updated 09:40 am EDT, Mon April 20, 2009
iPhone HD Rumor
Apple is reported today as phasing out its video cables in what may be a sign of a broader move to HD video-capable iPhone and iPod touch devices. An unnamed source for PhoneNews claims that resellers are being told both the Apple Composite AV and Component AV cables are being scrapped in favor of a single cable pack that, like the Xbox 360's component cable, has both the component and composite (RCA) cables on a single line and would let users hook up to both HDTVs and standard-definition sets by purchasing one pack.
While convenience is an important factor, the ultimate reason for the move is purportedly a desire to make HD video widespread on its portable devices, starting with the iPhone. "At least one" model of this, and eventually the iPod touch, will have a higher-resolution screen and would give Apple a better position against a new wave of smartphones with sharper displays, like the 480x800 resolution of the Touch Diamond2 and Touch Pro2. Its hardware would appropriately have the power to play HD video natively and output it to a TV at 720p or 1080i.
To compensate for the large file sizes, which balloon the content of iTunes Store videos to as much as 4GB for 720p versions, Apple is rumored letting the iPhone use its Wi-Fi to stream videos from iTunes libraries on the local network and thus give users an impromptu alternative to an Apple TV.
The rumor hasn't been independently corroborated and should be treated with caution. However, Apple has recently enabled HD movie purchases and rentals on iTunes and is either rumored or confirmed as improving hardware on the iPhone that would assist in handling HD. iPhone 3.0 testing firmware has already revealed an 802.11n Wi-Fi chipset that would improve speed on local networks, while many expect Apple to replace the iPhone's graphics core with a PowerVR SGX chip and potentially to speed up the ARM processor.
Microsoft is also all but confirmed as launching the Zune HD this year and, according to rumors surrounding the device, will use an NVIDIA Tegra processor that can play 720p video and get a sharper display to complement the upgrade.