The end of the year is always a quiet week for breaking news, with many companies writing off the last two weeks as kind of hybrid “holiday-vacation.” But rumors on the other hand, well they’re just warming. With the Consumer Electronics Show starting next week in Las Vegas, there’s plenty of hearsay out there.
Also, if you’re in need of a refresher, here’s our highly scientific rumor rating scale:
??= Likelihood is very high
????= Probably going to happen, but there’s room for doubt
??????= Could go either way
????????= Most likely not, but anything is possible.
??????????= Fuck no.
All right, let’s get started.
“Microsoft exec confirms existence of a Surface phone.”
During a conversation on the Windows Weekly podcast, chief marketing officer Chris Capossela boldly state that the flailing Windows phone platform needed something transformative, like the Surface was for laptops. This perked up the ears of many Windows specialty blogs and rumor sites, extrapolating that a Surface phone was actually in the works, a long, long rumored device that would combine the looks of the Surface line with Microsoft’s mobile software.
Whether Capossela meant to knowingly step on that rumor grenade is uncertain, but it seems like he’s hoping for lightning to strike twice. The success of the Surface, now oft-imitated by other companies, took years to achieve and still isn’t dominating sales by any means. For a Surface phone to really be worthwhile, it will have to rethink smartphones in a big way since hardware isn’t really Windows phone’s problem. So for the upcoming Surface phone, the rumor remains the same: Ever present but also absent of any physical evidence of its existence.
“Google is finally going to kill your password.”
This one has since been confirmed true, though if it becomes a full-fledged feature or dies on the testing vine remains to be seen. It basically works like a much easier two-factor authentication. Simply put in your email and Google will send a notification to your phone asking if you’re trying to sign into another device. Click yes, and that’s it.
It has a built-in “I lost my phone” redundancy since a password will still be associated with your account, but it does technically rid you of needing a password though constantly juggling a phone to log into something also doesn’t seem that much easier. Give me eyeball-scanning passwords already.
“Apple will be getting into AR and VR in a big way in 2016.”
This can barely even be considered a rumor, more of a pondering on what Apple might be doing next year. The only reason it’s worth keeping an eye on is that history would suggest that if Apple was going to get into VR, it would be in 2016. In early 2016, companies like Sony, Oculus, ASUS, and HTC will release headsets. Like the iPod, iPhone, and Apple Watch, Apple usually swoops in after the early adopter first wave. So could we see some kind of big VR announcement, hypothetically, at WWDC next fall?
“LG G5 will have a second display, an all-metal body, and a ‘Magic Slot.'”
What makes this rumor so interesting is its source. Evan Blass is a longtime smartphone leaker with a pretty reliable record of getting things right. He was even named dropped by Aaron Paul for his leaking prowess during a T-Mobile press conference. Writing for VentureBeat, Blass says that the new G5 is going to inherent a few hardware elements from the new LG V10
, primarily its metal design and second screen display.
More interesting however, is the mention of a ‘Magic Slot’ that would allow the phone to take advantage of different modules for different situations. Blass cites “VR, 360, and Party.” Whatever that means.
Aside from the ‘Magic Slot’ (which I honestly don’t know what to make of), the rest seems like it could be accurate. Even though the G series has traditionally been the main smartphone flagship for LG, it’s had a tendency to inherit some of LG’s more wacky side-project features. Last year’s G4 for example had a slight curve, much like its Flex series of phones, so smacking on a second screen makes some sense. The G5 is also rumored to be 5.3-inches, smaller than the 5.5-inch phone last year. However, the second screen does add on a .2 inches so it might still be 5.5 inches when it’s all said and done.
The downfall of the second screen on the V10 was that it made an already big phone even bigger, but on a 5.3-inch phone, the ticker-type screen might be a blessing instead of a curse.
“Microsoft is going to make a stripped down Xbox Apple TV competitor.”
This one has a fair bit of speculation and also relies on a similar rumor from 2013. But with the introduction of the new Apple TV, which leverages way more apps and games than its predecessor, it would be smart for Microsoft to basically reimagine the Xbox for this use, especially since that’s what the console’s been doing since the Xbox 360.
This mini console obviously wouldn’t play blockbuster triple-A titles, just the ones found in the Windows store. But with Windows 10 and its universal apps framework, Microsoft does have the pieces in place to make an interesting Apple TV competitor.
“The iPhone 6c will be surprisingly powerful.”
The iPhone rumors are becoming more and more substantial-moving beyond “analyst predictions” hearsay to actual hardware orders being recorded by Foxconn insiders. The 6c is rumored to have a bigger battery than the 5s and also 2GB of RAM. Of course, its most famous feature is that it will have a 4-inch screen, which many Apple fans have clamored for since the iPhone 6 was announced in 2014. It seemed that small iPhones were destined to be a tech relic, but each passing rumors makes a small iPhone more and more plausible.