New iPhone cases, Nexus tablet benchmarked, and Apple's Maps blurry-grabbed

Your rumor roundup for May 30, 2012: stoppers removed, leaks at full pour.

Potential iPhone cases show many changes

Source: Where else but 9to5Mac

Details: The short list of changes: unibody metal enclosures, with a stylish metal back and the antenna built into said enclosure, along with larger speakers; a smaller, maybe even micro-USB dock connector; a taller, if only slightly wider, screen; the earphone jack has been moved to the bottom; more space in general, likely for a 4G/LTE antenna and chip; and perhaps a microphone enclosure on the back, for improved audio capture during videos.

Likelihood: 9to5Mac cites a Chinese parts supplier as a reputable firm, not a “fly-by-night,” and notes that said supplier actually has this part for sale, and has ordered one. Well, that sure is interesting, but if I was a Chinese parts supplier, I might have many reasons for making an iPhone case, even if I wasn’t the actual contracted provider of said part:

  • As a trial balloon, on Apple’s behalf, to see what reaction to the piece is (although Apple generally doesn’t market-test or trial-balloon there actual parts, up until now; they have been seen as “floating” prices to the Wall Street Journal before).

  • As a try-out or “portfolio piece” to try and impress Apple.

  • To see how many U.S. nerds and tech bloggers will actually order an iPhone case made on spec.

Get excited?: It is a very nice and different-looking case, and, man, how nice it would be to have a smaller dock connector, especially if it was USB-standard. Not much chance, but, hey, worth a smile.

“Apple Maps” arriving in iOS 6 this summer (with 3D)

Source: BGR, which does not often slam-dunk its Apple rumors, but cites a “trusted source.”

Details: Well, they’re blurry, because the photos are darned blurry. But after peeling back the lower-right portion of the Maps “page,” one can enable 3D mode. There are a few other telltale changes, too, like the switch from Google-y blue to Apple-ish steel on interface buttons.

Likelihood: 60/40. Apple software bits leak out a bit more faithfully than hardware, and the interface seems suitably minimal and different from Google-powered Maps.

Get excited?: If only we could actually see 3D mode, I’d have an answer.

7-inch Nexus tablet ends up on hardware benchmark site with Android 4.1

Source: Android Police, via hardware testing site Rightmark

Details: A tablet checked in at Rightmark for a test recently, bearing Android version 4.1, or “Jelly Bean,” and code named “Grouper,” which keeps with Google’s naming of Nexus test devices after fish. More so, the device is nicknamed the “Nexus 7,” implying a 7-inch screen, keeping with the upcoming Nexus tablet rumors. And all the internals (Nvidia quad-core processor and GPUS) match up with expectations.

Likelihood: Pretty high. I’ve seen a number of Android devices show up on benchmark sites before launch, and they often pan out to be true. And Android Police, among other Android sites, is seeing devices checking into their web servers with Android 4.1 listed as the OS.

Get excited?: An interesting play, isn’t it? A small tablet that seems really powerful. Now let’s see if it plays Netflix and Hulu out of the box.

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