The Rumour Mill

Madeleine Swain
2 May, 2014
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Trust no one

TGIF for everyone who feels like this has been the longest working week in a goodly while – five whole days. Bit of a shock to the old system, what? But just to reassure you that you have indeed made it to the end of such a stretch, we present to you that (surely) welcome reminder that, yes, it is indeed Friday – the Rumour Mill.

And as the speculation whirls thick and fast about the next iPhone, and completely contradictory ideas are ever present, we thought it would be appropriate if today’s Mill began with the iPhone 6 and was presented to you by those much missed US Department of Investigation agents, Fox Mulder and Dana Scully. Because somewhere, amongst all the smoke and mirrors…

 

The truth is out there

MacRumors kicks us off with some information on the possible girth of the next iPhone. The site references the latest YouTube video from Unbox Therapy. In the video, our gallant presenter is again basing his theories on the pink ‘iPhone 6 case’ that he somehow ‘acquired’ and has talked about before. This leads him to speculate that the next iPhone will have different volume buttons to the two simple circular + and – ones that have been there since the iPhone 4.

He reckons the next generation volume buttons will be pill shaped and more closely resemble those used on the current iPod touch. And he also notes the curved edges that the music player has, compared to the squared off edges of the current iPhone 5s. But it’s the dimensions he’s most interested in. And his conclusion: “If this case is legitimate it points at an iPhone with the same thickness as the current generation iPod touch.” Hmmm, that’s super model thin. Cue the – ‘we don’t care about the thickness, give us more battery life’ cries…

 

I would never lie. I willfully participated in a campaign of misinformation.

And with a little more about the next iPhone comes AppleInsider, with what it describes as “highly suspect” photos of an iPhone 6 dummy. Highly suspect? Maybe, but AppleInsider is going to share them with us anyway. The source is the Chinese site, Feng.com. Tallying with Unbox Therapy’s latest musings, the pictures show an ultra thin phone with rounded edges. AppleInsider labels the mock-up’s veracity “highly questionable”, but sums up by saying, “It does give a good idea as to what the iPhone 6 could look like if information from the rumour mill turns out to be true.”

Ah, surely a deferential nod to your current correspondent. How nice.

Source: Feng.com

If coincidences are coincidences, why do they feel so contrived?

And the final bit of iPhone 6 scuttlebutt for the week is also from MacRumors, which has been scouring Weibo for information on the smartphone’s camera. “Apple may be planning to use electronic image stabilisation instead of optical image stabilisation in the iPhone 6,” says the website.

Posting on Weibo, ESM China analyst Sun Chang Xu “suggests that the iPhone 6′s camera will also boast a larger pixel size of 1.75 um compared to the 1.5 um pixel size of the iPhone 5s’ camera, which would result in a higher picture quality as more light can be taken in” says MacRumors, adding, “an electronic image stabilisation system would allow for the device to have a slimmer camera that does not protrude out of its body. To this point, a number of alleged iPhone 6 images, including renders posted by Japanese magazine MacFan last month, have depicted the iPhone 6 with a protruding camera.”

Xu seems to be a veritable one-woman hive of information. As MacRumors points out, she has already claimed that the “iPhone 6 will add pressure, temperature and humidity sensors, and that the iWatch will utilise optical sensors to measure heart rate and oxygen levels”.

Watch out Ming-Chi, someone’s after your Apple Iron Throne.

 

‘Why is it so dark in here?’ ‘The lights aren’t on.’

As that last note from Sun Chang Xu reminds us, the only future (rumoured) Apple product to receive as many column inches as the iPhone 6 (or Air – take your pick) is, of course, the fabled Apple iWatch. So what are people completely making up informing us of this week, regarding Apple’s expected foray into the wearables space? Over to AppleInsider again. Prompted by a report from Taiwan earlier in the week, AppleInsider suggests that Apple will employ a “new system-in-package design for the components in its so-called ‘iWatch’,” and that the device will launch in the second half of the year.

Source: QPI Group

Source: QPI Group

According to the China Times, Apple has trialled “system-in-package, or SIP, designs in its Wi-Fi and fingerprint recognition modules before electing to go all-in with the technology”. So compact and bijou, it sounds like. Well, that’s always a good thing, no?

AppleInsider notes that this idea matches earlier speculation from Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities, an analyst with a solid record in Apple projections. Indeed, the website describes him as “well-connected”. Are you feeling the love, Ming-Chi?

“At the time, Kuo said that the iWatch would bring ‘massive adoption of SIP packaging technology to make the gadget slimmer and lighter’,” writes AppleInsider.

 

If coincidences are coincidences, why do they feel so contrived?

MacRumors also has a thing or two to say about the iWatch, starting with the hiring of Eric Winokur, a researcher from MIT who has been working on an ear-worn “wearable vital signs monitor”, leading to speculation about the future iWatch’s ability to wirelessly monitor vital signs. “Word of Winokur’s hiring comes just as a rumour has surfaced claiming Apple is planning to launch EarPods headphones with integrated heart rate and blood pressure sensors. While the claim is extremely sketchy, Apple patent applications have revealed the company’s interest in integrating biometric sensors into headphones in the past,” says MacRumors.

winokur_lab

You know what they say about the policemen always looking younger? Why does nobody ever mention the genius health researcher, eh?

MacRumors also has some ideas about when we may finally see this mythical beast. “Apple’s suppliers have already begun producing the iWatch in small quantities, according to supply chain sources cited by China Times via G for Games, ahead of a prospective launch during the second half of 2014,” says MacRumors. And incidentally yet again, Ming-Chi Kuo gets a name check. Only in this particular article, he’s the “notable analyst”. All hail Ming-Chi.

 

I have a theory. Do you want to hear it?

And let’s finish up this week with something completely different. MacDailyNews is theorising what the future of mobile phones could look like on the iPhone. Well, The Wall Street Journal is among those doing the theorising to be exact. “Apple is working on its own mobile payments solution, per multiple reports from places like The Wall Street Journal,” Alex Heath reports for Cult of Mac. “Exactly how the company plans to implement such a service remains to be seen.” Ooooookay, not much of a story then, is it? Got anything to add to that? 

Well, apparently there’s a new concept called EasyPay, developed and designed by Ricardo Del Toro, who explains his ideas on Dribble (and there’s a reputable sounding source, if ever we heard one). 

“My idea for the experience of the transaction is this: walk into a coffee shop, or any retail environment and ask for the tab to be placed on EasyPay. EasyPay would send a notification to the iPhone in front of the counter using iBeacon technology and when Touch ID authorises the payment, the iTunes payment system would direct the requested amount to the retail location,” says Del Toro.

EasyPayRetail

Source: Cult of Mac

 

It’s coming… that day when we leave the house with nothing but our phones or wearable device. Our wallets and keys will have been superseded once and for all. Are you ready?

 

And that’s the Rumour Mill for the week ending 2 May 2014. Have a great only-two-day weekend and remember, “Sometimes the only sane answer to an insane world is insanity.”

 

 

 

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