculated that Apple could introduce the fifth-generation iPad this month. In the absence of typical pre-announcement signs such as leaks that production is underway, the date for the next iPad’s unveiling has remained ambiguous, with forecasts ranging from April to October of this year.
A firm will supply Apple with fingerprint and near-field communication (NFC) components to be included in the iPhone 5S, according to a report. Chipbond Science and Technology will supply the chips for both features, as well as the phone’s integrated touch display driver. Fingerprint sensor possibilities have been claimed a number of times for Apple’s next iPhone — speculation increased prior to the release of the iPhone 5, with the company’s acquisition of AuthenTec, and continued after the iPhone 5’s release with Apple’s reported deal with Microlatch for use of fingerprint recognition technology, strongly suggesting that enhanced biometric security is a priority for Apple. However, numerous claims of imminent Apple NFC adoption have proved inaccurate in the past; it is possible that Apple is waiting to combine both features together for a proper digital wallet solution before adopting either one of them. [via China Times (translated link)]
New photos of a case for the fifth-generation iPad show a smaller, narrower overall footprint than past generations of the full-sized iPad, corroborating our early reports on the upcoming device. While case makers sometimes make guesses on the design of a new device, it’s notable that this case matches leaked housing photos from an earlier part leak.
The fifth-generation iPad case is quite clearly smaller than a fourth-generation iPad case, as seen in the comparison photos, matching our report that the next iPad will have a form factor closer to the iPad mini. Additional case comparisons are included below. [via 9to5Mac]
Back shells for the new iPad mini have allegedly been leaked on the Chinese WeiPhone forums (translated link). Due to the unclear sourcing for these images, it is difficult to determine if the shells are legitimate Apple parts, but they appear to depict a device with the same size and general shape as the first-generation iPad, thickened only slightly at the edges. Sources have indicated the new iPad mini will have a Retina screen, which in the third-generation iPad demanded additional battery capacity, lighting, and processor power relative to the prior model, necessitating a slightly thicker rear shell.
Additional shots of the alleged iPad mini backs are featured below.
Apple’s share of the smartphone market is expected to peak at 22 percent this year, according to a Reuters report, and cellular carriers may be in a position to negotiate more competitive prices. The report details how the strength of other smartphone operating systems may loosen Apple’s grip on the overall market. “The more operating systems we have to compete in this area the better the competition,” said Fran Shammo, chief financial officer of Verizon Communications, noting that Apple’s iOS now confronts Android, Windows, and Blackberry as strong platforms. Reuters also notes that T-Mobile USA plans to stop subsidizing smartphones when it begins to sell the iPhone, and other carriers are considering follow suit. “That’s something we’ve looked at on several occasions. I kind of like that idea,” said AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson. “It’s something we’re going to be watching.”
The report claims that a “less powerful Apple could be welcomed by telecommunications carriers and component suppliers that have grown accustomed to the tough terms Apple was able to exact thanks to its massive scale and leadership in the market.” Apple may already be anticipating the loss of subsidies and a future with lower-cost devices as it prepares a low-cost iPhone for release.
Photos of a prototype back piece for the fifth-generation iPad have been leaked by a “purported China-based iPad accessories maker,” according to a new report. The photos show a smaller, thinner casing with chamfered edges and virtually no left or right bezel, confirming our exclusive report from last week.
The top of the backplate indicates that this is an LTE model. Our sources have said the fifth-generation iPad will launch in or near October. [via 9to5Mac]
Apple will announce three new iPhone models this year, according to a questionable new report from China and Taiwan. There will be a 4-inch-screened iPhone 5S and a supposedly larger-screened 4.8-inch “iPhone Math” model before the end of June, while a third model with a 12-megapixel camera will arrive before Christmas, the report claims. There have already been rumors of an iPhone 5S, as well as a new low-end iPhone model, but iPhone Math seems almost certain to be a bad translation—and the supposedly larger screen size is equally questionable. This new report also claims Apple will launch iTV before year’s end. While the report should be taken with extra grains of salt, it’s interesting in that it is the first to suggest that Apple may have two separate iPhone release events this year, which could spook some potential early adopters into waiting. [via China Times and Commercial Times (Taiwan), as translated by Brightwire]
A couple of new iPhone rumors suggest Apple could be looking to release both high-end and low-end models this year, while the iPhone 5 remains in the middle. Analyst Peter Misek has suggested that the iPhone 5S will go through preliminary builds in March, with a launch in June or July, less than a year after the iPhone 5 debuted. Originating from Asian part suppliers, a second report claims that a recently rumored lower-cost iPhone could include a plastic chassis, or a plastic-and-metal chassis designed such that parts might be seen from the outside — a rumored launch date for this model is sometime in the second half of this year. While the rumors should be taken with requisite grains of salt, particularly when they come from analysts, the rumors follow Friday’s withdrawn report regarding Apple Senior VP Phil Schiller’s comments on a cheaper iPhone—a withdrawal that has been taken to suggest that the company is indeed pursuing a new affordable model. iLounge’s own sources suggest that Apple hopes to release a less expensive version of the iPhone 5, featuring such components as a Lightning connector and 4” screen.
[via Street Insider, Digitimes]
In an interview with the Shanghai Evening News, Apple Senior VP Phil Schiller responded to rumours of a cheaper iPhone, essentially stating that Apple will continue to focus on producing the best quality iPhone possible and will not cut corners on its iPhone design simply to produce an inexpensive smartphone for the mass market.
Speaking regarding Apple’s products in China, Schiller noted that the Chinese market has already evolved from non-smartphones to cheap smartphones, but that despite their popularity, this will not be the future of Apple’s products. Schiller emphasized that Apple considers using only the “best technology available” in every product that it creates, and that Apple continues to make the majority of profit despite only owning a relatively small market share of smartphones.
Update: Reuters has issued a brief statement that it has withdrawn the prior story due to the Shanghai Evening News report being “subsequently updated with substantial changes to its content.” Notably, Reuters has indicated that no replacement story will be issued. There is some confusion as to the reasoning for this, as the Shanghai Evening News reports does not appear to have substantially changed since its initial publication by English media, however there has been some speculation that Schiller’s comments may have been misinterpreted or mistranslated.