Apple Loop: New iPhone Details Published, Stunning MacBook Pro Sound, Surprising iPhone SE2 Leak

Taking a look back at another week of news and headlines from Cupertino, this week’s Apple Loop includes Apple’s confirmation of a new iPhone design, iPhone SE2 details, two iPhone 12 screen suppliers, a new MacBook Pro sound system, thoughts on a gaming Mac, limiting third-party MacOS apps, and Dell’s iPhone connection.

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).

Apple Publishes New iPhone Design

Sneaking out on Christmas Eve, a number of design patents were published by Apple in Japan, which point towards two radical changes in the screen, which has the potential to transform the look of the iPhone 12. I covered the new features here:

“[The bezel red design] matches up with a number of leaks, including the 3D model of the iPhone 12 Pro sourced by Macotakara. The screen eschews the more rounded corners of the current iPhone models are hark back to the square design of the iPhone 8. Meanwhile the bezels have been reduced as far as currently possible.

“[The lack of a notch], while part of the design, has bigger implications. There is no sign of any ‘pop-up’ camera, so the forward facing cameras and FaceID technology is either tightly packed under the small upper bezel, or (and this is more likely) mounted underneath the screen itself. Given the speaker cutout is on show, I suspect that mounting underneath the screen is the key technology here.”

More iPhone SE2 Details

More leaks around the presumptively named iPhone SE2 popped up this week, including the potential for a second SE2 handset. Given many expect the iPhone SE2 to be launched in March and be based around the iPhone 8 design, we could be looking at an iPhone SE2 Plus. Tim Hardwick reports:

“The initial model of the so-called iPhone SE 2 is expected to resemble the iPhone 8, including a 4.7-inch display with bezels and a Touch ID home button, but with a faster A13 chip and 3GB of RAM. The device will continue to have a single-lens rear camera, according to Kuo, like the original iPhone SE and the iPhone 8 . Similar to DigiTimes, Kuo believes that a larger “iPhone SE 2 Plus” is also in the works, but he predicts it won’t arrive until 2021.”

Apple Splits iPhone 12 Screen Supply

The consensus is that Apple is switching the entire iPhone 12 line-up to OLED screens, and that means the iPhone 11’s direct equivalent will transition away from LCD. Along with the inclusion of 5G, many are predicting a super cycle of upgrades, and that means more parts from more manufacturers. And with those numbers, parts will need to be sourced from multiple suppliers, including the screens. Forbes’ Gordon Kelly has more:

“Japanese site MyDrivers is reports that Apple will source up to 45M OLED panels from China’s BOE as it reduces dependence on Samsung. Whether this results in good/bad iPhone editions as with Intel/Qualcomm modems in the past remains to be seen, but Apple’s strict quality controls usually avoid this.”

Surround Sound From Your MacBook

Following on from the six-speaker sysmte in the new 16-inch MacBook Pro, a recently published patens suggests that sound is going to be one of the areas that the MacOS laptops may be relying on to stand out in the 2020 market. Shannon Liao reports:

“Apple originally applied for the patent in August 2018. On Tuesday, the US Patent and Trademark Office granted Apple the patent for a “system to move virtual sound away from a listener.”

“The virtual acoustic system that Apple envisions would immerse people in sound, whether they’re streaming a sporting event or a movie and add to “the feeling of ‘being there,'” according to the patent. It would send noise out at different angles, aiming the audio at specific parts of a room, to create the illusion that the sound isn’t coming from the laptop. “

A Mac For Gaming?

Is Apple preparing a gaming machine or its MacOS line? That’s been a fun discussion point this week following a report from the Economic Daily Times suggesting that Tim Cook and his team are taking on the consoles and high-end PCs of the gaming world. Yoni Heisler is not so sure:

“The report adds that Apple will officially unveil its new Mac gaming computer at its annual WWDC event next June.

“Is it hard to take this rumor seriously? Absolutely. All the same, if you would have told me 5 years ago that Apple would start producing its own TV shows or start a subscription service for exclusive mobile gaming, I would have found it just as absurd.”

Apple Increasing Demands On Third-party MacOS Apps

Although Apple had reduced the requirements for third-party app signing during the launch o MacOS Catalina, the full regime will return at the start of February. Apps downloaded from sources other than the Mac Store will not run normally unless Apple has digitally signed and notarised by Apple. That’s fine for those who understand the development process, but could lead to confusion with other users, as I discussed earlier in the week:

“So Apple’s decision to lock-down unsigned applications is something that developers are expected to overcome, but will be difficult for the average consumer to understand if they stray away from the sanctioned apps. Whether Apple locks down this process even further… is speculative, but even a cursory glance at iOS, iPadOS and watchOS shows a company that is more than comfortable to restrict application usage to those it has deemed worthy.”

And Finally…

Dell’s Mobile Connect app, which allows Android users to see their notifications, calls, and transfer files to your desktop, will be available for iOS later this year. Jay Peters reports:

“Starting this spring, Dell says you’ll be able to wirelessly transfer photos and videos and interact with apps from your iOS device while using the Mobile Connect app, two features that were previously exclusive to using Mobile Connect with Android phones.”

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.