Taking a look back at another week of news and headlines from Cupertino, this week’s Apple Loop takes in a new iPhone 12 leak, iOS 13 bugs, iPhone 11 charging issues, the A13 Bionic advantage, more Trojan apps deleted, Huawei CEO adopts an iPad, the rumored AirPods Pro, the benefits of dark mode, and how Apple has defeated Starbucks.
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).
Latest iPhone 12 Design Cues Leaks
Following on from discussion that the presumptively named iPhone 12, set to be released in September 2020, will follow the design cues of the iPhone 4, more details have been obtained on Apple’s plans. The latest from Ben Geskin highlights the changes to the exposed antenna lines. Chris Smith reports:
The iPhone 12 will have a design inspired by Apple’s iconic iPhone 4 series, a previous report said, and we’ve yet to see exactly what that means since it’ll be a long time before we see any actual images. But graphic designer Ben Geskin posted part of a purported iPhone 12 schematic that supposedly shows one of the 5G antennas of the handset.
…The antenna lines are supposedly wider and made of a material other than plastic. Phones that support 5G connectivity do require a different antenna system as well as a 5G modem, so a big iPhone redesign should help with these requirements.
More iOS 13 Problems, This Time With Apple’s New Chip
Meanwhile, the latest update to iOS, version 13.1.3, is causing problems with the Ultra Wideband chip in the iPhone 11 family. The custom U1 chip developed by Apple is designed to work with Ultra Wideband technology and provide a greater sense of ‘spatial awareness’ for applications to work with. It is currently use to assist with AirDrop, and is expected to be a key technology in the deployment of AppleTags, a Tile-like location service from Apple. Forbes’ Gordon Kelly has the details:
Thanks to some great detective work by wccftech, we know that a serious problem in iOS 13.1.3 is causing the new Ultra Wideband U1 chip in the iPhone 11 series to fail. Moreover, some units cannot be repaired and owners are reporting that Apple had to replace their phones.
What affected users are seeing shortly after updating is a pop-up warning: “Ultra Wideband Update Failed. Your iPhone cannot use Ultrawide band until it has been updated.” Apple has tacitly implied some level of scale because it has setup a dedicated support page making a similar recommendation. But both messages contain a level of duplicity because no publicly available update exists beyond iOS 13.1.3 and the latest beta of iOS 13.2 not only fails to fix the problem, it is actively causing it for some:
Wireless Charging issues
A number of users who have updated their iPhone are currently experiencing problems with wirelessly charging their batteries. This looks likely to be a software bug in a recent version of iOS 13, especially as a power cycle on the handset temporarily clears the issue. Aatif Sulleyman reports:
Many of those affected by the issue say that wireless charging stopped working after they updated to iOS 13.1.2. However, iOS 13.1.1 and iOS 13.2 have also been blamed for triggering the issue, and some users have actually hailed the iOS 13.1.2 update as the solution to the problem.
Apple is yet to issue an official response to the complaints, but some users have claimed that simply turning their iPhone 11 off and on again fixed the problem. However, in line with the messy nature of the situation, this apparent fix doesn’t appear to have worked for everyone.
Apple’s Silicon Advantage
Android runs on a number of System-on-Chips while Apple’s iPhone can restrict itself to the A13 Bionic. How does this specialist chip stack up against an all-rounder like the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, and what commercial advantages does it offer Apple? Daniel Dilger has some thoughts:
In 2018, we noted that Apple’s A12 Bionic was “over a year” ahead of the Snapdragon 855. Qualcomm debuted the Snapdragon 855 last December, months after the A12 arrived.
Almost a year later, Apple has introduced a significant new generation of mobile silicon with its A13 Bionic while Qualcomm is reintroducing its same chip, clocked slightly higher, as the Snapdragon 855 Plus. Despite that bump, in single-core performance Apple’s newest chip is benchmarking scores that are an incredible 77% faster than the Snapdragon 855 Plus.
Apple Neutralises Latest Trojan App Scare
Following reports of a number of Trojan apps appearing in the App Store, Apple has confirmed that seventeen apps have been removed due to the automatic clicking of adverts and generating false advert impressions. Zak Doffman reports:
Apple says that the apps in question have been removed from the App Store, and upon examination did not contain the trojan malware as claimed. Instead, the apps were removed for including code that enabled the artificial click-through of ads. A spokesperson for Apple confirmed the removal of the apps and that the App Store’s protective tools have been updated to detect similar apps in the future.
Huawei CEO Adopts An iPad
THere’s been a lot of interest this week in a picture on social media network Weibo. Why is someone unpacking an iPad to be scanned at an airport picking up interest? Because it is Ren Zhengfei, CEO of Huawei. More at The South China Morning Post.
“My children prefer Apple products over Huawei’s. Does it mean that they don’t love Huawei? Of course not,” the CEO told Chinese media in May. “Huawei products are ultimately commodities. People use them if they like them.”
He further explained, “iPhone has a good ecosystem and when my family are abroad, I still buy them iPhones, so one can’t narrowly think love for Huawei should mean loving Huawei phones.”
I’ll be honest, a CEO using his competitor’s product is a pretty smart idea. How else would an executive know what challenge their company is facing?
The AirPods Prepare To Go Pro
With icons spotted in iOS 13, and the supply chain indicating availability by the end of the month, it shouldn’t be long until we see what Apple’s third generation of wireless earbuds will offer. David Phelan takes a look at the menu, starting with noise cancellation:
AirPods Pro will have a great new feature. That’ll be noise-canceling. If this is the case, the AirPods Pro won’t be the first true wireless buds with noise-canceling. Sony’s WF-1000XM3 in-ears have spectacularly good electronic noise-canceling and Huawei is only weeks away from releasing its FreeBuds 3. Amazon also has a pair of noise-canceling in-ears about to go on sale. So, Apple won’t have the territory to itself.
Measuring Dark Mode’s Benefit
Much has been made o the ‘dark mode’ added to iOS 13. Because each OLED pixel effectively carries its own backlight (compared to a screen wide backlight in LCD displays) the fewer bright pixels, the less power is required. How much of a difference can this make to the endurance of an iPhone? Chance Miller looks at PhoneBuff’s investigation:
Using an iPhone XS as the test device, PhoneBuff employed robotic arms to do various things throughout iOS while in Light Mode and Dark Mode. This included using the Messages app, navigating in Google Maps, watching a YouTube video, and more.
The end result is actually quite impressive. PhoneBuff’s test found that the iPhone XS using Dark Mode drained the battery at a much slower pace than the iPhone XS using Light Mode. When the Light Mode iPhone XS died, the Dark Mode iPhone XS still had 30% battery life.
Who is bigger, Starbucks or Apple? In terms of app payments in the US, Apple Pay has overtaken Starbuck’s mobile app. More details at eMarketer:
Since our last mobile payments forecast in May 2018, Apple Pay use has grown even faster than expected. In 2019, Apple Pay will have 30.3 million users in the US, representing 47.3% of proximity mobile payment users. Following closely behind, the Starbucks app will have 25.2 million users this year, representing 39.4% of proximity mobile payment users.
“Apple Pay has benefited from the spread of new point-of-sale (POS) systems that work with the NFC signals Apple Pay runs on,” said eMarketer principal analyst Yory Wurmser. “The same trend should also help Google Pay and Samsung Pay, but they will continue to split the Android market.”
Hopefully that means we can say goodbye to the iPhone 12 Pro Max, and hello to the iPhone Venti.
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.