Taking a look back at another week of news from Cupertino, this week’s Apple Loop includes thoughts on the iPhone 8 release date and its expensive price, going 4G LTE with the MacBook Pro, new features in iOS 10.3, why the iPad turnover rate is low, Apple’s 14-week quarter, a long-term review of the AirPods, and secrets of Apple at the Superbowl.
APPLE LOOP IS HERE TO REMIND YOU OF A FEW THE VERY MANY DISCUSSIONS
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 our weekly digest of Android news here on Forbes).
The iPhone Release Is Still On Its Traditional Schedule
The launch date of Apple’s 2017 flagship smartphone should not be in doubt. Everything over the last few years has been geared towards a yearly product cycle with a new handset launched in September. There’s a rising idea that Apple will go early to meet the June 29th anniversary of the iPhone. I’m happy to argue that the idea of an early launch and sale is not going to happen:
COULD APPLE SIMPLY ANNOUNCE THE IPHONE IN JUNE OR JULY
Could Apple simply announce the iPhone in June or July and hold off sales until late September? Yes, but you’d be triggering one of the biggest Osborne Effects in the smartphone world since Nokia announced a switch to Windows Phone 10 months before the handsets were ready. Apple has a well-used PR strategy for phone launches built around a short window from launch to retail that includes one or two profile interviews with key staff, handset previews and the careful allocation of the first review units. That would struggle to stretch over three months. Again, I’m looking at Apple’s historical precedents and I can’t see a time where it sacrificed quality and planning for a few weeks advantage over a weakened competition.
More here on Forbes.
Expect Sticker Shock With The iPhone 8
That the iPhone 8 is going to improve on the features of the iPhone 7 family is assured. That also means that Apple’s margin has to drop or the price to consumers is going to rise. Which do you think Apple will favour? If you said ‘the retail price’ then you’d be correct, and it’s down to heat:
[KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo] claims the reason for this is the wireless charging component inside the phones which creates a lot of heat and Apple has had to add a new graphite layer to protect the 3D Touch sensor behind the screen. He adds that Apple has additional thermal challenges with the iPhone X as well because the swap to an ‘All Glass’ design reduces heat dissipation compared to aluminium.
Kuo says these measures mean end users won’t feel the increased heat, but the combination of the new graphite layer and 3D Touch module (which is 30-50% more expensive) will push the iPhone range over the $1,000 price point for the first time. This higher price point is backed up by an independent report from FastCompany yesterday which cited “a source with knowledge of Apple’s plans”.
Read more on the iPhone price.
Untethering The MacBook
Apple has a vision on what it wants its laptops to be and where they fit into its product portfolio. What happens when the competition focus on features that Apple has not yet implemented? Windows 10 laptops are increasing coming with support for 4G and mobile data built-in to the delight of consumers. A recently published patent suggest that Apple is working on embedding antenna in the hinge of the MacBook family that would include bluetooth, GPS, wi-fi… and cellular connectivity:
Apple’s current portfolio has an option for the mobile road warrior looking for a keyboard – a Smart Keyboard Cover to an iPad Pro with cellular connectivity ticks that box, but you are faced with the question of using an iPad Pro as a ‘full-blown’ portable computer. For many that is enough, but for others the flexibility, power, and third-party macOS apps are requirements.
With Microsoft encouraging its partners to push at cellular connectivity in Windows 10 devices, the MacBook Pro range could easily stand out as not meeting consumer expectations by the end of 2017. With last year’s laptops already having to answer ‘what makes the Pro a professional machine’, Apple may feel it has little choice but to react to market demands.
More thoughts on a truly untethered MacBook here.
Calling Out Of Coverage On iOS 10.3
Lurking inside the latest release of iOS is a new version of Wi-fi calling. If your network supports this feature it means you can use your home or office wi-fi for voice calls rather than relying on a cellular connection. Verizon users with iOS 10.3 can now use this handy feature. Gordon Kelly has more:
iOS 10.3 brings an upgraded version of WiFi Calling which allows iPhone users to make and receive WiFi calls on all their other iCloud-connected devices whether that is an iPad, iPod touch, Apple Watch or Mac. The big differentiator between what Verizon customers had before and what they will have with iOS 10.3 is WiFi Calling on these devices still works even if your iPhone is on a different WiFi network or switched off – nothing needs to be routed through your iPhone as before.
While Verizon customers will be delighted by this addition, it is actually long overdue. After all not only do the network’s biggest rivals offer this already, but so do many smaller US carriers like MetroPCS and Simple Mobile. It has also been rolled out by several international carriers.
Read the rest of the article here