With the iPhone 6, the long-rumored iWatch and possibly a revamped Apple TV expected to be released this year, it’s safe to say Apple is hard at work. As the talk heats up regarding these new products, rumors and leaks spill into the mainstream, making it hard to keep up with it all.
Watch today’s Cult of Mac news roundup to hear all the latest news and rumors about Apple’s product pipeline. Catch the rundown for details on endurance-testing a sapphire display that’s supposedly for an iPhone 6, smart sweat sensors that might get added to the iWatch and the rest of this week’s big stories.
This week's Apple rumors are crazy for the iPhone 6
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.
iPhone 6 rumor season is in full bloom this week with a rash of rumors spilling new details on everything from improved battery life, sapphire displays’ extreme durability, SIM trays, and even the robot army that will help assemble Apple’s newest smartphone.
This week we were also treated to new tidbits on the production schedules of the iWatch and next-gen MacBook Airs, but you’ll have to step right up to our crystal ball to see which of these rumors are the real deal, and which are just a bunch of smoke and mirrors.
The Rumor: The Sapphire crystal display on the iPhone 6 will be nearly indestructible.
The Verdict: This looks like some serious sorcery. YouTuber Marques Brownlee got his hands on an iPhone 6 sapphire display, which comes away completely unscathed from his brutal stress test. If this is the real deal, I will finally be able to go six months without shattering my iPhone.
The Rumor: This is the inside of the iPhone 6 rear shell.
The Verdict: Looks like the real deal. We’ve already seen a number of rear shell leaks, but these pics from Feld and Volk show detail on the complex internal components, even though the part is still unfinished. You can watch the entire video on Feld and Volk’s YouTube channel, which includes two enthralling shots of a SIM tray squeezing its way into the body.
The Rumor: The next MacBook Air may have hit a speed bump.
The Verdict: The future looks cloudy. Intel’s Broadwell U 2+3 dual-core chips are likely planned for use in the next MacBook Air and 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro, but V-R Zone reports there have been production delays, meaning units might not ship until February 2015. If you’ve been dying for those Retina MacBook Air rumors to finally come true, you probably will have a few extra months of waiting to do.
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.
The Rumor: iPhone 6 will only get modest battery gains (if any at all).
The Verdict: Say it ain’t so? All I want is an iPhone I never ever have to plug in (or at least just once a day), but that’s not coming this year, reports Chinese site Sohu, whose supply chain sources says the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 will get a 1800mAh battery. That is bigger than the iPhone 5s’ 1570 mAh battery, but all that extra juice will go towards powering the iPhone’s bigger display.
The Rumor: These may or may not be the SIM trays for the iPhone 6
The Verdict:Yahtzee! We have a winner for this week’s stupidest iPhone 6 leak. Ok sure, maybe this does verify that the iPhone 6 will come in 3 colors (white, gold, and space grey) just like the iPhone 5s. Other than that, the only thing this leak reveals is how fast Apple fanboys get frothy with anticipation anytime you slap an “iPhone 6” label at the end of some volume and power flex cables.
The Rumor: Haptic feedback will be the secret weapon of the iPhone 6.
The Verdict: Don’t get your hopes up. Asian supply sources have told Laoyaoba that the next iPhone will have advanced haptic feedback so tapping an onscreen button feels like a physical buttons. The feedback motors being used are supposedly more advanced than anything used in current smartphone. They also cost 3 times as much. But unless they take up minimal space, it’s unlikely Apple will add this gimmicky feature.
The Rumor: iWatch production won’t begin until November.
The Verdict: Sounds likely. We’ve yet to see a single hardware leak of the mythical iWatch, even though it was supposedly scheduled to enter production in September. Apple analyst Ming Chi-Kuo says Apple’s wearable won’t enter production until November, but would that give Apple enough time to build enough units for the Christmas season?
After seeing efforts from Samsung, Motorola and LG, maybe not too worried about the competition and would rather ship the best possible product a few months later.
Apple sure is making us wait for the iWatch, and if recent rumors are to be believed, that wait isn’t about to end any time soon. If you’ve decided to spend your cash on an LG G Watch or Samsung Gear Live instead, then why not add a touch of iOS to it yourself with the free iWatch theme for Android Wear.
Will Apple have iWatches ready to hit the shelves when it announces the wearable at its rumored event in October? Probably not.
Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities, who is undoubtedly the most accurate Apple analyst on the planet, is saying that Apple won’t begin mass production of the iWatch until November. He has also lowered his sales projections considerably because of “complications” Apple has to deal with concerning new materials like sapphire.
Everyone and their brother (if their brother’s Steve Wozniak) is excited about the possibility of Apple’s iWatch — the first bona fide new product line launched under the watch (no pun intended) of Tim Cook.
So far, definitive details about Apple’s debut in the wearables market have been few and far between. Everyone’s banking on a massive winner, but just what do we know — or think we know — about Apple’s first smartwatch? Scroll through the gallery to find out.
The iPhone and iPad are chock-full of sensors, ranging from proximity sensors and accelerometers to magnetometers and ambient light sensors. Next to the iWatch, however, they could end up looking like the dumb mobile phones of a pre-iPhone age. That’s because if you believe the rumors, the iWatch is set to be loaded with more sensors than you can shake a, well, a very-sensor-filled thing at.
A recent report from The Wall Street Journal suggests the iPhone will feature a massive 10 different sensors, including one for analyzing sweat. Patents from Apple suggest the company is also set on expanding the functionality of present-generation wrist-worn devices, with research into everything from monitoring users' heart rates to sensors that can work intelligently together to deduce the precise activity a person is doing (for example, combining motion and pulse-rate measurements with location sensors to determine if you’re out for a jog or running on a treadmill). Impressive stuff!
There have been many wearables and quantified-health applications over the past few years, but most have steered clear of proclaiming themselves medical devices. Some of the rumors about the iWatch (such as the fact that it will be able to listen to the sound blood makes as it flows through arteries, and use this to predict heart attacks) may sound a bit too good to be true. But the number of biosensor and biomedical engineers Apple has snapped up recently makes us think the iWatch could be a device that crosses over firmly into the "medical monitoring" category.
According to one recent report, a reason for the long delay before launch is that Apple is awaiting certification from the Food and Drug Administration to get the iWatch approved as medical equipment. Given Apple's recent announcement of the Health app for iOS 8 to collect and show data on calorie consumption, sleep activity, blood oxygen levels and more, plus the conspicuous absence of a health-tracking fitness band in Apple's last iPhone 5s ad, the idea that the iWatch will be geared toward health seems as close to a foregone conclusion as you get for a device that hasn't even been officially announced yet.
Will the iWatch be a full-fledged independent device in its own right, or will it take the Pebble smartwatch approach and basically be a glorified notification system for your phone? Probably a bit of both. The continued convergence of iOS and OS X with features like Continuity means your iWatch is likely to work cohesively with all the other Apple products in the ecosystem.
Apple’s regard for top-notch design means it has always walked the line between tech and aesthetics, but the company’s leap into the world of wearables will be its most high-fashion move yet. Other tech companies, including Samsung, have already trotted out their own smartwatches to beat Apple to market, but even the staunchest supporter of these devices is unlikely to say that they’re Rolex-beaters.
Unlike the iPhone 6, which has seen numerous leaked images over the past few months, we’ve seen very little about the iWatch that doesn’t fall under the heading of wishful thinking. One of the most detailed (and believable) notes came earlier this year from Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities, who claims that Apple will create several different iWatch models in 2014, including an ultra-luxurious model that will retail for several thousands of dollars.
For people with smaller wrists, there will be an iWatch with a 1.3-inch display, while those with thicker wrists will get a 1.5-inch model. Both will boast flexible AMOLED display panels (an Apple first) and hard sapphire crystal glass like many of the luxury watches already available on the market. Other rumors have suggested a 2.5-inch "slightly rectangular" screen, while Brian Blair of Rosenblatt Securities thinks it’ll be round.
I guess what I’m saying here is pick one idea, state it like you know for sure, and then market your services as an analyst.
Apple has been known to change the names of projects when word about them leaks, but "iWatch" is so much better than alternatives like the iPad-sounding "iBand" that it would be a little surprising if this name didn't make it to market. Apple seems to think the same way, since it’s been snapping up trademarks on the name like crazy for the past year, often under the guise of a shell company.
Re/code says Apple’s "first, long-in-the offing foray into wearable devices" is slated for an October reveal. While that’s by no means the final word on the matter, the publication’s sources have been spot-on with future Apple event dates in the past. We’ll keep our wrists bare below the elbows just in case.
Design questions aside, the true mystery about Apple’s long-rumored iWatch lies in exactly what types of health-related sensors the wearable might include. A recent report claims the iWatch will sport an astonishing 10 different sensors, including one for sweat.
While pedometers, accelerometers, thermometers and every other o-meter Jony Ive can get his hands on might all make sense for a smartwatch, we’re wondering what Apple could do with a sweat sensor? Other than verify that, yes, your sweat glands are pouring out more fluid per minute than Niagara Falls during your jog?
It turns out that adding sweat sensors would do more than differentiate the iWatch from smartwatches by LG, Motorola and Samsung right out of the gate. It could make the iWatch the most “personal” device you’ve ever shackled yourself to, with surprising applications that go far beyond fitness and health.
The iWatch is coming. No one really know what it will do yet, but Steven Milunovich, UBS’ top Apple analyst, claims that if Apple has its way, you’ll use the iWatch mostly to send voice messages back and forth with your friends, like Dick Tracy’s 2-Way Wrist Radio.
Because voice messaging is so huge among smartphone users in China, Milunovich says sending voice messages will be one of iWatch’s biggest features along with fitness. And even though it sounds a little silly that voice messages would be the main draws for iWatch, he just met with Tim Cook who couldn’t stop talking about it.
Microsoft’s rumored smartwatch will supposedly look more like this Nike+ FuelBand than an Android Wear device. Photo: Andrew Guan/CC/Flickr
Apple’s first foray into wearables is expected to be revealed this October, but Apple’s not the only tech giant preparing a smartwatch for this fall: New rumors claim Microsoft has plans for its own wearable, only it won’t look anything like the big bulky bands we just saw at Google I/O.
As the first new product line launched under Tim Cook, most people realize how significant the iWatch is going to be for Apple. But research firm ABI Research thinks it’s also going to be make or break for the wearables market.
Crunching figures, ABI points out that “smartwatch” shipments for the first quarter of 2014 was an unimpressive 510,000 units — with the top four players being Samsung, Sony, Pebble and Casio. ABI suggests that users are holding off on picking up wearables until the launch of the iWatch.
This week on the CultCast: Leander’s Big Adventure! Leander’s back to tell us about his top-secret mission to Apple HQ. Plus, CoM reviews editor Charlie Sorrell tells us about some cool gear he’s reviewing. We also run through a list of all the great hardware we’re expecting Apple to dump on us in just a few short months. And we wrap up with an all-new Get to Know Your Cultist, and this round has us diving into some of our favorite movies ever made. Guess who has the weird choice? You’re right, it’s Leander.
Hem and haw your way through each week’s best Apple stories! Stream or download new and past episodes of The CultCast now on your Mac or iDevice by subscribing on iTunes, or hit play below and let the chuckles begin.
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