Taking a look back at another week of news and headlines from Cupertino, this week’s Apple Loop includes the old technology Apple is bringing back, why you will wait a long time for a new iPhone, a forced upgrade of iOS, the bent iPad Pro, a report on the app economy, and Alexa using Apple Music.
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).
Classic Tech Returns For A Radical New iPhone
While the actual design may not be public, Apple’s latest published patent has revealed one area where Tim Cook and his team think they have an advantage. Curiously, it involves going backwards, and bringing back a beloved feature of iPhones from times past. Forbes’ Gordon Kelly reports:
…Apple has quietly filed a patent detailing the return of Touch ID and how it would work alongside Face ID in new iPhones. What’s more, this is Touch ID unlike anything iPhone users have experienced before.
Taking inspiration from rivals, Apple shows-off work to build Touch ID into the display of iPhones. For example, Apple’s patent demonstrates it operating as a backup to Face ID for unlocking iPhones but it can also operate as a standalone authentication method itself.
More details here.
A Long Wait For New iPhones
As the smartphone world moves on, is Apple being left behind? With Android expected to debut 5G during 2019, the iPhone is waiting until 2020. Apple has decided that reviving old technology such as TouchID will boost sales while its handsets catch up with the connected competition, as I reported earlier this week, starting with the issue of 5G:
5G is expected to be one of the key features in high-end smartphones during 2019 with a number of handsets expected to launch in the first half of the year. Within the next six months UK network EE is expected to carry OnePlus’ first 5G device, while Verizon is working with Samsung to launch a 5G Galaxy smartphone.
Apple is not expected to have a 5G iPhone ready for 2019. If Tim Cook wants the Apple to be seen as staying at the cutting edge of mobile technology, then the September 2019 handset launch is the place to do so. But as I’ve previously noted here on Forbes, Apple is relying on Intel for its modems, and the 5G enabled 8161 is not going to be ready in time. Either Apple upends its supply chain, disrupts the product and upgrade cycle, or hopes that it can sneak through to September 2020 before launching a 5G handset.
More here on Forbes.
Apple’s iOS Update To Avoid Potential Sales Ban
Earlier this week Apple prepared to push out an iOS update that would change a number of features, including picture resizing and app management – issues that were highlighted in last week’s Apple Loop regarding the legal battle between Qualcomm and Apple. Gordon Kelly reports:
Apple has warned iPhone users that it will be pushing iOS updates in the next few days which will change core functionality in their phones. And, unlike normal updates, these changes are not about making things better.
…In its ongoing legal battle with Qualcomm (which has already cost iPhone owners 5G), Apple has been found to infringe Qualcomm copyrights on image resizing and application management which risks a sales ban in China. Apple’s response has been to push software updates to millions of iPhone users making unspecified changes to the functionality in the hope judges are impressed and the ban is not imposed.
More details here, but be aware that the update continues to cause issues with 4G connectivity with reports from around the world. Gordon Kelly once more:
iOS 12.1.2 is breaking cellular data for users around the world. The scale of this is unknown but, while Apple had previously admitted the fault existed in Turkey, angry upgraders are now proving iOS 12.1.2 has spread it far beyond that.
As a result, I can no longer recommend users upgrade their devices to iOS 12.1.2 and I’ve updated my iOS User Guide to reflect this. Again I stress, the scale is impossible to judge but the risk/reward payoff is pointless when the upgrade is primarily for Apple’s legal benefit and the problem clearly serious and international.
Maybe wait until iOS 12.1.3… which is currently in beta testing.
Your iPad Pro Is Only Bent, Not Broken
If you have one of the latest iPad Pro tablets with an unexplained bend in the chassis, then you now have an answer to what’s going on… It was built that way. Apple has noted that the cooling process in manufacturing is suspected. If you are still within the fourteen-day purchase window it should be a simple matter to exchange your tablet. Chris Welch broke the news:
Apple has confirmed to The Verge that some of its 2018 iPad Pros are shipping with a very slight bend in the aluminum chassis. But according to the company, this is a side effect of the device’s manufacturing process and shouldn’t worsen over time or negatively affect the flagship iPad’s performance in any practical way. Apple does not consider it to be a defect.
More at The Verge.
The Value Of The App Economy
Just before one of the biggest download days of the year (that would be Christmas Day), new data from Sensor Tower shows an increase in ‘million dollar apps’ on iOS, and the continued difference between app incomes on Android and iOS. Alex Allegro analyses the details:
New data from SensorTower today reveals 164 publishers generated their first million dollars in net revenue during 2018, an approximately 13% increase from 143 in 2017.
The interesting data point arises when comparing to Google’s Play Store, who saw 71 publishers last year net one million dollars, and just 88 in 2018.
Considering iOS accounts for less than a quarter of mobile operating systems globally with Android generally dominating the remainder, it’s further demonstration of how lucrative iOS app revenue is compared to Android.
More at 9to5Mac.
Amazon Alexa users who also have an account with the Apple Music subscription service can now set up their home AI to use apple’s music instead of defaulting to Amazon’s solution. portability of services between platforms is good news for consumers, but it remains to be seen what this does the walled-garden approach to cloud based services. Zac Hall reports:
Once you connect your Apple Music account to Alexa, you can set the music service as your default music library source and default music station source. This lets you request music from Apple Music without telling Alexa which service to use each time.
Apple Music on Alexa has access to your personal music library including playlists that you create or add to your library from Apple Music, although there are some features that Apple Music on Echo lacks that HomePod supports.
More at 9to5 Mac.
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.