In a few months this fall, Apple is expected to release its latest model of the iPhone--which means the product rumor mill is going into full effect these days.
The general expectation-- based on analyst checks of the supply line, grainy photos "leaked" to tech blogs and a read of general market tastes -- is that Apple will be pumping up the screen size on its iPhone. Several news outlets have reported that Apple is expected to release both a 4.7-inch and a 5.5-inch iPhone, both of which would be major increases from the phone's current 4-inch screen.
Apple, in keeping with its usual practice, hasn't even confirmed that it's working on a new iPhone -- but we're pretty sure about that part at least. Here's a look at the latest rumors floating around the Appleverse this month, all of which should be taken with a a few grains of salt.
Apple might delay its really big iPhone. Courtesy of a Sunday investors note from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, there's some doubt now about whether Apple will release both big-screened phones at once. According to Kuo, Apple is having trouble getting its production into gear to deliver both a 4.7-inch phone and the 5.5-inch phone at the same time. Kuo said that the 4.7-inch phone is also having production problems, in that factories are struggling to meet the demand they're expected to face once the phone launches, and so factories may have to prioritize their resources.
Kuo has a strong record in predicting some Apple moves in the past, so this may be a rumor worth watching.
The phones may have a super-durable screen. The rumor that really excited Apple fans last week was that the company has plans for a nearly indestructible screen made of "sapphire" glass. Apple already uses this material for its camera lenses and as a cover for the iPhone 5s's fingerprint scanner.
The rumor really got legs courtesy of a YouTube video from online tech reviewer and vlogger Marques Brownlee recently uploaded a video showing him trying to scratch up the screen with keys and a knife--with the 4.7 inch panel emerging unscathed.
Apple has been deeply interested in building up supplies of the glass; in fact its manufacturing plant in Arizona is believed to be producing the material. That said, Brownlee isn't known for breaking Apple news in the past, so it's hard to vouch for his track record.
There's new buzz over haptic feedback. There are also fresh rumors that Apple's planning to add more haptic feedback -- that's the fancy term for when your phone buzzes as you touch it -- into the newest iPhone. The reports come from GForGames, a site new to the iPhone rumor scene. According to its report, the phone's technology will let it buzz in different ways depending on where users touch the screen.
This is a rumor that we've heard before, since Samsung, LG, Nokia and others have a lot of haptic feedback options -- and one that hasn't ever come to fruition. Apple does hold a patent for sophisticated haptic systems, as Patently Apple noted in 2012.That said, for Apple and many other companies, just holding a patent doesn't guarantee the feature will make it into production.
Meanwhile, back on iWatch watch... There's also the possibility that the rumored "iWatch" wearable device will also be delayed due to production until November, according to the analyst Kuo. If true, that wouldn't give Apple a lot of time to talk up the device before the holiday shopping season moves into full swing.
Expectations for the iWatch are very high; Morgan Stanley's Katy Huberty wrote in a note to investors on Monday that she believes the iWatch will sell between 30 and 60 million units in its first 12 months of availability (whenever that will be).
That's because, Huberty said, Apple does a very good job of selling new products to existing customers. In other words, folks are likely to look more kindly on an Apple watch than one from another manufacturer because they expect it will work well with their iPhones. Optimism about the iWatch's sales prospects prompted the analyst to raise her price target on Apple to $110 per share.
Shares are currently trading at around $96; in fact, they saw a bit of a bump Monday morning after Huberty's note.