Taking a look back at another week of news and headlines from Cupertino, this week’s Apple Loop includes the latest iPhone 11 leaks, the gray market for prototype iPhones, Apple’s 5G problems, the latest AirPods 2 information, a better battery repair decision, and Tim Cook challenging Hollywood’s expectations.
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 Latest iPhone 11 Leaks
Apple is hard at work on the iPhone 11, and two features have come to light this week. Both are to with the display and user interaction. First up is an update its haptic feedback through screen and device to consumers. Forbes’ Gordon Kelly:
Working with XDA Developer’s popular sleuth Max Weinbach, EverythingApplePro has learnt the iPhone 11 does not mark the end of 3D Touch (as was feared) but instead sees the phone double down on the technology behind it. In the biggest advancement of Apple’s ‘tactic’ engine to date, EAP explains it will be expanded to cover a 3×3 grid across the new iPhone’s entire display as well as adding more precise vibrations so input response is more tactile on every part of the screen.
In addition, the screen will also be adapted to allow for use in rainy weather or under water.
Building on this, EAP also explains that Apple’s 2019 iPhone display will work underwater. This would be an industry first because, while many phones are water resistant these days, their displays have to be dry to operate properly.
Read more here on Forbes.
The Gray Market For Prototype Dev-Fused iPhones
A fascinating article this week on Montherboard, as Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai investigates the world of pre-release ‘dev-fused’ iPhones that are prized by hackers and cybersecurity firms looking to circumvent Apple’s secure components and discover exploits:
Dev-fused devices are sometimes called prototypes in the security research industry…
These rare iPhones have many security features disabled, allowing researchers to probe them much more easily than the iPhones you can buy at a store. Since the Black Hat talk, dev-fused iPhones have become a tool that security researchers around the world use to find previously unknown iPhone vulnerabilities (known as zero days), Motherboard has learned.
Read more at Motherboard.
Apple’s 5G Problems
5G-enabled smartphones were one of the biggest stories coming out of MWC… unless you are Apple, which is struggling to source enough components for the iPhone. What choices are open to Apple? It could launch 18 months later than the competition, ask Samsung for a supply of 5G modems, settle up with Qualcomm and use its 5G modems, or purchase Intel’s modem business and work on issue ‘in-house’. Ryan Vlastelica looks at the options:
Apple Inc. is expected to wait until 2020 before it releases a 5G version of its iPhone, but even with a time frame that puts a potential launch after rivals such as Samsung, Apple may still struggle to get the necessary components to build the product.
According to [industry analysts], Apple is “in a difficult position” given its reliance on Intel’s modem products, and it has four options to deal with the situation, “none of which is ideal.”
More at Bloomberg.
The Latest AirPods 2 Information
Putting aside the curious case of the honeytrap video from earlier this week, there’s a lot of discussion, rumors and leaks around Apple’s next-generation of wireless headphones. What do we know this week about the AirPods 2? Cameron Faulkner breaks it down:
The current AirPods are $159, but a report from Bloomberg states that the next-gen AirPods may cost more. It also mentions that Apple may offer multiple AirPods models at different pricing tiers, similar to how it sells its other products. As far as how Apple will distinguish the models, it’s still murky. We expect better audio performance and build quality across the second-generation wireless headphone line. Hands-free voice commands and the ability to charge wirelessly seem like they will be standard as well, and rumors suggest that Apple may introduce a high-end model that costs even more, with noise cancellation, water resistance, and health-monitoring features.
More details at The Verge.
Battery Repair Restrictions Eased
Apple has updated the guidance given to Apple Store Genius Bar staff and Apple Authorized Service Centers to allow repairs to go ahead on an iPhone that is fitted with a third-party replacement battery. Joe Rossignol reports:
If the repair is unrelated to the battery, the Genius Bar and AASPs are now instructed to ignore the third-party battery and proceed with service as normal, according to Apple’s internal document. This could include repairs to the display, logic board, microphones, and so forth, with normal fees applying.
If the repair is related to the battery itself, the Genius Bar and AASPs are now permitted to replace the third-party battery with an official Apple battery for the standard fee. Before starting the repair, the Genius Bar must drain the third-party battery to less than 60 percent of a charge.
More at MacRumors.
With Apple expected to launch a streaming video service, the company is busy working on shows to fill up the roster, and it appears to not be going smoothly. Malcolm Owen reports:
Apple’s efforts to produce original video content is reportedly being monitored a bit too closely by the company, with comments from executives including CEO Tim Cook said to be causing friction with producers working on shows and films.
More at Apple Insider.
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.