A realistic guide to the current crop of tech rumors | Popular Science
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A realistic guide to the current crop of tech rumors

Catch up on all the technology gossip without all the hype.

Tech rumor roundup

Gutcheck: Cars will still have wheels for a while

We wouldn't put too much stock in this rumor.

Popular Science

It’s fun to speculate about tech rumors, especially when they apply to the products we use every day. But, every rumor is different. Some are likely true, while others are little more than desperate clickbait. On this page, we plan to keep a running tab of the most popular rumors in the tech world and contextualize them so you don’t get your hopes up—and then feel sad when they don’t pan out.

Samsung has plans for a folding smartphone in early 2019

We know that smartphone makers are already working on flexible phones that can flip open to reveal a larger screen, but it seems they're getting closer to market. A report from the Wall Street Journal claims that Samsung could release a folding phone as early as the beginning of 2019. When expanded, the device would have a 7-inch screen, which makes it roughly the size of a small tablet.

Gutcheck: Early 2019 seems fairly soon, but with so many manufacturers working to bring the tech to market, it seems like a distinct possibility. Apple is reportedly also rolling around the idea of a folding iPhone, which would compete with Samsung's redefined flip phone.

Samsung's Galaxy S10 phone will have three sizes and a fingerprint reader in the display

If you want a typical, non-folding Samsung phone, a report spotted by Business Insider says the upcoming Galaxy S10 will have three versions, inclduing 5.8-inch, 6.1-inch, and 6.4-inch displays. The report also claims that the larger models will have an ultrasonic fingerprint reader integrated into the display.

Gutcheck: It's still early to speculate about the Galaxy S10 since it won't debut until next year, but these rumors seem reasonable when considering the Galaxy S trajectory. The in-display fingerprint reader also makes sense as a differentiator from the iPhone, since Apple isn't likely to release a phone with that feature.

The upcoming LG V40 will have a total of five built-in cameras

Smartphones have pushed the limits on image quality when it comes to really tiny sensors and optics, so the only rational next step is to add more cameras. We're used to three, or even four, cameras on a device, but a recent report from Android Police says the new LG phone will have five individual imaging devices.

Gutcheck: The rumor isn't even exactly clear on what each camera will actually do, but adding lenses is a popular move at the moment on high-end smartphones. LG has already shown it's eager to use camera specs to set its devices apart, so this one seems like it might hold water.

Apple's wireless charger is coming in September and the iPhone X almost didn't have a charging port at all

It's one of Apple's go-to moves to remove a typically-standard feature from its devices in the name of progress. However, a Bloomberg report says the iPhone X almost eschewed the charging port completely. The report also claims that Apple's first-party wireless charging solution—which has endured massive delays—will come to market in September.

Gutcheck: Apple missed its shipping estimate with the HomePod last year, and it's still far behind its original estimate on the wireless charging pad that would juice up the iPhones and the Apple Watch. Chances are, the company would love to have its charging pad out for back-to-school, or for the holiday shopping season at the very least.

2019 will bring new AirPods and a new HomePod from Apple

The AirPod headphones have been a huge success for Apple. The HomePod smart speaker? Not so much. However, many rumors suggest that both products will get a refresh in 2019. Some even say the new AirPods will be higher-end when it comes to sound, and there could be an over-the-ear option as well.

Gutcheck: This seems likely. Apple still owns Beats headphones and borrowing some of that company's tech to make over-the-ear headphones seems totally reasonable. The HomePod barely even got a mention at WWDC earlier this year, but if Apple is going to try and revamp the product, a late-2018 announcement and 2019 release would make sense.

The iPhone will ditch the Lightning port and go totally USB-C

In 2011, Apple introduced the Lightning connector to replace the typical 30-pin connector previously used in iPads, iPods, and iPhones. Now, a report from Digitimes suggests another shift is coming in 2019, this time to USB-C.

Gutcheck: The sources on this rumor are anonymous and seem flimsy. It seems unlikely, but it's not totally impossible. The 30-pin connector had a run of roughly 11 years, almost twice as long as Lightning has been around. USB-C adoption has also been spotty across the industry. If anything, we would like for this one to be false, if only

Google's Pixel 3 phones will have a screen notch and glass back

The Google Pixel 2 phones are some of our favorite Android devices on the market, but we're coming up on time for the new version. Some purported photos of the new device popped up on an Android forum that agree with a Bloomberg report about the upcoming phone.

Gutcheck: This form wouldn't come as a surprise, especially in a time when screen notches are all the rage on just about every new handset.

Google is working on a Pixel Watch wearable device

You already have a variety of options if you want to wear an Android device on your wrist, but according to prolific leaker of mobile devices, Evan Blass, Google is now working on a flagship smart watch to coincide with the release of the upcoming Pixel 3 smartphones.

Gutcheck This seems like a likely move for Google. Rumors have existed for years that the company would release a high-end watch to show off what its WearOS software can do. The latest version of the SnapDragon Wear processor also seems like a natural fit for this kind of high-end device to launch before the end of the year. The fall timeline would make sense since it will likely compete with whatever the next Apple Watch update brings.

Tesla is working on a Model Y car for 2020 that will fix some of its manufacturing problems

Tesla's Model 3 has been a real pain for Elon Musk as the company tries to ramp up production to meet the demand and cut down on the 9-month waitlist. The Model Y would introduce even more automation into the production process and help reduce the amount of wiring in the car to churn them out faster.

Gutcheck According to Musk, the Model Y is currently in the prototype phase and should start rolling out in 2020. However, we have heard timeline predictions from musk before. It will be a while before we find out how close to reality this ride really is.

Apple is moving away from Intel chips in its laptops by 2020

Bloomberg is reporting that Apple hopes to phase out Intel’s chips and replace them with its own hardware. The new chips may or may not come from the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Ltd., which makes Apple’s other custom processors.

Gutcheck: The source is reliable, but there's no official word.

Months of rumors have swirled on this topic, but the Bloomberg report is the most formidable so far as the company has a strong track record for information like this.

Apple is working on a VR headset for self-driving cars

A patent application showing a VR system for inside self-driving cars showed up in Apple’s arsenal of intellectual property. It could help entertain passengers (and fight off motion sickness) who would otherwise be bored as a robot drives them around.

Gutcheck: The patent is real, but the product may never arrive.

There are lots of patents out there that never become reality, but this one does sound like a promising idea. People have to do something since they’re not driving, and VR could possibly be effective at reducing nausea if used in the right way

There could be a folding iPhone by 2020

CNBC reported on findings from Bank of America Merrill Lynch. The source backs up the claim saying they talked to several manufacturers in China.

Gutcheck: It's possible, especially since other manufacturers have tried the tech.

Both Lenovo and Samsung have already shown phones that fold or bend in one way or another, so the concept isn’t that far outside the realm of possibility. Of course, Apple is tight-lipped on the subject, but OLED display tech could make it happen. But the fact remains-- do we need to fold our phones?

Samsung is working on a Bixby smart speaker and it will be out in 2018

Last year, Samsung confirmed that this product was in the works, but the release date was still nebulous. Recently, the Wall Street Journal reported that we should expect it some time in the second half of 2018.

Gutcheck: The project is real, but the timeline has shifted.

We have official confirmation from the company that this thing is happening, but we’re still unclear as to its release date. If you’re clamoring for a speaker with Bixby built in, you’ll have to keep a look out for a pleasant surprise.

Spotify could make hardware for listening to music

The genesis of this rumor comes from a job listing in 2017 regarding the company’s desire to build a “category-defining product.” The rumor was dormant for a while, but popped back up again in recent weeks, likely because the company had its IPO on April 3.

Gutcheck: Spotify has been working on hardware, but we don't know when or if it will land on shelves.

There’s a current job description, but this time it explicitly mentions the fact that Spotify is working on physical products. It’s not out of the question that they never actually come to market, but it seems very likely that there is work in progress.

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