Taking a look back at another week of news and headlines from Cupertino, this week’s Apple Loop includes new iPhone 12 details, how Apple is beating Samsung, why the iPhone 9 will sell out, Whatsapp’s dangerous iPhone flaw, the latest MacOS update, new UI decisions in iOS, the folding iPhone, the latest Overcast improvements, and why the NYPD is replacing memo books with iPhones.
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 iPhone 12 Is Beating The Galaxy S20
The iPhone 12 launch may be seven months away, but it is already standing up to the Galaxy S20. The latest leaks and information have allowed more concept videos to be put together with the latest design. Zach Epstein reports:
“Those mockups showed an overall iPhone 12 design that’s quite similar to the iPhone 11 though, especially around front where there’s still a big notch at the top of the display. But early rumors suggested Apple is also testing iPhone 12 prototypes that eliminate the notch and squeeze the TrueDepth camera sensors into the phone’s top bezel. Wondering what that stunning iPhone 12 design might look like?”
As for the iPhone vs Galaxy fight, I took a look at the clear advantage Apple has over Samsung earlier this week:
“I am talking about Tim Cook’s pivot towards software and services, and the increased prominence of subscription services such as Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple News+, and Apple Arcade (not forgetting the cost to increase your iCloud storage capacity).
“…While I think Apple’s transition from being led by the iPhone to being led by content is still in its early days (services revenue of $12 billion is significantly lower than the iPhone’s $56 billion in revenue, according to Apple’s latest financial report), this one-stop subscription shop would be incredibly difficult for Samsung to replicate in full.”
Read more here on Forbes.
Predicting The Success Of The iPhone 9
Before the iPhone 12 appears in September, there’s the small matter of the iPhone 9. The spiritual successor to the iPhone SE will pair up the specifications of the iPhone 11 family with a smaller screened phone. I fully expect it to sell out and be Apple’s best selling phone of the year. I discussed the potential for the iPhone 9 here:
The demand for a smaller iPhone has been building for some time. With the iPhone SE cancelled in 2018, the geekerati have been looking for a replacement. If Tim Cook and his team can pitch a refreshed iPhone 8 as a refreshed iPhone SE, then the smaller phone should create a similar spike in sales.
There is also the matter of price. With a relatively lower price than the iPhone 6 Plus compared to the rest of the range at launch, I think the demand will be much higher. Apple has pushed iPhone prices under $500 on its website before, but this has always been caveated with the need to trade in an older iPhone. The iPhone 9 is going to be, genuinely, under $500.
More here on Forbes.
WhatsApp’s Dangerous iPhone Flaw And How To Avoid It
This week saw WhatsApp address a significant security exploit in the popular messaging client. Researcher Gal Weizman has highlighted an issue that could offer read permissions to local files, and a cross-site scripting flaw between the desktop and phone clients. Forbes’ Davey Winder reports:
Exploiting the vulnerability requires an attacker to send a maliciously crafted text message and for the victim to click it. One-click and you’re out.
While WhatsApp itself is said to have 1.5 billion active monthly users, the number of those who are using the app on an iPhone is not known. Because this vulnerability, as devastatingly simple and dangerous as it is, can only be exploited by those users with an older desktop app connected to their older iPhone app, the number of people at risk is reduced even further. However, the starting point is so large that we could still well be talking hundreds of thousands, if not millions.
More here on Forbes. A Whatsapp spokesperson has confirmed that the issue has been addressed. It now remains for users to ensure that both the desktop and iPhone clients are updated.
MacOS’ Quiet Update
Apple has updated its desktop operating system this week. The MacOS Catalina 10.15.3 upgrade doesn’t add much to the software, just tweaking video output to aid in better content creation as well as some security patches (which also rolled out in a security update to the older Mojave and High Sierra versions). This feels very much like a maintenance release and I’m not expecting any more major updates to Catalina:
“The video output updates make 10.15.3 an easy choice for those who do a significant amount of editing, a specially at a professional level. For those running earlier versions of of MacOS, although there are no real additions to the package the inclusion of security updates, although the actual updates are unclear – makes it a worthwhile update, especially if you have skipped over the last update last month.”
Read more on the update here.
Apple Addresses Terrible UI Decisions In iOS 13
Following the public release of iOS 13.3.1, Apple has continued to push forward with the mobile operating system as developers have access to a beta of 14. One piece of good news is that the UI in the Mail app’s toolbar – which many regarded as a retrograde step – has been addressed. Ashley Adams reports:
“Although it’s a new design, it looks close to the iPhone and iPad with iOS 12. The major complaint with the iOS 13 was stuffing everything in one menu under the label “reply” icon. Thus, to overcome this, Apple removed the helpful button tools, re-located the reply, and delete buttons on the right-hand side.
“The design now looks cleaner and easily accessible. It will be convenient for both the customers and developers to use this flexible cross-platform format.”
More at Tech News Today.
Apple’s Folding iPhone
The Android-powered competition is pushing towards folding smartphones, and although Apple shows no signs of releasing such a device, it is certainly working on the idea, as a recently published patent reveals. Luke Dormehl takes a closer look at the latest approach:
“The idea, essentially, is to have movable flaps that will extend to cover a gap when the device is open. These would then retract when the device is folded back up. By doing so, Apple hopes it could avoid some of the disastrous problems Samsung has suffered with its folding phone.”
More at Cult of Mac.
Overcast Boosts Voice Boost Function
A quick nod towards the popular third-party podcast client Overcast. Developer Marco Arment has been working on a second generation ‘Voice Boost’ process, which will increase the clarity of podcasts if they need it. He’s laid out what goes on behind this simple sounding and rewarding process at his website:
“Voice Boost 2 normalizes all podcasts to –14 LUFS — a level I chose because it closely matches the volume of Siri and most iOS turn-by-turn navigation voices, so when you’re listening to a podcast while driving, navigation interruptions are less jarring.
Most professionally produced podcasts are already mastered to similar volume levels, so Voice Boost 2 won’t over compress them with aggressive processing — it’ll only apply as much correction as necessary to make them all the same volume.”
By the way, Overcast is my podcast app of choice on iOS, so go check it out!
The NYPD is leaving behind the iconic blue memo book to record their activities and moving to an electronic solution with a centralised data base and a mobile app. No more memos, just iPhones. Corey Kilgannon reports:
The department is retiring handwritten memo books by Feb. 17 in a transition to a digital version — an app on officers’ department-issued iPhones. Instead of making entries by hand, whether with flowery script from ink-dipped pens in Victorian-era New York or ballpoints today, officers will type in their notes, which the app will send to a department database.
More at The New York Times.
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.