Taking a look back at another week of news from Cupertino, this week’s Apple Loop includes the leaked iPhone 8 design, Apple’s new color, how to handle the screen cutout, the new Apple Watch 3 design, a review of the new MacBook Air, Apple’s TV ambitions, Google’s costly Safari search option, and how to use your iPhone during the upcoming total eclipse.
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).
iPhone 8 Prototype Confirms Design Leaks
You know what’s better than finding out Apple has leaked many of the iPhone 8 details in the source code for HomePod? Getting those details confirmed by obtaining a (non-functional) prototype of the iPhone 8. Forbes’ Gordon Kelly reports on Apple’s new look:
Unlike a number of dummy units which have surfaced in recent months, this is not a crude slab but a highly detailed model constructed with premium materials and operational power, volume and mute buttons.
So what do we learn from my prototype? In short: the leaked schematics were spot on. The iPhone 8 is indeed slightly larger than the iPhone 7, but noticeably smaller than the iPhone 7 Plus and it feels great in hand. It is similar to the Galaxy S8 in look and feel (which is a good thing) and it should be relatively easy for most owners to use one handed.
More here on Forbes.
Can Gold Be Embarrassing?
And then there’s the color. Previously thought to have only monochrome options, it appears the presumptively named iPhone 8 is going to have another brand new color choice… Blush Gold. I just the color’s name wasn’t so meek:
Revealed by Benjamin Geskin, this tone is much darker when compared to the existing gold and rose gold tints. The darker tone may be a result of the move to a glass construction and the use of new materials, but it’s more likely there to mask the intrusive ‘island’ protruding the top of the new OLED screen.
More on the darker shade of iPhone, and the awkward island on the screen, here.
Apple’s iPhone Island
Speaking of the island of sensors and the cutout in the screen to create this, why is it there and how will Apple minimize its visual disruption? I’ve been working with digital artist Oscar Luna Martinez to answer this tricky question about the iPhone 8 design.
The starting point here is that Apple rarely makes major changes to its user interface. One quick glance at any current iOS device and you’ll be able to see a bar of information along the top of the screen. Currently this shows the wallpaper or desktop colour splash, but it would be a simple matter to reconfigure this to be a black strip on the screen.
Taking up the center portion of the top status bar is the digital clock. By shifting this either to the left or right of the bar, you have a nice gap in the center… a gap big enough to accommodate the island of cameras and sensors. As long as Apple can colour match the black of the OLED display to the black of the front fascia, then the join will be almost invisible and the appearance of an edge to edge screen is complete.
More here on Forbes, including why this might be a problem for any iPhone with a white fascia.
New Connections, Same Blocky Square Design
The next update to the Apple Watch is rumoured to include cellular connectivity, reducing the need to pair it to an iOS device. While that’s a big hardware change, the indications are the style and look of the third wearable from Cupertino will look remarkably like the current editions. David Phelan reports:
So, the same could be true this year, too. KGI believes that the next Watch will have the same design as now. KGI also says major growth in sales will come with a big change in the design of the Watch. Even so, Kuo predicts sales of between 8 and 9 million Apple Watches in the second half of this year and around double that, 17.5-18 million units across the whole year, which he says is 70% up year on year. Of the second-half sales, fewer than half (35-40%) will be LTE-capable, he predicts.
MacBook Air Still Racking Up Reviews
Sometimes Apple rightly kills an old product allow a new product to breath. With the twelve-inch MacBook in the portfolio, I’ve argued before that Tim Cook should have halted production on the MacBook Air. But the only sub $1000 Mac laptop is still on sale, and still being reviewed. Dan Ackerman returns to check out his old friend:
To have a laptop that looks and feels the same as it did for so many years while still a maintaining a loyal following, that’s a rare achievement. The MacBook Air is no longer the best-for-almost-everyone device it once was, but it’s the least expensive way (by far) to get MacOS on a laptop, so there’s certainly still a place for it. Note that the Air we tested had a Core i7 CPU and 256GB SSD upgrade, for a total of $1,349, £1,234 or AU$2,039. The Air still starts at $999, £949 and AU$1,499, and can be found for even less online.
The full review is at CNet Australia.
Apple Wants To Control The Horizontal And The Vertical
What next for Apple after its production of ‘Planet of the Apps’ and ‘Carpool Karaoke’? How about a billion dollars worth of new shows? Based out of LA, the new team has former Sony execs Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg working on production and procurement of new television shows for Cupertino’s streaming future. Alex Webb reports:
While the budget of about $1 billion, which the people said is still being finalized, represents an increase in spending for Apple, it is significantly less than the outlays by Netflix and Amazon for original content. Netflix has said it will spend $6 billion on programming this year, and JPMorgan Chase & Co. analysts estimate Amazon’s expense will run about $4.5 billion.
Naturally, Apple has declined to comment. More at Bloomberg.
Google and Apple, Bing and DuckDuck Go
Lots of talk this week about Google’s payments to Apple to ensure that Mountain View’s search engine is the default search engine for Safari. While the numbers come from analysts (and not from either company), a switch away from Google to an alternative search engine would be a very loud statement of independence from Tim Cook and his team. Daring Fireball’s John Gruber agrees:
If Apple was willing to dump Google Maps, they’d be willing to dump Google Search too. The differences between results from Google versus Bing or DuckDuckGo are way smaller than the differences between Google Maps and Apple Maps back in 2011. Apple is in a strong position in this relationship.
More on the switch here.
You might be tempted to try to take a picture of next week’s total eclipse with your iPhone. If so, Ben Lovejoy has some advice for you. Think about a tripod, a time-lapse setting, and a handy MacGyvered filter for the lens:
…Technically, you don’t need to put anything in front of the iPhone lens: you won’t do any damage by pointing it directly at the sun. But there will be so much light that the image will be very distorted, so the best plan is to give your iPhone lens exactly the same protection you give your own eyes: eclipse glasses.
There are plenty of eclipse glasses to choose from. Some cost three-figure sums, but others cost just a few dollars. Provided you choose ones from a reputable supplier, and ensure that they are both CE and ISO certified, it doesn’t much matter which ones you choose. There are lots of multipacks, so this can often be the best deal – one for each of the people in your household who’ll be viewing, and an extra pair to cut out the filter to tape over your iPhone lens.
More at 9to5Mac.
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.