Apple confirms serious iPhone problems, iPhone 13’s big advantage
Commuters wearing face masks walk past an advertisement for the new iPhone.
Taking a look back at another week of news and headlines from Cupertino, this week’s Apple Loop includes all the details from the September launch event, including the new iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro, the iPad and iPad Mini, and the Apple Watch Series 7, iOS and iPad OS updates, the MacBook Pro display problems, and Tim Cook’s latest chart win.
Apple’s emergency software update
The biggest news this week was not the launch event for the new iPhone, but Apple’s software update at the start of the week. Following on from the revelations of the capability and operation of the Pegasus spyware, an urgent security update was pushed out to all Apple users for iOS, iPadOS, macOS, and WatchOS. To illustrate the urgency, macOS will not only update the current BigSur version of the OS, but those users who have stayed on Catalina and Mojave.
Why is this an emergency? Apple puts a lot of stock on both the privacy and the security of its software. Pegasus has publicly shaken those foundations. In short, this is an emergency software update that everyone should install. Immediately.
"Once the spyware is on a device, the attackers can silently copy and steal the messages sent and received on the phone, use the camera to secretly film the phone’s owner, and eavesdrop via the microphone. While it’s very unlikely that ordinary users’ Apple devices will be targeted by Pegasus spyware, the vulnerability the researchers found has worried security experts."
Apple’s ‘California Streaming’ event saw the expected launches of Apple’s new smartphones, two new tablets, and one key peripheral. Let’s start with the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Mini. The focus on the two ‘regular’ iOS handsets leans into the tweaks to the design, notably the smaller notch and the new diagonal camera layout, and the new A15 Bionic chip with two high-performance cores and four efficiency cores. Curiously Apple measured the increased performance against “the leading competition” and not the obvious benchmark of the A14 Bionic.
"Apple says the whole phone has been rearchitected to make room for "new technology" while also fitting a bigger battery. Apple wouldn't give exact sizes, but it says the iPhone Pro's battery life is up 1.5 hours compared to last year, and the base-model iPhone is up 2.5 hours."
Entry level iPad refreshed
Also debuting at the event were two new iPads. The first was an update to the entry-level titular iPad. This will be the ninth iPad in eleven years. It comes with the A13 Bionic system on chip, a 12 megapixel forward-facing camera, TouchID in the home button, and Apple’s proprietary lightning port for connectivity.
"The base-model iPad is the one most people gravitate toward, as it’s the most economical model in the lineup. This year, Apple has bumped the base storage to 64GB and kept the starting $329 price the same. The iPad is also compatible with the first-generation Apple Pencil and the Apple Smart Keyboard."
New iPad mini drops lightning
We also saw a new iPad Mini. The screen has bumped up from 7.9 inches to 8.3 inches, but one of the more significant changes is the use of USB-C for connectivity and charging, and the up to date A15 Bionic system on chip.
"Apple is also updating the iPad mini to work with Apple Pencil. Buyers will be able to get the product with a cellular 5G modem too, starting at $649. Another feature includes Touch ID in the power button, so you can unlock the device with your fingerprint. The new iPad mini adopts the design aesthetics of the iPad Pro."
Subtle series 7 changes to Apple watch
Finally from the launch event is the Apple Watch Series 7, that does not show any of the new design or features that were leaked. No flat-edged design, just the same chamfered curves as before, and no always-on mode for the display. What we do get is a larger display with more all-round protection/
"The new Apple Watch 7 Series has a slightly new design, although the design has mainly remained the same, as opposed to the leaks that we’ve seen of the flat-edged designs. Apple says it’s the most durable watch ever, with a Crack Resistance design, and it’s also certified for IP6X and WR50. The buttons are now larger and more refined to take advantage of the larger display."
iOS and iPadOS updates for all
All of the new hardware will be picking up new software, as Apple prepares the general release of iOS 15, iPadOS 15, with support going back to the iPhone 6S and the seventh-generation iPod Touch. Notably, the beta period has seen a significant change to Apple’s web browser through user feedback on the UI.
"iOS 15 also includes an all-new design for Safari, which went through multiple revisions through the beta testing period. “The streamlined tab bar takes up less room on the page and floats slightly above the bottom of the screen, where it’s easier to reach. The bar seamlessly moves out of the way as you scroll and appears again with a tap,” Apple explains."
MacBook Pro display problems continue
Following on from last week's confirmation of MacBook Pro and MacBook Air design issues contributing to cracked displays, Apple is now facing a class action lawsuit resulting from these MacBook issues.
"It addresses not only the claim that the displays are due to a hardware defect, but also Apple’s marketing of the MacBooks as "state-of-the-art premium and durable laptops.” ...This isn’t the only claim the lawsuit is making; also included is the variable price of out-of-warranty display repairs, and the potential use of displays with the same fault during repairs. The suit asks for a jury trial,"
What if there was another app store?
THere’s lots of talk over Apple’s monopoly over iOS app distribution and near-monopoly on payments for apps and in-app purchases. What if the current wave of legal cases and discussions took away that block and allowed others to implement sideloading and payment mechanisms. Developer Marco Arment has an interesting thought experiment…. What would Facebook do?”
"Facebook would soon have apps that bypassed App Review installed on the majority of iPhones in the world… Without the threat of App Review to keep them in check, Facebook’s apps would become even more monstrous than they already are. As a user and a fan of iOS, I don’t want any part of that."
Time’s list of 100 Most Influential People of The Year has been published for 2021. It’s fair to say most people in the west will recognise most of the names here, but for Apple Loop there’s one to focus on. Tim Cook. Nike’s Phil Knight has profiled the Apple CEO.
"Outside of our work together, I have known Tim as both a friend and as a rival college-football fan. (The tally since Tim joined Nike’s board: Auburn 2 wins, Oregon 0. So far.) Virtually all leaders of large organizations today have high IQs. What separates the good from the great are intangibles such as character, compassion, courage—adjectives that apply to Tim."–forbes.com