New iPhone Rumors

(Photo NOT from Apple- User generated prototype)


We’re just one month away from Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference, where a spiffy new iPhone is widely expected to be unveiled. Naturally, the rumor mill is kicking into high gear; read on for the latest chatter.

Magnetometer on tap?
Boy Genius Report has a series of leaked screenshots from the upcoming iPhone 3.0 firmware revealing a “Show in Compass” option under the “General Location” Settings menu, leading many to believe that upcoming iPhone models may come with a built-in magnetometer, a.k.a. a digital compass.

What’s so special about a magnetometer? Well, as Macrumors explains, such a feature (in consort with GPS and on-board accelerometers) would allow the iPhone to determine the “absolute direction” in which it’s being pointed—perfect for, say, looking up information about a nearby building just by pointing your iPhone at it. A magnetometer would also come in handy for accurate turn-by-turn directions—a feature that’s still missing on the iPhone.

Parental controls for iPhone apps?
Here’s another iPhone 3.0 software leak, courtesy of screenshots showing parental restrictions for iPhone applications, ranging from “Allow All Apps” to “Don’t Allow Apps,” with steps of “4+,” “9+,” “12+,”  and “17+” in between. As TheiPhoneBlog notes, it’s not clear how iPhone apps themselves would be rated—or by whom—or whether this opens the door for, ahem, “adult” apps. Heads up, Playboy.

3.2MP camera sensor?
One of the most persistent iPhone rumors is that the new model (assuming it exists, of course) will comes with an upgraded 3.2-megapixel camera, along with auto-focus. Well, The Apple Blog recently got its hands on a supposed iPhone parts list, which includes a 3.2MP CMOS image sensor, a scrap of evidence that would appear to bolster the rumors. Still no definitive word on auto-focus or video recording, though.

Voice commands?
Wish you could just say the name of a contact to your iPhone rather than tap through the Contacts menu? Sources have told Ars Technica that the latest builds of iPhone software 3.0 contain voice-recognition features that could allow for true hands-free calling—a long overdue iPhone feature.

$10 service plan cut?
AT&T and Apple are under increasing pressure to move more iPhones, especially in the wake of news that the BlackBerry Curve surpassed the iPhone 3G in terms of sales last quarter. The quickest way to spur sales, of course, is to lower prices, and quotes an analyst who predicts that AT&T may chop the cheapest iPhone rate plan by $10, to $59 a month—good for a two-year savings of $240.


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