Taking a look back at another week of news and headlines from Cupertino, this week’s Apple Loop includes new iPhone features leaked, Apple confirms iPhone problems, big MacBook changes, MacBook Pro pricing, Apple Watch Series 7 production begins, App Store’s legal woes, and one more thing for Tim Cook.
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).
I Think My iPhone Knows Which Way To Go
Apple is adding satellite based data services and messaging to the upcoming iPhone, according to reports this week. For the moment this feature looks to be limited to emergency calls, and follow the trend of not being switched on when the phone is first release. But once the concept is proven it could easily be enhanced through a software update, or be a key feature for the next iPhone model
“And though the next iPhone could have the hardware needed for satellite communications, the features are unlikely to be ready before next year, said another person, who asked not to be identified because the plans aren’t yet public. The features could also change or be scrapped before they’re released.”
iPhone 12 Hardware Issues Confirmed
This week saw Apple confirm a manufacturing defect with the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro handsets manufactured between October 2020 and April 2021. These handsets may develop a fault in the sound receiver module, making any sort of call impossible. Apple is offering a free repair, but be warned… if your iPhone has any other damage, you will have to pay for that repair as part of the process.
“This cost can be substantial. If, like many iPhone owners around the world, you have a crack in your display and you don’t pay for AppleCare+ insurance, Apple states that iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro display repairs cost $279 (it’s $29 with AppleCare+). Meanwhile, Apple lists for repairing “other damage” as $449 (iPhone 12) and $549 (iPhone 12 Pro).”
The Big Changes Coming To The MacBook Pro
Apple is expected to take a big step forward with the macBook Pro later this year; last year’s release of the M1 MacBook Pro and MacBook Air set the stage but there’s a lot more to come from Cupertino, as Roman Loyola looks at changes coming to the macOS laptop. At this rate the hardware might reach parity with the Windows 10 powered competition.
“…the idea that the next Apple SoC could be significantly faster than the M1 makes this the most exciting thing that will happen with the new MacBook Pro. Various reports state that the SoC in the new MacBook Pro will be called the M1X, and it could have a 10-core CPU, with eight performance cores and two efficiency cores. That’s double the number of performance cores of the M1. Also, the M1X could support a maximum of 64GB of RAM—the M1’s max is 16GB.”
How Much For That MacBook Pro In The Window?
The other question, and perhaps one weighing heavily unmanly, is how much the new MacBook Pro machines are going to cost. Apple has a relatively consistent set of pricing tiers, and the new technology and design of the 14-inch MacBook Pro should see an entry-level price similar to the previous high-end 13-inch macOS laptop:
“The current 16-inch MacBook Pro, albeit an Intel-powered laptop, starts at $2399, while the higher tier of MacBook Pro starts at $1799. The lower tier Intel hardware was replaced with the M1 MacBook Pro, and the obvious call would be the next MacBook Pro laptops would take the place of the smaller $1799 and larger $2399 laptops.”
Watch Out For The New Watch
Alongside the iPhone, Apple is expected to launch a number of smaller products such as a redesign of the Air Pods and the next Apple Watch. Series 7 of the latter is looking to target the same launch window as the iPhone 13, although the volumes may be lower than hoped for:
“…suppliers are scheduled to ramp up Apple Watch Series 7 production starting at the end of September. That timeframe could indeed reflect a short delay in production, as Nikkei Asia had reported that Apple Watch Series 7 mass production was originally slated to begin around mid-September.”
App Store Needs Alternative Payment Providers
South Korea has passed a law that restricts App Store owners from demanding developers use their built-in payment system; alternative payment providers must be allowed. Given the expectation of credit card providers to take around three percent of a sale for fees compared to the App Store standard of thirty percent, it’s fair to say that Google and Apple especially are going to push back on this in South Korea, and hope this principle does not spread to other territories.
“Google’s and Apple’s stores do provide some benefits, like user authentication for purchases, friction-free purchases thanks to stored payment information, and easy data hosting and distribution for digital goods. If developers don’t need any of those things or are willing to roll their own solutions, standard credit card processors usually only take a 1-3 percent cut of sales.”
App Store Readers Get A Small Piece Of Cheese
Apple has offered a small concession to ‘reader’ apps as s part of a settlement with the Japanese anti-trust regulator. It allows app develoeprs who offer ‘reader’ apps – those that simply display information from elsewhere – to point to a web page from within the app to help users manage their account. This is a limited and specific option, and do note Apple decides what is or is not a reader app.
“The ban on providing separate links on App Store apps was lifted for so-called reader apps which provide content such as e-books, video and music that does not offer a free tier of service, instead requiring payment at sign-up. Currently, apps like Netflix and Spotify skirt Apple’s commissions of around 15%-30% by forcing users to first sign up on their websites.”
What does a post-Cook Apple look like? While it is coming, there may be (ahem) one more thing from the current CEO stands down to hand over the reigns to presumably a hand-picked successor:
“The belief inside Apple is that Cook just wants to stick around for one more major new product category, which is likely to be augmented reality glasses rather than a car — something that’s even further out. He also understands that running a Silicon Valley company is typically a young person’s game, and he’s not going to stay far beyond his prime.”
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.