iPhone 7 rumors postmortem: What the Apple rumor mill got right, and what it didn't

Posted:
in iPhone edited September 2016
For regular AppleInsider readers, last week's Apple event came with no major surprises, as the rumor mill signaled exactly what to expect from the iPhone 7 and Apple Watch Series 2. Here's a recap of which sources got it right --?in some cases well in advance of the product announcements.




Apple rumors generally follow the same pattern



For those who aren't familiar with the Apple product rumor cycle, here's how it works:

A few years out from a product's launch, sketchy supply chain reports will begin to surface. These are usually based on general industry trends or efforts to read into patent filings or Apple's corporate acquisitions.

About a year before the product's launch, the picture starts to become much clearer -- and more accurate. There is occasional noise or misinformation, but numerous reports begin to agree on the larger points.

Parts for new products then begin to leak in the months leading up to launch --?at first they trickle slowly, but as Apple ramps up production, they become common. In the few months before an iPhone launch, the design of the product is all but confirmed.

Why does this happen? Though Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook vowed to "double down" on secrecy back in 2012, the truth is Apple's supply chain is so massive, and the number of products the company must produce is so mind bogglingly large, that leaks are seemingly impossible to stop.There is no way Apple could put 75-million-plus iPhones in the hands of consumers in a single quarter without involving all kinds of outside partners and suppliers.

There is no way Apple could put 75-million-plus iPhones in the hands of consumers in a single quarter without involving all kinds of outside partners and suppliers.

For this reason, Apple's Sept. 7 event lacked any major surprises -- at least, not for those who read AppleInsider. Here's quick rundown of how we knew almost everything ahead of time, and who got it right.

Nailed it: Ming-Chi Kuo



What they got right: The dual-lens camera system, based on acquired LinX technology, is exclusive to the larger iPhone 7 Plus. The iPhone 7 Plus also has 3 gigabytes of RAM while the iPhone 7 has 2 gigabytes. The new lineup has a wide color display, and capacities range from 32 gigabytes to 256 gigabytes. Finally, the Apple Watch Series 2 is a largely internal upgrade, with the device looking essentially the same on the outside.

When they got it right: Kuo accurately weighed in on the iPhone 7 Plus A10 processor in November of 2015. He followed up with details on Apple's new dual-camera system for the iPhone 7 Plus in January of 2016 He also nailed the details of the second-generation Apple Watch in April while exact capacity options were reported earlier this month.




Nailed it: Macotakara



What they got right: iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus ditched the 3.5-millimeter headphone jack, and adopted a new pressure sensitive home button that doesn't click. Apple also introduced two new shades of black color options.

When they got it right: Macotakara was first to report this in November of 2015. It also revealed the force sensing home button in July of 2016, while all five color options were revealed by the site in late August.


Screenshot of Apple's Sept. 7 special event showing iPhone 7's distinct lack of a 3.5mm jack.


Nailed it: Mark Gurman



What they got right: Apple introduced a new pair of truly wireless separate left and right earbuds, dubbed AirPods. The company did not refresh any Macs at its Sept. 7 event.

When they got it right: Gurman was the first to report on the earbuds in January of 2016. He also said in August that Apple would not be updating the MacBook Pro this month. New Macs will wait until later this fall.




Nailed it: Apple itself



What they got right: Sometimes Apple is inadvertently the source of their own leaks. Products such as AirPods, the iPhone 7 A10 Fusion Chip, and the iPhone 7 name itself were revealed through international patent filings, while a mistakenly sent Beats promotional email indicated new headphones would be announced Sept. 7.

When they got it right: The AirPods trademark was discovered in July of 2016, while a number of other trademarks and the new Beats products were revealed a few days before the event. And then the day of the keynote, Apple's own Twitter account published all of the details about the iPhone 7, including pictures of the hardware, before it had been officially unveiled.

Some other other correct reports



The first to report that the iPhone 7 would double entry-level storage to 32 gigabytes was The Wall Street Journal in July. Taiwan's hit-or-miss Commercial Times was first to report in December of 2015 that the iPhone 7 would be waterproof and feature a new antenna-concealing design.

The big miss: iPhone 7 Plus doesn't have a Smart Connector



While no individual publications or people said the iPhone 7 Plus would have a Smart Connector, a number of leaks out of Asia suggest Apple was at least toying with the idea of including the magnetic port on the back of the 5.5-inch model.




Whether the leaks were legitimate and represent scrapped plans, or if they were fake mockups designed to deceive, will likely never be known. But one thing can be said for certain: The iPhone 7 Plus does not include a Smart Connector.

A few misfires



Apple rumors are a dangerous game -- Apple's secrecy and misdirection can lead to bogus claims, and sometimes the company itself changes course before a product comes to market. As a result, there are inevitably incorrect claims made ahead of a product launch.

Even AppleInsider whiffed it in November of 2015 when a reliable source suggested executives at the company were considering an earlier-than-usual iPhone launch this year. Though the iPhone 7 is launching in Apple's usual September timeframe, the company did debut a completely new entry-level handset, the iPhone SE, in March. Not quite the same, though, and wrong.

Another one that missed the mark came from MacRumors, which reported in February of 2016 that the iPhone 7 would offer a flat back with a flush camera. The single camera on the iPhone 7 and the dual lenses on the iPhone 7 Plus both protrude, and that rumor proved bogus.


Remember when the iPhone camera bump was derided as the design equivalent of Quasimodo? Now it's a feature.


Reliable sources mix things up, too. Though he had the most right about the iPhone 7, Kuo suggested in September of 2015 that the iPhone 7 could be as thin as an iPod touch or iPad Air 2. It's not.

While he nailed AirPods specs like proprietary low-power Bluetooth technology, Kuo did say Apple would position the headphones in a price range above Beats's lineup of wireless cans. Three new Beats models were unveiled at Wednesday's event, each featuring wireless technology powered by Apple's W1 chip. Though AirPods are more expensive than the $149 Beats X, Apple's branded wireless offering is cheaper than the $199 Powerbeats 3 Wireless and $299 Beats Solo 3 Wireless models.

And although its track record was strong, Macotakara was also incorrect when it suggested the iPhone 7 would come in a new deep blue shade in June. The site eventually course-corrected to nail all five colors before the product was unveiled.

Gurman, too, was wrong when he reported that a "full redesign" of the Apple Watch was due this fall. The Apple Watch Series 2 looks largely the same as its predecessor, and a redesign will have to wait.
Even the most reliable of sources on Apple rumors get the details wrong from time to time.
The lesson here is: Even the most reliable of sources on Apple rumors get the details wrong from time to time. Though the collective efforts of the tech media generally sort out what to expect from an Apple event ahead of time, no one publication is batting 1.000. The proverbial baby and bathwater, forever intertwined.

The cycle continues: 2017 iPhone rumors already rampant



For Apple fanatics (and thankfully for publications such as AppleInsider), rumors about upcoming updates don't stop. In fact, expectations for the 2017 iPhone --?which some have taken to calling an "iPhone 8" --?are already starting to solidify.

Rumors are calling for a radical redesign of the iPhone next year, with an all-glass chassis and OLED display that could conceal the FaceTime camera, earpiece, and home button behind or within the screen. It's possible that the major changes will be limited to the larger "Plus" series, per some claims.

As the fall of 2017 approaches, the rumor mill will inevitably begin to coalesce around a similar narrative, and it will probably prove accurate on some fateful September day, when Apple holds a keynote and attempts to wow the world with its latest handset.

The truth is, there are too many cogs in the wheel, and Apple cannot possibly stop all of them from squeaking.
repressthis
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 63
    Apple rumors are an industry unto themselves WOW which other Company can claim that ? Would you believe it all started in a garage ? By two guys ? Here's to the Dreamers http://ben-evans.com/benedictevans/2016/4/28/winning-and-losing
    bulk001repressthismagman1979
  • Reply 2 of 63
    At one time or another, pretty much everything that was even remotely possible appeared as a rumor. I'm not sure you can credit the rumor mongers with being "right" or "wrong" about anything. Even a blind pig occasionally finds an acorn.
    bulk001calitycho24TurboPGT
  • Reply 3 of 63
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,312member
    And this is precisely why Apple events are now criticized as boring, disappointing, and meh. The rumor sites pound their chests for getting the scoop but Apple suffers PR damage from the tech press because there is no suspense. 
    JanNLnolamacguycalirepressthistallguydamonfwatto_cobramagman1979Deelron
  • Reply 4 of 63
    it probably works this way: 1. An Apple employee or OEM component manufacturer employee ("employee X") contacts Gurman with a tip. That tip is specific and significant, and it turns out to be real information. 2. Next year, Gurman publishes another employee X tip, gets a scoop, boosts web traffic and ad revenue. Employee X is now a trusted source for Gurman. 3. The following year, employee X asks for money for tips, which Gurman pays. 4. Gurman pays employee X for tips every year, as long as those tips turn out to be real.
    edited September 2016 repressthistallguywatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 63
    As far as I'm concerned nobody nailed the A10 chip (outside of it being called A10, not much of a stretch there), the big.LITTLE type configuration was a surprise to everyone.
    nolamacguycalilolliverchiarepressthistycho24ai46anton zuykovwatto_cobramagman1979
  • Reply 6 of 63
    Regarding "earlier-than-usual iPhone launch this year," iPhone 7 actually is the earliest launch date for a new generation model (outside of CDMA 4 or SE refreshes) since iPhone 4S first shifted the launch window from the Summer to the Fall. Only a few days ahead of iPhone 5/5s/6, but just over a full extra week ahead of 6s last year and a month ahead of the 4S.

    Given how many iPhones are preordered and shipped in the first few days, that means several millions more iPhone 7's will included in calendar Q3 due to 2 weeks of September sales vs 1 week a year ago.

    That also means an extra launch-week of revenues and profits from iPhones will be reported in October vs. last year, which is likely to have an impact on perception of the launch and Apple's stock price.

    iPhone Launches
    Original iPhone: June 29, 2007
    3G: July 11, 2008
    3GS: June 19, 2009
    4: June 24, 2010
    4S: October 14, 2011
    5: September 21, 2012
    5C, 5S: September 20, 2013
    6 / 6 Plus: September 19, 2014
    6S / 6S Plus: September 25, 2015
    SE: March 31, 2016
    7 / 7 Plus: September 16, 2016
    edited September 2016 wonkothesanecalilolliverjoshanhughesronnmagman1979Deelronpscooter63fastasleep
  • Reply 7 of 63
    irelandireland Posts: 17,671member
    Reliable sources mix things up, too.
    Don't think it's fair you deleting my comment for calling you out on including this line. It's an unjust justification for Ming-Chi Kuo getting things wrong. When he got the thinner MBP in June two years ago wrong not so much as a pip-squeak.

    When he gets it right ye shout it from the rooftops—when he's wrong ye excuse and minimise. And Apple Insider isn't the only publication guilty of this regarding this guy. Some of his predictions such as Apple going higher end than Beats didn't even read right at the time. It's like a gambler only recalling his wins. Sooner or later he's no house and is forced to look at his reality. No doubt Kuo has some inside sources, but he gets things wrong and right.

    Aside from this the article otherwise was well written.
    edited September 2016 caliSpamSandwichTurboPGT
  • Reply 8 of 63
    I am confused why is this time around forth coming iPhone 8 and not iPhone 7S? 
    repressthistallguySpamSandwich
  • Reply 9 of 63
    ireland said:
    Reliable sources mix things up, too.
    Don't think it's fair you deleting my comment for calling you out on including this line. It's an unjust justification for Ming-Chi Kuo getting things wrong. When he got the thinner MBP in June two years ago wrong not so much as a pip-squeak.

    When he gets it right ye shout it from the rooftops—when he's wrong ye excuse and minimise. And Apple Insider isn't the only publication guilty of this regarding this guy. Some of his predictions such as Apple going higher end than Beats didn't even read right at the time. It's like a gambler only recalling his wins. Sooner or later he's no house and is forced to look at his reality. No doubt Kuo has some inside sources, but he gets things wrong and right.
    I deleted it because you made a joke implying I was having sex with him. Your post is indefensible -- we don't tolerate that kind of content. 

    You don't like Kuo, fine. No need to insult the reporters at AppleInsider. Cut it out or leave. 
    lolliverdasanman69napoleon_phoneapartlevirepressthisanton zuykovfastasleepronnmagman1979watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 63
    irelandireland Posts: 17,671member
    sergioz said:
    I am confused why is this time around forth coming iPhone 8 and not iPhone 7S? 
    S models are the same physical design, usually. And the rumour is a complete departure and by far the most radical redesign since, ever. The last thing users want now is a fourth year of the same design. The 10th anniversary will be a big one.

    I'm not looking forward to a breakable all-glass design for practical reasons, but a home button and camera beneath the display itself with no chin or forhead and reduced side bezels sounds intriguing. The ear-piece speaker will likely be at the top edge cleverly hiden to the casual observer. In its first iteration I can see why this will be the large iPhone model first. Eventually trickling down to all three sizes some day. Or perhaps eventually the 5.8" model is today's plus size and thanks to the shrinking bezel-free design and the singular small iPhone could level off at 4.3-4.7".
    edited September 2016 repressthis
  • Reply 11 of 63
    irelandireland Posts: 17,671member
    nhughes said:
    ireland said:
    Reliable sources mix things up, too.
    Don't think it's fair you deleting my comment for calling you out on including this line. It's an unjust justification for Ming-Chi Kuo getting things wrong. When he got the thinner MBP in June two years ago wrong not so much as a pip-squeak.

    When he gets it right ye shout it from the rooftops—when he's wrong ye excuse and minimise. And Apple Insider isn't the only publication guilty of this regarding this guy. Some of his predictions such as Apple going higher end than Beats didn't even read right at the time. It's like a gambler only recalling his wins. Sooner or later he's no house and is forced to look at his reality. No doubt Kuo has some inside sources, but he gets things wrong and right.
    I deleted it because you made a joke implying I was having sex with him. Your post is indefensible -- we don't tolerate that kind of content. 

    You don't like Kuo, fine. No need to insult the reporters at AppleInsider. Cut it out or leave. 
    Get out of his bed was meant in the business sense of that term. Apologies if you felt it was a personal attack or a literal reference. We just get fed up when this guy gets a pass when he's wrong. I believe that's the case. It's OK for him to be imperfect. He's often on a few sites not even referred to as an analyst—he is an analyst. Analysts usually have sources. That's their job. If they don't they are a mediocre analyst.
    edited September 2016 jkichlinecalirepressthisdamonfSpamSandwichpscooter63jony0
  • Reply 12 of 63
    Next years phone will have an A11. I'm now as accurate as Ming-Chi. 
    calirepressthisirelanddamonfmagman1979DeelronSpamSandwichTurboPGTjony0
  • Reply 13 of 63
    irelandireland Posts: 17,671member
    Next years phone will have an A11. I'm now as accurate as Ming-Chi. 
    And it'll have a home button that will be part of the display, though Apple may decide to hold off said feature if they feel it's not ready. Look, I'm 9to5Mac! I literally cannot be wrong.

    In other news, I'm going to win the lottery next week. I may decide to not win however.
    edited September 2016 thewhitefalconcalirepressthisdamonfmagman1979DeelronSpamSandwich
  • Reply 14 of 63
    ireland said:
    sergioz said:
    I am confused why is this time around forth coming iPhone 8 and not iPhone 7S? 
    S models are the same physical design, usually. And the rumour is a complete departure and by far the most radical redesign since, ever. The last thing users want now is a fourth year of the same design. The 10th anniversary will be a big one.

    I'm not looking forward to a breakable all-glass design for practical reasons, but a home button and camera beneath the display itself with no chin or forhead and reduced side bezels sounds intriguing. The ear-piece speaker will likely be at the top edge cleverly hiden to the casual observer. In its first iteration I can see why this will be the large iPhone model first. Eventually trickling down to all three sizes some day. Or perhaps eventually the 5.8" model is today's plus size and thanks to the shrinking bezel-free design and the singular small iPhone could level off at 4.3-4.7".
    Wouldn't be surprised if Apple goes uses the same ceramic in the next iPhone as they do in their Watch. This article makes a good case for it:

    https://www.quora.com/What-will-the-iPhone-8-be-made-of/answer/Brian-Roemmele?srid=Pi3
    califastasleeptmaySpamSandwichpatchythepiratejony0
  • Reply 15 of 63
    To be honest, knowing all the details in advance this year kinda ruined the announcement for me. I would love for there to be surprises again
    lkruppirelandmagman1979watto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 16 of 63
    I think the Gurman comment about Apple Watch redesign this fall was actually 100% accurate. By all accounts Apple had to redesign every aspect of the watch for the new level of waterproofing. They said as much during the keynote and shows all of the new gaskets, talked about the adhesives, etc. Yes, the external design didn't really change much at all, but the fact remains that the pretty much every component changed. That is the definition of a complete redesign. Given that the same post was also pretty accurate about the additional aluminum colors and what ended up being the nylon bands, he was pretty damn spot on in both accounts. You really need to give him credit as such.
    fastasleepronnmagman1979DeelronSpamSandwich
  • Reply 17 of 63
    ireland said:
    sergioz said:
    I am confused why is this time around forth coming iPhone 8 and not iPhone 7S? 
    S models are the same physical design, usually. And the rumour is a complete departure and by far the most radical redesign since, ever. The last thing users want now is a fourth year of the same design. The 10th anniversary will be a big one.

    I'm not looking forward to a breakable all-glass design for practical reasons, but a home button and camera beneath the display itself with no chin or forhead and reduced side bezels sounds intriguing. The ear-piece speaker will likely be at the top edge cleverly hiden to the casual observer. In its first iteration I can see why this will be the large iPhone model first. Eventually trickling down to all three sizes some day. Or perhaps eventually the 5.8" model is today's plus size and thanks to the shrinking bezel-free design and the singular small iPhone could level off at 4.3-4.7".
    Wouldn't be surprised if Apple goes uses the same ceramic in the next iPhone as they do in their Watch. This article makes a good case for it:

    https://www.quora.com/What-will-the-iPhone-8-be-made-of/answer/Brian-Roemmele?srid=Pi3
    I expect ceramic so they can go to contact style charging, like the Watch. 
    ronn
  • Reply 18 of 63
    ireland said:
    nhughes said:
    ireland said:
    Reliable sources mix things up, too.
    Don't think it's fair you deleting my comment for calling you out on including this line. It's an unjust justification for Ming-Chi Kuo getting things wrong. When he got the thinner MBP in June two years ago wrong not so much as a pip-squeak.

    When he gets it right ye shout it from the rooftops—when he's wrong ye excuse and minimise. And Apple Insider isn't the only publication guilty of this regarding this guy. Some of his predictions such as Apple going higher end than Beats didn't even read right at the time. It's like a gambler only recalling his wins. Sooner or later he's no house and is forced to look at his reality. No doubt Kuo has some inside sources, but he gets things wrong and right.
    I deleted it because you made a joke implying I was having sex with him. Your post is indefensible -- we don't tolerate that kind of content. 

    You don't like Kuo, fine. No need to insult the reporters at AppleInsider. Cut it out or leave. 
    Get out of his bed was meant in the business sense of that term. Apologies if you felt it was a personal attack or a literal reference. We just get fed up when this guy gets a pass when he's wrong. I believe that's the case. It's OK for him to be imperfect. He's often on a few sites not even referred to as an analyst—he is an analyst. Analysts usually have sources. That's their job. If they don't they are a mediocre analyst.
    I have to agree. There is a colloquialism called "getting into bed" with someone and often refers to an infatuation with a business or client that results in favoritism. While it may have its basis in a sexual relationship and how that clouds rationale thought, he was definitely not inferring that you are having sex with someone. It is a perfectly good explanation of how some people could see the relationship with a source when there is favoritism that overlooks faults.

    Instead of deleting the comment, perhaps you should adddress it and why you ignore those failure. Deleting the comment just confirms that comment further.
    nolamacguyirelandai46fastasleephaarpscooter63
  • Reply 19 of 63
    dmdev said:
    To be honest, knowing all the details in advance this year kinda ruined the announcement for me. I would love for there to be surprises again
    Good news -- this is a very easy thing to achieve. It just means not reading rumor sites. 
    lolliverrepressthisai46fastasleepronnmagman1979
  • Reply 20 of 63
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    ireland said:
    sergioz said:
    I am confused why is this time around forth coming iPhone 8 and not iPhone 7S? 
    S models are the same physical design, usually. And the rumour is a complete departure and by far the most radical redesign since, ever. The last thing users want now is a fourth year of the same design. The 10th anniversary will be a big one.

    I'm not looking forward to a breakable all-glass design for practical reasons, but a home button and camera beneath the display itself with no chin or forhead and reduced side bezels sounds intriguing. The ear-piece speaker will likely be at the top edge cleverly hiden to the casual observer. In its first iteration I can see why this will be the large iPhone model first. Eventually trickling down to all three sizes some day. Or perhaps eventually the 5.8" model is today's plus size and thanks to the shrinking bezel-free design and the singular small iPhone could level off at 4.3-4.7".
    Wouldn't be surprised if Apple goes uses the same ceramic in the next iPhone as they do in their Watch. This article makes a good case for it:

    https://www.quora.com/What-will-the-iPhone-8-be-made-of/answer/Brian-Roemmele?srid=Pi3
    You're now as accurate as Ming-Chi.
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