It's time for another installment of "This Week In Apple Rumors," where we bring you the latest speculation and gossip about the machinations and iWidgets coming out of the notoriously secretive company in Cupertino. This week we heard rumors about an iPhone with 3D vision, a bigger iPad, a trackpad-like Touch ID and yet another release date rumor for the iWatch.
3D Vision on the "iPhone 6?"
Apple confirmed this week that it had acquired PrimeSense, an Israeli company that designs sensors that allow people to interact with products. PrimeSense built the technology that powers the Xbox Kinect motion sensor, and the acquisition reportedly cost Apple $350 million.
For months, as rumors about the purchase circulated, observers were quick to suggest that if Apple purchased the company, it would incorporate the technology into a long-awaited, but not announced, television-type device. But Forrester's James McQuivey argues that Apple will look "beyond the living room."
The technology PrimeSense developed has gotten so small, McQuivey writes, that it could soon be incorporated into the next iPhone, giving it 3D-sensing capability. This would allow someone to take a picture of an object or person to determine size and even mass. "It sounds technical, but a phone with that capability could perhaps [take a] picture of your recently expired refrigerator, for example, and be able to immediately recommend new refrigerators that would fill the exact same space, not to mention match the colors in the rest of your kitchen," McQuivey writes in AdAge. "That's a phone Apple and its developers could have a lot of fun with."
iPad Pro, But Not For A While
Honey, I blew up the iPad.
The Korea Times reported last week that Apple is working on an iPad with a 12.9-inch Retina display. The iPad, which was released in 2010, has a 9.7-inch display, while its smaller sibling released in 2012, the iPad Mini, comes in at 7.9 inches.
But if you think bigger is better, you may have to wait awhile to get your hands on one: Digitimes reported on Monday that the rumored bigger iPad, which people are already calling the iPad Pro, won't ship until the second half of next year.
An Enhanced Touch ID
Some people love Touch ID, the home-button fingerprint scanner that Apple included on the iPhone 5S, and others can't get it to work. But according to Unwired View, which relayed a massive patent application filed with the World Intellectual Property Organization, Apple wants to turn Touch ID into a trackpad.
People using iPhones or iPads could control their devices by "revolving" or "twisting" their finger on the home button, the patent suggests. As Unwired View's Stasys Bielinis speculates: "slide your finger left <-> right and the map displayed on the screen scrolls in the same direction, or your browser window scrolls up and down. Move your finger upwards, and the multitasking window pops up, making the map underneath inactive, and allowing you to scroll through recent apps."
If controlling your phone using a trackpad of sorts sounds a bit familiar, it's because it is: BGR's Jacob Siegal says the patent filing is evocative of a "Blackberry-style trackpad."
iWatch Watch: Wearable Could Be Months Away
It wouldn't be "This Week in Apple Rumors" if we didn't talk about the iWatch, the wrist-worn device that Apple is supposedly developing. Digitimes says that "mass production" of the device will come in the second quarter of next year. Apple is reportedly looking to Foxconn, Inventec and Quanta for manufacturing, according to Digitimes.