Taking a look back at another week of news and headlines from Cupertino, this week’s Apple Loop includes leaked iPhone 11 specs, confirmation of the new look iPhone, the fallout from Jony Ive’s resignation, confirmation of the new MacBook Pro, Apple cancels the butterfly keyboard on the next MacBook Air, falling iPhone sales in India, and how much is Apple really worth.
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 find the weekly Android news digest here).
No Change Confirmed For The iPhone 11
A leaked set of CAD plans allowed us the best look at the design of the iPhone 11 family this week. Unfortunately best look means ‘confirming everything that was suspected’ bar one important feature. It looks like opening up the hardware to a universal port is not happening, as I reported earlier this week:
…the port at the base of the unit follows the same design and styling as the lightning port of previous iPhone handsets. The beta releases of iOS 13 may feature USB-C – and the oval connector could squeeze in a USB-C connector – but it looks like the peripheral lock-in provided by the lightning port will continue.
At this rate, those holding out for a genuinely new iPhone are not going to be satisfied with the iPhone 11 when it is launched in September.
More here on Forbes.
If The Disappointing Case Fits…
Meanwhile Apple reporter Filip Koroy (‘EverythingApplePro’) has sourced a third-party iPhone 11 case and matched it up with a dummy version of the iPhone 11 moulded from another set of leaked schematics (which match the CAD files above). The phone and the case fit perfectly, with ports and buttons all lining up. Which will be a disappointment to iPhone fans, as Forbes’ Gordon Kelly reports:
Attained via a Chinese supply chain source, Koroy admits “I had to buy about 100” to get access to them. But what the cases reveal are the cases fit perfectly inside molds from leaked schematics. So yes, the leaks were right, Apple is indeed going to give the iPhone 11 its most controversial redesign in a decade. That means the large notch stays in a notch-less, bezel-less era and the phones will still have the largest camera bulge in iPhone history – despite losing their cutting edge tech at the last minute.
More here on Forbes.
The Fallout From Jony Ive’s Departure
This last week has seen a lot of analysis and discussion over the departure of Jony Ive from Apple. What led to the decision, what happens in the near future, and what next both for Ive, Apple, and indeed Tim Cook?
The Wall Street Journal took the lead by setting a narrative that focused on the Apple Watch as the point Ive started to step back from products – although the architectural design of the new Apple headquarters kept him engaged. Thomas Ricker picks up the highlights at The Verge:
Ive was “dispirited” by Tim Cook who “showed little interest in the product development process,” according to sources speaking to the WSJ. This helps explain why Cook, who comes from operations, sometimes appears to be seeing products for the first time in the hands-on area after Apple events
…Ive grew increasingly frustrated as Apple’s board was populated by directors with backgrounds unrelated to the company’s core business.
…Ive pushed for the Apple Watch to be sold as a fashion accessory, not as an extension of the iPhone. The product that went on sale was a compromise. Apple only sold a quarter of what the company forecasted in the first year, according to the WSJ, with “thousands” of the $17,000 gold Apple Watch Edition left unsold.
In an unusual move, Apple CEO Tim Cook decided to reply to the allegations. He chose to relay his words, via a terse email, through CNBC’s Dylan Byers:
“The story is absurd,” Cook said in an email. “A lot of the reporting, and certainly the conclusions, just don’t match with reality.
“The design team is phenomenally talented,” Cook told NBC News. “As Jony has said, they’re stronger than ever, and I have complete confidence that they will thrive under Jeff, Evans and Alan’s leadership. We know the truth, and we know the incredible things they’re capable of doing. The projects they’re working on will blow you away.
It’s notable that Cook does not draw out any specific instances that are incorrect, simply acknowledging that the reporting is incorrect, before bridging to the new design team and contributing the idea that Apple has yet another product ready to “blow you away”. Mehedi Hassan looks deeper at the reply:
Tim Cook usually doesn’t publicly respond to reports like this, and this is one of the few times the CEO himself has responded to a report, almost completely denying the allegations made. Of course, it’s hard to tell who is actually telling the truth here, but that won’t change the fact that Ive is no longer working directly at Apple.
More at Thurrott.com. Design is a long game, so the fallout from the departure make take some years to become apparent in the timeline. Working out the moment that Ive’s focus fell away in the past few product cycles is going to be an interesting challenge.
One New MacBook Pro Confirmed
Thanks to the delightfully porous FCC certification process, we know that at least one new MacBook is on it’s way. The listing may not tell us much, but it does confirm a 13-inch variant of the MacBook Pro is ready for the US public.
The FCC’s paperwork is a classic resource that has little choice but to ‘leak’ what products are nearing release by virtue of the need for FCC clearance.
This time it’s the turn of the Apple MacBook Pro to be noted by the Agency. Citing a model number (A2159) that matches up with model numbers listed in other national certification agencies, the FCC listing offers a few details.
More here on Forbes.
Apple Ready To Change MacBook Keyboard
Following a report from Ming-Chi Kuo, it appears that the next MacBook Air will address the long-standing issues with the butterfly keyboard… by replacing it and reverting back to using a scissor-style design. Finally. I looked at the issues here:
Apple has never really solved this problem. Stopgap measures have been introduced, including extra dust protection, new materials over the switch, and in the metal key domes; but it still felt the need to actively promote the free keyboard replacement service on the latest MacBook updates launched in late May.
Although the butterfly design has promised a physically lighter keyboard with thinner dimensions, the MacBook keyboard now has a reputation for poor reliability, repeating keystrokes, or ignored key presses. A move away from the butterfly design feels like an acknowledgment not just of the problem, but that it cannot be easily engineered away.
More here on Forbes.
Indian iPhone Sales Are Collapsing
Over in India, recent reports that sales of the current generation of iPhones are not going well. Sales for the first calendar quarter of 2019 are down between 10 and 17 percent year on year, and down 53 percent down on the 2017 numbers:
The report notes that Apple is now trying to kick start manufacturing of high-end iPhones like the iPhone XS and the iPhone XR in India, hoping that the local manufacturing will help the company reduce the price while keeping the margins same. In India, Apple, along with its manufacturing partner Foxconn, already makes come of the older iPhones like the iPhone 7.
More at India Today.
Just how much is Apple worth and how can you put that into context? Taking this week’s market cap of $886 billion dollars, the team at HowMuch show Apple’s numbers next to some other values for a visual idea of what is going on:
Apple in 2012 became the most valuable company in history, with a market capitalization of $621 billion. Its upward trajectory didn’t stop there: in 2018, Apple reached a market cap of $1 trillion. While it’s cooled off at times since then, sometimes dipping below $1 trillion, it’s undeniable that Apple is a big company in terms of valuation. It’s hard to take in this large of a number, so let’s put it into context with the value of other entities.
The full visualisation can be found here.
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.