iPhone 7 rumor rollup: Getting chippy, Force Touch all around

Credit: Methodshop/Flickr

You know it’s a slow week for iPhone 6s and iPhone 7 rumors when most of the scuttlebutt centers around who’s going to be making the next great Apple smartphone’s processors.

But that’s what we’ve largely been reduced to, in nanometer detail, this past week.

Apple in recent years has used rival Samsung as well as Taiwan’s TSMC as chip suppliers, with speculation about the future of Samsung’s contributions to the iPhone and iPad fluctuating in sync with just how nasty or nice Apple and the Korean company are being to each other at the time.

GforGames, which has been increasingly making a name for itself as a source of early news on mobile devices, reported this week on the battle for the next iPhone processor – the A9 – and the one after that, presumably the A10. The thinking goes that the iPhone 6S/6S Plus would get the A9 later this year and the iPhone 7 next year would be powered by the A10.

“Last month, word on the street was that the battle between Samsung and TSMC came to an end after the Korean smartphone maker received 100% of the Apple A9 orders. Not too long after these reports made it in the headlines, a series of rumors suggested that TSMC could actually be responsible for the manufacturing of 30% of all the A9 orders, while Samsung will handle the rest in its 14nm factories.

However, more recently we came across a couple of interesting reports from Taiwan suggesting that Apple will increase TSMC’s orders for the A9 SoC and that the next-gen A10 chips might be entirely manufactured by TSMC using a 10nm manufacturing process which will be set in place by the end of 2015.”

The Electronic Daily News from China also reports that TSMC is ramping up new manufacturing facilities to ensure it gets a piece of the Apple A10 pie by making more efficient processors.

Cult of Mac says it’s no surprise that TSMC is cranking up its facilities:

“There’s every reason why TSMC would pull out all the stops to impress Apple. Although it won orders against rival chip manufacturer Samsung at the height of Apple and Samsung’s animosity, now that this has cooled again Samsung appears to be hoovering up more of Apple’s chip orders.”

Force Touch all around

The assumption in recent weeks from iPhone rumor-mongers has been that the Force Touch technology in the Apple Watch and newer Macs, which lets you access controls based on the amount of pressure you apply with your fingers, would be coming to all of the next generation iPhones.

But reports this week, including from Electronic Daily News and Boy Genius Report, are that Apple initially considered just making Force Touch available on its big honkin' iPhone 6S Plus phablet.  But apparently Apple thought better of that, figuring if people's fingers can fit on a little Apple Watch screen then they can certainly get touchy on a presumably 4.7-inch iPhone 6S or iPhone 7, not just a 5.5-inch iPhone 6S Plus. Apple is pretty high on its phablet these days given that new numbers show that the iPhone 6 Plus leads this soaring market in share.

iPhone trickery

Perhaps the biggest story in iPhone-land this week had nothing to do with rumors, but with a real live pesky iMessage bug that let people prank each other in the form of sending weird unicode messages that could shut down iPhones.

Apple acknowledged the issue early on, offered a workaround a couple of days later and is promising a fix. As for the workaround, Apple recommends using Siri to save the day. So perhaps this was actually a good opportunity for Apple to pump up its interactive voice technology, which has been pretty absent from the iPhone 6S/7 rumor mill now that I think of it.

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