Taking a look back at another week of news from Cupertino, this week’s Apple Loop includes FaceID for every new iPhone in 2018, the corners being cut for a cheaper iPhone X, secrets inside the new MacBook Pro, falling iPhone sales in India, the lack of fast chargers for the iPhone, Photoshop for the iPad, and iOS 12’s updated USB security.
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 Confirms New iPhone Models
Thanks to a regulatory listing made by Apple in the Eurasian database, we now know there are three new models of iPhone on the way, with a number of ‘sub models’ in each range. Forbes’ Gordon Kelly discusses the details:
Spotted by Consomac, Apple has chosen to publicly file identifiers for all its new iPhones in the Eurasian database, and it confirms three distinct designs will be coming to market. The iPhone model identifiers are: A1920, A1921, A1984, A2097, A2098, A2099 and A2101, A2103, A2104, A2105, and A2106. There are three clear runs here: A19, A20 and A21.
Logic would suggest these are arranged by price with the A19 referring to the new 6.1-inch budget iPhone X (details), the A20 being the second generation 5.8-inch iPhone X (details) and A21 the massive 6.5-inch iPhone X Plus (details), we can’t say for sure as they may be ordered by size.
More here on Forbes:
FaceID For Everyone In New iPhone X Hardware
Following its debut in the iPhone X, Apple is ready to bring FaceID to its full range of iOS devices. Numbers from the supply chain point to an explosion of critical components used in the facial recognition system, as I reported earlier this week:
Currently just one iPhone carries FaceID – the iPhone X – but the increase in numbers in the supply chain would be enough to equip three handsets. This would be the upcoming iPhone X Plus, the revamped iPhone X for 2018, and the entry-level LCD equipped iPhone that will replace the iPhone 8. The expected updates to the iPad will likely see FaceID incorporated into the hardware.
Apple has placed a lot of marketing power behind FaceID and its ease of use. The VCSEL reduces the potential of false positive matches and means that banking applications are comfortable using FaceID for biometric recognition. On Android devices with Face Unlock, a fingerprint is still needed to make digital purchases and user authentication in secure environments.
More on Forbes.
Cutting The iPhone’s Parts Budget Through Old Screen Technology
There’s also the small matter of updating the iPhone 8. The suspicion of many is that a ‘Budget iPhone X’ will be used, bringing over many X features (such as the aforementioned FaceID) but to get the price down from last year’s $999 to something more acceptable, there will need to be significant compromises. This week saw details of the biggest decision Apple has made for this model. Forbes’ Gordon Kelly reports:
In short, despite copying the so-called ‘bezel-less’ design of the more expensive second-generation iPhone X (details) and new iPhone X Plus (details), Apple’s new budget iPhone X will have noticeably thicker bezels. Thanks to an inherent design limitation, which stems from cost-cutting.
In order to make the budget iPhone X so affordable, Apple is fitting it with an LCD panel rather than the more expensive OLED panels in the gen two iPhone X and iPhone X Plus. The OLED panels in these phones actually bend around to the back so Apple can hide the display connector away from the end resulting in their tiny bezels. But LCD displays don’t bend.
More here on Forbes.
Inside The New MacBook Pro Machines
Although the news was hidden away as much as possible, the release of the mid-2018 MacBook Pro machines are the first to carry Apple’s third-generation butterfly keyboard – which promises a quieter typing experience with the same amount of key travel. But a look underneath the key caps reveals a curiously useful side effect. Mehedi Hassan reports:
…the new MacBook Pros come with a silicone cover over the butterfly switches that are supposed to stop dust from intervening with the key mechanism. The silicon cover also makes the keyboard quieter, but that clearly isn’t its entire purpose. The fix is still quite poor, though — there’s a good chance dust will still be able to get in, rendering your keys useless. Apple confirmed the new keyboard isn’t designed to fix the dust issue, so things are still up in the air for now.
More at Thurrott.com. It’s not just the keyboard that Apple has re-engineered. The teardown team at iFixit – who confirmed the addition of the keyboard membrane – found a lot more battery power inside the machine, but not a lot that’s easy to repair or replace:
Thirsty chips require more power, and this 58 Wh, 232.7 gram, 6-cell battery is a marked improvement over the 49.2 Wh, 196.7 g, 5-cell unit seen previously. All without changing overall device weight. …It has a brand new power adapter: A1947. It boasts more shielding and impact-resistant foam, but unfortunately the metal USB-C port has been swapped for a plastic one.
Unfortunately, the RAM, flash memory, and processor are still soldered down. Even the upper case—keyboard, battery, and speakers—is a single unit, making components a nightmare to replace.
More on the teardown at iFixit.
Apple Loses Key Indian Staff As iPhone Sales Fail To Materialise
Apple’s smartphone sales may be riding high in the saturated markets of North America and Europe, but significant growth comes from the relatively fresh BRIC territories. And the iPhone is not doing well in India. With less than one million sales in 2018, executive heads have rolled. Saritha Rai reports:
The executive exodus is a symptom of Apple’s persistent malaise in India, where high tariffs inflate the price tags of imported gadgets such as the iPhone and consumers gravitate toward cheaper alternatives from the likes of Xiaomi Corp. and Samsung Electronics Co. Instead, the company resorts to marketing iPhones that are a few generations old and doesn’t manufacture its latest models domestically, thereby incurring import levies.
Its inability to grow the business and single-digit market share stand in stark contrast to the publicly upbeat comments of Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook, who’s used phrases like “very bullish” and “very optimistic” when speaking about the Asian country.
More at Bloomberg.
Fast Chargers In Short Supply
As well as updating the charging circuits inside the 2018 iPhone design from 5V 2A to 9V 2A and 5V 3A, Apple is also preparing a new ‘fast’ charger that will ship with the new handsets. But the volume of chargers required is putting a one-time strain on the production line. Joe Rossignol reports:
…Apple’s suppliers are likely only able to manufacture enough chargers for inclusion with 2018 iPhones, suggesting that Apple may hold off on selling them as a standalone accessory until some point after the smartphones launch, although exactly when remains to be seen.
…The charger would connect to iPhones with a USB-C to Lightning cable, also expected to be included in the box. At 18W, it would be able to charge compatible iPhones at least twice as fast as the 5W adapter.
More at MacRumors.
Photoshop Finally Arriving On iPad?
iPad-toting Photoshop fans will be watching October’s MAX Creative Conference carefully following Scott Belsky’s interview with Bloomberg. Adobe’s Chief Product Office confirmed that an iOS version of the popular photo editing tool is on its way. David Phelan covers the upcoming software release:
Windows users have had tablet access to Photoshop on Microsoft’s Surface Pro, for instance, because that tablet runs a full version of Windows. Bloomberg says that Belsky has confirmed Adobe is eager to release cross-platform iterations of Photoshop and other applications, without specifying dates.
“My aspiration is to get these on the market as soon as possible,” Belsky said in an interview. “There’s a lot required to take a product as sophisticated and powerful as Photoshop and make that work on a modern device like the iPad. We need to bring our products into this cloud-first collaborative era.”
Read more on the iPad’s Photoshop here.
The latest update to the iOS 12 beta shows that Apple is working out the bugs in the ‘USB security hole’ present in older versions of the operating system that potentially allows agencies to access data on the handset. Andrew O’Hara looks at the change:
In the fourth developer beta of iOS 12, a passcode is required any time a computer or USB accessory is connected.
Before the change, authorities or criminals would have an hour since last unlock to connect a cracking device, like the GreyKey box. Now, they don’t have that hour, making it that much more difficult to brute force a password attempt into a device.
More at Apple Insider.
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.