Forbes Columnist Ewan Spence wrote an article on Apple.
Taking a look back at another week of news from Cupertino, this week’s Apple Loop includes new technology for the iPhone 8’s battery, why the MacBook Pro is already out of date, theatre mode in iOS 10.3, Apple Watch 3 details, the latest App Store numbers, Apple’s problems with the basics, and using the original iPhone in 2017.
APPLE LOOP IS HERE TO REMIND YOU OF A FEW OF THE VERY MANY DISCUSSION
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).
There’s been some really juicy leaks on the iPhone 8 this week from Sonny Dickson and Forbes’ Gordon Kelly. Reiterating the idea of three models (an iPhone 7S, an iPhone 7S Plus, and the presumptively named iPhone 8), the pair believe that all three models will feature ‘fast charge’ circuits, potentially topping up the smartphone battery for a day of use in fifteen to twenty minutes:
SINCE THIS ISNT BY QUALCOMM IT WONT BE QUICK CHARGE
Since this isn’t by Qualcomm it won’t be “Quick Charge” but there is a chance it could be the fast charging built into USB 3.1 – a standard Apple is very keen on across the MacBook range – though I highly doubt we’ll see a switch from Lightning due to its lucrative proprietary licensing fees.
Secondly just because the port can handle fast charging doesn’t mean Apple wants to implement it. After all current iPhones can charge more quickly using an iPad charger (try it out) but Apple never supplies this more powerful charger in the box despite the high price tag. Clearly, for whatever reason, Apple wants it to remain off the radar for mainstream customers.
THE HIGH END PREMIUM HANSET IS ALSO EXPECTED TO LIFT A POPULAR FEATURE
The high-end premium handset is also expected to lift a popular feature from Android:
Dickson explains that while Apple is finally catching up to Android rivals by adding Tap To Wake, it will only feature on the so-called ‘iPhone 8’ which will feature a brand new design rather than the iPhone 7S and iPhone 7S Plus which will mimic Apple designs since the iPhone 6 and launch alongside it.
Kelly has more thoughts on the new features here on Forbes.
Also on the cards for the iPhone 8’s power system is the inclusion of wireless charging. While there is no confirmation from Apple, Forbes’ Amit Chowdhury has turned detective to highlight the evidence that the next flagship iPhone will be using technology from Energous that allows wireless charging at a distance of fifteen feet:
What else is known about the relationship between Apple and Energous? Back in September, VentureBeat pointed out that the Form S-1 Energous filed with the SEC in March 2014 specifically said its products are expected to undergo FCC, California Energy Star and “Apple compliance testing.” And last month, Rizzone also told Fast Company that the company is transferring all of its silicon operations to Dialog Semiconductor. And all the Energous technology will be sold under the Dialog branding. As part of that deal, Dialog would invest $10 million to become the exclusive component supplier. Dialog Semiconductor is known for being a Apple chip supplier so Energous would likely be able to reap that benefit. Plus Energous and major Apple manufacturing partner Foxconn announced an agreement about a year ago to evaluate the WattUp technology to “determine the suitability for future Foxconn products and solutions.”
The Out Of Date MacBook Pro
There’s always a better machine on sale next month, but with Intel making its expected announcement of the seventh-generation Core processors at this week’s CES, Apple’s new MacBook Pro family – powered by the sixth generation chipset – feels out of date already. It’s getting harder to justify that ‘Pro’ designation, even if financially it was the right call for Apple:
The choice was to either delay the launch for around six months to have access to enough components, or push ahead with a sixth-generation laptop for Q4 2016 and have an attractive ‘this is why you should upgrade’ bullet point in Q4 2017. Given the huge volume of sales that the 2016 MacBook Pro machines have achieved and Apple’s desire to have a new family of machines ready for the festive period, it went for the latter.
In terms of turnover, market position, and revenue generation, Apple made the right business choice to release the MacBook Pro machines in November last year.
More thoughts on the MacBook’s awkward timing here.
Safe Cinema, iOS Style
Lurking inside the latest beta of iOS 10.3 is a new mode for your iPhone and iPad… theatre mode. For those moments when you absolutely, positively, have to look at your phone when sitting in your local cinema, this mode will dim the screen and quieten your audio output. It’s a good feature, but Gordon Kelly isn’t sure it’s needed in polite company:
Theatre Mode will be added to the Control Center on iPhones and iPads and, appropriately enough, its icon will be popcorn shaped. Little is known at this stage how Theatre Mode will work. The name suggests it could be related to movie playback (perhaps an optimised video viewing mode), but instead Dickson believes it is going to be a form of enhanced Dark Mode.
If Dickson is correct, the assumption is it will be a one button option to both dim the screen and mute audio and notifications thereby making a device acceptable for use in the theatre. A personal aside here: whatever Theatre Mode delivers, NO use of smartphones or tablets is ever acceptable in a theatre – your life can be put on hold for a few hours!
It’s likely that Apple will release a third-generation Apple Watch this year, so what can we expect? Tim Hardwick reports on the likely release date of the wearable, along with its renewed focus on sensors and battery life:
Citing market watchers with knowledge of Quanta’s plans, the paper [Economic Daily News[ said improving battery life is the manufacturer’s “main task”, but beside general performance improvements, the device’s other hardware would not see much change. Quanta declined to comment on the report, calling it “market speculation”.
The claims represent the first tentative indication of Apple’s launch timeline for its third-generation Apple Watch, pointing to a possible fall unveiling of the new wearable alongside this year’s iPhone 8.
The report also narrows down Apple’s rumored ambitions for the third-generation device, with previous reports suggesting it could introduce the first significant design changes for the timepiece, such as more advanced sensors that Apple was not able to include in the first and second-generation models.
MacRumors has more.
App Store Is A Nice Little Earner For Apple
Following the rush of new iPhone and iPad users over the holidays Apple reported $240 million of purchases on January 1st 2017, making it the App Store’s busiest day. GIven Apple’s thirty percent cut of the gross, that’s a nice $80 million dollars for a days work. Lauren Goode breaks down the numbers for The Verge:
The App Store numbers — and Apple’s willingness to share them — is Apple’s first significant App Store update since the company announced a bunch of changes to the store in June 2016 and subsequently rolled them out in September. In June, Apple said that it would open up subscriptions to all 25 categories of app makers — not just games, or video apps, or cloud services — and that it would offer a sweeter revenue-sharing deal for app makers who were able to maintain subscribers for a long time. It also marked Apple’s first foray into search ads in the App Store, which Schiller says have had a better than 50 percent conversion rate into actual downloads.
Can Apple Keep The Home Fires Burning?
Will 2017 be the year that Apple fixes the boring basics in its product range? Mark Wilson hopes so. Writing for Fast Company, he highlights Apple’s lust for new and exciting areas of technology, contrasting them with the basic flaws in the regular product line:
The Mac Pro—the flagship of Apple desktop hardware—hasn’t been updated since 2013 (not even with a faster processor option). The Macbook Air has a worse screen and yet is somehow, confusingly, faster than the more expensive Macbook. The new Macbook Pro has a Touchbar that looks like something dreamed up by an intern at HP. And all the “new” chips are actually already old.
The most iconic thing that Apple does—building computers—is being done poorly, even lazily.
Edge connectivity, 128MB of RAM, a 3.5 inch screen and not much else going for it. That’s the original iPhone, launched in 2007. Ben Sin picked up the ground-breaking handset from ten years ago to see if it is still usable:
The iPhone’s 128MB of RAM plus nearly a decade of age has hit this iPhone hard. It takes half a second after pressing on the home button for the phone to wake up. Launching most modern websites, even when connected on a solid wifi connection, takes 45 seconds or more. But you know what? I think it’s actually not that bad, considering the device only had 128MB of RAM (versus the 2 and 3GB on this latest generation of iPhones) and that the hardware is going on a decade.
You know what else is surprisingly not as bad/dated as you’d think? The camera. Sort of. But if you’re taking photos in daylight and viewing them on the phone or even a small-ish laptop, the differences between a photo shot with the original iPhone and the iPhone 6S isn’t that wide.
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.