Crystal Baller: Dual-lens iPhone 6s, ARM-based Macs and 6 more crazy Apple rumors

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The iPhone 6S rumor mill is churning

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.

We've coming out of our winter hibernation to an avalanche of new iPhone 6S rumors claiming Apple's next smartphone will have the biggest camera upgrade ever. There's also whispers of a 12-inch MacBook Air on the horizon, and a possible ARM-powered Mac in the next year.

Step up to the crystal ball and find out which of these rumors is most likely to come true in 2015.

Apple and Intel are breaking up?

The Rumor: Your iMacs and MacBooks will be powered by ARM processors in 1 - 2 years/

The Verdict Not likely to happen yet. Ming Chi Kuo, aka “the world’s most accurate Apple analyst” has been wrong a time or two, and I think this is time he’s way off. Ditching Intel chips has been rumored forever. It still doesn’t make sense, as Apple would be sacrificing a lot of processing power for modest battery gains. It could happen in the next five years, but Kuo’s prediction that we’ll see an ARM powered MacBook in the next year sounds too soon to be true.

Dual-lens iPhone cameras?

The Rumor: The iPhone 6S will feature a dual-lens camera with optical zoom capabilities.

The Verdict: Sounds almost too good to be true, but we’ve heard this year’s camera upgrade will be the biggest ever. The iPhone is now the 2nd most popular camera brand in the world. Adding optical zoom and better image quality might be enough convince most users to never buy a regular camera again.

Apple patent takes aim at GoPro

The Rumor: GoPro is in trouble after Apple won a patent on its own wearable camera system.

The Verdict Apple is not making a wearable camera. Not because it couldn’t make a kickass wearable camera that’s even better than GoPro, but because there’s just not enough money in the wearable cameras market. If Apple can’t sell tens of millions of units of a product every quarter there’s no point in making it. GoPro investors can rest easy for another year.

iPhone joystick?

The Rumor: Your next iPhone could sport a hidden gaming joystick behind the home button.

The Verdict Probably not going to happen. There are so many more parts that could break and need repair if Apple moved to a spring loaded joystick/home button. We still haven’t seen any iPhone gaming cases take off, and this is certainly an intriguing idea, but this patent is mostly likely a glimpse into an alternative Apple universe we’ll never see.

Meet Apple's new sapphire supplier

The Rumor: Apple already lined up a new a sapphire supplier.

The Verdict Too early to tell. Ever since GTAT went belly up Apple’s been hunting for a new sapphire supplier. Previous rumors have claimed Foxconn will step in, while a recent Wall Street Journal report points to Apple supplier Desay as the possible GTAT replacement. The company already makes sapphire displays for its smartphones. Maybe the S in iPhone 6S will stand for “sapphire.”

Ready for a RAM upgrade?

The Rumor: 2GB of RAM will be the new standard on the iPhone 6S.

The Verdict The odds of the iPhone 6S getting 2GB of RAM is incredibly likely. We’re not expecting a design overall on the 6S, but there should be plenty of big internal upgrades. The iPhone 6 only has 1GB of RAM. Doubling it will certainly make it wicked fast, and all those new Metal-coded games will look better than ever.

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iPhone is ditching LCD

The Rumor: Future iPhones are set to get OLED displays.

The Verdict Count on it, but not until 2016. Foxconn is reportedly dedicating an entire factory to pumping out OLED displays for iPhones and Apple wearables. Mass production probably won’t start until 2016, which will come just in time for Apple to swap out the iPhone 6s’ LCD display with a thinner, brighter OLED beauty.

12-inch MacBook Airs with one port?

The Rumor: Apple’s redesign of the MacBook Air will pare it down to a 12-inch screen with just one port: USB Type C.

The Verdict The entire 12-inch MacBook Air Stealth scoop by Mark Gurman sounds almost too unreal. I’ll just say, I’ve also heard from one of his incredibly well placed sources, that it is going to happen.

Apple’s next iPhones could have all-new OLED displays

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Things have gotten slightly worse for Apple's supply chain workers. Photo: Apple
Foxconn's relationship with Apple may be set to become even closer. Photo: Apple

Foxconn’s new $2.6 billion factory dedicated to building displays exclusively for Apple will supply OLED panels for future iPhones and wearables, according to a report from leading Japanese newspaper Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun.

Long-time Apple manufacturer Foxconn is supposedly working with touch panel company InnoLux to put together an ecosystem, allowing it to produce sixth-gen low temperature poly-silicon films, aimed at entering mass production in 2016.

Tim Cook ‘deeply offended’ by accusations of labor abuse

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As if Tim Cook doesn't already have enough on his plate!
Tim Cook. Photo: Apple
Photo: Apple

Tim Cook has told Apple employees he’s “deeply offended” by the BBC’s critical documentary Apple’s Broken Promises that investigated working conditions inside Apple’s supply Asian supply chain.

In an email obtained by The Telegraph from Apple VP Jeff Williams to the company’s workers in the UK, Williams said he and Cook are offended by the BBC’s suggestion that Apple broke promises with workers in the supply chain, and that no other company is doing “as much as Apple does to ensure fair and safe working conditions.”

Williams also countered the BBC’s claims that Apple uses tin sourced through child labor in Indonesia, saying Apple is spearheading the movement to hold the tens of thousands of artisanal miners more accountable, rather than getting out of the country altogether.

Tim Cook gives China’s Internet minister a sneak peek at Apple Watch

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Cook welcomes China's Internet Minister to Apple. Photos: China.com.cn
Cook welcomes China's Internet Minister to Apple. Photos: China.com.cn

The minister of the Cyberspace Administration of China got a sneak peek at the Apple Watch during a recent visit to Apple’s Cupertino headquarters. Photos published by a state-owned website show Apple CEO Tim Cook demonstrating the device to Lu Wei, who also stopped by Facebook’s campus to meet Mark Zuckerberg.

Foxconn’s promised iPhone-building robot army is running late

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The Rumor: Foxconn is enlisting an army of robots to help assemble the iPhone 6.
The Verdict: The robo-revolution is here. To speed up iPhone assembly, Foxconn has created 10,000 ‘Foxbots’ that can assemble around 30,000 iPhones each. Robots have been used to help automate the assembly process for years, but this is the biggest investment Foxconn has made yet, with each Foxbot costing  around $20,000 - $25,000 a piece.
Foxconn and Apple will have to wait a bit longer before iPhones can be built entirely by robots. Photo: 20th Century Fox

Foxconn has been working to replace its human workforce with robotic “Foxbots” for some time now, but it seems that a 2011 promise by CEO Terry Gou to unleash an army of production robots by the end of 2014 won’t be coming true after all.

According to the Chinese financial publication Jiemian, Foxconn is facing numerous difficulties building robots capable enough to carry out the kind of precision needed for constructing Apple devices. First and foremost is the fact that the bots are simply too clunky to do the work required of them — primarily because they were designed for automotive work rather than for assembling iPhones.

The current crop of bots reportedly have a production accuracy of 0.05mm, making them a little shy of the 0.02mm accuracy needed to build Apple products.