I agree that a potential lower-MP camera could assist DPAF, but there are two issues with this idea. First, the 70D has a 20MP sensor (obviously higher than the infamous 18MP dynasty), so that sensor could be reused in a Rebel. Given Canon's previous behavior with their 7D sensor spreading through the APS-C lineup like a cancer, it's pretty likely they'll do the same with the 20MP chip.I would expect Canon to add WiFi and a touchscreen to the next xxxD or xxxxD camera, and the video AF should show up as well, although doubtful about the DPAF from the 70D - that looks like something that the marketing department would consider worth a price premium. However, the M mount is specifically designed for mirrorless, rendering a mirror and optical viewfinder physically impossible and necessitating an EVF, so I doubt that Canon will go that route. Since they don't have an M model with a form factor similar to the Panasonic G-series, I wouldn't be surprised if Canon goes that route; however, that would not qualify as a DSLR as described by the rumor.
Well, putting the MP count lower could pave way for DPAF on the sensor, if Canon wants to go over to only DPAF sensor systems. other variants would ofc be the 18MP without anything else (yes, that one).
Anyway, it is the flange distance/placement of mirror in between mount and sensor that is smaller, right? I guess for it to be DSLR, M is out.
And, I agree that Canon will probably do a M-Mount, EVF version of the SL1, (MSL1? SLM?). I think such a move together with 2 additional M-lenses would start the M line sales up significantly, especially since I think that combo would sell great in the US. OM-D equivalent from Canon. (Just PLEASE make the EVF state of the art!)
Second, since Canon would be catering to the consumer crowd coming from the smartphone megapixel race, a newer camera having fewer MPs would not be a good idea. Canon had a hard enough time justifying the G-series' sudden megapixel drop between the G10 and G11, and even the professional community had a minor hissyfit over the 1DX's 18MPs compared to the 1Ds III's 21, so I'd bet on the 20MP sensor being used to show a 2MP increase in what the uninitiated consumer believes is "image quality." Remember Canon made a big deal over the SL1's imperceptibly improved 18MP sensor... the marketing department is strong with this one.