Taking a look back at another week of news and headlines from Cupertino, this week’s Apple Loop includes the new iPhone 12 design, the iPhone ignoring 5G, Apple’s iPhone SE problem, the final MacBook update, virtual WWDC announcements, developing the iPad cursor, and an X-Ray of the Magic Keyboard.
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).
The Straight Lines Of The iPhone 12 Design
With three years under its belt, the iPhone X design is getting ready to be pushed aside for the iPhone 12. This move makes sense, signifying this iPhone as the ‘new’ iPhone… even though the design harks back to 2010’s iPhone 4. Forbes’ Gordon Kelly reports:
“Whereas Apple had made its iPhones ever softer and more rounded since the iPhone 6 launched in 2014, PhoneArena’s renders show how Apple is now bringing back the straighter, flatter lines of the iconic iPhone 4 and 5 – big fan favorites. This is a style we have already seen Apple bring to the 2020 iPad Pro, a product which served to give away Apple’s iPhone imaging plans.”
The Smarter Way To Include 5G
Inside the iPhone 12 family, this week saw some interesting details around 5G. Although the full portfolio of the new devices is expected to support 5G, the lower priced models will not support mmWave. It’s a solid compromise to keep the price down and still achieve faster data speeds:
“…standard ‘mid-band’ 5G (sub-6 GHz) can still achieve ballistic speeds of up to 400Mb/s and its range is measured in miles. It’s also the version of 5G that is primarily being rolled out around the world. No-one with a good 5G signal is going to miss mmWave. And here’s the rub: while the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max need to tick all boxes for their premium price points, the cost-saving of leaving mmWave out of the entry-level iPhone 12 models is dramatic and Apple is passing it on to buyers.”
The iPhone 12’s iPhone SE Problem
There’s one big problem the iPhone 12 family will have to deal with… the iPhone SE. Launched last month, the $399 iOS smartphone comes with the A13 chip, the latest version of iOS, the promise of software support for many years, and for many it will be more than enough iPhone to handle. Why push the boat out for the iPhone 12 when the SE ticks all the boxes and will still be on sale? Luke Filipowicz continues the debate:
“It might be easy to say that the newest iPhone is always the best phone, and by some metrics (like speed) that’s likely a fair assessment, but when you start talking about buying a new iPhone with your hard-earned money, what the spec sheet says usually matters less to people. Early indications show the iPhone 12 won’t be anything ground-breaking, meaning the iPhone SE will be a great buy.”
The MacBook Updates Are Over
Apple has completed the refresh of the MacBook laptops. Following the MacBook Air in March and the 16-inch MacBook Pro in November 2019, the smaller MacBook Pro has picked up the Magic Keyboard and Intel’s tenth-generation chipset, although the hoped for increase in the display has not happened. From Apple’s Newsroom:
“Apple today updated the 13-inch MacBook Pro with the new Magic Keyboard for the best typing experience ever on a Mac notebook and doubled the storage across all standard configurations, delivering even more value to the most popular MacBook Pro. The new lineup also offers 10th-generation processors for up to 80 percent faster graphics performance1 and makes 16GB of faster 3733MHz memory standard on select configurations.”
The hardware specifications of the new MacBook Pro are still lagging behind the Windows 10 powered competition. For many that is balanced out by MacOS and Apple’s cloud based services, as I noted earlier this week:
“Where other high-end laptops rely on Windows 10, the MacBook family has MacOS. Apple does to need to accommodate countless hardware options, it can optimise for the handful of options it makes available.
“Apple also has a focus on the bundled software with MacOS, ensuring a solid core experience for all users, and of course this software MacOS ‘ integration with Apple’s cloud-based services both increases the flexibility of the laptop if you are part of the ecosystem… while making it that little bit harder to leave if you want to work with a non-Apple laptop.”
Virtual WWDC 2020 Announced
Powered by Emoji to represent the online world, Apple has announced this year’s Worldwide Developer Conference on June 22nd. As expected it will be a ‘virtual’ event due to the coronavirus pandemic. From Apple’s announcement:
“On June 22, WWDC20 takes off. Get ready for the first global, all-online WWDC by downloading the Apple Developer app to stay notified on all the latest news, with updates for events and sessions. And there’s a lot more to come — starting with the first-ever Swift Student Challenge.”
This year Apple is making the event free for all developers (the cost of a ticket is normally in excess of $1500) with events being streamed through the Apple Developer App. But there’s one group of developers that are going to feel left out. Apple’s streaming tools are available on Apple’s hardware platforms… except the Macs. John Gruber:
“Apple’s official Developer app is available for iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Apple TV — still no app for Mac, despite the fact that every single developer working on Apple platforms uses Xcode, which only works on Mac (well, at the moment, before WWDC). I could have sworn Apple announced some sort of framework that made it super-easy to turn an iPad app into a great Mac app at some point.
Talking Cursors With Apple
With the inclusion of a touchpad on the iPad’s Magic Keyboard, iPadOS needed a cursor and mouse pointer. Naturally Apple decided to put its own spin on it, and Apple SVP Craig Federighi has explained part of the development process. Matthew Panzarino asks the questions, starting with the changing modes of the cursor:
““When we were first thinking about the cursor we needed it to reflect the natural and easy experience of using your finger when high precision isn’t necessary, like when accessing an icon on the home screen, but it also needed to scale very naturally into high precision tasks like editing text,” says Federighi.
““So we came up with a circle that elegantly transforms to accomplish the task at hand. For example, it morphs to become the focus around a button, or to hop over to another button, or it morphs into something more precise when that makes sense, like the I-beam for text selection.“”
The team at iFixit has taken a closer look inside the iPad Pro’s Magic Keyboard accessory, thanks to a convenient X-Ray machine:
“There is so much going on here, you might never guess that this is technically an accessory to the actual iPad Pro (until you notice the $330 price tag). We’ve physically torn down the Smart Keyboard before, to, shall we say, messy and inconclusive results. We X-rayed the last generation of Smart Keyboard, which showed some of the design cues you see here. But rarely have we had so much to think about from a single image.”
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.