Taking a look back at another week of news and headlines from Cupertino, this week’s Apple Loop includes all you need to know about the new iPhone SE, the stunning camera tech in the iPhone 12, Apple shuts down Dark Sky on Android, Apple’s AirTag video leak, Intel’s new chips for the MacBook Pro, and the best peripheral for Working From Home…
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).
Here Comes The iPhone SE, 2020 Edition!
Apple’s next handset launch is drawing ever closer. The long rumoured replacement for the iPhone SE is expected to sport the same chipset as the iPhone 11, but in a smaller frame… likely matching the design of the iPhone 8. The team at 9to5Mac have learned not only the new handset’s name, but the storage and color options. Let’s meet the iPhone SE (2020):
“…Apple will simply call the new entry-level model “iPhone SE” while referencing the new hardware as the 2020 version. Apple originally used the iPhone SE marketing name for the 4-inch model that use the iPhone 5s body with the camera and processor from the iPhone 6s.”
Zac Hall and the 9to5 team are also ‘confirming’ the color choices (white, black, and red), storage options (64 GB, 128 GB, or 256 GB), and the first-party cases (black or white silicone; red, black, or midnight blue leather).
As for the launch date, while it may come sooner than some think. Although some retailers are preparing to put third-party cases on sale next week, many are looking at April 15th as the launch date, with availability on the 22nd. It may be a cheaper handset (with an expected entry-level price of $399) but it is a critical handset for Apple’s 2020:
“The iPhone 9 is going to be an important handset for Apple even though many believe the original launch plans have been disrupted. As Tim Cook and his team push the main iPhone line higher up the price bands, with handsets touching $1500 dollars, this pull has resulted in a price gap underneath the new handsets. That gap is filling up with ‘near flagship’ Android devices. Apple is losing the mid-tier consumers as it chases the top of the market.
“Hence the iPhone 9, with its rumored $399 price point, becomes a key handset, blocking the flow of users to Android and bringing them into Apple’s cloud based services with a wealth of subscription services.”
More iPhone 12 Camera Advances
The recently launched iPad Pro may hold one of the secrets to the iPhone 12’s camera. The LiDAR scanner inside the tablet is also the perfect size to fit in the iPhone 11 Pro camera island. With new stabilisation on the sensor, faster hardware, and improved software, Apple is going to be using imaging as a major selling point of the new flagship. Forbes’ Gordon Kelly reports:
“The downside of this discovery is it strongly suggests Apple will not be making dramatic changes to the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max’s camera hardware for the iPhone 12. But that is unsurprising given the massive step-up in quality these models made, from the iPhone XS and XS Max. The flip side, looking at the early demos from developers (see below), is the LiDAR scanner looks set to be a true differential against rivals and a genuine game-changer.”
Apple Buys Dark Sky, Prepares To Shut Out Android Users
Apple made a rare public purchase this week. It now has the popular weather app Dark Sky. But it comes with a bit of a shock to the community. Previously a cross-platform app, Dark Sky can no longer be downloaded by Android or WearOS users. Existing users will see the app shut down on July 1st 2020. Apps that use the API have a little longer, with existing access available until the end of 2021, but no new sign-ups will be allowed. Arol Wright looks at the impact:
“Despite how invested Apple is with their ecosystem of apps, they don’t normally do this. Shazam, for example, was acquired by Apple in 2018, yet they still keep an Android version of the app active. One of the possible following steps for Apple, then, is that they might roll it into iOS natively at some point, merging it with the existing Weather app. Web services are also being gutted together with the Android app.”
Apple Leaks AirTag Details
The oft-mentioned but still to be launched AirTag tracking hardware has shown up in a new video posted to Apple’s YouTube channel. Chance Miller looks at the details from the (now removed) video:
“Apple mentions AirTags in reference to the Find My app’s offline finding feature:
Offline finding enables this device and AirTags to be found when not connected to Wi-Fi or cellular.
The Apple tracker tags will allow customers to locate real-world objects — like keys or suitcases — in the Find My app. As Apple’s video teases, the tags will use the offline features introduced in iOS 13 to allow anyone’s device to be able to detect the tracker signal.”
New Chips For The MacBook Pro?
This week saw Intel announce the latest 10th-generation Core processors. Designed for more powerful machines, a number of the geekerati are wondering when these will end up in Apple’s MacBook Pro machines. Joe Rossignol reports:
“The new H-series chips have the same base clock speeds as the 9th-generation chips in the current 16-inch MacBook Pro, but Turbo Boost speeds now exceed 5GHz for the first time. For example, the new highest-end Core i9 chip still clocks in at 2.4GHz, but its maximum Turbo Boost frequency has increased from 5.0GHz to 5.3GHz.”
Working from home? Doing a lot of video conferencing? Wondering what to do with headphones and a microphone and just one 3.5mm headphone jack on your MacBook? Never fear, Adrian Kingsley-Hughes has some advice:
Well, the problem is compatibility between the microphone jack and the jack built into the MacBook. The headphone jack is called TRS, which stands for “tip, ring, sleeve,” and if you look closely at the jack, you’ll seen three bands on it. The MacBook needs a TRRS jack, which stands for “tip, ring, ring, sleeve,” and this has four bands.
So, what can you do? You have a few options. The easiest way around this is to use a converter cable like this, which will cost less than $10. Alternatively, you can get a USB-A or USB-C which will plug into a USB port, no drivers needed. Again, these will cost you less than $10.
More at ZDNet. Personally I’ve been using Sabrent’s USB adaptor that gives you a mic and a headphone jack to work with. Very much recommended.
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.