iPhone rumors galore: Haptic / vibration feedback touchscreen, GPS, Jabber, iControl remote iTunes control, new patents

iPhone rumors, 3G iPhoneWe must be getting closer to the 3G iPhone’s launch. How do we know? Well, aside from the rumored June 9 launch at Apple’s WWDC, the blogosphere is lit up with frenzied rumors of new features in the 3G iPhone as well as speculation at new features to be enabled with the coming iPhone OS 2.0 firmware update.

From iPhone hardware to iPhone software features, Apple-fans can expect more functionality and ever more usability from the 3G iPhone and the current iPhone’s next OS update.

The most intriguing rumors for the next-generation iPhone hint at true-blue GPS hardware within the 3G iPhone. With a dedicated GPS receiver inside, the 3G iPhone is said to gain a minimal increase in case thickness – and, of course, the hardware will allow for the kind of pin-point positional accuracy that cell-tower triangulation just can’t achieve.

Then there’s talk about Apple licensing haptic feedback touchscreen technology from Immersion. Apple and Immersion execs have reportedly pow-wow’ed twice last week to discuss the integration of Immersion’s vibration feedback technology in future touchscreen devices from Apple. Immersion is the firm behind the haptic feedback technology that simulates button-presses with vibrations on the upcoming Samsung Instinct.

Integrating haptic feedback technology would help the iPhone bring some tactile feedback to the multi-touch display – an aspect of the iPhone that has been widely criticized. We can only hope that the haptic technology that Apple is considering offers localized haptics, allowing for location-specific vibrations rather than whole-device vibrations.

Recently published patents also point to Apple revamping their touchscreen UI. Three new patents have been issued to Apple that detail new input methods on the iPhone. The patents cover new ways to organize UI elements, input text, and gestures for selecting and deleting text. Combined with the haptic feedback, we could see a revised multi-touch UI for the iPhone and 3G iPhone.

Now, as far as the current-generation iPhone is concerned, the upcoming iPhone OS 2.0 firmware update should go live with built-in Jabber support. The developer-version of the firmware makes references to the open-source XMPP framework that underlies Jabber’s Instant Messaging technology. Unfortunately, the framework seems to be off-limits to all developers outside of Apple’s Cupertino headquarters. The consensus is that the XMPP framework will be used by Apple in an iPhone chat client.

Finally, the iPhone OS 2.0 beta firmware has revealed support for something called iControl. The iControl utility would allow iPhone and iPod Touch users to wirelessly access and stream content from their home-based iTunes libraries. The ability to view and control locally-networked media from the iPhone corresponds quite nicely with an old Apple patent covering a technology that would allow the iPhone to not only stream media, but also control media playback via a “portable media player.”

Rumors are going to only get more and more interesting as we close in on the 3G iPhone and iPhone OS 2.0 firmware’s launch. Stay tuned…

Back to top ▴