The Ultimate Guide To 2011′s Apple Rumors

If you’re an Apple fan like me, you’ve no doubt heard about the recent rumors that there’s a smaller iPhone coming along with a less-talked-about rumor that iTunes will soon let you store all your songs in the cloud. In fact, there’s a lot of gossip building up right now in terms of Apple products and services so that can only mean one thing: new stuff to blow your paycheck on! Since I was interested in all the juicy gossip, I thought you might be as well. Here are all the rumors I could find, conveniently sorted onto one big page:

Cloud-Based iTunes

Apple has some absolutely enormous data centers strategically placed around the globe and this really comes as no surprise that they’re making the move towards the cloud.They’re likely going to let you play your music through the cloud and not have to annoyingly sync your music to a particular desktop / laptop. (Those things are so 2010.)

Here’s how I’m guessing it will work (pure conjecture at this point):

  • All your songs that you’ve purchased (you likely will have had to purchase the songs from Apple) will be readily available to any approved Apple device that has an Internet connection.
  • There will be only a small need for on-board memory as it will only be used to run the system and apps (for now at least. Apps in the cloud may not be far off)
  • Since Apple can stream the same mp3 to thousands of devices, there won’t be a big need to house hundreds of thousands of copies of Justin Bieber songs. They can just use one mp3 and let tons of people listen to it simultaneously. Genius!

The Wall Street Journal has added more details about the rumored MobileMe revamp that is potentially due this summer.

The new service would give users access to their iTunes libraries from, say an iPhone or iPad, instead of requiring that the devices be synced by cable with a computer and use space to store the actual files, the people said. The new service likely would be compatible with the iPhone 4, one of the people said. Source: MacRumors and the Wall Street Journal

Better Device Screens

Apple just reportedly handed over a cool $7.8 billion of hard-earned iPad profits to Samsung. But isn’t Samsung one of Apple’s sworn enemies? Sure! But also one of the world’s leading manufacturers of all the good LCDs, mobile processors, and and NAND flash memory chips that help power your favorite iProducts. And once the ink dries on this deal, Apple won’t just be Samsung’s biggest rival; it’ll be their biggest customer. Source: Gizmodo

Smaller iPhone

Following up on recent reports of a smaller, cheaper iPhone, Cult of Mac claims that Apple will cut costs on the smaller iPhone in large part by drastically slashing the on-board memory of the device and relying on cloud-based content delivery.

Forget The Memory

Apple decided to lose some of the memory, which is by far the most expensive component of the iPhone (up to one-quarter of the devices cost, according to iSuppli estimates).

By “some” of the memory, we mean ALL of the memory. The iPhone nano will have no memory for onboard storage of media, our source says. It will have only enough memory to buffer media streamed from the cloud.

“I’m talking strictly storage memory here,” said our source.

According to the report, the smaller iPhone would pull essentially all of its media through a revamped MobileMe service, reducing the need for significant on-board storage in the same way that the Apple has been able to slash storage on the second-generation Apple TV by shifting to a streaming model.

The report notes that some on-board storage would clearly be required for the operating system itself and other critical system data, including caching of data handed down from the cloud and perhaps storage of photos and videos taken by the device should it include a camera.

We also suspect that such a device would not be able to support the App Store, as Apps depend on locally-stored content, and would thus require significant modification to run from the cloud. Apple may avoid the potential user interface issues of a smaller, lower-resolution screen by simply not allowing third-party apps at all, and opting to use only built-in apps specifically designed for the smaller screen. But given the runaway success of the platform, it would still be surprising for Apple to shift away from an App Store-focused ecosystem for the new device.

Edge-to-Edge Screen

The person who saw the prototype of the new iPhone said the device was significantly lighter than the iPhone 4 and had an edge-to-edge screen that could be manipulated by touch, as well as a virtual keyboard and voice-based navigation. The person said Apple, based in Cupertino, Calif., also plans to upgrade the iPhone 4.

The new phone is said to have an “edge to edge” screen with (obviously) a touch interface. The one possibly new feature appears to be “voice navigation”. Apple already offers some rudimentary Voice Control with the current iPhone, so it’s not clear if this voice navigation is something really new. The newspaper also adds that the iPhone 4 is also expected to be updated. Source: MacRumors

iPad 2 In Production Now

The iPad 2 is coming soon, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal that said the next-generation device is currently in production.Citing “people familiar with the matter” the new slimmer, lighter iPad will include a faster processor, a camera, and more memory.

The resolution of the display, however, won’t get much of an upgrade from the existing model, the report said.The fact that the iPad 2 is coming isn’t groundbreaking news, however. Apple has a pretty consistent history of sticking to a one-year update cycle for many of its products.

The first iPad hit stores last April, so it could be logically assumed that the new version is on its way.The Apple rumor mill has a history of prolific, unconfirmed reports.

Last week a “Reuters eyewitness” claimed to spot the new iPad at the launch of News Corp.’s iPad-only newspaper, The Daily.iPad accessory makers have also fueled the rumor fire, with several companies churning out cases that have features like an opening for a camera (which the current iPad lacks) or a space for a larger speaker.

But as as PC Mag noted recently, these reports should be taken with a grain of salt. Apple rarely, if ever, comments on rumors. Not surprisingly, an Apple spokesperson declined to comment on the WSJ report.  Source: PCMag

iPad 3 To Arrive In September?

Wait, what? There isn’t even an iPad 2 out yet! There are rumors that say this may happen though. Those rumors seem to suggest that Apple is planning on accelerating the iPad’s release cycle with the 3rd generation model arriving as early as this fall (September).

The buzz started when Daring Fireball’s John Gruber mentioned that the new HP tablet may run up against the iPad 3′s launch:

If my theory is right, they’re not only going to be months behind the iPad 2, but if they slip until late summer, they might bump up against the release of the iPad 3. Gruber has been known to casually mention insider knowledge which he admits. In this case, however, he follows up to say that this iPad 3 comment was simply a guess, and not based on any actual knowledge. Source: MacRumors and Daring Fireball

New Macbook Pros Coming March 1st

As we approach the expected updates for the MacBook Pro line, we tend to start hearing about possible release dates. There are typically some false starts, so it’s hard to be sure, but the first contender for this round appears to be March 1st.

Danish blogger KennethLund.dk claims to have heard from a source in one of the major Danish Apple resellers that MacBook Pro models are on tight supply but that the newly updated models will arrive on March 1st.

March 1st falls on a Tuesday which is typical for Apple’s releases. The MacBook Pro was last updated in April of 2010 and is due for an update. While there had been some concern that the new models would be delayed by Intel’s manufacturing issues, the latest reports claim that any delay will be minimal.

The MacBook Pro will likely adopt Intel’s new Sandy Bridge processors. Many also expect that some of the models may take design cues from the MacBook Airs. The latest MacBook Air moved away from traditional hard drives and are now using smaller SSD sticks to save on space. The MacBook Air has also never included a built-in optical drive in another effort to reduce weight and space. Source: MacRumors and KennethLund.dk

A Better iOS Notification System

Cult of Mac reports that Apple is planning to revamp its system for providing notifications within iOS, looking to address one of the areas of perceived weakness compared to other platforms such as Android and webOS.

Apple’s pop-up notification system for new text messages, voicemails and the like has often been criticized as one of the weakest parts of the iOS. Notifications are intrusive, modal and often cryptic. It’s a mess.

HP/Palm’s webOS banner notification system, on the other hand, has been widely praised for its utility and ease of use. And from this week’s preview, it looks to be getting better.Source: MacRumors

Steve Jobs Still Calling The Shots

The Wall Street Journal reports that despite his medical leave of absence, Steve Jobs remained involved in Apple’s strategic decision making and product development. Jobs is reportedly taking business meetings at home and on the phone. Jobs has even been recently spotted at Apple’s campus.

According to the newspaper, Jobs remains involved specifically in the next iPad and iPhone products:

Among products he is continuing to work on are the next version of the iPad tablet computer, expected out in the next couple of months, and a new iPhone, expected to be released this summer, said two of these people. Source: SFGate

A Grain of Salt

Take every single one of these rumors with a grain (or a pound) of salt. Basically, none of them could come true but it’s always fun to guess. Regardless of if some or all of these rumors come true, rumors themselves usually signal the immenent unveiling of new and exciting products / services from Apple.

Will you purchase the iPad 2? Have you been holding out? What about an iPhone Nano? Both seem like pretty useful products but I can’t honestly see how much fun typing on an even smaller iPhone screen could be. My fingers already hurt from using the regular iPhone! Time to bring out the stylus, Apple?