Everyone loves a good tech rumor but spotting the difference between truth and clickbait is more difficult than ever. Here, we cut through the hype to bring you the lowdown on the latest tech rumors from around the world. We balance each rumor with a ‘reality check’ so that you won’t feel too disappointed if these rumors don’t pan out exactly as you hoped.
Rumor #1. Samsung will release a foldable smartphone in early 2019
During the Samsung Developers conference last November, Samsung confirmed that a foldable smartphone would arrive in 2019. According to the Wall Street Journal, the revolutionary phone will boast a 7-inch screen, making it roughly the size of a small tablet. A later report by Bloomberg clarified that the phone will feature two screens; one foldable 7.3-inch, 1536 x 2152 display on the inside and one 4.5-inch, 840 x 1960 screen on the outside.
Reality Check: It certainly seems like Samsung plans to rob the upcoming Google Pixel 3 and iPhone X of attention later this month. Samsung will, on February 20, unveil its new foldable phone at its Samsung Unpacked press event in San Francisco, according to a recent update from the WSJ. For the latest Samsung foldable phone news, check out Android Authority’s definitive thread here.
Rumor #2. Apple could release a folding iPhone by 2020
According to findings from Bank of America Merrill Lynch, reported by CNBC, sources have claimed that several manufacturers in China are working on foldable OLED displays for Apple handsets.
Reality Check: Given that Samsung is due to introduce its own folding handset this month, and that Lenovo has already demonstrated its own bendable handset, this rumor seems legit. Apple remains characteristically tight-lipped but the necessary tech is already there to make this a reality. The real question is, who needs a folding phone?
Rumor #3. Apple will switch to USB-C in the iPhone this year
A report from Digitimes sparked rumors that Apple will switch from Lightning connectors to USB-C ports in the iPhone lineup during 2019. The latest iPad Pro models have already made the switch.
Reality check: Bear in mind that Apple considers the iPad Pro to be a productivity tablet for professionals, so a USB-C port makes sense as it allows users to connect to peripherals and mass storage devices, and mirror out to monitors. But the iPhone is meant for everyday consumers and doesn’t need those benefits. The thicker USB-C port would add bulk to the iPhone, so Apple is unlikely to adopt it. iPhone users who really want USB-C can already buy a Lightning to USB-C adaptor from Apple. As noted by Phillip Tracy, Apple is going all-in on wireless, so it’s likely that we’ll see a port-free iPhone before a USB-C model even leaves the drawing board.
Rumor #4. Apple's AirPod 2 wireless earbuds will offer Hey Siri
A report from 9to5 Mac kicked the AirPod 2 rumor mill into overdrive when they discovered a new setup screen in the iOS 12.2 beta. This will let iPhone users speak commands to Siri via the earbuds, without having to use their iPhone.
Rumor #5. Apple's wireless AirPower charger is coming in March 2019!
Apple used its own iPhone event in 2017 to announce the AirPower wireless charger but never set a release date. Then last Fall, MacWorld reported that printed Phone XR and XS marketing materials namechecked AirPower. This was followed up with a tweet from ChargerLAB (@chargerlab) that a “credible source” in the supply chain had claimed “that the manufacturer Luxshare Precision has already started producing Apple AirPower wireless charging pad.”
Reality check: This rumor seems legit and MacWorld’s best guess is that the AirPower will launch alongside the AirPod 2s in March. Last December, iOS developer Steve Troughton-Smith tweeted that Apple had already fixed the AirPower and was ready to ship. The imminent release of the AirPower lessens the chances of USB-C ports (see above) coming to the iPhone any time soon. Apple is so gung-ho about going wireless that it’s unlikely to add thickness to its flagship product, especially when there are profitable wireless chargers to sell!
Rumor #6. Apple’s HomePod smart speaker is coming in 2019
Multiple rumors have suggested that a refreshed HomePod is coming out this year.
Reality check: CultofMac got the scoop on this rumor by announcing that Apple is planning to early release the HomePod 2 in China. This makes a worldwide release of the HomePod during 2019 almost a given. To stay on top of the latest HomePod 2 release date, specs and price rumors, check out MacWorld’s definitive thread here.
Rumor #7. Apple is developing a VR system for autonomous cars
According to Popular Science, Apple made a patent application last year that described various ways that a virtual reality (VR) system could be used in an autonomous vehicle.
The accompanying diagram clearly shows how a driver or passenger would recline while seated in an autonomous vehicle. It is thought that the VR headset could be used to prevent boredom or stave off sensations of motion sickness.
Reality check: The patent clearly exists but there are no rumors about whether Apple is actually making this product. Both Intel and Audi are exploring similar systems, so Apple could certainly develop this system if it wants to. At the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Audi unveiled an in-car VR entertainment system called Holoride that could entertain passengers on the go. Audi's stated goal is to release autonomous cars by 2021.
Rumor #8. Tesla will release its compact SUV, the Model Y, in March 2019
Tesla already has an SUV (the Model X), but have been developing a compact SUV based on the Model 3 chassis. According to rumors, the Model Y is currently in the prototype phase and will officially debut this March.
Reality check: We can safely quash this rumor. As reported by Tech Radar, Elon Musk has already confirmed the Model Y will go into production in 2020, which is later than originally expected.
Rumor #9. Twitter’s "like" button is doomed
An authoritative source, the Telegraph, claimed that Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey spoke at a private Twitter event of his plan to “soon” kill off the platform’s heart-shaped “like” button.
Reality check: Twitter communications staffer Brandon Borrman (@bborrman) smashed this rumor fairly quickly. As you can see from his tweet below, there’s no timeline for the change to happen and “It’s not happening soon.”
Rumor #10. Facebook is unifying WhatsApp, Instagram, and Messenger
As reported by the New York Times, Facebook plans to unify its three messaging services – WhatsApp, Instagram, and Messenger – by early 2020.
Reality check: Gadgets 360 pointed to a Q4 earnings call during which Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said “… there's a lot more that we need to figure out before we finalize the plans.” The plan to unify the apps is likely “a 2020 thing or beyond,” added Zuckerberg. Facebook has a long history of adding similar features, such as Stories, across the three apps so further integration seems inevitable. However, any plans to completely merge the three platforms would raise data privacy concerns, according to Mashable. It’s more likely that key features – such as the end-to-end message encryption that WhatsApp users currently enjoy – will be rolled out across Messenger and Instagram, says the Verge.
Rumor #11. A new iPod Touch is coming
Rumors of a new iPod Touch originated from a Japanese blog called Mac Otakara that keeps tabs on Apple's supply chain. Since then, multiple sources say that an upgraded Touch is in the works.
Reality check: Lacking any official announcements, AppleInsider has helpfully curated all of the Touch rumors here and writes that “there’s a good chance we’ll be seeing a refresh soon.” Be sure to subscribe to their site to get the latest iPod Touch rumors and news delivered directly to your inbox.
Rumor #12. Microsoft’s next Xbox, the "Scarlet", is coming in 2020
According to PCGamesN, the latest leak about Microsoft’s next console, codenamed Scarlett, purports to show its specifications. The leak shows that Microsoft next-gen beauty will be rocking an Arcturus 12 GPU that uses 64 ‘Arcturus Engines’ for a total of 4
Reality check: We know that the Xbox Scarlett is coming, but there’s no definitive news on when the next-gen Xbox could arrive. We rate this rumor plausible and think a 2020 release date is extremely likely.
Rumor #13. Sony’s next PS4 controller will have a touchscreen
Last October, Sony filed a patent that suggested its next line of controllers will feature built-in touchscreens.
Reality check: According to Forbes, Sony’s next-gen console, the PlayStation 5, will almost certainly feature a Dualshock controller with a built-in touchscreen. They point to the third page of Sony’s patent filing which clearly shows the DualShock controller design. You can view and download the complete patent here.
Rumor #14. Sonos will release wireless headphones in 2020
As reported by Bloomberg, Sonos is working on wireless headphones. This exciting new addition to its lineup will complement the Santa Barbara, CA-based company’s One smart speaker, and Amp streaming amplifier, both of which work with Amazon’s Alexa.
Reality check: According to SoundandVision, we can expect these to be “launched next year”, although no release date has been set. A 2020 date seems legit.
Rumor #15. Apple will release a new Netflix-style streaming service later this year
This rumor dates back to a March 2018 New York Times report that claimed Apple would unveil a new streaming service in 2019. According to reports from Bloomberg, Apple is planning to start offering a bundle-style package that covers news, music, and TV.
Reality check: This rumor is pretty much confirmed. MacWorld is even keeping a running tab on the billions of dollars that Apple is spending on new content! Apple has purchased a magazine-subscription service called Texture, so a Netflix-type streaming service is undoubtedly on the cards. There are also numerous confirmed projects being funded by Apple. Check out this MacWorld thread for the latest news about when Apple’s service will launch.
Rumor #16. We can expect an unlimited plan for MoviePass this year
Reports from Variety indicate that an Unlimited MoviePass tier is due to be reintroduced this year.
Reality check: A very recent report by Fortune confirms that the Unlimited pass is getting a reboot this year. There are no plans for a release date or news of the cost, but it’s definitely coming according to industry sources.
Thanks for reading our rundown of the top tech rumors for February 2019! We aim to present the facts without the hype and guide you towards the best sources for staying informed. Feel free to sound off in the comments section below with insights or questions and we’ll do our best to get back to you!