Taking a look back at another week of news from Cupertino, this week’s Apple Loop includes details of the latest iPhone X problems, new iPhone for 2018, Apple’s temporary fix for old batteries, the amazing iPhone revenue share, everything wrong with the MacBook Pro, macOS’s rising worldwide share, iOS development slows down, HomePod cosmetic issues, and Apple’s glass problems.
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).
More iPhone X Problems
Apple continues to fight software problems with the iPhone X, as reported in Apple Loop last week. The problems with calls locking out the touchscreen have led to some worrying stories including the inability to hang up on an automatically dialled 911 emergency services call. Now another issue has been confirmed by Cupertino, and again it’s the inability to sanitize data coming into the iPhone via a message service. Tom Warren reports:
A new bug has been discovered in iOS 11 that lets people send a specific character that will crash an iPhone and block access to the Messages app in iOS and popular apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Outlook for iOS, and Gmail. Italian Blog Mobile World spotted the bug, and we’ve tested it successfully on multiple iPhones running iOS 11.2.5, and found it also works on the macOS versions of Safari and Messages. Apple plans to fix the problem in an iOS update before the release of iOS 11.3 this spring.
…Update: Apple plans to fix the issue in an update before the iOS 11.3 release this spring.
More at The Verge.
Can The iPhone SE 2 Save Apple’s 2018?
With the iPhone X expected to be cancelled later in 2018 for three new models, the reports of Apple’s replacements all focus on one area – the screens are going to be a lot bigger. While one model will be expected to match the 5.8 inch notched display of the X, the two other models – including the model expected to make up 50 percent of the sales – are going large with 6.1 inch and 6.5 inch screens, as I discussed earlier this week:
Crucially Apple is counting on size to drive the adoption of these handsets. If we go back to 2015 and the last time that Apple saw a significant rise in unit sales and revenue, it came from the introduction of the larger ‘Plus’ units that encouraged a new wave of iPhone users to adopt the platform and to convince many older users to finally upgrade their device.
The expectation of the iPhone was the new technology (including the late adoption of OLED screen, the late adoption of wireless charging and the gee-whizz of facial recognition) would lead to a new ‘super cycle’ of handset purchases. Instead the iPhone X has had its Q1 2018 orders cut by fifty percent, iPhone sales continue to fall year on year, and Tim Cook would like you all to look elsewhere.
Read more here on Forbes.
Apple Hands Back Limited Battery Control
Hiding inside the beta release of iOS 11.3 is Apple’s first implementation of the performance management tools promised to give users more say over how their smartphone handles an older battery. Unfortunately that user control only lasts until the handset is restarted, as Gordon Kelly reports:
Digging into the iOS 11.3 beta, ZDNet has found users don’t actually get much of a say at all. Instead, what actually happens when users navigate to the new battery section (Settings Battery) and choose performance over Apple’s default of stability, is they are only being given a temporary choice.
Should the iPhone crash in future, on restart it will flip back to stability mode – something you cannot stop and will see when you navigate back to the battery section.
…The problem for Apple is this sort of flexibility runs entirely counter to the culture of the company. For generations, Apple gained unshakable certainty in its knowledge of what was best for everyone because products and software lived up to Steve Jobs’ mantra: “It just works”.
More on the update here on Forbes.
When Revenue Is All You Care About
If you look just at device sales as income, Apple’s 51 percent share of the revenue in Q4 2017 is a good sign. If you’d rather have control of a platform to control secondary sales and advertising (Android’s goal) then it’s immaterial. A good debating point for both sides here:
Market researcher Strategy Analytics has just released its estimates for the smartphone market in the fourth quarter, and the numbers show that Apple has just hit a ridiculously impressive milestone: The iPhone maker just took over half of all global smartphone revenue. Specifically, Apple grabbed 51% revenue share, with Samsung coming in at a distant No. 2 [at 15.7%]
More at The Motley Fool.
Everything You Feel Is Wrong With The MacBook Pro
Speaking of Apple’s control and image, earlier in the week I looked at the change that Apple has made to the MacBook Pro machines that you can buy in 2018, and how Tim Cook has taken away the personal touches that people loved about their laptops. It should not come as a surprise but Apple’s attitudes to peripherals and ports figured highly:
Looking at the side of the new portable Mac machines and the lack of ports is dramatic. Apple has decided to push forward with a world that is almost exclusively USB-C, arguing that if the Mac range is USB-C only then the industry will follow. That may be true over the next few years, but right now MacBook Pro users have a wide range of peripherals, cards, and attachments that need MacGyvered into the new laptops.
And of course, power is also provided through the hard connection of the USB-C. The protection of MagSafe, which would see your power cord detach from the MacBook rather than pull it to the floor if the cable was snagged – will no doubt cause more impact damage and repairs in the macOS community.
That article led to many of you getting in touch about what you missed, including Ricardo Bánffy:
…the saddest loss is that the Apple logo no longer glows from the backlight seeping through a translucent part of the top case, a feature going back to 1999.
“It was never about the specs,” he eulogized. “It’s always been about tribe recognition.”
And without its tribe, what is Apple but another grey box manufacturer trying to build at the lowest possible cost and sell at the highest cost to the widest audience possible?
More on the missing elements here.