Taking a look back at another week of news and headlines from Cupertino, this week’s Apple Loop includes iPhone 14 Pro reviews, Apple’s hidden iPhone price rise, Android’s lead over iPhone, the annoying upgrade to eSIM, Apple Watch Series 8 review, older iPhones new security updates, photo contrast problems, and what to call the Dynamic Island.
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).
iPhone 14 Pro Reviewed
With Apple’s new iPhone 14 handsets going on sale, the first reviews are in. Ahead of the public release, Apple provided a number of iPhone 14 Pro units for review. The consensus is that Apple has certainly built on the iPhone 13 Pro platform but hasn’t thrown a knock-out punch to the competition… even if the Dynamic Island’s method of notifications is beguiling:
“The biggest talking point is probably the dynamic island. Apple is bigging this up as a brand new way of working with your smartphone. For the more cynical, it’s a big notification pop-up that tries to hide the display cut-out needed for the cameras and Face ID. As always, the truth is somewhere in the middle.”
Apple Hides iPhone Price Rises
During the Apple event, Tim Cook and his team announced the pricing for the iPhone 14 family, and the returning handsets had matching prices to their iPhone 13 equivalents (so the iPhone 14 stayed at $799, the 14 Pro at $999, and the 14 Pro Max at $1099); which was good news for Apple’s US fans. Unfortunately, everyone else looking on saw the prices climb up once you checked on the local pricing.
You can highlight the strong dollar and restrictions in the supply chain, but with US and Chinese iPhone prices holding steady, there’s a feeling that Apple is biased towards its two biggest markets, and everyone else will have to support them:
“…Apple introduced price increases to some — if not all — iPhone 14 models worldwide. For example, in the UK the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models increased by between £70 ($80) and £100 ($115), respectively. Similarly, in Europe, there were jumps of up to €110 ($111) for standard models and €170 ($172) for Pro models. While in Japan, iPhone 14 prices rose by an average of 21,000 yen ($145).
Apple, You’re Playing Catch Up
Apple may have packed in some magical words and celebratory phrases, but that doesn’t mean that the technology on the iPhone is ground-breaking. Myriam Joire points out just how long Apple’s geekerati have waited for so many features:
“But here’s the thing. High megapixel-count sensors that leverage pixel binning are nothing new. Nokia’s 808 Pureview (Symbian) pioneered this technique with a 41MP sensor back in 2012, followed by Nokia’s Lumia 1020 (Windows Phone), which added OIS to the specs. In fact, since Huawei’s P20 Pro flagship, which used a 40MP Quad-Bayer sensor (Sony IMX600) back in 2018, pixel binning has been par for the course in Android land.”
Apple’s Announcing Upgrade To eSIM
Apple’s move to eSIM for iPhones sold in the US is a curious one. It certainly pushes new technology to the fore – and no doubt the eSIM industry will be hoping Apple’s adoption forces other manufacturers to follow suit – but from a practical point of view, those traveling outwit their own country have found eSIM to be annoying and awkward at best, and unavailable at worst. Photographer Austin Mann offers some practical feedback on why eSIM may not yet be mature for travellers:
“I’m a bit concerned about the practicality of an eSIM-only approach for travelers with US iPhones who frequently visit the developing world. My wife and I usually land for a project, get money changed, and pick up a local SIM card like that it’s easy and cheap to communicate with people in-country.I keep these SIM cards in my daily bag (see image above), and for areas I’m frequently traveling I can just swap the SIM card upon landing and be ready to go.
“Apple recommends using eSIM to get your line ahead of time, so I tried to sign up for a line in East Africa (we plan to be there quite a bit next summer), but haven’t yet been able to figure out how. “
(Apple Support and Austin Mann).
Apple Watch Series 8 Review
Just as the iPhone 14 family takes the previous model and builds lots of tiny improvements that add up to a new model, so does the Apple Watch Series 8 build on the Series 7. While the new Apple Watch Ultra packs in the features and the Apple Watch SE targets the mid-range, it’s the Series branded range that highlights the slow and steady changes to arguably the biggest selling smartphone:
“Spoiler alert: it’s not a faster chip. As far as performance and battery life go, the S8 chip is virtually the same as the S7, which is basically the same as the S6. (I’m sensing a theme here.) What the S8 does add to the mix are a bunch of new sensors.Namely, you get two temperature sensors, a new high-g accelerometer, and a new gyroscope.These new sensors are what power the Series 8’s two marquee features: Cycle Tracking and crash detection.”
Older iOS Hardware Pick Up Vital Security Patch
With a new iOS release, Apple leaves behind older Apple hardware, which will be locked into iOS 15 as the highest version possible – that means the first generation iPhone SE, iPhone 6S, 6S Plus, 7, 7Plus, and the iPod Touch will only receive urgent security updates to iOS 15.
Which is handy, as Apple released iOS 15.7 alongside the launch of iOS 16, providing the former with the latest security patches over critical vulnerabilities.
“According to Apple’s official security page, iOS 15.7 patches 11 vulnerabilities, the most serious of which is CVE-2022-32917. This vulnerability is in the iOS Kernel, potentially allowing an attacker to execute malicious code on iPhones and iPads. iOS 15.7 also fixes two additional vulnerabilities in Kernel, two in WebKit (the engine behind Safari) and flaws in Contacts, Maps, MediaLibrary and Shortcuts.”
Where Is My Phone’s Contrast?
As tastes change, software changes to match it. That’s certainly the case with imaging software as manufacturers tweak algorithms for a more natural look. But is that what many want? What if you take modern photos on older devices with a different bias? Look for contrast:
“When I looked back at the photos I took during those few fleeting hours [of using an iPhone SE], I noticed something I hadn’t seen much of in photos from newer phones — something I hadn’t even realized I’d been missing. that thing? contrast It’s been out of favor in smartphone image processing lately, but there are some easy ways to bring it back to your photos. I think it’s high time we did.”
A fun chat over on Reddit with this week’s biggest question. If not ‘Dynamic Island’, what name would you have created for Apple’s performative notification bar?
“My money’s on “Chill Pill”, “Top Notch”, or simply “Island”. What name do you suggest? Dynamic Island is perfectly descriptive, but it just feels like it’s missing the magic and metaphor of names like “AirDrop”, “Center Stage”, and “FaceTime”. Am I alone in thinking the name could be better?”
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.