Taking a look back at another week of news from Cupertino, this week’s Apple Loop includes a video of the three new iPhones for 2018, the iPhone X Plus secrets inside iOS 12, saying goodbye to the headphone dongle, hiding the dual-SIM iPhone, launch and release dates for the iPhones, more MacBook Pro problems, and how to increase battery life on your Mac.
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).
Video Of The Three New iPhones
Fancy a closer look at the three new iPhones that Tim Cook and the Apple team will be launching later this year? Comparing three ‘dummy’ models used by third-party peripheral manufacturers, Marques Brownlee walks you through the changes. Forbes’ Gordon Kelly has taken a look:
Brownlee doesn’t discuss the internals of the new iPhones, but we already know the budget iPhone X has a (limited) party trick. While on the flip side, though all new models will feature fast charging, it may be hostile to third-party fast chargers. Despite this, Brownlee does touch upon what is arguably the most exciting feature of the new iPhones: their significant price cuts – and the budget iPhone X is expected to be the biggest crowd pleaser in this respect.
Needless to say, until Tim Cook waves the new iPhones aloft on stage, cynics will be careful not to accept anything as fact. But there is clearly enough consensus at this stage to know we have moved well beyond that.
iPhone X Secrets Hiding In iOS 12
As well as revealing the design of the iPhone 8 replacement, the beta releases of iOS 12 has confirmed another detail about the upcoming iPhone handsets, specifically the largest iPhone X Plus phablet. Gordon Kelly reports:
Apple’s mistake was to include iconographic representations of the iPhone X Plus within iOS 12 beta 5’s PassKitUIFoundation, which is used for storing the iOS wallet user interface. Compared to the existing iPhone X icons, the new representation shows a taller and wider model while still carrying the same notch for Face ID.
Needless to say, the icons themselves still need to be polished before the final launch of iOS 12, but the discovery is not a coincidence. Rambo has also found icons for Apple’s upcoming ‘bezel-less’ iPads in the same release.
Goodbye To The iPhone Dongle
What will not be hiding in the new handsets is the lightning cable to 3.5mm dongle. Although it is still expected to be available in the Apple Store, Tim Cook and his team will be forcing audio down either the wireless or the lightning cable path with the new handsets. I asked the question ‘why?’ earlier this week:
The current generation of EarPods connect through the lightning port – blocking the use of chargers or other third-party accessories. Tim Cook and his team still believe that personal audio is important to the iPhone user… but it would rather move them towards the proprietary cable connection that it licences, or promote the use of BlueTooth and capture as many users as possible into the AirPods (and the again proprietary W1 wireless chip), than support a beloved standard.
Yes there are benefits to wireless audio, and there are benefits to wired audio as well. Apple may believe that the removal of the dongle is something that will benefit users, but what it really does is remove the veneer of choice over a system that continues to be locked down, against many solid arguments that the removal of the port has not benefited the user experience.
Why You Will Not Be Able To Buy A Dual-SIM iPhone
Previously, Apple was reported to be supporting dual-SIM technology in the iPhone. Follow up reports are now suggesting that the incredibly useful technology will be limited in two key ways. It will only appear on the presumptively named ‘iPhone 9’, and it will be limited to a Chinese release. Gordon Kelly describes why this is a curious change of approach:
For context, demand for dual sim phones is extremely high in China, but this doesn’t explain why a) Apple would develop an iPhone with this technology then deny it to the rest of the world, and b) not offer all new iPhone models with dual sims in China. After all, if the 6.1-inch iPhone 9 can fit dual sim, surely so can the 6.5-inch iPhone X Plus.
Admittedly, rivals like Samsung often do this but Apple has always operated differently and refused to slice and dice iPhone features for different markets. Something the company’s fans applaud.
New iPhone Launch And Release Dates
Enough about the what will be in the new iPhones, how about asking when? David Phelan takes a look at the potential launch and release dates of the next handsets.
Assuming recent years’ announcements are matched, there are four most-likely dates: Tuesday, September 4, Wednesday, September 5, Tuesday, September 11 and Wednesday, September 12.
Since Labor Day falls on Monday, September 3, it makes Tuesday, September 4 less likely as journalists and Apple staff may not want to be traveling or working on Labor Day. The other three dates seem more plausible, then. CNET believes Wednesday, September 12 is the most likely date.
My personal take is that it’s going to be chosen from two dates: Wednesday, September 5 and the following Wednesday, September 12. I think the likelihood is near-identical between the two, but a September 5 reveal just edges it for me.
MacBook Pro’s Latest Problems
Following the release of the MacBook Pro, Apple has been forced to address a number of software and hardware issues in the new laptop. Reports are coming in this week that another flaw has escaped the notice of the QA team. I took a closer look at the issues:
The latest issue concerns the speakers. First up, it’s worth noting that Apple has advertised the new speakers as taking “…listening to new levels with wide dynamic range and more bass for maximum boom. And the speakers are connected directly to system power, enabling greater peak amplification.”
But they have issues, notably a horrible crackling noise during audio playback, as demonstrated on countless YouTube videos.
If you want another example of the attention to detail that touches iOS but not macOS, look no further than battery life. While your iPhones and iPads have a ‘low battery mode’, the laptop range has nothing. Even though Apple doesn’t offer it as an option, Overcast developer Marco Arment investigates how to engineer one yourself and the improvements it can offer:
This ratio holds for most other configurations: the gain in battery life is about as large as the loss in heavy-workload performance. That’s a trade-off I’d gladly make when I need to maximize runtime.
The best bang-for-the-buck option is still to just disable Turbo Boost. Single-threaded performance hurts more than with wattage-limiting, but it’s able to maintain better multi-threaded performance and more consistent thermals, and gets a larger battery gain relative to its performance loss.
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.