Taking a look back at another week of news and headlines from Cupertino, this week’s Apple Loop includes leaked details of a radical new iPhone screen, who will buy this year’s iPhone, Apple changing its Indian focus, cancelling the cheap iPhone, the slow secret hiding in your MacBook Air, a new angle for Apple podcasts, and the dangers of FaceApp.
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).
Details Of The Radical iPhone Screen For 2020 Confirmed
As expected, Apple’s big changes to the iPhone will happen in 2020. This week saw more confirmation of details such as the notchless screen, under screen camera, and the reintroduction of TouchID. Forbes’ Gordon Kelly reports:
Credit Suisse says Apple is currently working with suppliers to finalise a full-screen display without any cut-outs thanks to a new under-screen TrueDepth camera. Moreover, the financier understands that this notch-less iPhone will be ready in 2020 as a standout model alongside older iPhone 11-based designs. This makes sense because it is how Apple launched the iPhone X: a major new design alongside the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus.
And it isn’t just the lack of a notch which makes this new iPhone interesting. Credit Suisse reveals that Apple will retain Face ID but also integrate a new in-display Touch ID as well, technology the company has been openly working on for some time. Interestingly, this also puts Credit Suisse on the same page as fellow investment bank Barclays.
More here on Forbes.
Who Would Buy An iPhone With No Changes?
With all the changes to the iPhone in 2020, what plans are there for 2019’s iOS-powered smartphone? More to the point, are there enough changes to warrant people buying a new handset to help boost Apple’s falling handset sales? I can’t see many:
…Apple is making a number of internal changes that suggest the presumptively named iPhone 11 family will be able to be marketed as the fastest, most powerful, best iPhones ever – but which iPhone launch has not featured those claims. The screen design remains, the physically styling remains, the lightning port remains, it’s going to take a very keen eye to spot the differences that can justify an annual upgrade.
Perhaps the only real beat that will be noticed by users will be the increased battery size. Adding around twenty percent capacity compared to the 2018 models will help daily endurance, but as with most ‘increasing’ specs of the iPhone it does little more than offer power parity with similar Android devices.
More here on Forbes.
Changing Focus For Indian iPhones
If Apple can’t reach new customers, then it is going to have to get more money out of the existing customer base. Part of that explains the push towards subscription services such as Apple Music and the developing Apple Games, but it’s also evident in other areas. Chance Miller reports on Apple’s approach in India where ‘less’ has to deliver ‘more’:
According to The Economic Times, Apple is now focusing on increasing its revenue from India, as opposed to increasing iPhone volume. Apple’s distributors in India have reportedly informed retailers that the new “entry level” iPhone will be the iPhone 6s. This move will increase the price of the base iPhone by Rs 8,000 in India (roughly $116).
More at 9to5Mac.
Cancelling The Cheap iPhone
India isn’t the only location that will see some radical changes to force up the average revenue per user. According to The Economic Times, Apple has plans to phase out the cheaper iPhones leaving consumers little choice but to go high. Gordon Kelly looks at the details:
Apple is pulling the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus (2014), iPhone 6S Plus (2015) and iPhone SE (2016) from sale. All four models are still widely sold around the world, including in the US, where you’ll even find Apple still supplying the iPhone 6 to Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart, US Cellular and more. And here’s where the wider impact lies.
The Economic Times reports that the models are being phased out to “increase the average selling price of iPhones” in order to “boost both profit and revenue.” This makes sense given Apple has suffered from falling iPhone sales, particularly in India, so the closing of cheap entry points into the range will upsell customers to more expensive models.
More here on Forbes.
The Slow Secret In The New MacBook Air
Apple’s quiet update to the Mac laptops last week deserves closer analysis. French site Consomac looked at the benchmarking of the new laptops compared to last year’s models. And the new MacBook Air which is $100 cheaper has slower components. I looked at the issue earlier this week:
To bring the price down Apple will have compromised in a number of areas. Staying with the older CPU architecture will be one, but clearly the reduced specifications for the SSD will be another area. It’s also not one of the ‘key’ specifications that customers look for when making purchasing decisions… SSD size, yes, but the speed?
From a practical point of view the MacBook Air is not a workhorse platform in the way that a MacBook Pro or a desk-bound Mac is. The extra speed may not be noticed, because although it is dropped by 35 percent, that will not lead to an overall performance drop of 35 percent. Apple decided on a compromise that it hopes will not have a significant impact on the target audience.
More here on Forbes.
This Podcast Was Brought To You By Apple
Industry newsletter PodNews reports on Apple’s plans to buy exclusive podcasts:
Apple plans to make its own exclusive podcasts. Bloomberg reports that Apple has “reached out to media companies to discuss buying exclusive rights to podcasts”. It’s initially unclear what this means for the iTunes API that many other podcast apps use, or, indeed, for Android users.
For an indication as to how important podcasting is for competitor Spotify’s investors, their stock price fell by 3% following the news.
What could Tim Cook and his team be planning? Nick Quah and the Hot Pod team do some blue sky thinking – while there are some great opportunities, which road Apple will take is still unclear:
The Bloomberg report notes that Apple has yet to settle on a clear strategy, and it doesn’t mention the specific kinds of companies that’s been contacted. A deal with, say, an indie production studio like Pineapple Street and Neon Hum has very different ramifications compared to a deal with NPR, Radiotopia, iHeartMedia, Rooster Teeth, or Wondery. Is Apple pursuing exclusive distribution rights for big hit shows, or is the company exploring the possibility of commissioning brand new projects? (The report doesn’t seem to delineate between the two frameworks.) Also, whatever conversations that have happened are said to be preliminary — which is to say, it’s possible that what we’re actually seeing is Apple in the process of poking its feelers around and taking stock of its options.
More at Hot Pod.
Rocketing to the top of the iOS App Store charts this week is FaceApp. It takes one of your photos and ‘ages’ you before allowing you to share it on your social networks. It’s one of countless passing novelties, but it’s a novelty that asks for a huge land grab on the rights for your content. The app wants access to all your photos and search history. and that’s dangerous. Forbes John Koetsier reports:
But what we have learned in the past few years about viral Facebook apps is that the data they collect is not always used for the purposes that we might assume. And, that the data collected is not always stored securely, safely, privately.
Once something is uploaded to the cloud, you’ve lost control whether or not you’ve given away legal license to your content. That’s one reason why privacy-sensitive Apple is doing most of its AI work on-device.
And it’s a good reason to be wary when any app wants access and a license to your digital content and/or identity.