Taking a look back at another week of news and headlines from Cupertino, this week’s Apple Loop includes a new iPhone 14 surprise, the latest MacBook Pro problems, locking down your iPhone, a larger Apple Watch, a lack of macOS updates, Apple rationing chip tech, and Netflix’s new sound on your iPad.
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).
When You Leave Behind Mini And Go For More
With the ports supply chain providing many, if not all, of the specifications of the next iPhone family, there’s still something new to learn. Apple could be bringing back an old brand to help sell the new iPhone:
“Apple’s iPhone 14 range is just two months away and, while leaks have revealed everything from their battery capacities to potential price increases, one surprising detail was overlooked: a new name. Omdia senior research director David Hsieh refers to the new device (and iPhone 13 Mini replacement) as the ‘iPhone 14 Plus’. This makes a lot of sense. It harks back to Apple’s previous branding for its biggest phones and creates greater delineation between two 6.7-inch models.”
Will Incoming MacBook Air Have The Same MacBook Pro Problems?
Apple has confirmed that the M2-powered MacBook Air will be shipping next Friday (15th July), and pre-orders are now open to order the next Apple Silicon macOS laptops. But there are questions about the decision behind the specs of the new Mac:
“One question will be if this is sustained, given the throttling and performance problems the M2 MacBook Pro is facing. Another will be if Apple has reduced the effective read and write speed of the SSD storage by running single SSD chips instead of paired SSD chips, another issue plaguing some of the M2 MacBook Pro SKUs.”
Apple Finally Locks Down Your iPhone
Apple will be introducing a “Lockdown” mode in the next version of iOS. Designed to restrict the number of software areas that can be attacked over the internet, this includes limits on Messages, Safari, Apple services such as FaceTime, blocking wired connections to a computer, no configuration profiles, and no enrolling into new MDM services. It will debut in the upcoming beta of iOS 16
“Apple is previewing a groundbreaking security capability that offers specialized additional protection to users who may be at risk of highly targeted cyberattacks from private companies developing state-sponsored mercenary spyware. Apple is also providing details of its $10 million grant to bolster research exposing such threats.”
(Apple Newsroom). Ars Technica’s Dan Goodin takes a closer look at the extreme software option and how it could benefit a wider audience:
“…the move is big because of its simplicity and concreteness. No security snake oil here. If you want better security, learn to do without the services that pose the biggest threat… “When you notify users that they’ve been targeted with sophisticated threats, they inevitably ask ‘How can I make my phone safer?’” he wrote. “We haven’t had many great, honest answers that really make an impact. Hardening a consumer handset is really out of reach.”
A Slightly Bigger Watch?
Is Apple preparing to bump up the screen size on the next Apple Watch? Industry Analyst Ross Young has been following moves in the supply chain and believes fans of the wearable can expect a 1.99 inch screen, which will no doubt be branded as a two-inch screen when it arrives:
“It is possible that the slightly larger display size relates to the rumored redesign for the Apple Watch Series 8 with flat edges. Earlier this year, the leaker known as “ShrimpApplePro,” who correctly said that the Apple Watch Series 7 would feature a rounded design like the Apple Watch Series 6, claimed that Apple was working on a “flat front glass display” for the Apple Watch Series 8 . It seems plausible that an Apple Watch design with flat edges, first raised by leaker Jon Prosser in 2021, would feature a slightly larger flat top surface area, which could explain a five percent display size increase, although this remains speculation. “
Are Macs Getting Fewer Updates?
With the move away from the Intel x86 platform over to the ARM-powered Apple Silicon, the move to drop several older Macs from the new macOS Ventura platform is sensible, but does this mean Apple is reducing the number of updates to the Mac platform? Andrew Cunningham has taken a comprehensive look at the numbers to find out:
“But things accelerated in 2020 with macOS 11 (Big Sur), when Apple began dropping support for a few older Macs every single year… the amount of software support was well within the normal historical range for Macs released in 2014 and 2015. Ventura changes that for Macs released in 2016, in particular. Those models are getting new macOS updates for less than six years from their release date, the least since 2006 and a year or two less than Mac owners could expect in the very recent past. It’s not a historical low, but it’s a noticeable step backward.
Mac And Chips
An interesting analysis on the status of Apple Silicon, not just on the Mac platform but across the board. From the iPhone and iPad, through the Apple Watch, to the various Mac machines, Apple’s progress on chip design has biased towards the new Mxx chipsets used in its personal computers. This has arguably reduced the advances that could be made in other devices, especially the iPhone:
“In a year and a half, Apple has launched five main types of Mac chips, ranging from the M1 to the M1 Ultra to the M2. And over the next year or so, I expect Apple to introduce several more, including the M2 Pro, M2 Max, M2 Ultra and M3. In order to get there, Apple’s silicon engineering group had to shift many of its testing, development and production resources to Mac chips. The question is whether that affected its other products. Combined with supply bottlenecks, the focus may have contributed to slower progress for the iPhone, Apple Watch and even cellular modems.”
Netflix is bringing Spatial Audio support to Apple devices, which will improve the sound and increase the “immersive-ness” of audio on the popular streaming service… assuming your favorite film supports it!
“Spatial audio will roll out across the Netflix catalog beginning today, and you can hear it for yourself by typing “spatial audio” into the Netflix search bar and selecting a show or film that supports it in the search results. Netflix supports Apple’s spatial audio on Apple TV, iPhone, and iPad devices to enhance 5.1 surround sound and Dolby Atmos audio with an immersive surround sound experience.”
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.