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.

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