Crystal Baller: Siri gets a neural-boost, and 5 new crazy iPhone rumors


Five new iPhone 6 rumors are waiting behind the crystal ball

We get slammed 24/7 with new Apple rumors. Some are accurate, most are not. To give you a clue about what’s really coming out of Cupertino in the future, we’re busting out our rumor debunker each week to blow up the nonsense

This week we’ve officially entered peak iPhone 6 rumor season. We’ve heard everything from possible launch dates, new names for the iPhablet, and engineering tricks Apple might use to shrink the iPhone 6 to minuscule proportions. There’s also some whispers of Siri getting and upgrade and new iWatch features, but you’ll have to step up to our crystal ball to find see which of these are bangers, and which are bound to be duds.

iPhone Air?

The Rumor: The "iPhone Air" will launch on September 25th.

The Verdict: This one has a shot. With a couple of solid rumors placing the iPhone 6 launch date in September, China.comhas a 1-in-4 shot at being right on the September 25th launch date. But their claim that the 5.5-inch iPhone will be named the iPhone Air, is pretty interesting, but it might be confusing to customers when the 4.7-inch iPhone would weigh less and be more portable.

Hopefully this rumor is just as wrong as the "iSlate" rumblings in 2010, but the crystal ball is pretty murky right now.

Curvy iPhone screens coming your way

The Rumor: The iPhone 6 display will have curved edges.

The Verdict: This looks promising. Even though "curved edges" on a 3mm thick panel don't sound exciting, the slight tweak could the iPhone feel thinner in your hand. It's the same trick Apple uses with tapered edges of the iPad, and if they're going to pass this thing off as an "iPhone Air” Apple's going to have to pull out its best engineering yet.

Siri is about to ditch Nuance

The Rumor: Apple is building its own voice recognition software .

The Verdict: They better be. If voice messaging is going to play a big roll on iOS and iWatch, Siri needs to get a lot better at understanding what people are saying, and the best way for Apple to do that is make its own neural network engine.

Apple has been licensing Nuance's voice-recognition software since Siri launched in 2011, but it’s used by Samsung and others too. To be more competitive with Google and Microsoft's tech, Apple needs a neural-boosted Siri, and looking at Apple's string of hires, it could land as soon as 6 months from now.

We've reached peak iPhone rumor season

The Rumor: These are the iPhone 6 power button and volume cables.

The Verdict: Is our crystal ball fogging up or were these photos snapped by a Motorola Razr? You know iPhone rumor season has reached peak level of craziness when blurry shots of mundane iPhone cables spread across the Appleblogosphere quicker than Jony Ive can pronounce aluminum.

There's something that looks like splotchy Apple logo on one of the parts, but not only is it impossible to tell if these fuzzy "iPhone 6 switch and volume cables" are the genuine article, it's hard to find a reason to care.

Thin LCDs will shrink the iPhone 6

The Rumor: New backlight LCD tech will make the iPhone 6 skinnier than any iPhone ever.

The Verdict: Most likely. To make the 5.5-inch iPhone Air as thin as possible, supply chain sources at China Times say Apple will only use one brightness enhancement film for the backlit LCD display. We know Jony is gaga for shrinking his devices and it looks like the engineering team has found the answer. The only question is can they get enough supplies in time.

Calling Dick Tracy

The Rumor: Voice messaging will be a major iWatch feature.

The Verdict: I'd be shocked if the iPhone didn't have voice-to-text features, but I don't know if it will be as important in Apple's pitch as Steven Milunovich at UBS says. He did meet with Tim Cook though, who he says was raving about how people in China just use voice messaging features on the iPhone instead of regular texting. Looks like Dick Tracy's 2-way wrist radio is about to jump out of the comics and onto our wrists.


  • rsbell

    I’ve been trying to use voice messaging in texts instead of actual typing in iOS 8, but it just feels unnatural. I can type (and read) messages in silence without anyone else being privy to my messages. You lose all that when you have to speak into the phone and listen to the message instead of read it.

    I can see this being necessary functionality as a way to communicate via an iwatch, but it’s not ideal. Voice to text fits my use case best.

    • rsbell

      Also, people who receive the voice messages (any iPhone can receive the messages without running the iOS 8 beta) are annoyed by them as well. They would like to simply read their text messages.

      • Adrayven

        Ummm. Speak for yourself please. “People” are annoyed huh.

      • rsbell

        Thanks for adding to the conversation. Huh.

        The “people” referenced was obviously people I have sent voice messages to.

    • Jeremiah_Nilsson

      Got a Plantronics Voyager Legend – The only earpiece worth it’s price.
      Works perfectly, and gives you privacy, both hands free for work, lasts a week on a charge and doesnt scuff your ear off.

  • Tre Brooks

    The iPad Air is bigger and heavier than the mini… If they named it the air it would be in better proportion to the macbook and iPad line. They might change the name of the 4.7 inch as well.

  • Erlend Mørch

    There should be an iphone air that’s a little smaller than the 5S, for people who have other things to do than walking around with tablets in their pants