This Week's Apple Rumors, Ranked From Dumbest to Most Plausible - Wired

iTunes Radio could get more visibility through its own iOS 8 app.Image: Apple

iTunes Radio could get more visibility through its own iOS 8 app. Image: Apple

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 many are totally bogus. This week, reports on what to expect in iOS 8 have started rolling in. But as always, we’ve parsed the week’s rumors, ranking them in order from “utterly ridiculous” to “duh, of course.” First up…

DON’T COUNT ON IT: iOS 8 Icons Leaked

Apparently someone in China got their hands on an early build of iOS 8, and has leaked images of its homescreen, including icons of yet-to-be-released iOS 8 apps. Some of the icons are essentially copycats of their OS X counterparts, and as such, don’t fit in with the iOS 8 aesthetic at all. While 9to5Mac says these images align with what they’ve heard the icons will look like, we would expect them to look different in the final build of iOS 8, so we’re calling bogus on this one.

ASK AGAIN LATER: Apple Exploring Optical Sensing for 3-D Gesture Recognition

A a pair of patent applications published Thursday highlight how Apple could use 3-D gesture recognition to enhance its mobile and desktop products (and it’s certainly not the first time). Apple could perform Microsoft Kinect-like object identification, according to the first of the two patents, “Imaging Range Finding Device and Method.” The method involves an array of light emitters and photodetectors that would direct light at an object, which would then bounce back and get analyzed through an optical lens. Adding a couple more lenses would be an option that increases the system’s accuracy. This technology could be used in a variety of ways, including to help guide the visually impaired, to scan 3-D objects, for photo editing, and for night vision. The second patent describes how optical sensing could be used in a trackpad scenario. Your position on the pad is tracked by reflected light, and it can measure vertical, horizontal, and angular positioning as well as things like acceleration, pressure, velocity, force, and pressure. Thus, the system could detect different gestures that mean different things based on the angle and force that are applied. This sounds like it could allow for a variety of complicated gestures, particularly ones geared toward accessibility.

ASK AGAIN LATER: Next iPhones to Take Design Cues From the iPhone 5c, 7th Gen iPod

Japanese Apple blog Macotakara says that the two new iPhones coming out this year, rumored to be 4.7 and 5.7 inches in size, will take design cues from the iPhone 5c and fifth gen iPod nano. Think anodized aluminum, but available in a wide variety of colors, with the mute and volume button styled like those on the iPhone 5c. It would also have rounded rear edges, akin to the 5c. These rumors don’t sound completely far-fetched, but it’s still fairly early in the year, so accuracy and validity are still in question.

ASK AGAIN LATER: Apple Looking Into Better Pedometer Step Detection

Oh look, another wearable-related patent! Also applicable to the iPod nano, which has a built-in pedometer, the patent filing “Wrist pedometer step detection” looks into how Apple could perform better, more accurate step detection with a device worn anywhere on your body. The system would be able to detect steps, filter out noise, and tell when a step is “missed” (in terms of signal detection) because you were swinging your arm. Using a technique called a Fourier Transform, the device would also be able to automatically tell if it’s worn on the wrist.

ASK AGAIN LATER: Apple Updating Lightning Connector to Stop Counterfeits

An Apple patent application published Thursday describes a way for Apple to put unique identifiers in Lightning cables to stop third party counterfeits from working. While we think, in some respects, this is totally lame, on the other hand, faulty third party chargers have also been known to explode. No signs as to whether this would roll out any time soon, but it does seem like something Apple would do.

SIGNS POINT TO YES: Apple Making All Sorts of Tweaks for iOS 8

Apple will likely give us a first look at iOS this June at WWDC — just three months away. So it’s not too surprising that the look and features of the next version of iOS are starting to take shape. Each iteration of iOS features a number of enhancements, but 9to5Mac lists a few possibilities: The Game Center app may get nixed, while the service continues to exist in apps that use it; Apple could implement automatic deletion of iMessage threads to free up space on your device; and a redesign of the Voice Memos app could make it more intuitive. At the moment, these particular examples are all “maybes,” according to 9to5Mac, but no doubt small (and large) changes like these will eventually show up in the new OS.

SIGNS POINT TO YES: Apple Moving iTunes Radio to Its Own App in iOS 8

In an effort to boost usage, Apple could move iTunes Radio from the Music app to its own app in iOS 8 this year. This would give the feature greater visibility, and make it more of a direct competitor with other streaming apps like Rdio, Spotify, and Pandora. Apple does have a history of doing this: Its Podcasts app had its beginnings in the Music app, and Apple gave iTunes University content its own app too.

SIGNS POINT TO YES: Apple Expanding iCloud Functionality in iOS 8

Apple will likely be expanding iCloud to make it a more robust file system replacement with new features in iOS 8. Namely, Apple will introduce TextEdit and Preview apps so that you can view those files (saved in iCloud) both on iOS and OS X devices. However, the apps will be read only, according to 9to5Mac’s report, with document editing available in iBooks, for PDFs, and Pages, for TextEdit documents. TextEdit and Preview were two of the questionable leaked icon images we mentioned above.

SIGNS POINT TO YES: iOS 8 Will Include Vastly Upgraded Maps App

9to5Mac is also offering a detailed look at one of the biggest new features of iOS 8: Maps. Maps launched with iOS 6 so riddled with errors and mistakes that Apple fired both SVP Scott Forstall and Maps manager Rich Williamson over the debacle, and issued a public apology. Since then, Apple’s improved the looks of the app, and has made several acquisitions that will let Apple improve data on the backend, including better labeling and points of interest. Apple will also finally add public transit directions — perhaps the largest missing feature of the app (at least for city dwellers). Apple could also add an augmented reality feature for finding nearby points of interest in the app, but this could be further down the pipeline.

via apple - Google News


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