Top Stories: iPhone 13 Front Glass Leak, Rugged Apple Watch, HomePods With Screens?
With March drawing to a close and no sign yet of an Apple media event, rumors are continuing to dominate the news cycle. This week saw a number of new reports about the iPhone 13, a potential "rugged" Apple Watch model, a HomePod with a screen and camera, and more.
The competitive dispute between Apple and Intel also took an interesting turn this week, with Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger announcing a new strategy for the chipmaker that will see it pursuing other companies like Apple in hopes of manufacturing their custom chips. Read on for all of the details on these stories and more!
iPhone 13 Front Glass Reveals Smaller Notch With Earpiece Relocated to Top Bezel
iPhone 13 models are widely expected to feature a smaller notch, and now we have a first look at the potential design.
Greek repair provider iRepair this week provided MacRumors with an alleged photo of front glass panels for iPhone 13 models, with the same three 5.4-inch, 6.1-inch, and 6.7-inch display sizes as the iPhone 12 lineup. The notch on each iPhone is visibly smaller as a result of the earpiece speaker being moved up into the top bezel, a design choice that was first rumored for iPhone 12 models last year but failed to materialize.
Multiple sources have claimed that iPhone 13 models will feature a smaller notch, including analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.
After shrinking the notch this year, Kuo said that Apple plans to switch to a hole-punch display design for at least some 2022 iPhone models, similar to Samsung's Galaxy S21 and other recent smartphones, followed by an iPhone with a true all-screen design without a notch or holes and an under-display fingerprint scanner as early as 2023.
Apple May Launch Rugged Apple Watch Model for Extreme Sports as Soon as This Year
Apple is weighing up the possibility of launching an Apple Watch with a rugged casing that's made for use in extreme environments, according to a new report from Bloomberg's Mark Gurman.
The latest Apple Watch models are water-resistant to 50 meters, but Gurman suggests that Apple could make a new device more "rugged" by giving it a rubberized casing, making it more resistant to damage in extreme environments compared to the current lineup of aluminum, titanium, and stainless steel cases.
Despite actively considering such a model, Gurman includes the usual caveat about rumored future products by noting that his sources say it could be ultimately canceled or delayed.
Apple is also working on new swim tracking features for the Apple Watch, according to the report, although no additional details were given.
After Anti-M1 Ads, Intel Wants to Make Apple Silicon Chips
Just days after launching an advertising campaign against M1 Macs, Intel has expressed interest in manufacturing future Apple silicon chips.
In an interview with the BBC, Intel's new CEO Pat Gelsinger said "everybody wants multiple suppliers" for chips, adding that there is "very real potential" for a renewed partnership.
When asked why Intel chose to run an advertising campaign against M1 Macs while hoping to win Apple's business, Gelsinger said "we have great respect for Apple as a company" but added "at the same time, we're going to be aggressive competitors and we're out to reinvigorate the PC ecosystem."
Apple currently relies on Taiwanese manufacturer TSMC for all of its custom-designed chips for the Mac, iPhone, iPad, and other devices.
Apple Developing New 'HomePod' Models With Screens and Cameras
In a report focused on an unactivated temperature and humidity sensor uncovered in the HomePod mini this week, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman briefly mentioned that Apple has "been developing new speakers with screens and cameras."
This reporting suggests that Apple could be at least exploring the idea of new HomePod models with a display and camera to compete with the likes of Google's Nest Hub Max, Amazon's Echo Show, and Facebook's Portal, but Gurman cautions that "a launch isn't imminent," so there is no guarantee that Apple will release such a product.
Earlier this month, Apple announced that it is discontinuing the full-sized HomePod and shifting its focus to the HomePod mini. Gurman said that Apple still lacks a "unifying strategy" for the smart home market, with some people within the company apparently blaming the lack of progress on Siri's shortcomings compared to Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.
Apple Discontinues 512GB and 1TB SSDs for 21.5-inch iMac
Apple this week discontinued 512GB and 1TB SSD storage configurations for the 21.5-inch 4K iMac, leaving a 256GB SSD or 1TB Fusion Drive as the only options available for the computer.
Apple also removed the iMac Pro from its online store this week after announcing that the computer would be discontinued earlier in the month. Now that supplies of the iMac Pro have run out, the computer is no longer available to purchase from Apple's online store, except for some refurbished models.
Both of these moves likely foreshadow the introduction of a redesigned iMac with an Apple silicon chip later this year. Rumors suggest the new iMac's design will resemble Apple's high-end Pro Display XDR, with thinner bezels around the display, no metal "chin" below the display, and a flat back. Two unreleased iMacs were referenced in the latest macOS 11.3 beta.
Each week, we publish an email newsletter like this highlighting the top Apple stories, making it a great way to get a bite-sized recap of the week hitting all of the major topics we've covered and tying together related stories for a big-picture view.