Taking a look back at another week of news and headlines from Cupertino, this week’s Apple Loop includes details of the iPhone XR2 camera, fast chargi
Latest Tech News: Taking a look back at another week of news and headlines from Cupertino, this week’s Apple Loop includes details of the iPhone XR2 camera, fast charging plans, new TouchID technology, Apple’s quarterly results, Tim Cook on the delayed MacBooks, Apple Music’s waning influence, and more discussions around the right to repair.
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).
Two Lenses For The iPhone XR2
This week saw more details not he upcoming iPhone 11 handsets come to light. Let’s start with the camera on the presumptively titled iPhone XR 2, which looks to be getting a bump up to a dual-lens camera – something which a $700 smartphone should really have as standard. Forbes Gordon Kelly reports:
Citing supply chain sources, acclaimed Japanese site Macotakara says it believes the iPhone XR2 will be upgraded to a dual rear camera, adding a telephoto lens like the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max. This would make paying for a premium iPhone 11 seem even less appealing, especially with Apple expected to increase flagship prices yet again.
Yes, the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Max (names TBC) will step up themselves with impressive new triple rear cameras but this comes at a cost because they will be housed in a massive square camera hump which makes for a truly ugly iPhone. Conversely, we already know from the iPhone XS that Apple can integrate dual cameras far more stylishly.
More here on Forbes.
The Power Of The iPhone
Also coming to light are Apple’s plans to include a faster charger and USB-C cables in the retail box. That’s a step up from the previous package, and I suspect that it’s down to the cancellation of AirPower. I laid out the issue earlier in the week:
The plan was to have the magical wireless charging of AirPower taking the lead with the new iPhone design that was introduced in 2017. AirPower was prominently displayed alongside the iPhone X. While the iPhone X did ship on time, AirPower slipped, and slipped, and slipped, and was then given an embarrassing cancellation via the ‘5pm on a Friday press release’ route.
So Apple is left with ‘fast charging’ as the battle cry. And that has two major problems.
More on those problems (additional revenue and uniqueness) here.
Apple CEO Tim Cook attends the first meeting of the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board (Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)
Fingerprinting The Future
With the introduction of FaceID, Apple has diminished the use of fingerprints on its smartphone, but for all the gee-whizz power of FaceID, there remains a strong and consistent demand for fingerprint recognition. It remains in the lower end of Apple’s phones and tablets, and it appears that Cupertino is working on bringing the tech back, with a twist. Gordon Kelly has more:
Titled ‘Methods of biometric imaging of input surfaces’, Apple’s patent describes how it will use acoustic waves resonating from an iPhone display to create a 3D map of a user’s fingerprint. This may sound like the Galaxy S10’s Ultrasonic Reader, but Apple’s version lets you place your finger anywhere on the glass. This solves the biggest limitation of in-display readers: they’re never intuitive because you can’t feel where you should touch.
More on the new technology here.
Quarterly Results See iPhone Status Slipping Away
Apple’s quarterly results noted a decline in revenue of around five percent year on year, but as Daring Fireball’s John Gruber noted, without a breakdown of sales of iPhone, iPad, or Macs, “these reports are boring”. Perhaps that was Apple’s intention all along.
No matter, there’s enough data to see what is happening in the smartphone market, and the short answer is that Samsung is still in the lead, Huawei have taken over second place, and Apple’s iPhone has fallen to third. Michael Potuck reports on IDC’s latest numbers:
IDC’s report says that total smartphone shipments across all brands totaled 310.8 million units in Q1 2019, which was a 6.6% drop YoY. That marks six straight quarters of declining sales. IDC believes that the tough start to the year for smartphones indicates that declines will continue across 2019. Notably, Huawei was one of the few manufacturers to see growth in the quarter.
…According to IDC’s data, Apple shipped 36.4 million iPhones during the March quarter marking a huge 30.2% decline compared to the same period last year when it shipped 52.2 million of its smartphones.
More at 9to5Mac.
Good News On The Delayed MacBooks
As part of the quarterly reporting, CEO Tim Cook and CFO Luca Maestri touched on the lower than expected sales and revenue generated by the Mac line-up. Why was it slower than expected and where are the new Macs? I looked at the situation earlier this week:
First up, Maestri highlighted a lack of supply; “Next I’d like to talk about the Mac. Revenue was 5.5 billion compared to 5.8 billion a year ago, with the decline driven primarily by processor constraints on certain popular models.”
Then Tim Cook drew out the impact of the constraints and that he believed it to be short term; “For our Mac business overall, we faced some processor constraints in the March quarter, leading to a 5 percent revenue decline compared to last year. But we believe that our Mac revenue would have been up compared to last year without those constraints, and don’t believe this challenge will have a significant impact on our Q3 results.”
More here on Forbes.
Apple and U2 (image: Apple.com)
Falling To Five, It’s Apple Music
Neither has it been a good week for Apple Music. For all the marquee potential on Apple devices, the Apple streaming service has fallen to fifth in a recent social media intimacy survey, with the powerhouses of Spotify and Pandora ahead of Cupertino’s all you can listen to subscription service. Andrew O’Hara reports:
The 2019 MBLM Brand Intimacy Study compares apps and social platforms across the industry based on the emotional bond that users have with the brands.
In 2018, Apple ranked No. 1 before toppling to the fifth spot this year. Pinterest, Spotify, Pandora, and Instagram took the remaining top four positions, in that order. Facebook, Snapchat, Uber, Airbnb, and Venmo complete the top-ten list.
More at Apple Insider.
As The Verge reported, California’s Right to Repair legislation has been delayed into 2020, but lobbyist efforts slow down the adoption of the right to have access to spare parts and service manuals took a beating this week, thanks to Motherboard’s coverage:
In recent weeks, an Apple representative and a lobbyist for CompTIA, a trade organization that represents big tech companies, have been privately meeting with legislators in California to encourage them to kill legislation that would make it easier for consumers to repair their electronics, Motherboard has learned.
According to two sources in the California State Assembly, the lobbyists have met with members of the Privacy and Consumer Protection Committee, which is set to hold a hearing on the bill Tuesday afternoon. The lobbyists brought an iPhone to the meetings and showed lawmakers and their legislative aides the internal components of the phone. The lobbyists said that if improperly disassembled, consumers who are trying to fix their own iPhone could hurt themselves by puncturing the lithium-ion battery, the sources, who Motherboard is not naming because they were not authorized to speak to the media, said.
More from Jason Koebler on this story here.
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.