Taking a look back at another week of news and headlines from Cupertino, this week’s Apple Loop takes in the latest iPhone 11 reviews, the iPhone SE2 price leak, how Tim Cook killed MacBook Pro, macOS’ betrayal of 32-bit apps, the power of the cheapest iPad, Apple TV’s Hollywood adventure, and iOS 13’s big advantage over Android 10.
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 Good, The Bad, And The Unimpressive
The iPhone 11 family hit retail shelves one month ago, and the reviews are still coming in. After four weeks we’re getting a better idea of the long-term wins and losses in the three handsets. Anandtech’s extensive review brings everything into sharp focus, as Andrei Frumusanu reviews the three handsets, starting with the iPhone 11:
I wasn’t too impressed by the regular iPhone 11. It does bring the same performance upgrades of the rest of the line-up, and it does have the new cameras minus the telephoto module, but it lacks the other large generational improvements that the Pro models received such as the new display or the vastly improved battery life. And personally, I’m still put off by the prospect of buying a device with such a low resolution screen at the end of 2019.
The Pro models, on the other hand, I feel are proper and worthwhile generational upgrades. Users coming from an iPhone 8 (Plus) or earlier models can now upgrade to the new Pro models without having to worry about taking a hit to battery life.
The iPhone SE 2 Pricing Has Leaked
Meanwhile, more details on the iPhone SE 2 have come to light, with the price for the keenly anticipated handset announced. It’s both expected (given the history of the SE brand) and unexpected (given Tim Cook’s continued lifting of the iPhone pricing structure). I take a closer look at the budget of the new phone:
As for the price, the iPhone 8 currently retails at $449 for the 64 GB model. Assuming that the iPhone SE2 is essentially the iPhone 8S, then the mix of economies of scale (on the A13 chipset), the loss of 3D Touch in the screen, and the reuse of older components should allow Apple to comfortably chop $50 off the retail price to reach the psychologically attractive $399 price point while still retaining an attractive margin.
Because the real goal is to get people into Apple’s ecosystem so they subscribe to the ongoing services, or to retain their presence for another two year carrier contract cycle.
Apple Partners Leak iPhone 12 5G Details
It’s widely assumed that Apple will have a 5G enabled iPhone in 2020, given both the market demand and Apple’s deal with Qualcomm for said technology (while it presumably builds up its own competency). It’s time to add another bit of evidence to that assumption from Hannah Davies’ news about UK network O2:
O2 outlined a trade-in deal for £100 off an unnamed iPhone that doesn’t currently exist in a press release about its 5G network.
The deal, which states that “customers who purchase the new Apple iPhone 11, Apple iPhone 11 Pro or the Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max smartphone on a 90GB, 120GB or Unlimited tariff can claim a £100 off the device cost when they upgrade to the New Apple Smartphone device in 2020”, is the only one of its kind under the “5G handsets and a ‘5Guarantee’” heading.
How Tim Cook Killed Steve Jobs’ MacBook Pro
Two weeks after the public launch of macOS 10.15 ‘Catalina’, the update continues to upset many png-term Mac users and Apple supporters. At the heart of the debate is a simple fact. The MacBook Pro that Steve Job championed is no more. Tim Cook’s MacBook Pro killed it off:
…the Mac family, and especially the MacBook Pro, had to walk in the shadow and to reinforce the message of the iPhone. New technology came to the iPhone and iOS first, with the Macs and macOS picking up similar apps later in the product cycle (and invariably sold as ‘now you can sync your iPhone docs to your Mac, doesn’t that make your Mac useful?’).
You even saw the physical design trends of the smartphone world affect the reliability and trustworthiness of the MacBook Pro. Everything was about making the machine thinner, lighter, more fragile, and reducing it to a single sealed unit that turned your personal computer from something you could tinker and upgrade to a ‘Tim says this is the way forward’ monolith.
Apple’s Arrogant Attitude To Older Apps Displayed In MacOS Catalina Update
For many, the update to MacOS Catalina has seen very little disruption. For those who were perhaps not as focused on the update and the potential impact of the switch to 64-bit only apps, the update process has seen them lose access to tools, forced some to consider subscription-based services that replace previously purchased apps, and others to abandon projects because of the high cost of porting aware from the older code based. It has reflected badly on Apple’s customer focused attitude, as I noted earlier this week:
If Apple truly cared about those being left behind, it would do more than say ‘you had plenty warning that we were going to withdraw support’.
Apple would have considered just how critical macOS is to various digital minorities that rely on their Macs and MacBooks and it would have their backs. Apple would realise that people use their iMacs and MacBook Pros in ways that are different to the current one true vision from Cupertino. Apple would realise that it could prove its PR friendly words about ‘putting individual customers first’ mean more than selling them brand new hardware or forcing the latest software gimmick on them.
Which iPad Is The Lowest iPad That Works
If you don’t need all the power of the top-of-the-range iPad Pro, how far can you fall down the portfolio and still pick up an iPad that does most of what you need it to do? Scott Stein reviews the entry level iPad, and argues that you can fall almost to the bottom… just skip the 32GB storage and go for the 128GB:
How much do you want to spend on an iPad, and how much does state-of-the-art matter? I’d say spend as little as possible, get this iPad, and you’re fine. More aspirational iPad people can treat themselves to more powerful processors and Apple’s slightly improved keyboard cases and side-connecting Pencils on the Pros. The iPad Air and iPad Mini from earlier this year feel like they’re splitting the difference in the middle.
Apple TV and Hollywood
The subscription based Apple TV+service is set to launch on November 1st, but it’s been a long and rocky road to reach this precipice. Apple has learned the hard way that Hollywood is a long way from making and marketing shiny smartphones. Lesley Goldberg and Natalie Jarvey take a look at the journey:
“We don’t know anything about making television,” senior vp software and service Eddy Cue, the architect of the company’s TV+ strategy, told audiences at South by Southwest in 2018. “We know how to create apps, we know how to do distribution, we know how to market. But we don’t really know how to create shows.”
But with AppleTV+’s Nov. 1 debut looming, Cue and company will need to prove that they’ve figured that out. Any hurdles they’ve faced leading up to the launch won’t matter if their plan to offer a handful of original shows for $5 a month succeeds in attracting a fraction of their 1.4 billion Apple users.
Less than a month after iOS 13 launched, it has been installed on more than half of the active iPhones. Let’s compare iOS 13’s adoption to Android 10:
As for Android, Google has not updated its Android dashboard since May 2019, so we don’t have numbers for Android 10, but I would not expect Android 10 be anywhere close to iOS 13’s fifty percent mark. May’s numbers pegged Android 9 at 10.4 percent some nine months after its public launch.
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.