September has arrived and in the world of Apple that can only mean one thing, the new iPhone is due to turn up. Not to mention a plethora of other devices and software updates; as we lead up to the holiday season September is undoubtedly Apple’s action packed month. This is by no means a detailed run down of iPhone 6 rumours, but it is aimed at giving a picture of what to expect.
Rumours about the iPhone 6 have swirled since the before the current iPhone hit the market but in recent months, as ever, rumours have reached fever pitch. And as with previous years Apple appears to have been unable to keep a lid on the vast supply chain that manufactures the devices with every single component being leaked in some form and more rarely some have managed to piece together a device and get it working.
Apple has confirmed that it will hold a media event on September 9, a date that falls in line with previous announcements. However, the venue is considerably larger than other used and Apple appears to be planning a particularly special show. Many are expecting the company to announce another wearable device at the same event, for now we’ll stay focused on the iPhone.
13- and 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display | Image courtesy of Apple
Weekly summary of stories from across the World of Apple during the week commencing 28th July, 2014. An attempt to summarise the more interesting stories from the week and lace them in observation and comment.
MacBook Pro Receives Minor Update
The MacBook Pro with Retina display has marked the way for a flurry of updates across Apple’s product line as we head into busy season. The update is relatively minor and will act as a stop gap before Intel’s Broadwell processor platform hits the market in mid-2015.
The MacBook Pro with Retina display saw updates to both its 13- and 15-inch display models which feature faster versions of Intel’s Haswell processors, all 13-inch models now come with 8GB of RAM standard while all 15-inch models now feature 16GB of RAM. Apple also cut the price of the high end 15-inch model by $100, which now starts at $2499 (£1,999).
Moscone West in San Francisco ready for WWDC 2014 | Flickr
Things may have been quiet around these parts (the pressures of life) but two things seemingly never change. The first is that I never stop loving the Apple rumour game (and the associated news cycle), and the second is that those that know me, both online and off, never lose the impression of me as the person to go to to find out the latest Apple gossip. It’s a bit like your friends discovering that you’re “that guy” that knows how to fix their Windows PC and never being able to step foot in a house without being pounced upon with a problem—yesterday I visited a friends new house, within 15 seconds of arriving I was staring at the admin panel of their internet router.
7.85-inch iPad mini with third generation iPad and iPhone 4S (to scale)
We know for sure that whenever it arrives it will be accompanied by some sandpaper. That is if Steve Jobs’ quote from October 2010 is anything to go by when he stated that Apple had done extensive testing on the screen sizes of tablets and concluded that 10-inches is the minimum size for a tablet “unless your tablet also includes sandpaper, so that the user can sand down their fingers to around one quarter of the present size.”
However one could assume that whatever Steve Jobs says isn’t going to happen usually does, at least that applies to Apple’s entrance into the mobile phone market and how video became available on the iPod shortly after Jobs described that as somewhere Apple wouldn’t venture.
There has been a lot of talk about batteries and power usage recently. It was all kicked off by the announcement and subsequent release of the third-generation iPad. When the iPad was originally released in 2010 many, including myself, were amazed that the iPad had such incredible battery life that it no longer became an issue. It was not something that was worried about.
Apple was obviously proud of the quoted battery life figures it presented with the first iPad because it maintained them with the iPad 2. But what that demonstrated was that Apple was pleased with the battery life and saw it as a major feature and therefore worked hard to produce a System-on-Chip (SoC) that could be powerful yet power efficient. With the iPad 2 Apple doubled the processing speed from the original iPad and delivered up to nine times the graphics performance whilst making the unit thinner and maintaining (in fact, increasing) battery capacity.
But that’s nothing compared to what happened on the iPad 3.
It’s official. Apple has sent out invites this week to an event being held in San Francisco next Wednesday March the 7th. The event which is certainly going to be focused on the iPad 3 has been in the offing for a number of months, but in addition to the announcement of the iPad 3 it looks like the Apple TV will get a similar treatment but it’s not what you think.
Rumours of the iPad 3 gaining a retina display have been floating around since before the second iPad even existed. The likeliness of the iPad 3 popping up next week without a high-resolution display are hugely improbable. But the jump from a 1024 x 68 pixel display to one with a whopping 2048 x 1536 pixels creates all kinds of headaches. Beyond making the UI of apps look smooth and icons the correct resolution there are also issues with content. The maximum resolution of content on Apple’s own iTunes Store is 720p, that sure won’t look impressive on that super-high resolution display.
Purported photo of iPad 3 rear enclosure (right) compared to iPad 2 | Photo courtesy of RepairLabs
Amongst the ranks following the path of Apple’s iPad updates it has been of reasonable certainty that the next major update to Apple’s hugely popular tablet would come in the March/April time period. With just one month to go before the iPad 3 (sometimes referred to as iPad HD) is announced the number of reliable rumours has begun to pickup and a picture of the device becoming clear and a timeframe coming into view.
Whilst I’ve been telling eager outsiders to expect an update to the iPad around March/April for some months now I have been known to explain that I believe Apple should adjust the update point of the iPad. But it would seem that this year is not when that is going to happen. Last year I published an article discussing some of the reasons why Apple had pushed the iPhone release from the regular June spot into the fall and wrongly assuming that the annual music event would be pushed aside for the iPhone. In fact the iPhone release fell in early October and sales have been nothing but stellar, I was wrong in my prediction.
It still remains odd to me that Apple would stick to a schedule of releasing a new iPad just three months after Christmas in the March/April timeframe followed by an iOS event in June (coinciding with WWDC) with that software release occurring alongside new iPhone hardware in October. This bizarre update cycle leaves new iPad owners with “old” software until the fall and puts Apple on the back-foot on the run-up to Christmas.
Despite Apple’s own use of iPhone in the event invite I view the term ‘iPhone event” with hesitation, I firmly believe that today’s event being held at Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino at 10am Pacific (6pm London) is an iOS device event not just focused on the iPhone.
Much of what I wrote last week on the iPhone rumour cycle and where we’re at remains largely true. Except many onlookers and commentators have placed themselves firmly into one of two camps, the first camp believing that Apple won’t release a device called the iPhone 5 but will instead release a new phone called the iPhone 4s and alongside it an 8GB iPhone 4. The second camp against all odds still believes we’ll see an iPhone 5, some even believe with a complete redesign, and that the iPhone 4s is the new low-end iPhone.
Whatever happens today we know one thing for sure, Apple has kept this rumour cycle the most locked down of them all, or at very least they’ve distracted us enough with iPhone 5 rumours that we’re missing the picture.
I personally remain firmly in the camp of thought that we’ll see an iPhone 4s (N94) today powered by Apple’s A5 system-on-a-chip (SoC), 1GB of RAM, featuring an 8MP camera and available in 16, 32, and 64GB capacities. There are strong rumours that Apple has incorporated a chip capable of GSM and CDMA in the iPhone 4s and that this phone will be capable of HSPA+ on GSM networks. HSPA+ is capable of very fast data speeds with most carriers supporting up to 21Mbps and is often classed as “4G” by those carriers, it’s not.
The iPhone 4s will take the shape of the current iPhone 4 but will be thinner and the antenna design adjusted, presumably to accommodate both CDMA and GSM capabilities.
The iPhone 4s is expected in Apple’s major markets on October 14 but some have suggested a very unlikely imminent release.
Alongside the iPhone 4s Apple will have an 8GB iPhone 4 (N90A for us geeks), it’s by no means a focus of the show, but it aims to hit the low-end market and help penetration in African and Asian markets. Some have speculated that this device has been reworked to make it even cheaper, if this is the case then the changes are very minimal.
Such an iPhone lineup leads to a problem though, every man and his dog is expecting an iPhone 5 and Apple doesn’t appear to have made its usual attempts to dampen expectation ahead of the event. So what else does Apple have up its sleeve?
It’s all in the software and this is where Apple shines. When Apple released the iPhone 3GS (notice a pattern?) in 2009 it was a slight upgrade from the 3G released the previous year. The ‘s’ was said to stand for speed, sure it was faster but it lacked that wow factor. One of Apple’s marquee features for the iPhone 3GS was voice recognition.
Apple looks set to make this the marquee feature of the iPhone 4s and this time do it properly. Everyone knows how voice recognition works on a phone, you say call a contact and it calls someone else. This will all change.
The feature which is currently only scantily visible in betas of iOS 5 is said to be called ‘Assistant’ and be a system wide feature. An icon found in a beta of iOS 5 suggests a microphone button will sit in the bottom left of the keyboard which will enable dictation, but obviously the key point is the tightly integrated way in which information is presented upon making a query.
With Apple expected to unveil this feature at the event later today we should expect another iOS 5 beta for developers, whether this comes in the form of a Golden Master (GM) or not it doesn’t really matter.
iOS 5 will land before the iPhone 4S, possibly as soon as this Friday (October 7).
As I said earlier though this isn’t just an iPhone event, Apple’s current lineup of iPods have been on the market longer than any others as the month of September sailed past with not a hint of an iPod refresh. Much has been speculated about the future of the iPod, some by myself, and I suspect most of it’s wrong.
The iPod touch will naturally take centre stage and will take the form of previous updates with the upper models seeing an upgrade to the A5, extended battery life, they’re unlikely to get much thinner but will be available in white.
As for the other iPods, the rumours are scarce. Some have suggested the iPod classic and shuffle will go the way of the dodo, this may be true for the shuffle but only if the nano comes down in price. The classic, despite my own predictions a year ago, looks set to remain unchanged.
Apple does have one more big feature and that is of course, iCloud. Whilst unveiled at WWDC in June expect Apple to go over the details again, nothing is expected to have changed but we’ll get a date when the service goes live which could be within hours of the event.
iPhone 4s available in 16, 32 and 64GB capacities. A5 chip, 1GB RAM, 8MP rear camera, looks like the current iPhone 4 but thinner and with a redesigned antenna. Both GSM and CDMA capable with HSPA+. Available October 14.
8GB iPhone 4 to fill the gap of the low-end market. Largely unchanged.
iPod touch available in white and with the A5 chip, design unchanged, same goes for capacities.
iPod classic to remain the same, shuffle phased out and nano lowered in price.
iOS 5 key feature to be voice Assistant, we’ll see a GM this week and maybe public release on October 7.
iCloud available imminently.
Apple’s event is being held in front of a select number of members of the media at the company’s headquarters in Cupertino. A simulcast is being held at the Covent Garden Apple Store in London for UK and Europe based media. The event will begin at the following times:
10:00AM – Pacific
11:00AM – Mountain
12:00PM – Central
01:00PM – Eastern
06:00PM – London
07:00PM – Paris
09:00PM – Moscow
02:00AM – Tokyo (Wednesday 5th)
04:00AM – Sydney (Wednesday 5th)
World of Apple will provide coverage of the news and post-event analysis. Apple is not providing a live video but a meta blog of events can be followed on World of Apple’s Twitter feed or the following sites:
We have a date for the event, we even have reasonably solid date of October 14 for when the device will hit the market but unlike any previous year or any previous product the picture remains muddied.
After much deliberation and debate it seems that All Things D has come out on top when it comes to the iPhone 5 rumours, early on they said October (I said September) and more recently they said October 4 (I said nothing). The main source at All Things D, John Paczkowski even got specific with his information and pinpointed that Apple would use the intimate setting of its Cupertino campus to roll out the new iPhone, putting the move down to being unable to book its usual San Francisco venue rather than anything sentimental about the iPod’s ten year anniversary.
But there is one notably missing element to this picture from our evidently reliable sources at All Things D and that is anything about the actual device itself.
It has of course been the longest rumour run up to any iPhone release ever before and unlike any other release this one seems so highly anticipated I get phone calls and messages from the most unlikely of friends about when the iPhone 5 will rear its bezel. The rumour mongering has even roped in the mainstream press, if we needed any proof that our beloved rumour sites held more purpose than most gave them credit for.
I could sit here tapping away about all the rumours we’ve come across over the last few months, but it would look similar to an article I penned in April which basically said: “we know nothing”.
Even back in April the writing was on the wall, from Reuters I wrote: “the [iPhone 5] design will remain largely the same as the iPhone 4 and will feature a faster processor, presumably the A5 used in the iPad 2.”
This small sentence remains accurate based on what we’ve seen over the last few months. Sure we’ve seen fancy mockups from Mac Rumors, we’ve seen case, after case, after case, after case come out with the same teardrop, enlarged screen, oblong home button shape. But they’re all from a single source.
What we haven’t seen from this purported iPhone 5 design is any case parts, any oblong home buttons, any enlarged screens or for that matter any clue on how Apple would deal with this larger display, and possibly the most notable of all, no real idea why Apple would release two iPhones simultaneously.
Looks to me that the writing is still on the wall.
Now I’m not one to spend hours analysing Apple’s press invites but I do know for a fact that Apple’s PR team like to douse rumours ahead of events to stem expectation. They did it ahead of WWDC this year and they’re doing it now, that number one above the phone on yesterday’s invite seems like a solid indication that we’ll see a single iPhone.
This of course raises questions about Apple’s low-end iPhone strategy, I say look at that iPhone 4 sat on your desk and smirk.
Over the last few months a number of rumours have suggested that Apple was showing serious interest in setting up the company’s largest (Editor note: disputable figures as ever) Apple store inside New York City’s Grand Central Terminal. This morning we have near confirmation that Apple has penned a 10-year deal.
As reported in the New York Post Apple is said to have “inked a 10-year deal with the MTA”, the 23,000 square foot store will reside in Grand Central’s north and northeast balconies which will mean the demise of Charlie Palmer’s Metrazur restaurant.
According to Metropolitan Transport Authority (MTA) documents Apple will initially pay rent of $800,000 a year, after 10 years the rent is said to increase to more than $1 million a year.
As is common with large stores in prominent locations, Apple will pay to refurbish the property.
According to the NYPost the MTA financial committee will need to approve the deal Monday with a further ok required on Wednesday from the board of directors.