It was a whirlwind week for mobile, dominated by Apple’s announcement of the iPhone 6s and iPad Pro. We pretty much knew what to expect from Apple heading into the event on Wednesday, so there weren’t too many surprises. Still, we’re very excited to spend more time with 3D Touch, and we can’t wait to begin testing out the iPad Pro, which is essentially a super sized iPad.
But while Apple announced some great new products, the rumor mill continued to work in overdrive. We have reports about a $50 Amazon tablet, an insane new Xperia device, and even some murmurs about the Galaxy S7, which will supposedly come in two different sizes
Below are the biggest rumors from the week. That Z5 Ultra sounds like a beast.
Amazon’s next tablet will be its cheapest yet, rumor says
Amazon already offers some impressively cheap tablets with its Fire HD series, but the company could go even further this holiday season. A new report claims Amazon will offer a new 6-inch slate for just $50. That’s half the price of the current Fire HD 6
According to The Wall Street Journal, Amazon has struggled to win customers over with its high-end tablets. In response the company is planning an entire new lineup of cheaper models, including 8 and 10-inch models as well as the smaller 6-inch device. Undercutting the competition with a new $50 option could boost sales, but it may come with some drawbacks.
The upcoming tablet will apparently offer a single mono speaker instead of the standard stereo setup. It might also pack an outdated display, a weaker battery and a less durable design in an effort to cut costs.
We’re still curious to see these new tablets in action. If Amazon can turn the Fire HD into a disposable device it might have a hit on its hands. We could even see picking one up at the airport, using it on the plane and then ditching it in a recycling bin soon afterwards. For $50 that almost seems like a reasonable idea.
Xperia Z5 Ultra with a 6.44-inch 4K display reportedly in the works
Sony just unveiled three awesome new smartphones at IFA last week, but the company may already have plans for its next big thing. A new rumor claims that Sony could announce a super-sized Xperia Z5 Ultra early next year with some pretty crazy hardware.
According to Leaksfly, the Xperia Z5 Ultra will pack a massive 6.44-inch display with a 4K resolution, which makes a lot more sense there than it does on the 5.5-inch Xperia Z5 Premium, but we’re still not sold on 4K smartphones in general. The rumored device could also sport a Snapdragon 820 chip and 4GB of RAM.
Don’t expect the Xperia Z5 Ultra anytime soon, though. The new phablet apparently won’t launch until March 2016, suggesting it could debut at Mobile World Congress in late February. Of course, it’s possible Sony could change its mind long before then and tweak or scrap the device altogether. In the meantime we’re looking forward to spending more time with the new Xperia Z5 lineup. If Sony does show up with a super-sized Z5 Ultra early next year we’ll be happy to check it out too, though for most people a 6.44-inch smartphone is probably way too big.
Samsung probably won’t unveil the Galaxy S7 until next year, but the company may take an unusual approach when it does. A new report claims the flagship Android phone will ship in two different sizes, similar to the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.
Of course, Apple isn’t the only company offering two or more new smartphones with similar specs in different sizes. Sony uses the same strategy with its flagship Xperia Z lineup, but Samsung’s alleged plans seem to follow Apple’s lead pretty closely.
According to AsiaToday, the Galaxy S7 will come in 5.2 and 5.7-inch variants. The new devices will also reportedly offer some upgraded hardware, including a Snapdragon 820 chip, 4GB of RAM, a 16-megapixel camera and a Quad HD display.
It’s unclear what this means for Samsung’s Edge series. The Galaxy S7 might not come with a curved-screen variant at all, though an Edge device could still show up later in the year when the new Note typically debuts. Then again, the company could also push its Edge design even harder by removing all other options, though that seems unlikely for now.
Samsung typically unveils its new flagship phone at Mobile World Congress in late February or early March, though it’s possible the company could push the Galaxy S7 up by a month like it did with the Galaxy Note 5. Either way, there’s still plenty of time before we get to see what’s already shaping up to be powerful new device.
iPhone 7 expected to be as thin as an iPod touch at just 6mm
Apple’s iPhone 6s event was probably its biggest keynote to date, but analysts already have one eye on next year’s refresh. According to one analyst, the iPhone 7 will come with a brand new form factor that’s as thin as an iPod Touch.
KGI analyst, Ming-Chi Kuo expects the device to be Apple’s slimmest smartphone to date, measuring between 6mm and 6.5mm thin.
That means the iPhone 7 could be almost 1mm thinner than the existing iPhone 6, which is already one of the slimmest smartphones on the market. It’s still unclear what kind of impact this form factor would have on battery life. Apple would presumably need to make its batteries slimmer, though this could mean our iPhones won’t last as long in between charges.
The iPhone 7 is still more than a year away, and Apple’s plans will almost certainly be revised before then. In the meantime, let’s focus on the new iPhone 6s and 6s that were just announced.