iPhone rumor roundup: Asian sources claim we’ll see thinner phones, more powerful chips & bigger cameras

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A trio of new rumors from a handful of Asian sources have popped up over the holiday and today, each predicting a different facet of the upcoming ‘iPhone 6S‘. While these are still just very unverified whispers at the moment, odds are that at least one of these will end up coming at least partially true.

Here’s a roundup of the latest iPhone rumors, in no particular order:

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Opinion: Should AAPL stockholders be worried about Jony Ive’s more backseat role?

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The Apple world this morning seems divided between those who seemingly haven’t grasped the implications of Apple’s ‘promotion’ of Jony Ive, merely taking Cook’s memo at face value, and those switching into full-on ‘Apple is doomed’ mode. The reality is, I think, a little more nuanced.

It seems pretty clear that this move is, as Seth outlined earlier, about Ive taking more of a backseat role – and especially being able to spend a lot more time back in England. Apple’s decision to announce the news on a day when the US markets were closed was obviously not coincidence.

Apple didn’t want to see a knee-jerk panic reaction on Wall Street setting its stock diving. But is there reason to panic? Or is it all much ado about nothing? Or something between the two … ?  Read more

KGI: Top 11 new iPhone features for 2015 include Rose Gold option, Force Touch, 12MP Camera, 2GB RAM, more

Artwork by shoplemonde.de

Artwork by shoplemonde.de

A special Top 11 list today from noted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo on the next iPhone (6s? 7?) that will be released later this year. Counting down:

  1. Force Touch will be the biggest upgraded selling point, but also one of the main bottlenecks of the supply chain. Force Touch can enrich user experience due to more input methods and support of handwritten signatures, which is beneficial for expanding in the commercial market
  2. Screen will remain at 4.7 and 5.5 inches, with resolution the same as existing models. There will be no new 4-inch model
  3. There will be an additional casing color, rose gold, matching the rose-gold Apple Watch Edition
  4. The camera will have a pixel upgrade, likely to 12MP
  5. One microphone will be added near the speaker to enhance voice quality
  6. The A9 processor with upgraded 2GB LPDDR4 will be adopted
  7. The bending issue will be improved by using different casing materials and internal mechanical design changes
  8. If drop test issues can be resolved, the 5.5-inch model will have a limited number of units with sapphire cover lens
  9. The recognition rate of Touch ID will be improved further in a bid to promote Apple Pay
  10. Gesture control support
  11. It’s expected that mass production will start in mid-to-late August. Total shipments will be 80-90mn in 2015, with a 2:1 ratio of 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch models.

Some thoughts: Read more

KGI: 4 inch iPhone ‘unlikely’ for 2015, Force Touch will work differently to MacBook and Watch

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In a new report from KGI’s Ming-Chi Kuo, the analyst claims that a new four inch iPhone is unlikely for 2015. This contradicts some recent reports and supposed 4-inch ‘6C’ case leaks, but KGI is generally more reliable than other analysts. We would still be wary of any such predictions however, given that mass production of iPhone models will not be started for a few months giving plenty of time for Apple to change plans.

KGI also notes that whilst the next-generation 4.7 and 5.5 inch iPhones will feature pressure-sensitive Force Touch technology, it will work differently to what customers will see in the Apple Watch, new MacBook and updated 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro.

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Apple camera patent would allow high-resolution photos without sacrificing image quality

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If you were wondering why Apple has ignored the megapixel race and stuck to a modest 8MP camera in its latest iPhones when almost every other manufacturer is cramming in as many pixels as physically possible, it’s all about image quality. While more pixels allow you to blow up photos to larger sizes, that comes at a cost. Squeezing more pixels into a tiny sensor means more noise, reducing quality, especially in low-light situations like bars and parties.

A clever patent granted today could allow future iPhones to have the best of both worlds, allowing higher-resolution photos without squeezing more pixels into the sensor …  Read more

Opinion: Can Apple maintain its $100 tier flash storage pricing for iPhones & iPads indefinitely?

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There’s a certain marketing genius to Apple’s tiered pricing for flash storage on its iPhones and iPads. Since customers can’t add storage via a microSD card later, they have to decide in advance how much storage they need, and many of us are going to err on the side of safety, bumping our purchase up to a higher price-band.

Adding $100 or $200 to the price of an iDevice for maybe $5-10 worth of flash storage/controller capacity is an important source of income for Apple, and one of the reasons its margins are so high. Whatever the company makes on a 16GB device, if it can upsell you to a 32GB or 64GB (or even 128GB, in the case of the iPad), almost all of the premium charged on those beefier models is pure profit.

It’s not money Apple would give up lightly, but I do wonder whether it’s sustainable …  Read more