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iPhone 6 rumor rollup for the week ending Dec. 14

Batman's 3D sonar, bendy bodies, 5S yes and 5S no

By , Network World
December 14, 2012 12:06 PM ET
iPhone 6

Network World - The iOSphere is the only virtual place where reality imitates fantasy.

This weeks' best rumor is all about how Batman's "3D mapping sonar" technology used in "The Dark Knight" movie is the obvious basis for yet another Apple invention, disclosed in yet another patent application, that yet again no one really seems to understand.

That's the great thing about iOSphere rumors: The less you know, the more freedom you have to elaborate rumors.

LAST WEEK: iPhone 6 rumor rollup for week ending Dec. 7

Also this week: flexible screens and bendable bodies but what about the CPU, logic board, radios and other internal components; expectations for "iPhone 5S" in June 2013; and why the iPhone 5S in June 2013 is a terrible, terrible, terrible, terrible prospect.

You read it here second.


"What wasn't detailed [in the patent] was how Apple plans to use those [audio] sensors, but one crazy idea is that Apple might use them to create sonar-maps kind of like in the movie 'The Dark Knight.'"


iPhone 5 will have 3D mapping sonar, just like whales or "The Dark Knight Rises" movie

David Price of Macworld UK is ecstatic. "Recent Apple patent activity raises hopes of sonar and audio-detecting screen in the Apple iPhone 6," he writes, generously overlooking the far greater role that rumor activity plays in raising our hopes of all kinds of things.

"Today we're wondering if recent Apple patents point to upgraded features in the iPhone 6's screen -- potentially including the ability to listen to and map out the world around it using microphone diaphragms and sonar," he announces.

"Yes, that's right: the iPhone 6 could have sonar. Can you say OMG?"


He helpfully includes a photo of the humpback whale, "which uses sonar, just like an iPhone 6. Possibly."

In this Wikipedia article on whale vocalization, the contention is that whales use sounds for communication. Their alleged sonar capabilities apparently are still a matter of hypothesis, and debate, according to footnotes.

Even worse for Price, the article about the patent, posted at, doesn't use the word "sonar."

Patently Apple, as is typical for a site whose mission is "celebrating Apple's Spirit of Invention," mainly rehashes what Apples says about its inventions in either the final patent or, as in this case, its patent application. There's rarely an attempt to provide additional context or third-party explanations or assessments about the technologies mentioned by Apple.

What Patently Apple's post describes is a system of audio sensors hidden in the screens or surfaces of a wide range of devices. Essentially, the system appears to be a way to detect sound waves and then, you know, do something with them -- they'll act as "inputs" to the computer or possibly be used to create some kind of "output."

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