A man leaving an Apple store in Beijing, 2019.Photo: Andy Wong (AP)
Gather round, consumers, for yet another Apple rumor.
According to a recent report in Bloomberg, sources say that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., Apple’s manufacturing partner for its custom-designed chips, has started production on new chips for iPhones slated to launch later this year—specifically the A13 processor, the successor to Apple’s much-ballyhooed A12 processor. Those sources told the site A13 went into test production in April and could be ready for mass production by the end of May. That’s ahead of schedule, according to Tom’s Hardware.
Those sources also told Bloomberg that the new A13 chips will be included in all three phones expected to be announced, which will closely resemble iPhone XR, XS, and XS Max models with extra cameras. For the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max successors, that means an ultra-wide-angle rear camera lens:
The new high-end models are code-named D43 and D44, while the update to the iPhone XR is internally dubbed N104, they said.
All three new iPhones will look similar to the current versions, but the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max updates will gain a third rear camera. The iPhone XR successor will get a second camera on the back.
The third camera on the high-end models will have an ultra-wide-angle lens to produce larger and more detailed photos. It will also enable a broader range of zoom. Apple is also working on an auto-correction feature to fit people back into a photo who may have been accidentally cut out. The second camera on the new XR model will have increased zoom as well.
Those cameras will fit into a “square on the top left,” Bloomberg wrote, which does comport with leaked images purporting to show just that.
Additionally, Bloomberg’s sources said that Apple plans on introducing its own version of a Samsung’s Wireless Powershare, which would allow charging of accessories like AirPods by simply putting them on the back of a phone. There’s no mention of these phones being 5G-enabled—which is no great surprise, as Apple has spent much of its time lately bogged down sorting out issues with manufacturers Qualcomm and Intel, and wasn’t expected to announce a 5G iPhone anyways. (Not that Apple customers in the U.S. will likely be missing out on much, given that it will take quite some time for 5G to become reliable and widespread here.)
As CNET noted, Apple has historically announced new phones in September, leaving the big news item on the short-term agenda the likely demo of iOS 13 at its World Wide Developers Conference in San Jose, California in June. Other announcements could include refreshes of hardware including the MacBook and iPad, as well as an updated MacOS and new features for the Apple Watch.