Taking a look back at another week of news from Cupertino, this week’s Apple Loop includes the launch date of the new iPhone XS models, major leak of the iPhone XS features and promotional images, why is Apple scared to take risks, how 5G will increase your cost, iPhone SE2 details, new concept for the MacBook Pro, adding the headphone jack to your new iPhone.
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).
Apple Announces New iPhone Launch Date
With an invitation that looks remarkably like the layout of its new head office, Apple has requested the attention of the world (and a hand-picked list of attendees) to the Steve Jobs Theatre on Wednesday September 12th at 10am Pacific. But what could it on display?
This year, there may be three iPhones with, potentially, radically different designs and an all-screen iPad Pro with Face ID. Not to mention the long-awaited AirPower charging pad and the fourth-generation Apple Watch. There may be a new MacBook of some kind, likely an entry-level model which could replace the MacBook Air. And maybe even AirPods 2, to boot.
David Phelan has more.
Apple CEO Tim Cook talks about the new iPhone and iPhone Plus during an Apple event in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)
Bloomberg Runs Major iPhone XS Spoiler
Bringing together all of the leaks, and some new information, the week started with Mark Gurman and Debby Wu laying out pretty much everything Tim Cook will be announcing. Over on Bloomberg the pair laid out the update to the iPhone X, the phablet version, and the lower-priced iPhone.
The world’s most valuable company plans to launch three new phones soon that keep the edge-to-edge screen design of last year’s flagship, according to people familiar with the matter. The devices will boast a wider range of prices, features and sizes to increase their appeal, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing unannounced products.
However, none of the three iPhones will be wholly new designs like the iPhone X was last year or the iPhone 6 in 2014, with some inside Apple labeling the launch as an “S year,” a designation the company has given to new handsets that retain the previous design but add new internal features. The company is planning more significant changes for next year, they added.
More at Bloomberg.
This Is Your New iPhone XS
If Bloomberg’s spoiler wasn’t enough, the team at 9to5Mac have found official product shots of the two new high-end iPhone machines, along with confirmation that Tim Cook has decided this is an ’S’ year in terms of naming protocols.
We believe that the new 5.8-inch and 6.5-inch iPhones will both be called iPhone XS. We also believe iPhone XS will come in a new gold color option not previously offered on the new design. Apple leaked its own gold version of the iPhone X through the FCC, but it has not been available to purchase.
Other details are still to be determined, but we can report with certainty that iPhone XS will be the name, the OLED model will come in two sizes including a larger version, and each will be offered in gold for the first time.
More at 9to5Mac.
iPhone XS product shot leaks via 9to5Mac(Apple/9to5Mac)
Apple Scared To Take Risks Is Its Business
What is becoming clear is that 2018’s portfolio update is very much an ’S’ year – there are no major hardware changes, no special features, just a slightly faster chips and a Moore’s Law-esque bump in specification. Tim Cook’s Apple has decided to play it safe and maintain its user base, rather than risk some genuinely new advances:
And those details show an Apple that has sidestepped any major innovation or change, instead relying on incremental updates to the iPhone that are certainly welcome, but in many cases still fall short of the options being offered by the Android-powered competition.
…What is clear is that the key points in the hardware may be new to Apple’s range, but are all stalwarts established by the competition (notably wireless charging, large OLED displays, and the trend for near bezel-less designs in the forward aspect). Software wise the rise of gestures in Android is now coming to iOS, the user interface continues to gather new awkward elements like a katamari, and of course there’s the increased focus on using Apple’s cloud-based solutions.
More here on Forbes.
iPhone Prices Set To Rise With 5G’s Arrival
Manufacturers looking to add 5G connectivity to their smartphones have found out how much the licensing of the patents will cost. With a mix of flat cost and [percentage of selling price, the privilege of adding 5G to the iPhone will cost around $21. That said, it’s unlikely to be seen in the 2018 handsets, as Tim Cook moves over to Intel and away from Qualcomm. Gordon Kelly explains:
The company’s controversial decision to rely solely on historically interior Intel modems in all new iPhones means the upcoming generation is highly unlikely to support 5G. But with Samsung’s Galaxy S10 recently confirmed as being 5G compatible, Apple will have to step up and bite the licensing bullet as soon as next year.
More on this issue here on Forbes.
But The iPhone 8S/SE2 Gets A Price Cut
Before that happens, there’s the matter of the iPhone 8. Although earlier expectations this year was for a direct replacement, it looks like Apple is going to do some cost cutting to bring the ‘iPhone 8S’ price down… or bring the price of the iPhone SE successor a little bit higher, depending on your viewpoint. Tim Cook and his team will manage that with your typical mid-range cuts, including a low resolution screen, limited RAM, slower Wi-Fi, and a single lens camera. But the surprise may not be the price, it may be the delay. Forbes’ Gordon Kelly has more:
…the iPhone 9 faces a delayed launch compared to the other models and Kuo believes this as well. While he doesn’t put a date on the delay, industry talk says it may be several months behind creating a last-minute rush before Christmas.
Despite all this doom and gloom, however, Kuo does stress one part of the iPhone 9 which is likely to win out over any shortcomings: the price.
With Apple still pitching the iPhone X and iPhone X Plus around the $1,000 mark, Kuo says Apple will sell the iPhone 9 for no more than $699 and it could be as low as $600. So confident is Kuo that price-conquers-all, he expects iPhone 9 shipments to account for as much as 70% of all new iPhone sales by the first half of 2019.
Read more, here on Forbes.
Prepare For Disappointment With Latest MacBook Pro Concept
If Tim Cook did decide that ‘think different’ should apply to the MacBook Pro, what would happen? Industrial design student Furkan Kasap reckons that the keyboard and user interface would be ripe for ‘improving’ and he’s put together his vision of a MacBook Pro Touch. But Apple is stubbornly refusing to take any risks with the Mac line-up, so this concept will likely remain just that:
There’s one major problem with building up hope for a serious re-imagining of the MacBook Pro, or any of the macOS powered machines. Apple hasn’t shown any appetite or hunger to bring true innovation to the MacBook line up for many years now.
The Touch Bar did bring a tweak to the keyboard, but by removing the function keys (and the physical escape key), Tim Cook and his team forgot that the MacBook should first of all be aiming to be a good deskbound computer… not a replacement for the iPad.
More thoughts on the concept images and video here.
What happens when Apple removes the headphone jack from your favorite smartphone? If you are Scotty Allen, you break open your smartphone and put it back in.
Millions of people have watched video-maker Scotty Allen add a working headphone jack to his iPhone, after Apple removed the port from its phones in 2016.
The BBC’s Chris Foxx asked him how he became interested in smartphone DIY.
More at the BBC.
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.