An interesting thread appeared on Reddit this morning from a supposed Foxconn insider who apparently has knowledge about various Apple products in the pipeline as they have seen prototypes pass through the factory. There are various tidbits about the iPhone 8, the Siri Speaker, future iMac design changes and dynamic e-ink keyboards for future MacBooks.
While we would usually ignore these anonymous claims, the Reddit mods have apparently verified the poster’s identity. We’ve rounded up the interesting information below …
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The same account previously broke news about a partnership with Sonder Design, which was later corroborated by the Wall Street Journal.
In today’s thread, the leaker addresses the iPhone 8 and the continued confusion over competing rumored designs, and the presence (or lack of) Touch ID on the rear of the device. The leaker says he saw the iPhone 8 at EVT stage (engineering validation test) around January.
He claimed that the Touch ID will not be on the rear of the device and the design resembles an iPhone 7 with thinner vertical bezels. In a separate comment, the poster said the prototypes looked like this dummy unit but with ‘more glass’. He says that fingerprint scanners below the main screen glass were tested but had poor yields.
Again, this information comes from an earlier prototype and it has been widely reported that the design has been in flux for a while. He firmly suggested that the device will not feature Touch ID on the back though, but that does not mean that an integrated screen fingerprint scanner is the replacement.
In regard to the Siri Speaker, the voice assistant device we expect to see on Monday at the WWDC 2017 keynote, the leaker says the device looked like a smaller trashcan Mac Pro. A ‘Mac Pro’-esque design has been rumored before. They tested multiple designs including versions with a camera and a display. The latest rumors on Siri Speaker indicate that the final product Apple plans to announce at WWDC will not include either of those things.
Regarding iMac, the poster said that the 2017 iMac update will not feature major external industrial design changes. However, the pipeline for 2018 currently suggests a major update. The 2018 iMac revision apparently uses more glass and a dark black finish. It would also re-introduce the glowing Apple logo as a micro-LED panel.
The source also says that MacBooks are only getting internal updates this year but more major changes are planned for future models. This includes the dynamic e-Ink keyboards we have heard about before. The OLED Touch Bar would apparently remain for the function key row and the remaining keys would be ‘e-paper smart keys’. The poster also seemed to suggest that a future external Magic Keyboard (‘2018’) would also get this feature set, including the Touch Bar.
Perhaps most interestingly, the poster claims to have knowledge about Apple’s AR smart glasses testing — understood to be in early testing stages. With an approximate launch supposedly set for 2019, the glasses are described as having a ‘cellulose acetate frame, bone conduction modules, multiple microphones, an internal battery and a prism to reflect information into the user’s vision.
The optics are supposedly sourced from Germany. The glasses would apparently include a microphone for voice input and accelerometer to detect motion. The poster says the glasses would be able to detect head gestures like nodding or shaking and feature a capacitive strip on one side of the glasses frame for controls like volume and accepting calls.
This is a lot of random information — some specific, some less so — and we include it here largely for the sake of discussion. It’s hard to know how much to trust it as we do not know what evidence the person provided to the subreddit moderators as proof. In summary, it seems like Mac fans should expect major hardware changes next year as the person reports near-term iMac and MacBook revisions focus on spec-bump updates.