Taking a look back at another week of news and headlines from Cupertino, this week’s Apple Loop includes the new iPhone Pro design and specification leaks, the iPhone’s difficult future, an important NFC update for developers, thoughts on the upcoming MacBook Pro and Apple’s fragile keyboard problems, why the iPod Touch is still coming soon, and the secrets behind the Apple Card’s stylish look.
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).
Is Apple Ready To Launch The iPhone Pro?
The iPad has the iPad Pro. The MacBook has the MacBook Pro. The iPhone has… Exactly. For many years the idea of a ‘Pro’ iPhone has been lurking. Will 2019 be the year that the portfolio proliferates to a more advanced iPhone with more features and presumably a price premium to match? Forbes’ Gordon Kelly reports:
Alongside the expected iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR updates, Mac Otakara says Apple is preparing additional 6.1-inch and 6.5-inch models with OLED displays, thinner chassis, similar triple array cameras but with larger sensors, reverse wireless charging and bundled 18W Lightning-to-USB-C fast chargers.
Mac Otakara previously stated the new XS, XS Max and XR updates will ship with slow chargers and identical chassis while the XR will retain its cheaper LCD display. All of which indicates the introduction of a new flagship iPhone tier above the XSes – potentially the long expected ‘iPhone Pro’ range.
More here on Forbes.
The Difficult iPhone Path For The Future
Let’s not forget that the 2019 iPhones – no matter how many are in the portfolio – have a tough task ahead of them. Credit Suisse’s Matt Cabral has laid out the challenge . Yun Li looks at the note issued to investors:
It expects iPhone sales to decline 12.4% in 2019 after dropping 3.2% in 2018. “iPhone is in a difficult spot with units >20% below peak as users are holding on to their devices longer than ever (4 years per CSe) and price hikes have likely run their course.
“…Beyond macro conditions, we see deeper structural challenges in China and do not expect a meaningful turnaround without a major iPhone refresh, which is unlikely until 5G in CY20,” said Cabral, the investment bank’s director of equity research.
More at CNBC.
iPhone Will Update NFC Access
Apple appears set to open up NFC options to third-party developers. The leak comes from the UK Government and Home Secretary Sajid Javid as he talks up the release of the ‘EU Exit: ID Document Check’ app. This was only available for Android last year as the iPhone could not read a passport’s NFC chip. That’s changing, as I reported earlier this week:
When the app was first launched, this feature was available on Android, but Apple’s developer restrictions meant that it was impossible for third-party developers to use the iPhone’s NFC circuitry to perform the same task. That meant the app only launched for Android.
For Javid to make the statement above, Apple must have changed the policy around NFC access. It’s unlikely that this will be a unique feature for the UK government, so developers can prepare to roll out NFC functionality from Android apps to the iOS-powered iPhone.
More here on Forbes.
More Details On The New MacBook Pro
Following reports earlier in the week that Apple was delaying new MacBook machines, further reports noted that while the MacBook machines with new screen technology were slipping to 2021, there may be an update to the range in 2019 to address the numerous hardware problems. Chaim Gartenberg reports:
Kuo’s original 2019 date seemed early given that Apple’s current MacBook Pro design is barely three years old. But the current design has suffered from a fair amount of criticism, including design flaws in the keyboard (which Apple still seems to be struggling with, despite its attempts to fix it last year) as well as issues with display cables dying (dubbed “Flexgate”). And while a 2021 update for the rumored 2019 laptop seems early, it’s easy to imagine that Apple might have fast-tracked new MacBook Pro hardware ahead of its normal update cycles to in order to put those issues behind it, and then follow that up with the mini-LED version later on once that tech is perfected.
More at The Verge.
Maybe The iPod Touch Is ‘Still Coming’?
It was partly expected in March’s smorgasbord of product launches, but an update to the iPod Touch remains tantalizingly out of reach. Zac Hall looks at the options for the portable media player:
So if the iPod touch isn’t dead, it’s just sticking around in the product lineup until a let’s-face-it-slightly-spec-bumped version is ready, when might the iPod touch 7 show up?
Historically, iPods were September products, shown off alongside new versions of iTunes, save for the fifth-gen touch that appeared in October. The current iPod touch made a surprise appearance in the dead center of July.
For future iPod touch customers, that’s the grain of hope. Apple can release new hardware anytime it wants, and that sometimes means the middle of July like last year’s MacBook Pro revisions — or anytime in the year for that matter.
More at 9to5Mac.
Apple still likes to push a corporate message of being ‘masters of design’ and while that may be in question given the iPhone changes, the Apple Card gives them a new canvas to work with. In typical fashion, Apple has spent time on designing a creative void. Arun Venkatesan looks at the choices made.
If the manufacturing process shown in the keynote is similar to what will be used for the final product, Apple’s card will also be created in a way completely new to credit cards. Most commonly available “metal” credit cards are a stamped piece of metal or a slim piece of metal laminated between two pieces of plastic onto which the EMV chip, numbers and markings are applied.
Apple’s video shows a card blank being cut from a single sheet of titanium. Then, a CNC mill cuts out a space for the EMV chip to be inserted in a later step.