Summer tends to be a slower time for news in general, and gadget news in particular. Companies have laid out their plans for next year, but it’s still a little too far away to be talking devices. No one wants to talk about back-to-school yet, let alone the holidays. And when there’s no real news? It’s time for rumors.
Here’s a look at what’s swirling around Apple’s next models of the iPhone. These aren’t nearly as far-fetched as they have been in years past. But, that said, rumors should always be taken with a grain or two of salt.
Using the Force (Touch): Apple introduced the concept of the Force Touch earlier this year for the new MacBook and the Apple Watch. Devices with the feature can distinguish between a tap and a push and offer you different options based on how hard you’re pushing — think of it as a sort of right-click for your touchscreen or touchpad. Last week, Bloomberg reported that Apple will put this capability into the next round of iPhones, as well. Citing unnamed “people with knowledge of the matter,” the report said that these Force Touch iPhones are already in early production.
Bringing the feature to the iPhone would make sense. Force Touch is a nice addition to the Apple Watch, giving users more options even with limited screen space. It’s not quite as intuitive as tapping and swiping, but it doesn’t take long to catch onto. People obviously understand the concept of pushing on screens — we’ve been doing that for a while.
So shiny: MacRumors reports that the company is also expected to use the aluminum from the Apple Watch Sport. That comes from an analyst note by KGI Securities Ming-Chi Kuo, who has had a very strong record on Apple rumors in the past. The report says that Apple will also be offering a rose gold iPhone option — similar to the coloring of the $10,000 and up tier of the Apple Watch Edition — and will also tweak the shades of its current gold and gray (Space Gray, to be exact) models to be more like the shades of the Watch.
Apple chief executive Tim Cook has said that customers in the all-important Chinese market are fond of gold tones. Plus, it also makes some sense that Apple would want to align the colors and finishes on its products — though the more demure among us would likely want to see some differences between the jewelry finishes of the Watch and what you’d see on a phone.
Faster, better, stronger: A report from 9 to 5 Mac indicates that Apple may be using a new Qualcomm chip to boost Internet speeds in its next model. The site’s Marc Gurman points out this addition could deliver “up to twice the theoretical LTE download speeds” of the current models, though real-world performance would vary based on your actual cellular network.
The energy efficiency could also help extend the phone’s battery life, Gurman reported. Upping battery life was a big focus in Apple’s developers conference presentation on its next mobile operating system, and this rumor would seem to dovetail nicely with that.
Other stuff: Apple has been releasing its phone in the fall for multiple generations at this point, and there’s no real indication that it will deviate from that schedule. Given the production schedule, Apple seems likely to be aiming for an early fall or late summer launch, as Boy Genius Report indicated back in March.
Most reports seem to indicate that Apple will be falling in line with its latest patterns and releasing both an “iPhone 6S” and an “iPhone 6S Plus,” keeping the formula it used for last year’s models — and the same screen sizes.
There’s also a report from 9 to 5 Mac that Apple may be planning a refresh of the iPod. The music player’s sales have been flagging over the past several years as more people use their smartphones as their primary music players, something one might expect to accelerate now that Apple has its own streaming music service. That said, the report said that a customer spotted a photo of iPods in as-yet-unreleased colors while upgrading to the latest version of iTunes — raising hope for those who don’t want the dedicated music player to be dead quite yet.