Taking a look back at another week of news and headlines from Cupertino, this week’s Apple Loop takes in the latest iPhone 11 problems, the iPhone SE2 release date, the iPhone 12 leaked design, who loves the MacBook lovers, MacOS update, Catalina’s serious problems, and Twitch comes to Apple TV.
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).
Speculation Over iPhone SE2 Release Date
Will the iPhone 11 family of handsets be joined by a classic comeback in March next year? With report of an iPhone SE like replacement for the iPhone 8 coming in, Apple looks ready to launch a ‘budget’ iPhone in this product cycle to lift sales and increase the user base of iOS. I reported on the launch dates earlier this week:
Kuo’s latest report reinforces the release date of the Q1 next year. Given Apple’s previous history of events, it’s likely that a Q1 release will translate into a mid to late March release - a slot that has been used ‘educational’ and ‘second tier’ devices in the past few years.
That also partly takes care of my concern that a mooted launch in January would be upsetting to those who had purchased a new iPhone in the run up to the holidays. While a March launch, almost three months after Christmas, is still relatively close to the seasonal peak purchasing moment, it has enough emotional distance to stop consumers thinking that Apple has pulled a fast one.
It’s not just iOS 13 causing problems for iPhone 11 owners. The new handsets are less than a month old at best, but users are reporting the screen feels more fragile and prone to scratching and everyday wear and tear. Jesus Diaz reports for Tom’s Guide:
These users are claiming that their phones are getting scratched no matter how much care they put into making sure that nothing can damage them. They say that they only put their phones in their pockets — free of coins, keys or any other objects — and the phones will get microscratches apparently out of nowhere. Sometimes the scratches even look like permanent smears, as you can see in the photo above.
Yet under various third-party lab tests the iPhones are holding up, as Forbes’ Gordon Kelly reports:
In Apple’s defence, tests by popular YouTubers JerryRigEverything and EverythingApplePro did find that that the iPhone 11 series is highly durable in lab tests and controlled drops. That said, there is a significant difference between these kinds of tests and daily wear and tear and there does seem to be a serious issue with iPhone 11 display.
Is This The iPhone 12 Design?
This week saw more reporting of the design change for the iPhone in 2020. Although it’s easy to say ‘back to the blocky iPhone 4 design’, what does that actually look like? Zach Epstein gathers all the details that we currently know for the best look at next year’s iPhone:
…the first big report from a credible source has already hit the web. According to TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who happens to be the most plugged-in Apple insider on the planet, next year’s new iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro phones will feature a new design with flatter edges that are more in line with the old design Apple had used on the iPhone 4, iPhone 5, and iPhone SE series phones.
More at BGR, and iPhone Concepts has put together the details for a first look impression of the 2020 design.
Who Loves The MacBook Lovers?
Tim Cook may be preparing to launch a new MacBook Pro with a reported 16-inch screen, and it will be something that developers and media editors will admire. but does Apple believe it is a premier product; or will it be relegated behind the iPad Pros, Apple Tags, and iPhone pimping at Apple’s upcoming October event? I looked at the issue of betraying the MacBook Pro earlier this week as well as the Windows 10 powered competition it faces:
Given the choice between eulogising the new iPhone, increasing its functionality, and promoting the walled-garden of the iPad Pro… or giving the MacBook Pro family room to breath and luxuriate in the limelight, I suspect Cook will choose the former. I would love to be proved wrong but nothing in the last year or two suggests that is going to happen.
Finally, there’s another truth about the MacBook range as a whole, and the MacBook Pro individually, that has to be noted. No matter what Apple says on the stage, the MacBook Pro is going to struggle in comparison to its Windows 10 counterparts. There are laptops with far better designs and styling (such as Microsoft’s Surface Book series), there are laptops far better suited to gaming and multimedia creation (such as the Razer Blade Pro), and there are far more portable and practical business laptops (HP’s Elitebook range).
MacOS Catalina Reviewed
This week saw the public release of macOS Catalina. Announced at WWDC in the summer, it changes a significant amount of the architecture of the Mac platform, even thought it stands apart from the more pervasive iOS. Andrew Cunningham sets the scene for his traditionally long review on the latest deskbound OS from Cupertino:
Catalina moves macOS further and more decisively in the direction of iOS than ever; for the first time, third-party code written for iOS and iPadOS can run on the Mac with relatively few changes. At the same time, Apple remains adamant that the Mac and iOS/iPadOS are separate platforms that differ in ways that go beyond the underlying processor architecture or the primary input mechanism.
…Keep that in mind as we dig into Catalina, which changes a whole lot of stuff about how Macs work while still aiming to preserve what people like about them.
Major Issues Within macOS Catalina
The launch of any new version of an operating system is never without problems, but the Mac move to Catalina is proving especially awkward. The move to 64-bit only is causing many ocular apps to not run, there are countless sync issues between the various Apple platforms, and in the case of those who work with music apps, Apple has removed support for XML files, where it said it would maintain them for compatibility. I reported on many of Catalina’s issues earlier this week:
The Mac platform is especially popular with DJs, who cart around MacBook Pro machines jam-packed with music, playlists, mixes and specialist software to allow them to perform every evening. These have been tied to iTunes’ underlying XML database. But after nearly 20 years, iTunes has been discontinued in macOS Catalina, and the XML file no longer exists to index a local music collection.
That has broken popular and niche music tools alike, including but not limited to major titles such as Traktor and Rekordbox.
More here on Forbes, and we’ll be watching how Apple handles this and other issues in Catalina over the upcoming weeks and months.
Following a public beta, a Twitch has seen its app published for Apple TV through Apple’s usual channels. The Amazon subsidiary is now available across multiple platforms, including those that connect directly to TVs. This is an important foothold as Twitch moves into more live events and coverage outside of gaming . Christine Fisher reports:
As of today, the official Twitch app is finally available on Apple TV. The app has been available for consoles, mobile devices and Android TV boxes for years, but Apple TV owners were forced to use third-party apps. Last month, Twitch released a public beta of its Apple TV app, and today, the final product is ready.
Users will be able to live-stream games, view clips on demand and join on-screen chats.
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.