Taking a look back at another week of news and headlines from Cupertino, this week’s Apple Loop includes new iPhone 12 details, the iPhone’s killer feature, the dying but not yet dead MacBook Air, iPad Pro vs MacBook Pro, Apple’s EU tax case, Car Keys on Apple Watch, throttled battery settlement, and the longest Apple dongle in the world…
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 12’s Stunning Camera Revealed
The leaks around the iPhone 12 family continue to come out. If Apple can stick to its normal schedule, expect an announcement in early September. But we can already get a good look at the device if we put together all the information. Forbes’ Gordon Kelly has taken a closer look at Enoylity Technology’s video renders that highlights the new camera technology and physical design:
“What immediately stands out is the heavily leaked angular chassis design which will see Apple take inspiration from the hugely popular iPhone 4, as well as the flat edged iPad Pro line-up. What those leaks were missing, however, and what Enoylity has brought together is the new quad core camera setup with Apple’s all-new LiDAR sensor and the smaller notch – something Apple is understood to be shrinking three generations on from the iPhone X.”
The iPhone SE’s Killer Feature
As more manufacturers push their mid-range Android handsets to the market, there is a commonality to all of them. They are packing in every specification to make the handsets feel like a match to the flagships, and they all have something in common… they are large screened handsets. Which hands Apple’s iPhone SE an advantage, as I discussed earlier this week:
“The mainstream manufacturers have decided that being good in the mid-range is about bringing all the big numbers from the flagship spec sheets to a lower price point. And that means large screens that need two hands for any operation at the top of the screen.
“Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with that. But size is not everything, and there is a vocal contingent that want a small and powerful phone at an affordable price. There’s really only one choice.”
Apple’s MacBook Air Is Dying But Not Yet Dead
Apple’s move away from Intel has given those looking for a new Mac in a bit of a pickle. It’s clear that ARM is the future of the platforms, its apps, and its services. But the new Air-styled ARM MacBook is not going to be on sale for some time, and those laptops will be the first public iteration of the platform. The Intel MacBook Air is certainly on notice, but it’s not dead. Brendan Hesse reports:
“Conversely, plenty of recently-released Intel-based Mac and MacBook models have great specs. A Mac release in 2020, 2019, or even 2018 could easily last you a few more years—more than enough time for Apple to perfect its ARM chips across a few hardware iterations, and for third-party developers to port over their apps.
“Because, yes, one of the biggest issues facing the new ARM Macs is app compatibility… Intel Macs, on the other hand, run all MacOS apps that exist right now (obviously), and certainly will continue to do so for plenty more years. Apple has a good track record of supporting older products well after launch, so its Intel Macs will absolutely remain relevant even after Apple has fully shifted to ARM.”
Returning To The iPad Pro vs. MacBook Pro
With the Mac’s move to ARM and the Developer Transition Kit using the same A12Z chip as the iPad Pro, discussion once more turns towards the iPad Pro encroaching into the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air space. With the addition of the Magic Keyboard and an update to iPadOS, is Apple’s “your next computer is not a computer’ accurate? Michael Simon investigates:
“Sadly, it didn’t work out. I spent more time fighting my iPad than loving it, and when push came to shove, it was just too difficult to get things done as quickly and efficiently as I do on my Mac. Some of it is muscle memory, of course, but there are still fundamental issues with the iPad that prevent it from being the work-first device Apple wants it to be. So I’m giving it up.
“While there’s a lot to like about the iPad Pro and Apple’s whole tablet experience, it isn’t as simple as a trackpad being the missing link between it and the Mac.”
EU Court Rules In Apple’s Favor Over Tax Issues
Following a lengthy period of investigation over the issue of tax breaks made by the Irish government to Apple, the General Court of the EU has decided that these did not constitute illegal State Aid to the company. Daniel Boffey reports:
“The European commission has been dealt a major blow in its battle to stop EU member states granting sweetheart tax deals to multinational corporations after the bloc’s general court ruled that Apple did not need to pay €13bn (£11.7bn) in back taxes to the Irish government.
“The Luxembourg-based court found the EU’s executive body had failed to prove that the iPhone maker benefited from an allegedly illegal arrangement with the Irish authorities, in a decision with wide repercussions for the bloc’s plans to clamp down on tax avoidance.”
Open Your Car With Your Apple Watch
Apple’s Car Key is coming to your wrist. The utility that allows users to open their cars with a tap of their phone has show up in the latest relase of the Apple Watch’s software. Juli Clover reports:
“WatchOS 6.2.8 introduces Car Key, a feature also available on the iPhone with iOS 13.6. Car Key is designed to allow an iPhone or an Apple Watch to be used in lieu of a physical key to unlock an NFC-enabled vehicle.
“Car Key needs to be implemented by car manufacturers to function, and BMW is one of Apple’s first partners. BMW’s Digital Key for iPhone feature will let iPhone owners tap to unlock their vehicles, start the car by placing the iPhone in the smartphone tray, place limitations on young drivers, and share keys with up to five other users.”
iPhone Battery Throttling Users Offered Settlement
Cast your mind back to 2017 and the discovery that Apple was throttling the performance of older iPhones. This led to changes in Apple’s servicing provisions which allowed for batteries to be replaced on older models. The original issue – that of the performance reduction without offering users a choice – was addressed in later versions of iOS, but legal action was taken against Apple in the US. There is now a resolution. Paul Thurrott reports:
“This wasn’t enough for Apple’s customers, of course, and a series of lawsuits were combined into a class-action lawsuit that the firm finally settled in March 2020. Under the terms of the settlement, Apple will pay up to $500 million in damages. Better still, impacted customers will be paid $25 for each affected iPhone they own(ed).”
Apple’s hardware is famous for using its own connectors and ports, which require dongles and adaptors to connect to universal devices. Niles Mitchell decided to find out just how long a dongle you could make on his YouTube channel.
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.