Apple has yet to give the official word of a March launch event for the iPhone SE 2, but case makers are already betting big on what the company will announce. In this week's Apple Core wrap, we're looking at what the cases can tell us about the rumored iPhone SE 2, and what Apple's own patents reveal about the future of the Apple Watch.
iPhone SE 2 cases start popping up online
Apple is rumored to launch the long-awaited sequel to the 2016 iPhone SE, the cheaper alternative to the flagship iPhone lineup. Despite this apparent optimism from case-makers, Apple has yet to send out invitations to a March launch event, let alone confirm the existence of the iPhone SE 2.
Even the name is still up in the air. Case-makers seem to have settled on iPhone SE 2, but there's also a chance it could be called the iPhone 9, given that it's rumored to look almost exactly like the iPhone 8 with a 4.7-inch screen and physical home button with TouchID, but with a much faster chip (the A13 chip that powers the current iPhone 12 lineup is the rumored processor).
A less likely rumor from Digitimes even suggests we may see two versions of this lower cost iPhone with a Plus version that houses the TouchID module on the power button to eliminate the bezels and home button.
Apple looks to make big changes to the Apple Watch
Apple has filed a series of Apple Watch patents that could hold clues as to what the company envisions for its next iteration of watches. The first patent, originally filed in 2015 and published by Patently Apple this week, shows a TouchID-type sensor on the side surface of the digital crown.
The latest Watches (Series 4 and Series 5) already house an EKG sensor on the center digital crown, but at least for now, that information cannot be used as a form of biometric authentication on the watch. A fingerprint scanner would allow you to unlock the phone by rotating the crown. As of now the only way to unlock your Apple Watch now is via entering a passcode on the screen or by unlocking your iPhone.
A number of other patents from previous years suggest Apple is also looking to bring a camera on board the Apple Watch, whether for FaceTime or FaceID unlock, meaning the days of typing your passcode on the Apple Watch's tiny screen may be numbered.
Another patent filed this week with the US Patent and Trademark Office shows a modular Apple Watch with interchangeable sensors. The patent says users could swap out the modules to customize the watch for their individual needs. This would be especially helpful for health-related sensors that may not be essential for everyone but are specific to different conditions, such as a blood pressure or glucose monitor.