iPhone 6 rumor rollup for the week ending Aug. 1

The hunt for iOctober, Glowing Logo, real virtual health, sapphire woe.

Just in time for trick or treat 2014, the iPhone 6 actually will be available in October, a somewhat skeptical iOSphere learned this week. Because it will be announced nearly a full month earlier, in September, we can just savor the pending release over the subsequent weeks.

Also this week: a novel theory that a new style of Apple logo on the back of the iPhone 6 rear casing will glow every time you get an iOS alert (If the phone is in your pocket or purse or on its back, you wouldn't know that, of course, but fortunately there are tones, vibrations, and all that other stuff.); how iPhone 6 will make us more health conscious and bring about the dawn of virtual house calls by doctors; and all kinds of alleged production delays have doomed the long-rumored sapphire display covers.

You read it here second.

iPhone 6 will be available in October, not September

Apple may announce the iPhone 6 in September, but you won't be able to get your hands on one until Oct. 14, according to a post by Richard Padilla at MacRumors.

The post is based on information from "a source that spoke to MacRumors citing an internal Apple Retail Store meeting." It's unclear whether the source is an Apple employee who, presumbably, was at the meeting, or someone who was told about the meeting by someone else, who may or may not have been present.

"The source notes that a senior Store Leader [See Apple's Store Leader development program] mentioned October 14th as being an immense' day for Apple, adding that the whole month of October would be very busy for stores and the company itself," Padilla writes. "Apple is also said to be planning a media event for Tuesday, September 16, coming a month ahead of the device's launch."

So, Apple will announce the iPhone 6 Sept. 16 but release it almost 30 days later? Typically, the release date is seven to 10 days after the announcement.

Padilla notes that Apple traditionally uses Fridays to put new products physically on sale, such as the iPhone at its carrier-partner retail stores. "However, the source claims that high customer demand and an ample supply due to a large production effort will motivate Apple to start iPhone 6 sales earlier in the week," Padilla writes. But if an "ample supply" exists, then why wait a month after announcing the phone to release it? Wouldn't Apple be "motivated" to release the Phone later in September, rather than wait until October? And when has an iPhone NOT been subject to "high customer demand?"

As usual, what appears at first post to be a rumor that brings clarity, only muddies the water even more.

iPhone 6 will have rear light-up Apple logo for notifications

It doesn't get more awesome than this. Uswitch's Jonathan Leggett reveals that "exclusive photos of a market-ready version of the phone's rear housing," courtesy of Australian Professional Leaker Sonny Dickson, "could offer conclusive proof" that iPhone 6 will have a rear-casing Apple logo that lights up when you have notifications.

Jonathan Leggett, Uswitch.com, explaining how a rumored Glowing Logo on the back of the iPhone 6 is an advance in user notifications over the tones, vibrations, and text alerts on the front of the iPhone 6, thereby ""allowing owners to put their handset on its front and still be made aware of people contacting them."

A different style of logo on the rear casing has been rumored for months. And here's the Uswitch photo, showing the interior of the back casing, with that blobby thing in the middle being "part of a plastic panel that's inserted in a recessed part of the interior of the rear housing and peeks through the hole."

"Tellingly, the plastic part looks to have been made thin enough that light can easily shine through to alert you to updates and other important messages," Leggett explains.

Just...uh, whoa. Let's think about this.

I've got my iPhone 6 in my jeans pocket and the logo starts glowing because I have a notification. But I can't tell because...it's inside a jeans pocket. Or a purse. Or a sports coat pocket. Or a manbag.

But I don't always have my iPhone 6 in something, right? Sometimes I have it in front of me, on a tabletop or desk or Starbucks counter or a beach blanket. Whatever. But usually, it seems most people have the phone with the display facing up because, you know, they want to see the front of the phone, not the back, because the display, which is what you actually use, is on...the front.

So if the phone is on its back, and the logo on the back lights up, I wouldn't be able to see it, anyway. Maybe Apple will provide tones and vibrations that alert you to the fact that the Glow Logo is alerting you. So you can ignore the notifications on the front display, turn the phone over, see the glowing logo, realize you have an alert, turn the phone back over and see the alert notification there, and tap it. That makes perfect sense.

Perhaps the Glow Logo will trigger new iPhone behaviors? That seems to be what Leggett thinks. The Glow Logo is "allowing owners to put their handset on its front and still be made aware of people contacting them," he concludes.

+More on Network World: Black Hat 2014: How to crack just about everything+

Finally! Apple has heard our plaints and pleas to be allowed to put our iPhone face down so we don't have took at that skimpy, shrimpy 4-inch screen, but still have a way, apart from the tones and vibrations, of being aware that people are contacting us. That's what we call...magical.

iPhone 6 will let doctors, trainers, and nutritionists make virtual house calls

"[A] funny thing happened on the way to the mobile technology world we're now in: businesses are beginning to see that services tailored specifically to those that want access from their smartphone or tablet can be big business," opines Maury Brown, a Forbes "Contributor" [aka as Forbes Self-promoter], who describes himself as "the founder and president of the Business of Sports Network, a consulting and analysis firm which includes the The Biz of Baseball.

And Apple is "on the cusp" of doing all this, transformatively, for healthcare and fitness, with iOS 8 (with features like Health and Health Kit) and, of course, the clickbait use of the term "iPhone 6" in Brown's headline. "[S]everal companies have released health apps that go further by actually putting you in touch with a human voice," Brown enthuses. "It isn't Siri with an MD, but a network of real healthcare physicians that can take your calls, do FaceTime, and give advice. Think of it as house calls without the doctor coming to your house."

If only Brown actually had thought about it.

The example he cites is HealthTap, though what he apparently really means is HealthTap Prime, a new service by the company: for $99 a month, and $10 more for each family member, you can get "access" to over 62,000 "top US doctors" in the HealthTap prime network, anytime you want, anywhere you want. According to the HealthTap website, "it's such a simple idea, yet it's almost too good to be true."

Which exactly captures The Rollup's reaction.

Wired.com has a mostly sympathetic story about HealthTap's new network, and the company's founder, Ron Gutman, but it at least makes several points that Brown didn't bother to think about: that telemedicine is highly unlikely to replace traditional in-person care; that the "reliance on technology" isn't something most people outside of Silicon Valley and Forbes Contributor Blogs are willing to, well, rely on when it comes to personal healthcare; that knowing one's doctor, not to mention trusting them, is rather different than the healthcare equivalent of an out-sourced call center; and the extra $100-plus per month is for those rich enough, or desperate enough, not to care about the cost.

"[M]obile devices have made us more health conscious," says Brown. "It might be that in the future, studies show that the advent of the smartphone actually led to longer life expectancy."

My iPhone extended my life expectancy. My iPhone made me more health conscious. My iPhone improved my quality of life. My iPhone made me more confident. My iPhone improved my marriage. My iPhone helped me be successful with girls.

Give it a rest.

iPhone 6 will not have a sapphire cover for its display

According to AppleInsider's Sam Oliver, iPhone 6 will be lacking a synthetic sapphire cover glass "thanks to poor yield rates for sapphire ingot and problems with the processing of the material."

That's his interpretation of what he calls a "new report, which suggests that Apple is unlikely to ship a sapphire-covered device in large quantities this year."

It's not actually a "report." It's a press release, put out by market research firm TrendForce, on behalf of its LEDinside division.

LEDinside notes a distinct lack of "optical demands" in handheld devices, which have "failed to generate price upticks in the sapphire substrate industry. In fact, prices for sapphire ingots, substrates and patterned sapphire are all down 5-10 percent quarter-to-quarter. Optical demands also "lagged behind sapphire manufacturers' production expansion, and order volumes have fallen short of expectations."

LEDinside says there is still demand for the smaller sapphire covers, for Apple smartphone camera lenses and its fingerprint recognition sensors.

"However, the much anticipated sapphire cover glass remains missing from the picture. Analysis of the iPhone 6 supply chain indicates related component suppliers need to ship products to OEMs for assembly in June 2014 to meet the September launch date," according to the press release.

[FYI, LEDinside seems to think that sapphire may not make it into the rumored iWatch, either. "Since sapphire glass processing is relatively difficult, it would be problematic to mass produce sapphire watch cover glass if the iWatch is 2.5 D. Additionally, sapphire glass processing will become even more strenuous if the wearable device uses flexible OLED panels."]

You can see why Sam Oliver concludes that the lack of sapphire display cover shipments is likely to point to either a delayed or seriously constrained release for a sapphire-covered iPhone, the firm argues," even though the firm did not, in fact, argue that or even hint that.

In any case, this seems to miss the point. LEDinside is looking at the current sapphire supply industry. Until now, Apple has been a buyer in that market, for small sapphire covers. But Apple is making an aggressive billion-dollar investment in sapphire throughout its supply chain, starting with its company-owned sapphire production plant in Mesa, Ariz., with furnaces from GT Advanced Technologies. [see "How Apple's billion dollar sapphire bet will pay off"] In other words, Apple is about to become its own sapphire supplier (and probably one of the largest in the world).

At the same time, Apple and several of its supply chain partners have to make downstream investments to install new equipment to cut, shape, grind, and polish a material second only to diamond in hardness, and to do all that for millions of mobile devices. In addition to money, that all takes time, and trial and error.

There may indeed be yield or other production problems, but neither LEDinside nor AppleInsider present any evidence of that. And the "delay" may be pure myth: all of Apple's sapphire moves so far may be aimed at producing products not for the 2014 iPhone, or other products this year, but for the 2015 models.

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