Taking a look back at another week of news from Cupertino, this week’s Apple Loop includes the first reviews of the iPhone XS and XS Max, the differences between the old iPhone X and the new handsets, Apple’s sneaky price rises, tips and tricks for iOS 12, the not so nice Apple Watch, MacBook stock levels, and memories of Apple’s Infinite Loop.
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).
Reviewing The iPhone XS And iPhone XS Max Reviews
The pre-release reviews of Apple’s new iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max handsets were published this week (and Apple handily highlighted which publications it had provided early access to by bundling them into a press release). The general consensus seems to be that the camera technology is a significant improvement, the performance numbers are up, but unless imaging is critical, best wait for the iPhone XR details and real world reviews arrive before making a decision:
Of course lurking on the horizon is the smaller and cheaper iPhone XR. That carries much of the same technology with a sticker price reduced by $250 . Part of that is by the use of an LCD screen compared to ah OLED screen, but the noticeable difference is the camera. If it’s not topping the feature list you might want to wait, suggests Brian Chen at the New York Times:
“Apple did not provide a review unit for the XR because it will be released next month, so I can’t say with authority.
“But I suspect it will largely come down to whether you can live with a single-lens camera, which doesn’t do as good a job taking those D.S.L.R.-like photos with a blurred-out background and a sharpened foreground. The XS is about $250 more than the XR.”
More discussion on the iPhone XS reviews here.
What’s The Difference Between All These New iPhones?
In terms of physical size, the X and XS carry the same dimensions (and the XS Max is on a par with the iPhone 8 Plus) but there are some practical changes under the hood, as Forbes’ Gordon Kelly notes:
The first of these is increased IP68 water and dust resistance over the IP67 certification in the iPhone X. You can read about the technicalities here, but essentially it means you can now submerge your iPhone in up to three metres of water instead of one.
Next up, and equally subtle, is a 25% increase in speaker volume and stereo support – the latter of which Apple promises deliver audibly clear left and right channels. The iPhone X has surprisingly loudspeakers (more so than the front firing, stereo supporting Pixel 2) so this should be a welcome increase for anyone who likes to listen to podcasts on the kitchen counter.
A bigger question is choosing between the iPhone XS and the iPhone XS Max. There is the physical size difference, but unlike previous years that’s about the only real difference – for once the smaller and larger flagships are carrying identical optical hardware. Kelly lines up the two units in context of the competition:
There are two pieces of very good news with the iPhone XS and XS Max. Firstly, after years of reserving its best cameras for its flagship phone, now Apple has given both XS models equal standing. Secondly, Apple is greatly upping its software game – something that was essential after iPhones fell far behind the image processing smarts of the Pixel 2.
…But arguably more exciting, is the introduction of what Apple calls ‘Smart HDR’. This combines multiple photos taken at different exposures and combines their best elements into a single shot. If this sounds familiar, it’s because this is how Google’s ‘HDR+’ works on the Pixel range. A final trick is the ability to adjust background bokeh (aka blur) on Portrait Mode shots, something Samsung’s Galaxy range provides.
More discussion here on Forbes.
Apple’s Sneaky Price Rise For Servicing
Of course new iPhones mean new handsets will be very shortly rolling into Apple Genius Bars for repair. Even though the glass used has been labelled as being the strongest ever, the increased price of repairs of the flagship handset should help the sales of protective cases (and Apple Care). Gordon Kelly reports:
What Apple announced was its updated Service Pricing to cover the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max, and the user response has been hostile. While the iPhone XS retains the same extortionate costs for screen repair ($279) and “Other damage” ($549) as the iPhone X, these have been pushed up to an astonishing $329 and $599 respectively for the iPhone XS Max.
More here on Forbes, and it’s worth remembering this comes on top of the price rises on battery servicing reported on Apple Loop last week.
Tips And Tricks To Enjoy iOS 12
Alongside the release of the new iPhone models, Apple has made iOS 12 available for all users (Forbes’ Amit Chowdhry has more details). The focus is on making things work, rather than adding new features, but there are a lot of hidden surprises. Zach Epstein has rounded up a few for the latest iOS 12 listicle, starting with battery life:
Every single compatible iPhone model will see big performance improvements once iOS 12 is installed — and remember, every single iPhone model that’s compatible with iOS 11 is also compatible with iOS 12. The older your iPhone is, the more dramatic the impact will be on performance. According to Apple, some older iPhones running iOS 12 will get speed boosts of up to 70% when performing key functions. There are also plenty of behind-the-scenes changes and improvements that will help improve battery life, which is always a sore subject when it comes to aging iPhone models.
More at BGR.
Making The Apple Watch Nice
And then there was the other product launch – the Apple Watch 4 – and the reaction to that has again been solid. But I want to turn to John Gruber’s viewpoint of the Apple Watch, and his explanation of why the product is so different to Apple’s other hardware portfolios. In short, it’s not the nicest Apple product:
People love it for what it does, how it works, and for how nice it actually is. Apple Watch is thriving despite being far from the nicest watch because all of the watches that are nicer do so much less. That’s the flip side of Apple Watch’s anomalous status in Apple history. Apple’s products, especially new ones, generally do less than their competitors. Apple Watch is taking over the watch industry because it does so very, very much more than traditional watches could ever do.
…Of course it bothers Apple that Apple Watch can’t do all the things that it does and fit into one of the nicest watch cases in the world. At some level it must kill them. They’re winning, but they don’t just want to win the race. They want to win the race while driving the best-looking car on the track.
More thoughts on the product, and a review of the new Apple Watch, at Daring Fireball.
Preparing Space For A New MacBook
September’s launch event focused on the iPhone and the Apple Watch, with no mention of the iPad or the MacBook lines being updated. It could be that Cupertino will not update the second-line hardware, but there’s another sign that suggests that the new MacBook are on their way.
While there is no confirmation from Apple on upcoming events, a number of US retailers have posted some big discounts on existing Mac stocks (see here, here and here for some of them). I can’t think why they would be looking to clear stock ahead of a potential Apple event in mid-October.
More here on Forbes.
As Apple moves HQ from Infinite Loop to the Apple Ring, memories of the campus have been gathered and retold by Wired’s Steve Levy. As Tim Cook faces the future, these tales are a timely reminder of Apple’s history including one that shows the more the medium changes, the more the obsession with ‘what’s next’ continues:
Phil Schiller (SVP worldwide marketing, 1987–present): Things were so different then—there were no cell phones, not even Wi-Fi. We didn’t get all our news on the internet yet, so the drop of magazines was a big deal to everybody. Somebody would go around with the mail cart of everybody’s magazines, and we’d get our Macworlds and MacWEEKs and look at the rumor column on the back page and say, “Uh, oh, what leaked?”
More at Wired.
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.
- [LLODO] Michigan state Dem pepper-sprayed, charged with DUI, resisting arrest, weapons possession: report
- [LLODO] Head of NYC’s posh Dalton School leaving at the end of 2021
- [LLODO] Chilling video captures moment a love triangle erupts in murder, revenge in NYC
- [LLODO] NYPD officers hit with Molotov cocktail and liquid chemical in face, police say
- [LLODO] California group files federal civil rights complaint over San Diego school district’s ‘racist’ teachings
- [LLODO] Podcast helped in hunt for 1996 killer of California student
- [LLODO] National weather forecast: Parts of Northeast could see more than a foot of snow
- [LLODO] Cuomo boasts he ‘invented’ NYS-scented hand sanitizer, faces no questions over scandals
- [LLODO] Teacher who decried NYC school’s ‘indoctrination’ put on remote work: ‘Feels like punishment’