Taking a look back at another week of news and headlines from Cupertino, this week’s Apple Loop includes a surprising iPhone 12 Mini decision, a sneaky trick in the iPhone 12 box, a MacBook warning, updates and issues with macOS, a review of the Apple Watch 6, Facebook asking for more, and goodbye to the iPod Nano.
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).
The Shrinking Storage On The New iPhones
As we wait for Apple to formally announce the iPhone 12 family (including the new ‘iPhone Mini’ branding for the entry level model), details on the storage options have come to light, and while the flagship handsets see a nice jump in specs, those looking at the cheaper models are going to be disappointed at the cost-cutting on show. Forbes’ Gordon Kelly reports:
“Prolific Apple tipster John Prosser has confirmed that Apple will double the entry level storage capacities of the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max to 128GB, which addresses much criticized 64GB starting point in iPhone 11 Pro models. But it’s not all good news.
“While iPhone 12 Pro models will get this (long awaited) storage bump, Prosser states that the all-new iPhone 12 mini (“Definitely the final marketing name”) and iPhone 12 will be stuck with 64GB of storage. They will also have the same 64/128/256GB upgrade options as the iPhone 11 line-up, missing out on the 512GB top tier available to the iPhone 12 Pro models.”
More here on Forbes.
The iPhone, The Box, And The EarPods
As well as speculation over the launch date of the iPhone 12 family, the question of what’s going to be in the box has also arisen. Will Apple strip out the peripherals to reduce the bill of materials? Tucked away in the code of iOS 14.2 is a curious omission that suggest the traditional EarPods are gone. Juli Clover reports:
“In iOS 14.2, this wording has been tweaked to say just “headphones,” removing the “supplied” part of this statement. The full code reads as follows:
“To reduce exposure to RF energy, use a hands-free option, such as the built-in speakerphone, headphones, or other similar accessories.
“All prior mentions of headphones have included “supplied,” and the deliberate elimination of the word in the new code strongly suggests Apple has no plans to “supply” headphones with the upcoming iPhone 12 models.”
More at MacRumors.
Beware The Ides Of The ARM MacBook
With the excitement continuing to build around Apple’s move to ARM for the macOS platform and a new MacBook expected later this month, It’s worth remembering that Microsoft has beaten Apple to the punch. This week saw the Windows 10 on ARM powered Surface Pro X receive a mid-cycle update. That makes Microsoft the known quantity, and Apple the laptop that needs a warning. I took a look at the two new ARM platforms earlier this week:
“Today, the Surface Pro X is not only a known quantity that has been validated by the market, but it is a known quantity that has picked up a mid-cycle refresh on the processor and a roadmap to increased app compatibility and flexibility.
“Apple’s ARM-powered MacBook is a mystery. The emulation that Apple has talked about is just that. Talk. Once it is released the teething troubles that Microsoft faced will also be faced by Apple; let’s not forget the move to ARM also comes on top of a major update to macOS to Big Sur v11.”
More here on Forbes.
Moving Forwards And Backwards With macOS.
Speaking of Big Sur, the upcoming version of macOS due for public release has picked up another beta version as Apple looks to minimize the aforementioned teething troubles both on the ARM- and Intel-powered machines. Juli Clover reports:
“Apple today seeded the Ninth beta of an upcoming macOS Big Sur update to developers for testing purposes, a week after releasing the eighth beta and more than two months after the new update was unveiled at the Worldwide Developers Conference.
“The macOS Big Sur beta can be downloaded through the Apple Developer Center and once the appropriate profile is installed, subsequent betas will be available through the Software Update mechanism in System Preferences.”
Meanwhile the security update for the older macOS Mojave was rolled back while Apple examined issues around both the operating system and the latest version of the Safari browser. A patch (a “supplementary update” in Apple’s words) is now available which should address the OS issues. More on this at MacRumors.
Reviewing the Apple Watch 6.
Apple’s September event saw the launch of the Apple Watch 6, with new features such as a blood oxygen sensor, an improved system on chip, a tweaked display, and of course some new colours. But the main issue remains the battery. James Stables takes a closer look:
““While no other smartwatch can touch the Apple Watch as a smartwatch, battery life is the Achilles heel. And it’s becoming an uncomfortable problem. We got way more than the 18 hours stated by Apple, with closer to 36 hours at a time including a 45 minute workout.
“It’s sleep tracking that really upsets things. The routine of nightly charging was acceptable, but now we’re finding time to charge, and having to create new routines. Ensuring we have charge is now something we actively think about – and that’s a bit wrong.
“That said, we feel that the pressure of battery anxiety will be even more acute when the world returns to normal.”
The full review is at Wareable.
Facebook Fights Apple For Messaging Choice
The team at The Information has reported on Facebook’s continued requests to Apple to allow users to change the default messaging application on their iPhones. With iOS 14 allowing the default browser to be switched away from Safari (with Microsoft’s Edge and Google’s Chrome both popular options), the principle has now been set. Will Apple follow through or is the soft lock-in through Messages to strong a pull? Chris Welch looks at the request:
“According to [Stan Chudnovsky, Facebook’s head of Messenger], Facebook has routinely asked Apple over the years to make it possible for third-party apps to take over as the default messaging client. The answer has always been no. “The main guess is that messaging drives hardware sales,” he said, when asked why Apple’s stance remains unchanged.
“And that’s probably right on: Apple’s iMessage platform and the features it enables between iPhone owners — voice messages, read receipts, reply / typing indicators, stickers and message effects, Memoji, and more — are a driving factor in why people buy and stick with iPhones.”
More at The Verge.
Following the iPod Nano’s cancellation in 2017, Apple continued to offer a full warranty and repair service; until this week. The venerable music player has been moved to Apple’s obsolete list, which limits options for repair ahead of move to vintage status in a few years:
“After years of service, and iPod touch taking over a lion’s share of iPod sales, Apple axed the nano line in 2017. Today’s addition to the “vintage” list means seventh-generation iPod nano devices are eligible for repairs and service at Genius Bars and Apple Authorized Service Providers, but only when required parts are available. In two years the last nano is expected to become “obsolete” and will no longer be eligible for repair.”
More at Appleinsider.
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.