iPhone 12 Release Date, And Other Surprises
Tim Cook and his team have long been expected to take the stage in September to reveal the new iPhone – after all, it’s been a September event as long as Tim Cook has been CEO. What is surprising is the date… Apple is going early, on September 8.
New iPhone battery problems
More details on the iPhone 12 family itself came out this week, and it’s not great. YouTuber Filip Koroy (aka EverythingApplePro) reveals the smaller battery capacities on the new iPhones, which means many of the features you would see on Android phones have been removed from the iPhone.
Those capacities are: 2,227 mAh (Apple iPhone 12 ), 2,775 mAh (iPhone 12 Max), 2,815 mAh (iPhone 12 Pro) and 3,687 mAh (iPhone 12 Pro Max). All of which represents a fall of approximately 10% from their iPhone 11 equivalent models, despite the new iPhones adding 5G, which is notoriously power-hungry.
Building on this, Koroy states that several new iPhone 12 features are now set to be scrapped due to these battery limitations. Most notably, he says their 120Hz high refresh rate displays (which were already in doubt) are now “dead in the water” while their widely anticipated reverse wireless charging functionality (eg, charging AirPods from your iPhone) is now “very unlikely”.
Apple’s sensible display strategy
Behind the scenes, Apple is working with a number of display manufacturers for the iPhone. As one of the largest and most expensive components of the smartphone, having multiple supply lines is good both for the just in time benefits, but also to allow Apple to demand the best prices possible thanks to the competitive market it has built up in the supply chain. Samsung now has competition from LG,
“LG Display’s contribution is five times the volume from the previous year, according to a new Nikkei report. That’s big news for a division that has endured six consecutive quarterly losses, and LG Display believes this will improve its finances considerably in the second half of the year as its OLED panel factories begin to operate at full capacity”. Tim Hardwick reports.
“It’s also positive news for Apple as it aims to diversify suppliers after paying high charges for Samsung’s displays”
LG Display is not the only screen manufacturer that Apple is working with. Carly Page notes the work of China’s BOE. Although not appearing in the iPhone 12 family of handsets, its curved screen technology is expected to arrive in the 2021 iPhone:
“BOE’s display technology is currently being utilised in Huawei’s most popular smartphone models, including the high-end P and Mate series, and it reportedly will manufacturer the palm-stretching screen set to appear on this year’s Huawei Mate 40.
“BOE even provided the flexible OLED used in the foldable Huawei Mate X, which has proven way more reliable than Samsung’s flexible OLED efforts. Perhaps, then, it’s somewhat unsurprising that Samsung is reportedly considering using BOE screens for its future devices, likely at the expense of its own industry-dominating Samsung Display unit.”
Apple’s strong third quarter
Apple has reported a record-breaking third quarter of the financial year. During the call, guidance on the fourth quarter was not offered, but Tim Cook’s team noted that the iPhone 12 would be delayed beyond the usual September sales date.
It’s worth noting that this quarter includes both the launch of the 2020 edition of the iPhone SE and the refreshed MacBook Pro and MacBook Air laptops. The former is the cheapest ‘new’ iPhone available, while the latter replaced the hated butterfly keyboard and benefited from the rush to upgrade hardware as working from home increased due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Analysts had been expecting around $52.3 billion in revenue and earnings per share of $2.07, but Apple crushed those predictions with $59.7 billion in revenue — up 11 percent from last year’s third quarter — and EPS of $2.58, up 18 percent. The company announced a four-for-one stock split alongside the earnings…”
Apple’s Intel To ARM Mac problem
There’s a massive problem with Apple’s move to ARM-based processors from Intel’s chipsets in Mac hardware. From the two years to change over the production hardware, to the many years of legacy support on older Intel machines, how can it stay on the bleeding edge and maintain a stable foundation and reputation for its older Intel-based hardware? I took a closer look at the issue earlier this week, including a positive note from history:
“Apple has managed this transition before, as it switched from the PowerPC platform over to Intel. Announced in 2005 to start in June 2006, it was completed by late 2007 (a two year project, hmm that sounds familiar…). Although the full Mac range had switched over, PowerPC machines continued to be supported until MacOS 10.6 Snow Leopard.
“That was a four-year window of official support. Apple will have had a huge staff turnover since then, the corporate memory and knowledge remains.”
Two iPads, One Computer
What’s better than one iPad? How about two iPads, one to do your iPad’dy things, and one to act as a keyboard? The intriguing idea of two iPads working together to make a laptop has been raised in a recently published Apple patent.
“In a patent granted by the US Patent and Trademark Office on Tuesday titled “Modular multiple display electronic devices,” Apple suggests a solution to it via a new, smaller accessory. The extra hardware would consist of sections that attach to the side of a mobile device, complete with some form of the connector, and a hinged element, Malcolm Owen said.
“…Images in the patent primarily offer the idea of a notebook-style arrangement, with one device flat on a surface and the hinged connector propping up the second mobile device upward, either in portrait or landscape orientations. In this way, the lower device could act as a keyboard for the upper device.”
Tim Cook appears at antitrust hearings
This week saw the CEOs of Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft appear in front of a congressional subcommittee hearing looking at Antitrust issues between the aforementioned companies.
“…the voices of small businesspeople afraid of retaliation came through their elected leaders. “I pay 20% of my income to Uncle Sam in taxes, and 30% to Apple.” “
Apple’s Tim Cook was drawn into discussion over access to the App Store and iPhone functionality during the session.
“There is a competition for developers just like there is a competition for customers,” he [Cook] explained during the Q&A session when answering a question from Rep. Hank Johnson, a Democrat from Georgia. “Developers write apps for Android, or Windows, or Play Station. We have years of competition on the developers’ side and the customer side. It’s so competitive that I’d describe it as a street fight for market share in the smartphone business”, Sissi Cao reports on Tim Cook’s questioning.
The question remains what happens if you are a developer and want to sell to iPhone users but not use Apple’s storefront.
Last but not least
What happens when you build “the coolest computer ever” and nobody buys it? This week is the anniversary of Steve Jobs launching the Power Mac G4 Cube, the aforementioned epitome of cool.
Steven Levy remembers the wonderful folly: “He yanked off the fabric, exposing an 8-inch stump of transparent plastic with a block of electronics suspended inside. It looked less like a computer than a toaster born from an immaculate conception between Philip K. Dick and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. (But the fingerprints were, of course, Jony Ive’s.) Alongside it was two speakers encased in Christmas-ornament-sized, glasslike spheres.
“The Cube,” Jobs said, in a stage whisper, hardly containing his excitement.”
One year later, an embarrassed and chastened Apple announced it was being “put on ice”.