Taking a look back at another week of news and headlines from Cupertino, this week’s Apple Loop includes details of the iPhone XR2 design, new iPhone antenna designs, issues over battery life, Apple taking on Tile, a new Mac Pro for WWDC, and a history of Apple Store issues.
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 XR2 Design Leaks
Gathering together the latest information from around the internet, graphic designer Hasan Kaymak has created the best render of Apple’s upcoming handset. As expected it echoes the design language of the X and XS generations, but with lower specifications. Forbes’ Gordon Kelly reports:
The headline news is Apple has essentially turned the iPhone XR2 (name TBC, Kaymak calls it the iPhone 11R) into a slicker and more colorful version of the iPhone XS design, but with superior 2019 hardware. This includes a jump to dual rear cameras along with the adoption of two of the three massive new lenses in the iPhone 11.
Yes, the iPhone XR2 is going to miss out on one iPhone 11 lens (either the optical zoom or new wide-angle module) but that means it avoids the extremely polarising design of its big brother. For some, that alone will be a deal maker but you’re also going to get the iPhone XR2 for a lot less than the inflated iPhone 11 prices.
New Communication Technology For The iPhone
More small changes being reported for this year’s iPhone, with new antenna technology expected by noted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo thanks to a supplier change that uses new materials. Chance Miller reports for 9to5Mac.
Meanwhile, the switch to modified-PI antenna structure in the 2019 iPhones will bring both cost and production improvements for Apple. For consumers, it offers performance that is essentially the same as LCP when it comes to 4G LTE.
In total, however, Kuo explains that the cost of the antenna technology in the 2019 iPhones will be up 10-20 percent year-over-year due to new ultra-wideband upgrades. This will improve the iPhone’s performance when it comes to indoor navigation.
Read more here.
Latest iPhone Issues Over Battery Life
Meanwhile, Apple is facing criticisms over the stated battery life of the current iPhone range. UK consumer publication ‘Which?’ has tested the smartphones and found that the estimates of talk time is in Apple’s favour. Forbes’ Gordon Kelly reports:
“Which? tested nine iPhone models and found that all of them fell short of Apple’s battery time claims. In fact, Apple stated that its batteries lasted between 18 per cent and 51 per cent longer than the Which? results,” said Which? in a statement.
The biggest discrepancy was in talk time. For example, Apple claims the iPhone XR provides up to 25 hours of talk time but in tests by Which? it lasted only 16 hours 32 minutes. Moreover, this discrepancy was limited to Apple. Which? tested a total of 50 models from five brands (Apple, HTC, Nokia, Samsung and Sony) and only HTC fell below its claims (by 5%) while the others outperformed their manufacturer’s claims with Sony standing out at up to 21% higher.
More here on Forbes.
Apple Prepares To Take On Tile
Guilherme Rambo has details on an as-yet unannounced addition to Apple’s suite of apps. Not only will the Find My Friends and Find My iPhone apps be united into a single app (that will, via Marzipn, run on iOS and macOS), it will also be accompanied by a new piece of Apple hardware, a small physical ‘tag’ that can track its location via the new app:
Apple also wants users to be able to track any item – not just their Apple devices – using this new unified app. The company is working on a new hardware product, known only as “B389” by the people involved in its development.
This new product will be a tag that can be attached to any item – similar to other products like Tile. The tag will be paired to a user’s iCloud account by proximity to an iPhone, like AirPods. Users will be able to receive notifications when their device gets too far away from the tag, preventing them from forgetting the item the tag is attached to. Certain locations can be added to a list of ignored locations, so that the item can be left at those locations without the user being notified. The location of a tag can also be shared with friends or family.
More at 9to5Mac.
A New Mac Pro For WWDC?
Will Apple launch a new Mac Pro at WWDC 2019? It’s been years since the last update, and the iMac Pro is widely regarded as a recent stop-gap. But it’s been just over a year since Apple briefed a number of journalists of a revamp, and the geekerati are itchy. But there’s a sting in the tail if it is announced. I looked at the promotional problem earlier this week:
Well, it’s been nearly thirteen months since that briefing, and a launch at WWDC (but not necessarily a retail release) would be welcomed by many of the geekerati, even if the Mac Pro is a machine with a limited audience.
It would also draw attention to the long gap between a 2019 Mac Pro and the previous release in December 2013 – which also leads to questions regarding the updates for the popular MacBook and MacBook Pro machines
….With the iPhone expected to offer little more than incremental improvements, a new MacPro at the top end will give Apple an air of progress, but the workhorse devices are falling behind the strong challenge from a raft of radical designs running Windows 10.
More here on Forbes. What else can we expect from WWDC? With updates to iOS, macOS, watchOS, and TvOS, Mark Gurman has gathered together the best information for a solid round-up.
As Apple looks to grow its software and services division, what will happen to the Apple Store. If success is going to continue, the current approach needs to change. Mark Gurman and Matthew Townsend report on the current state of the hipster’s home from home:
In interviews, current and former Apple employees blame a combination of factors. They say the stores have become mostly an exercise in branding and no longer do a good job serving mission shoppers like Smith. Meanwhile, they say, the quality of staff has slipped during an 18-year expansion that has seen Apple open more than 500 locations and hire 70,000 people. The Genius Bar, once renowned for its tech support, has been largely replaced with staff who roam the stores and are harder to track down. That’s a significant drawback because people are hanging onto their phones longer these days and need them repaired.