Photo: Ariel Zambelich/WIRED
Each week, there are dozens of Apple rumors, reports, and patent filings that hint at what’s coming out of Cupertino next. Some are legit, but most are totally bogus. As always, we’ve parsed the week’s rumors, ranking them in order from “utterly ridiculous” to “duh, of course.” First up…
NOT IN A MILLION YEARS: Apple iWatch Spotted in the Wild
A Twitter user traveling to the Oakland airport snapped a photo of what is purported to be a prototype of Apple’s rumored iWatch. In the image, the watch in question looks like a square iPad nano except with two buttons on each side. Also, it’s affixed to a neon green wristband. It looks awkward and clunky — not at all like something Apple would make. Turns out, it was in fact this watch from Alibaba. So yeah, definitely not an Apple prototype.
ASK AGAIN LATER: Future Apple iAds Will Be Matched to Your Mood
If you thought Google’s location and keyword personalized ad surfacing was creepy, wait til you get a load of what Apple might have in store. According to a recently published patent application, the Cupertino company is exploring how to match iAds content to your mood. The process will try to infer your mood over a period of time by comparing it to a baseline one that’s been previously established. Then electronic content is served up to match it. Hopefully, the system will be perceptive enough to pick up on our never-wanting-to-ever-see-iAds mood.
SIGNS POINT TO YES: Apple Planning to Use Sapphire for Future iDevice Displays
Previous patent applications have shown that Apple is interested in exploring the use of sapphire in displays, potentially for a curved, flexible wearable. Sapphire is super hard — very difficult to scratch or crack — and it performs better in touch displays than glass. In the past, using sapphire was cost prohibitive, but now it’s starting to become a reasonable material for mobile devices. In fact, Apple already uses it in the lenses of its iPhone cameras, and for its fingerprint sensor Touch ID. This week Apple patented
some techniques for attaching sapphire as the substrate for a display. Again, this would be ideal for a mobile device or wearable.
SIGNS POINT TO YES: New Apple TV Set Top Box on the Way
We thought we might see a new Apple TV set top box back at Apple’s October media event. Nothing surfaced. But according to sources with 9to5Mac, Apple is definitely working on a next-gen Apple TV. It’s currently being tested and will supposedly be released in the first half of this year. The operating system may be getting a redesign (to make it more iOS-like), and the new streamer could also end up integrating Kinect-like 3-D gesture controls.
WITHOUT A DOUBT: Apple Working on Larger Screened iPhones, Ditching Plastic iPhone 5c
It’s the rumor we hear every week these days: Apple is working on a larger screened iPhone for 2014. Well, make that two larger screened iPhone models. The Wall Street Journal is the latest to add credence and additional detail to this one, suggesting that the first model will feature a 4.5- to 5-inch display. Another model will come with something even bigger. This is in line with what we’ve been hearing before. Apparently, Apple is also planning to ditch the plastic casing and possibly discontinue the iPhone 5c altogether. Again, not all that surprising if you believe analyst reports.