Apple’s Secret Weapon Isn’t the iPhone It’s Working On
As the holiday season kicked off this week, some of Apple’s internal plans might have stepped out from the shadows.
Over the last several days, rumors have been swirling that Apple is hard at work on next year’s innovations. Those reports suggest the company is eyeing major improvements to its iPhone and is drumming up ways to make its mapping service Apple Maps compete more effectively with market leader Google Maps. Meanwhile, Cupertino has remained silent about its future plans, preferring instead to let the rumor mill do its thing while the company works feverishly on whatever is next.
But Apple wasn’t silent about all matters this week. The company’s CEO Tim Cook spoke in detail about Apple’s corporate values and touted the iPhone maker’s ongoing support for AIDS research. He also hinted that the long-awaited Bluetooth-based headphones, known as Apple AirPods, might finally find their way to store shelves in the coming weeks.
It’s been an interesting week in Apple news and once again, as we detail the biggest headlines. Read on for more:
Get Data Sheet, Fortune’s technology newsletter
- Apple is said to be testing more than 10 prototypes for its next iPhone. At least one of the models will come with organic light-emitting diode display technology and a revamped design. There’s also talk of a model featuring a curved screen like the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. Apple, of course, isn’t commenting.
- The next iPhone’s design could be so appealing that it will break sales records, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo told investors in a research note this week. He estimates that Apple could sell 120 million to 150 million iPhones in the second half of 2017, thanks to the device’s new design. During the second half of 2015, Apple sold 122.8 million iPhones.
- Apple Maps hasn’t been able to match Google Maps in navigation accuracy or number of features, but Apple could be working on that. The company has reportedly secured approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to fly drones over roads around the world to capture photos, videos, and other traffic data that would be bundled with Apple Maps. The company is also reportedly working on a feature that would let users navigate the inside of a building. If all goes well, at least some of the new Apple Maps features could be released next year.
- The number of iPhone 7 activations between Black Friday and Cyber Monday was up 13% compared to an average of the previous four weekends, according to mobile app analytics company Localytics. But that figure was down from last year’s iPhone 6s activation increase of 36% during the 2015 shopping weekend.
- Apple CEO Tim Cook said in an interview with USA Today this week that his company tries “thoughtfully” to “leave the world better than we found it.” The comments came after Apple announced it had expanded its support for the (RED) campaign, focusing on helping people with AIDS and hopefully eradicating the disease by 2030. Apple is offering a wide array of programs, all aimed at potentially donating millions of dollars in support of the fight against AIDS.
- It’s a bad idea to buy Apple product chargers and adapters from companies you don’t know. A UK watchdog named Trading Standards tested 400 counterfeit Apple chargers recently and found that just three of them were protected against fire and explosion risk. The counterfeits are being sold in Australia, China, and the U.S. and pose a serious safety risk. The organization’s takeaway: Spend extra cash on genuine products.
For more about Apple’s iPhone 7, watch:
One more thing… Apple global marketing executive Bozoma Saint John spoke on Tuesday at Fortune‘s Most Powerful Women Next Gen conference in Laguna Nigel, Calif. It’s a must-see. Check it out here.