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Rumor: Many Color Choices Available for ‘Budget’ iPhones

Keep in mind that we’re still in the realm of rumor here, but it’s looking more and more like there might be truth to those reports of a plastic iPhone aimed at emerging markets after all. We’ve yet to get any kind of confirmation on this issue from Apple itself, but according to Japanese blog Macotakara, we might be seeing a limited test run of 1,000 units in June, and in a plethora of colors to boot. If that goes well, we might start seeing them in stores later this year.

According to various unnamed sources that spoke with Macotakara, the budget iPhone will come in a wide variety of colors. What those colors are isn’t exactly clear due to conflicting reports from the sources, but taken together, the rumors suggest that the phones will come in navy blue, gold, gray, pink, green, blue, yellow, and orange. What’s notable about this list is the absence of a black option, which we at Mac|Life suspect Apple will retain for the higher-end versions available now.

Allegedly the so-called iPhone 5S will also come in green and gold variations, with the possibility of additional variations modeled after the current offerings for the iPod Touch. Aside from the color changes, though, the new iPhone will supposedly look similar to the existing iPhone 5, with the addition of a dual-LED flash and alterations to the rear microphone. Macotakara also passed along the rumor that the iPad 5 will have a new rear microphone as well.

Considering the wide assortment of colors available for the entire iPod line, the idea of multiple color variations for the iPhone doesn’t sound inconceivable (although the concept art Macotakara supplied doesn’t make them look too appealing). In addition, the news is well in line with other recent rumors, such as BGR’s allegedly leaked photos of multicolored SIM trays for the next iPhone.

Follow this article’s author, Leif Johnson, on Twitter.

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Rumor: iOS 7 Behind Schedule, “Significant” UI Overhaul Planned?

Apple logo on grayThe first three months in 2013 have been relatively quiet for Apple, but a new rumor suggests the company is putting its nose to the grindstone on iOS 7 — potentially even at the expense of the next major OS X update.

Daring Fireball’s John Gruber reported Tuesday that Apple is “running behind” on iOS 7 development, going so far as to pull engineers from OS X 10.9 to help get things back on track.

While no one knows for sure what this year’s major iOS update may bring, Apple designer Jonathan Ive appears to be putting his touch on the software as well as the hardware in what Gruber refers to as a “rather significant system-wide UI overhaul.”

That sentiment appears to be echoed by the editor of iMore.com, who infers that Ive’s work on the mobile OS appears to be undoing some of the “skeuomorphism” present in recent versions.

“Ive’s work is apparently making many people really happy, but will also apparently make rich-texture-loving designers sad,” the report notes.

So when will we see the fruits of this labor? That’s anyone’s guess, but Gruber notes that iOS engineers with “carry privileges” are said to have “some sort of polarizing filter on their iPhone displays” to help disguise the user interface changes from prying eyes.

Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter

 

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Rumor: Apple Could Debut iPhone 5S and iPhone 6 This Year

iPhone 5Apple is taking an increasing amount of heat for falling behind the competition where its iPhone is concerned, but a new report claims Cupertino may step up its game with not one but two new models this year.

MacRumors is reporting that Apple may be poised to release not one but two different iPhone models this year — a souped-up version of the existing iPhone 5 and the so-called “iPhone 6,” which could feature a larger display than the current handset.

As always, such reports should be taken with a grain of salt, especially since they come from unnamed sources in China. According to a translation of the initial report on Laoyaoba.com, a source claims to have actually seen these iPhone 5S and iPhone 6 models at one of Apple’s suppliers.

“Both models may be released in 2013, according to the website’s microblog on Thursday evening,” the report added. “The source noted that the iPhone 5S resembles the iPhone 5, and the five-inch iPhone 6 is lighter and thinner.”

Many pundits — including Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak — seem to feel that Apple has started to fall behind the competition where smartphones are concerned, with speculation running rampant that Cupertino will introduce a larger iPhone as early as this year with a screen size of between 4.8 and 5.0 inches.

Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter

 

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Rumor: Facebook Messenger for iPad Arriving on Tuesday

Facebook MessengerThere’s been a lot of activity in the instant messaging space lately, with Microsoft rolling its MSN Messenger into Skype and Facebook increasing the ways mobile users can communicate — which could soon include the iPad.

TechCrunch reported Sunday
that Facebook may have some good news for iPad owners come Tuesday, when the company is holding an event for the media to “come and see what we’re building.”

According to a source close to the project, that may include an iPad-native version of the company’s own Messenger app, which is currently limited to the iPhone and iPod touch (assuming you don’t want to run it in 2x mode, that is).

Of course, Messenger for iPad isn’t likely to be the headliner at the event, but the source claims the app is “totally” ready to launch on Tuesday. Facebook appears to be positioning Messenger as an all-out communications app, most recently dabbing in video chat and voice messages with a recent update.

So what else can we expect to see tomorrow? The legendary Facebook phone could be the “big deal” of the event, along with “a slew of ads and other improvements” that may be less exciting for iPad users.

Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter

 

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Rumor: Apple Interested in Replacing Intel Chips for Future Macs

Apple and IntelYou know that rumor about Apple creating its own proprietary processors for the Mac? Yeah, that one–well, it’s back. As iOS devices continue to claim more and more of the computing market, Cupertino may be interested in using its own ARM chips in upcoming Mac models.

The rumor has resurged, thanks to a report from Bloomberg. According to people “familiar with the company’s research,” Apple engineers are interested in carrying over the chip designs from mobile, to its MacBooks and desktops. According to the sources, we won’t see an Apple-created processor “in the next few years,” but the switch from Intel processors is “inevitable.”

Back in 2005, Apple switched the processors in Mac computers from IBM’s PowerPC chips to Intel products. At the time, ARM-based processors like the A6X found in the fourth-generation iPad were but a twinkle in Cupertino’s eye.

Apple recently placed Bob Mansfield in charge of chip development as part of a large executive shake-up, saying the research team has “ambitious plans.” The move to an ARM-based chip in Macs may be part of a consistent attempt to meld iOS with Mac OS.

Of course, this is all hearsay at this point. And moreover, if Apple does decide to move away from Intel processors, the change won’t come without a cost. While ARM chips are lighter on battery consumption for mobile devices, they lack the power of an Intel chip, potentially crippling high-end graphics processing in Macs. 

Then again, who knows what Mansfield and his team are up to in the research department. Either way, it doesn’t sound like we’ll know anything for some time.

 

Follow this article’s author, Matt Clark on Twitter.

(Image source: David Paul Morris/Getty Images)

 

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