iPhone 7: Lightning 2.0 rumors, Beats by Dre, release date, 6S, Plus

Half the buying public shifts its attention to the iPhone 7 already, even as Apple continues to try to catch up to unprecedented iPhone 6 demand, due to the every-other-year nature of cell carrier upgrade policies. Those shut out this year are already looking to when Apple will serve up the iPhone 7 release date, what it’s logically likely to bring, and which rumors are already in the pipeline. The early details range from a Lighting 2.0 port to integration of the Beats by Dre lineup, and the question of what Apple will do with the iPhone 6S concept along with the prospects for an iPhone 7 Plus.

Some of the answers are easier than others. Our generally reliable source tells us that Apple is ready to move on to the Lightning 2.0 port for the iPhone 7, which will allow for even greater voltage and a powerful next generation accessory market. However, there is no chance that Apple will change the size or shape of the current Lightning port, as consumers are still having a mixed reaction to the changeover from the 30-pin port which was initiated two years ago. Don’t expect to need new accessories, but do look for some cool new types of accessories to debut alongside the new iPhone.

Apple acquired Beats by Dre for three billion dollars, and so far there have been very few publicly visible consequences for either company. If Apple had bought Beats simply for the streaming music service, there would have been a major marketing push by now. So it’s safe to assume that the buyout was instead primarily about the Beats hardware as well as bringing Dr Dre and Jimmy Iovine into the Apple fold. While both of those men can help Apple when it comes to negotiating with labels and artists behind the scenes, the hardware integration will be more easily visible. Look for the iPhone 7 to come with earbuds which are inspired by, if not outright branded as, existing Beats by Dre earbud products. Will Apple merely shift to bundled in-ear earbuds using Beats technology, or will they shift stylistically to the flat-ribbon cables and all? Those answers will come later.

As for the iPhone 7 release date, that becomes a bit more clear by the day. Apple has learned something with its bold iPhone 6 shakeup of what had been a conservative hardware trajectory: customers love it when Apple offers up a fresh new design instead of a familiar S model. That means Apple will likely jump straight to the iPhone 7 in 2015. But with the 6 setting sales records, there should be no temptation to leave it on the market for any less than a full year. That points to September 2015 as the launch date for the iPhone 7. And look for Apple to retire the 5S/5C entirely by introducing an iPhone 6S for the middle of its lineup while offering the iPhone 6 as the free-with contract model. Finally, we fully expect there to be an iPhone 7S Plus but perhaps not an iPhone 6S Plus, and certainly the iPhone 6 Plus will be retired in the hopes of steering big-screen buyers toward the pricier iPhone 7.

iPod touch 6th generation: Thanksgiving 2014 Black Friday release date

Thanksgiving 2014 and Black Friday are upon us, and yet the iPod touch 6th generation remains conspicuously absent with no official word from Apple regarding its release date. It’s too late for Tim Cook and company to trot out the new iPod touch in time for the start of the holiday shopping season, which kicks off this week – but is it too late to still expect it to surface before 2014 is over, and is there more at work here than meets the eye?

Apple’s decision to shun the iPod touch 6th generation during its customary September iPhone event has left would-be buyers confused and has prompted numerous theories as to what’s really going on. One is that the new iTouch simply isn’t ready for manufacture yet, a notion supported by the fact that even with all of its contracted factories going at full blast, Apple still can’t come close to keeping up with unprecedented iPhone 6 demand. Another is that Cupertino is waiting to gauge the reaction to its new larger smartphones before making any decisions about what size screen to give the iPod touch 6.

Yet another is that Apple plans to include its NFC mobile payments system and wants to wait until the initial kinks have been worked out in the system before adding a second “Apple Pay” product to the market. And then there’s the most ominous theory, which says that the iPod touch has outlived its usefulness as a bridge toward the iPhone, and is quietly being phased out.

But the most compelling evidence points to the fact that if Apple were to introduce and manufacture a new iPod touch 6th generation model based on the same design and components as the iPhone 6, it would harm production of the new iPhone at a time when keeping up with demand is crucial for long term iOS market growth. That means the minute the light appears at the end of the tunnel an iPhone supply has caught up to demand, Apple can safely put the iPod touch 6 into production and launch it days or weeks later. Therefore our conclusion is that there is still a strong possibility that the new iPod touch will see its release date before 2014 is over, even though the timing could force some would-be customers to turn into last minute shoppers.

New Orleans Saints vs Baltimore Ravens game tonight: TV live stream

The Baltimore Ravens and New Orleans Saints enter tonight’s Monday Night Football game on the NFL schedule with middling records but both dancing around the edges of the playoff chase. Baltimore is 6-4 on the season and contending in the crowded AFC North, coming off a win over the Tennessee Titans by a 21-7 final score. New Orleans is 4-6 in a weak NFC South division and has lost two games in a row. Tonight’s game has a primetime start time and airs on national TV as well as a live stream online – and it isn’t the only NFL game taking place tonight.

The Ravens are led by quarterback Joe Flacco, who is having a decent season with 2521 passing yards and seventeen touchdown passes. The team failed to make the postseason in 2013 but has improved incrementally in the 2014 season. The Saints lost three of their first four games and are having a disappointing year by their standards. Drew Brees, despite a slow start, has now crossed the three thousand yard passing mark on the year. New Orleans has the home field advantage in the Superdome. Due to the snow related postponement and relocation of yesterday’s Jets-Bills game, it will also take place tonight, making for a rare two MNF games on one evening.

Tonight’s Baltimore Ravens vs New Orleans Saints NFL Monday Night Football game has a start time schedule of 8:30pm eastern time and airs nationwide on TV channel ESPN as well as the official live stream online.