With the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus actually making their way into customers’ hands, it’s time to focus on iPhone 7 – and beyond – rumors in earnest. And hey, if you’re an iPhone user subscribing to Apple’s new upgrade system, you just might be locked in to upgrading to the latest/greatest iPhone from now on.
A10 all the way
Hand in hand with iPhone 7 rumors go A10 processor rumors. That’s the chipset expected to power the next iteration of smartphones from Apple next year.
G for Games and Chinese publications report that Apple has chosen Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., to supply the A10 chips, which of course would boost power but are also expected to enable Apple to deliver its thinnest iPhones (6 to 6.5mm?) and iPads.
TSMC, which already supplies Apple with A8 processors and some of its new A9 processors, is expected to crank up A10 production in March for delivery of iPhone 7 devices about a year from now.
Now, according to a new rumor, the next-gen Apple A10 application processor will be exclusively manufactured by TSMC on a 16 nm manufacturing process, using InFO architecture. InFO stands for “Integrated Fan Out”, and aside from streamlining the manufacturing process and diminishing costs, InFO might also allow the AP to be manufactured on a SiP (System in Package) design.
As for the power of the new processors, Cult of Mac reports that some expect Apple to make a huge leap from dual-core to six-core processors in its new iPhones. But the blog also says not to get your hopes up.
Fans should still take the A10 6-core rumor with a grain of salt though according to Apple expert Ben Bajarin, who tweeted that it’s more likely that Apple would invest in GPU improvements, rather than tossing in 6 cores, which are needless.
Intel chipping in on LTE
Speaking of chips, VentureBeat reports that Intel is working to supply its power efficient 7360 LTE modem (450Mbps download speed) to Apple for iPhones rolling out next year. Though it appears that Intel will be sharing the honor with Qualcomm, which is said to be supplying most of the LTE modem chips.
In the long view, the 7630 chip in the iPhone may be seen as a beachhead for Intel. Apple likes the idea of building the phone processor and the LTE modem on the same chip, which would allow for greater power efficiencies in the phone.
Even with the introduction of 3D Touch, a better camera and the funky new Live Photos in iPhone 6S/6S Plus, Apple fans want more.
USA Today’s Jefferson Graham, for example, is begging Apple for all-day battery life (aren’t we all), unbreakable glass (and more), improved storage (as in, killing the 16GB option) and wireless charging (Samsung has poked fun at Apple for this shortcoming).
Slashgear’s Chris Davies, meanwhile, responds to calls for an end to the Home Button with the suggestion for what he calls a dimple that would be both elegant and idiot-proof.
Imagine instead a dimple - a shallow curve - where the current home button is. No moving parts, just a slight depression underneath the screen. Your thumb would still find it sightlessly; it would still be an obvious escape route for the iOS uncertain; Touch ID's biometric sensor would still have a natural home.
The cheeky Register also shares its wishlist, including Power Air (Genuine 16-second wireless recharge “WITHOUT A WALL SOCKET”) and Super iCloud Retina Pro, which does sound pretty Apple-y.
Head-turning headphones move
From the patents department: The revelation that Apple has patented a skinny new headphone jack could pave the way for thinner iPhones – as well as useless current 3.5mm headphone jacks.
Apple’s not above monkeying around with its plug connectors (see the Lightning connector…), but this would seem like an awfully dramatic one. The company would certainly get an earful from customers who have plunked down big bucks for fancy headphones.