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This Week’s Apple Rumors, Ranked From Dumbest to Most Plausible

Each week, there are dozens of rumors, reports, and patent filings that hint at what’s coming out of Cupertino next. Some are legit, but many are totally bogus. As always, we’ve parsed the rumors, ranking them in order from “utterly ridiculous” to “duh, of course.” First up…

DON’T COUNT ON IT: ‘iPhone Air’ Could Launch September 25
Mid-September to early October is the expected time frame for Apple’s next big product launch. According to one report, September 25 looks like the date the next iPhone could go on sale after a September 15 event announcement. This seems dubious as Apple usually launches products on Fridays, and the 25th is a Thursday. Apparently, the larger 5.5-inch model is going to be dubbed the “iPhone Air,” though. This wouldn’t surprise us, considering there’s an Air in the MacBook line and iPad line now. Calling the larger model the Air would differentiate it from the “regular” iPhone 6.

DON’T COUNT ON IT: Mockups Offer ‘Rough Approximation’ of iPhone 6 Design
While they’re not much to look at, a new report out of Japan claims that the latest set of mockups gives a rough approximation of what the next iPhone should look like. More importantly, they supposedly offer a better sense of antenna placement in the new phone. Those stripes along the backside of the iPhone ‘leaks’ we’ve been seeing? Those apparently aren’t supposed to be stripes, but rather denote areas where glass will be used instead of aluminum, just like in the iPhone 5s. If the stripes are present, though, they’ll be made out of polished glass. This glass is necessary so that the iPhone’s antennas can transmit and receive data. Aluminum blocks those signals. This report also says the Apple logo on the rear of the iPhone will be different than in the past, carved out of the aluminum, and that the glass may be curved. An artist also gave their rendition of what the iPhone 6 could look like in an unrelated photo set of mockups.

ASK AGAIN LATER: Photos of iPhone 6 Front Glass Appear
Historically accurate Apple parts leaker Sonny Dickson sent 9to5Mac photos of what’s claimed to be the front glass plate of the next iPhone. The glass plates pictured are both the black and white versions of the 4.7-inch model. According to these images, the new iPhone will be slightly wider than the iPhone 5/5s, and noticeably longer. The only possible design difference from current iPhones is a hole to the left of the front speaker, which could house either a sensor or a repositioned FaceTime camera. We’re getting closer to the iPhone’s impending launch, so parts leaks—while still questionable—have a higher likelihood of being the genuine.

ASK AGAIN LATER: Gas-Filled Earbud Design Could Improve Fidelity
This week the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office awarded Apple a patent for the earbud version of ‘plasma speakers’. In this type of speaker, a gas like helium is used behind the speaker’s vibrating cone reproducing sounds more exactly than normal air would. But, in order for this to work, the barometric pressure needs to be controlled (sudden changes in air pressure can cause the speaker’s diaphragm to stick). Apple would address this with a vented cavity where ambient air can be compressed to adjust for surrounding air pressure.

ASK AGAIN LATER: Next iPhone Getting Thinner Thanks to New Display Tech
Apple loves making its products as thin as physically possible, so it’s not surprising to hear (or think) the company will try to make the next iPhone skinnier. One way Apple will reportedly do this is by using one brightness enhancing display layer instead of two. This change in design and production could lead to yield issues since that single layer needs to be high quality enough to do the job that two used to perform. The report says Apple will continue to use in-cell display technology, though. Like other recent reports, this one says that Apple will begin mass production of the iPhone this month, and it’ll be released some time in September.

ASK AGAIN LATER: iPhone Authentication Settings Could Change Based on Location
While this is just a patent application from Apple it makes sense as a possible future evolution of iOS: Apple could adjust the interface and security levels of your mobile device depending on your location. When you’re at home, your device would have a lower security level, but while you’re at a restaurant or at the mall, it would require Touch ID authentication before granting you access to the device. Unsecure Wi-Fi hotspots could also trigger higher security settings for the device, for instance with applications like your Address Book or Calendar. Apple thinks these changes could be implemented without significantly compromising overall device security, and it would certainly make things more convenient for the user.

SIGNS POINT TO YES: Voice Messaging Could Be Key Feature of iWatch
Apple introduced a new voice messaging feature as part of iOS 8 at WWDC this year which lets users record a short audio or video message and send it to a contact. After meeting with Tim Cook, one analyst thinks this could be a key feature of Apple’s iWatch. And it would make sense. Voice messaging and message dictation are already popular in China, a huge market that Apple wants a greater foothold in. After using Android Wear smartwatches, the voice dictation features of Google Now are very much the highlight of the experience. Voice messaging could be an easy, quick way to differentiate Apple’s wearable.

SIGNS POINT TO YES: Apple’s Upcoming Photos App Won’t Be Pro-Focused
While Apple confirmed to Ars Technica that Yosemite and iOS 8′s new Photos offering will include professional-grade features such as “image search, editing, effects, and most notably, third-party extensibility,” it looks like the app will not feature the sort of robust editing tools pro users require. Images on Apple’s website and in the keynote also seem to suggest that the app will largely rely on more straightforward photo editing features.

Source: http://www.wired.com/2014/07/apple-rumors-july/

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