Taking a look back at another week of news and headlines from Cupertino, this week’s Apple Loop includes the iPhone 12’s surprising price increase, new camera features for the iPhone, iOS 13.3 details, the latest TouchID details, grating cheese on the Mac pro, the quest for a powerful MacBook Air, and the iPod UI is briefly revived.
Apple Loop is here to remind you of a few of the very many discussions that have happened around Apple over the last seven days (and you can read my weekly digest of Android news here on Forbes).
Tim Cook, chief executive officer of Apple Inc., speaks about the new iPhone Pro during an event at … [+]
© 2019 Bloomberg Finance LP
The Surprising Price Increase For The iPhone 12 Family
It’s clear that next year’s iPhone 12 family will maintain Apple’s reputation for expensive smartphones. The addition of 5G, extra camera lenses, and improved screen technology (to highlight three areas) will mean the base cost will increase. Yet all the new features, Apple will only pass on a surprisingly small price increase for consumers. How?
“The price is going to go up to accommodate 5G, new screen technology, and more camera equipment. The surprise, according to the latest reports from noted Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, is that the retail price is only going to rise by $50 per handset, even though the additional elements will raise the build price by up to $100.
“Although consumers are going to be paying more (and I would expect some of the cost increases to balance out over the range), Apple is also set to squeeze the costs in the supply chain through a mix of economy of scale and harder negotiation to achieve this price.”
Keeping The iPhone 12 Camera Steady
Staying with the iPhone 12 features, more details have leaked out around the potential of the camera. Apple may be looking at a way to differentiate the iOS-powered smartphone from the competition through a different type of motion stabilisation in the hardware. Jesus Diaz reports:
“The current lens-based stabilization in the iPhone 11 and all flagships out there do a pretty good job at avoiding unwanted blur and jittery motion on the vertical and horizontal axis; sensor shift will add stabilization no matter the direction in which the iPhone shakes.
“In theory, this will give Apple an advantage over the iPhone competition, providing clearer photos and video footage…However, I don’t know of any other brands that have announced sensor shift stabilization technology yet. If Apple is really going for this, it may get an extra advantage. But it’s yet to be seen how effective the tech would be.”
Apple Releases The Next Version Of iOS
Apple has updated iOS 13 with the release of iOS 13.3. Key features in this substantive release include improved parental controls, new UI tweaks, security key support in Safari and various bug fixes and patches. Unfortunately issues around battery drain and mobile data issues are still being reported. Gordon Kelly looks at the progress being made in polishing the update:
After eight releases, Apple appears to be at last getting a grip on the problems of iOS 13. While long term issues remain, iOS 13.3 is easily Apple’s strongest release so far with solid new features and important bug and security fixes. I’d advise everyone running iOS 13 to upgrade.
As for those still on iOS 12, it’s a little more complicated. iOS 13.3 does still contain some significant issues, but it’s the best jumping on point yet so if you have an itchy upgrade finger, go for it. For those who are happy to stay put, let Apple polish iOS 13 a little more with another release or two. There’s light at the end of the tunnel.
Tim Cook, chief executive officer of Apple Inc., speaks during an event at the Steve Jobs Theater in … [+]
© 2019 Bloomberg Finance LP
Apple’s New Touch ID Patent
Apple looks to be preparing a return of TouchID. A recently published patent shows the R&D team’s plans for an under-screen fingerprint reader using an optical technique (rather than the more secure ultrasonic technique that can be found in the Galaxy S11). Jack Purcher reports:
“Apple supplier GIS had jointly developed the ultrasonic fingerprint scanner with Qualcomm and could very well be what Apple ultimately chooses to use in future iPhones.
“However, what sounds logical in a rumor may not always be the direction that Apple ends up executing. Secondly, it’s not always an either or scenario. Meaning, that Apple could adopt optical sensors for future iDevices such as a future headset and/or Apple Watch while using ultrasonic sensors for the iPhone and iPad or vice versa.
“Either way, today’s granted patent today secures Apple’s optical sensor methodology for any possible application in the future.”
“…in the 16-inch MacBook Pro, however, Apple switched to an optical reader. While this is simply embedded into the power switch in the same way as earlier capacitive versions, optical readers could also be used for under-display Touch ID.”
Tearing Down The Mac Pro
If there’s a new Apple product in town, then the team at iFixit are going to break it down to see how it works, how it’s put together, and how easy it is to repair without taking it back to the Genius Bar. So the Mac Pro is on the workbench, and it reads like they are all very happy with the massive Mac:
“The new Mac Pro is beautiful, amazingly well put together, and a masterclass in repairability. Larger modules—like RAM and some PCIe cards—can be swapped without tools, almost Lego-style. Apple even provided step numbers and diagrams for certain repairs right on the device, and created public repair manuals and videos to help you get it right.
“But we’re starting to wonder: maybe Microsoft and Apple aren’t making devices more repairable just for fun (or for us)—maybe those Right to Repair bills are starting to look seriously scary? Motivations aside, this is the most repairable Apple product in recent memory, scoring a gobsmacking 9 out of 10 on our repairability scale.”
Which only leaves one more question. Does the cheese grater Mac Pro grate cheese?
A Powerful MacBook Air Is Missing
Apple’s current laptop line-up has a bit of a blind spot. The jump between the top-end MacBook Air and the base level MacBook Pro is too big a step. Brooke Crothers explains his predicament and why there need to be an intermediate laptop:
“…the Retina MacBook Air’s dual-core Intel Amber Lake processor and its related subsystems (like the Intel UHD Graphic 617) aren’t much faster than the dual-core silicon in the 12-inch MacBook (which I’ve also owned).
“How I solved my problem: I got an entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pro mid-2019 with a 256GB SSD on sale for $1,199 from Best Buy, a discount of $300 off the list price of $1,499. That made it the same price I paid for the MBA Retina (256GB) when I got it on sale earlier this year — not bad considering the mid-2019 entry-level MBP 13 now includes the Touch Bar standard.”
Last week saw the release of Rewould, a third-party music app that mimicked the UI of the classic click wheel iPod. This week Apple pulled the app from the store, according to Rewond’s blog post. Jay Peters has some thoughts on the issue:
“The blog says that Apple pulled the app because it copied the iPod’s design, charged for Apple Music features, and people could mistake the app for an Apple product. The blog makes the case that the app had a pretty basic interface that looked nothing like an Apple app, and the iPod classic skins didn’t come preinstalled. (You had to download them after you had already installed the app.).”
Apple Loop brings you seven days worth of highlights every weekend here on Forbes. Don’t forget to follow me so you don’t miss any coverage in the future. Last week’s Apple Loop can be read here, or this week’s edition of Loop’s sister column, Android Circuit, is also available on Forbes.