Apple Loop: New iPhone 8 Leaks Disappoint, MacBook Pro’s Hollywood Hit, Apple’s Biggest Danger – Forbes
Taking a look back at another week of news from Cupertino, this week’s Apple Loop includes the latest disappointing details of the iPhone 8, Apple’s issues with wireless charging and Touch ID, the problems with selling the iPhone 7S and 7S Plus, OLED screens for 2018, another argument against the iPad Pro as a laptop, editing Baby Drive on a MacBook Pro, and memories of Intel Inside and Apple’s PowerPC.
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).
Is The iPhone 8 Struggling With Issues
It’s been a bad week for the iPhone 8, with reports coming in of delays, missed technological milestones, and potentially awkward decisions. Forbes’ Gordon Kelly sums up the main issues that have hit this year’s flagship iOS smartphone:
…further iPhone 8 problems exist with the integration of Touch ID into the display, the supply of OLED for the display itself and operation of the new front facing “3D sensor” camera – which will bring unlocking via facial recognition.
In fact these problems are reported to be so severe that several of the functions will not be available when the phone launches, forcing Apple to enable them later via a software update (John Gruber seconds this). A similar route was taken with Portrait Mode on the iPhone 7 Plus, but these faults would be a far bigger deal.
Wireless Charging Is Not Universal
One of the other areas where the iPhone 8 is falling behind is in wireless charging, with reports that Apple will not be making it available at launch and it will need an update to iOS to make it work. That worries me, because dedicated base stations and software requirements suggest a proprietary system, as I explained earlier this week:
Given Apple’s history of proprietary technology, I’d suggest, with a heavy heart, that Tim Cook and his team have decided against an open standards, and will be tweaking the frequency and operation of its inductive charging system to lock users into Apple’s ecosystem. If you want the convenience of charging the iPhone 8 wirelessly, you’ll be purchasing either Apple’s own base stations, or base stations approved by Apple through the ‘Made For iPhone’ program.
Here’s Looking At You, Kid
The loss of Touch ID is expected to be mitigated by a new facial recognition system, which makes the recently published patent around Apple’s Facial ID system not just intriguing, but also a key validation of the leaks around both the software and the expected hardware in the new smartphone. Mikey Campbell has more:
In practice, authentication software contains instructions for detecting a user’s face opposite one or more of the included imaging sensors. In response to detecting a face, the visible light, infrared and 3D capture devices gather image data for local processing. Facial attributes detected in captured image data are compared against a library of authorized users for authentication. Importantly, the patent application notes the techniques described can be used to unlock a portable device, like an iPhone.
Perhaps not coincidentally, a nearly identical list of hardware is predicted for inclusion in Apple’s upcoming “iPhone 8.”
The iPhone 8’s Biggest Danger Is The iPhone 7S
With the iPhone 8 expected to be delayed and not arrive in retail stores till November (and even then in limited quantities) Apple has to keep its audience excited and engaged around the tenth-anniversary handset… and willing to wait a few months to buy it. But at the same September event it is expected to update the 7 family to the iPhone 7S and 7S Plus. Can it find the balance between updating these handsets and selling them by the millions while ensuring that the iPhone 8 will still have an audience?
Since the start of the year a number of quantum leaps have been ripped away from the iPhone 8. Areas such as on-screen Touch ID and at a distance wireless charging have been downgraded to facial recognition (possibly backed up by a Touch ID sensor in the power button) and the industry standard Qi wireless charging system. The iPhone 8 may be a leap forward for Apple with its curved OLED screen and glass chassis, but it simply matches much of the tech that has become established in the Android market.
The iPhone 7S and 7S Plus are going to be impressive handsets to existing iPhone users. They are both going to offer intoxicating upgrade paths. With the iPhone 8 pushing the $1000 barrier for a SIM-free handset, the 7S family is going to be cheaper. And with countless users on two-year contracts looking to upgrade from the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus models they signed up for in 2015, the handset that will be top of the list in the upgrade period will not be an iPhone 8, but an iPhone 7S.