Weekly Apple Rumor Update

18 Mar

picture: cnet

It’s another week, and rumors of Apple’s new products and developments are continuing to pour in. To keep up to speed (and to take a slight break from the whole Samsung Galaxy S4 craze), here are a number more Apple rumor updates to chew on:

“Budget” iPhone to use Qualcomm chips, feature light body
According to China Times and Detwiler Fenton, Apple is likely to disregard its A-series chips for the speculated “budget” iPhone, and opt instead for a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. The alleged rationale behind this decision, sources claim, is to reduce manufacturing costs and allow the chips to “integrate” both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi capabilities. TSMC, which various rumors claim will eventually manufacture Apple’s A7 chip, is said to have already initiated the production of Apple’s “low cost” processors.

In an updated report on the budgeted iPhone’s hardware design, KGI Securities’ Ming Chi Kuo mentioned that the handset’s plastic casing will measure between 0.4 and 0.6 millimeters, and that the display screen size will be exactly the same as the iPhone 5’s. A few interesting details regarding the supply chain had also been revealed: Foxconn and Pegatron will allegedly be responsible for assembling the final product, whereas the plastic casings will be supplied by Green Point of the Jabil group.

“Retina” iPad mini likely to be delayed?
Last week, iMore’s Rene Ritchie mentioned that the second gen iPad mini will be released as early as in April, but noted that that version will not necessarily feature retina display. Based on observations of Apple’s supply chain, Displaysearch’s Paul Semenza came to a similar conclusion, informing CNET that the Retina model may be pushed back to a third or fourth quarter release. In the event that the iPad mini undergoes a “retina” upgrade, the resolution is expected to be 2048×1536, and the density 324 ppi. The miniature tablet’s width will also likely be a bit thicker than 7.2mm, according to Semenza’s analytical report.

Candidates currently speculated to provide display screens to the new iPad mini include: LG Display, AU optronics, Sharp, and Japan Display.

A wireless charger for future iPads?

In the absence of rumored specs for the 5th iPad, a bulk of the attention last week appeared to have gone to a new Apple patent titled “Integrated inductive charging in protective cover.” As hinted in the abstract and self explanatory title, the idea is to allow the iPad device to power itself through a transmitter embedded in the iPad smart cover; The cover itself can either be charged in the traditional way (through the wall), or via sunlight, should solar panels be equipped. It will be interesting to see whether the Cupertino company will actually implement this technology, given its habit of applying for patents that it never really uses.

A potential new assistant software for the iPhone and iPad
By now, it should be no secret that Google offers some truly amazing apps for the iOS, whether it is in the area of browsers (Google Chrome), email services (Gmail), video streaming (Youtube), or maps (Google maps). A major discussion that popped up this week concerns a leaked youtube video–first caught by Engadget–that implies the possibility of Google Now being released for iOS devices. If true, there are interesting implications to think about. Siri will have a (very dominant) competitor, and should people find Google Now to be more useful than Apple’s voice assistant, the disparity between the Android and iOS platforms may become even more apparent.

At the moment, Youtube and Google Maps are known to consistently rank in the top ten of the iTunes store’s list of free downloaded apps.