iPhone 7 Rumor Rollup: A real release date! Plus, Apple puts kibosh on carrier scuttlebutt

Methodshop.com (CC BY-SA 2.0)

I’ve become pretty jaded about iPhone 6S and iPhone 7 announcement date headlines. The ones that I’ve been seeing up until now have mainly pinned down the announcement event "date" to… a month.

But all that has changed over the past week and now Sept. 9 has been anointed as THE date for Apple to unveil its next iPhone, along with a revamped Apple TV and maybe even a 12.9-inch iPad Pro tablet (one question is whether Apple might be feeling pressure to prop up flagging iPad sales with a big new product). 

BuzzFeed, among others, is standing by the Sept. 9 date for Apple’s next lovefest, which would center around a new iPhone with Force Touch technology, a better back camera and a faster wireless chip. What’s more, the phone would run iOS 9, which comes with its own set of goodies, including smart decision making about WiFi hotspot quality and improvements to save on battery life.

My favorite Sept. 9 headline so far is Geek Snack’s “iPad pro and iPhone 7 almost confirmed for Sept. 9.” Whatever that means. 

But you know things are heating up when revered Apple watcher Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities starts showing up in articles. His latest wisdom: Mass production of the iPhone 6S or iPhone 7 or whatever it will be called has been delayed, but that that won’t hold up the next flagship iPhone’s introduction in September.

Apple manufacturing partner Foxconn is expected to go into overdrive (i.e., lots of overtime for workers) on production if it hasn’t already, Kuo says, according to The Independent out of the UK.

One word: Plastics

Scuttlebutt is that Apple will not be going for an all-metal design with its iPhone 7, rather retaining unsightly plastic strips seen in past models that are designed to let radio waves pass unimpeded (unsightly as in, probably covered by your phone case anyway).

Giz Burn reports that Samsung has moved away from plastics to give its Galaxy phones a sturdier look and feel, so it’s somewhat surprising that Apple wouldn’t follow suit here.

No MVNO plans

Apple is one of those companies that doesn’t comment on rumors. Unless it wants to.

And it did in fact shoot down a fresh rumor that the company might be interested in becoming a sort of service provider dubbed an MVNO (mobile virtual network operator).

The company told CNBC it would not be getting into that game, though some like Wired say Apple should consider it. After all, Google has ventured into this territory with its Google Fi offering. Plus, customers are generally disgusted with their current carriers, so you figure Apple couldn’t do worse.

Former Apple exec Jean-Louis Gassee writes in depth on Monday Note this week that there are better approaches than the "Apple MVNO Fantasy," even though a few years back he was urging Apple to buy a service provider. He'd be happier now with "a carrier-independent iPhone, with a soft SIM and Apple-endorsed financing..."

Verizon cleans house before iPhone launch

Verizon snuck out news late last week that it would be greatly simplifying its wireless service plans by eliminating subsidies for phones and nixing standard two-year contracts.

The carrier will do away with its confusing array of data and family plans and settle on just four main shared plans for 1GB to 12GB of data. As for getting rid of phone subsidies, Verizon joins AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile on that front, though will still let you pay for your phone in installments so that you don’t get whacked with a one-time $750 bill for a new iPhone.

Storage surprise

While I typically save storage rumors for really slow weeks about iPhone 6S and iPhone 7, and this isn't a slow week, I figured I'd toss this one into the mix anyway.

Boy Genius Report says that SanDisk and Toshiba have "crazy fast 3D NAND storage" in the works to power next generation iPhones. Not for the phones being announced next month, but for the ones after that, likely in 2016. 

"Earlier this week [Week of Aug. 3], Toshiba and SanDisk made an announcement that might sound boring to many iPhone users but is actually quite exciting: The two memory giants unveiled the world’s first 256Gb 48-layer BiCS 3D flash memory. Toshiba and SanDisk happen to be two of the major flash providers for Apple’s iPhone 6, with the third being SK Hynix. Translated into English, that means Toshiba and SanDisk have created 32GB flash modules that should be faster than anything to date and more energy efficient. As Computer World points out, the new chips are built on 15nm process technology and offer twice the capacity of the densest memory available."

Concept Video: What Force Touch will feel like

Sorry about that storage update. I'll end on an even flashier note.

We've seen Force Touch do its thing on the Apple Watch, but rumor has it that the touchy-feely technology will make its way into the next iPhone as well. Here's one take on what Force Touch might look like on an iPhone, and one more thing for Android phone makers to worry about.

Join the Network World communities on Facebook and LinkedIn to comment on topics that are top of mind.
Must read: 10 new UI features coming to Windows 10