Taking a look back at another week of news and headlines from Cupertino, this week’s Apple Loop includes new iPhone 13 features, Apple’s quarterly results, increases iPad and Mac sales, massive security problems for iOS, iPadOS, and macOS, chip shortage to weaken iPhone supplies, the iPad Air getting a tiny refresh, a curious question over an Intel Mac Pro, and Safari climbdown.
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).
How Secure Is Your iPhone
Apple has rushed out a point release for iOS, iPadOS, and macOS to address a zero-day exploit that would allow “arbitrary code to run with kernel privileges” (The Register). Given the renewed focus on Apple’s security in the light of last week’s discussions of the NSO Group’s ‘Pegasus’ software, the mythical power of Apple’s security is under the spotlight:
“The security of Apple’s platform has been under scrutiny this year, and especially in the last month. The capabilities of the NSO Group’s ‘Pegasus’ software to crack the MacOS, iOS, and iPadOS platforms has been heavily discussed in the media… This isn’t a new approach by Apple, but the limitations of the approach are becoming more apparent this year. Nevertheless, for MacOS users the world over, Apple’s rapid point update to your operating system is very much recommended.”
Stunning Quarterly Report
Apples third quarter results show revenue of $81.4 billion (up 36 percent YoY) with $21.7B of net income. Of note, services sales were $17.4B and iPhone sales were $39.6B (Apple Newsroom). Jason Snell has his customary charts of the quarterly results. The opening pie chart on where Apple’s revenue comes from shows the iPhone’s utter dominance, although at 49% it was not the majority source of revenue:
“Apple posted record third-quarter results today, featuring $81 billion in revenue. There will be a lot more to say about it momentarily, but here are the charts….”
Tablet And PC Sales Rising
The work from home boost to electronic sales continues, with both the iPad and Mac families breaking quarterly records. The former’s revenue is up 12 percent, while the latter is up 16 percent:
“Sales of both Macs and iPads have surged during the coronavirus pandemic as people switched to a remote work and education environment. The previous quarters have been the best-ever for Apple’s Mac lineup, and the iPad has benefited, too. The launch of both iPad and Mac models with the M1 chip has also bolstered sales. The company is expected to launch new MacBook Pro models and other Mac devices with an M1 chip later in 2021.
Shortages To Hit iPhone Sales
Disappointingly, as part of the earnings call, Apple’s CFO Luca Maestri warned that supply of Apple products – specifically the iPhone and iPad – would be constrained. Apple may have ordered 100 million units of the iPhone 13 family, but getting them fulfilled will be much harder. All that means we could see the new iPhone handsets in short supply at the end of the year:
“For context, September is the month Apple is widely expected to launch the new iPhone 13 range as well as a redesigned iPad mini. Development has been “ahead of schedule” with Apple ordering over 100 million next-gen A15 chips, in expectation of record breaking demand. Unfortunately, however, Maestri’s warning highlights the difference between ordering and being able to attain the necessary chips to meet demand. “
Some New iPhone Features Remain
For those who do get a hold of a handset, the expected updates feel more iterative rather than revolutionary, with some calling this an ’S’ year as a nod to the older iPhone 6 to iPhone 6S progression. Two big changes were highlighted this week; the first being the move to 1 TB of storage at the top tier Pro devices, the second is the move to bring the LiDAR depth sensor to the entire range of handsets:
“Analysts Wedbush have repeated a claim that there will be a 1TB iPhone 13 storage tier, despite a contradictory report by TrendForce. Wedbush first made the claim back in February that this year’s iPhone line-up would push beyond the current maximum 512GB storage capacity.”
Always On Is Taking A Long Time To Arrive
The saga to bring ‘always -on’ screens to Apple continues. They have long been a stable on top-end Android devices, but Apple has never brought this useful feature to the iPhone. With a reported increase in battery size, and the switch to variable refreshing screens, is now the time? Only if you spend more to get one of the Pro devices:
“Always-on displays can suck up battery life, so there’s a compelling argument for Apple to have shunned them thus far. But display tech like LTPO, which enables dynamic refresh rates — the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra can scale down from 120Hz to 10Hz — means always-on displays are less power hungry these days. And according to Gurman and other rumors so far, the iPhone 12, or the iPhone 12 Pro models at least, could make use of LTPO panels to facilitate an expected 120Hz refresh rate.”
(Power On via Tom’s Guide).
A Boring iPad Air Refresh
The upcoming refresh to the iPad Air will see Apple’s tablet pick up the new design seen in the iPad Pro, but anyone hoping for a refresh for the regular iPad or iPad Mini is going to have to keep waiting, they’re staying the same
“Citing a Chinese supplier, the site says that the fifth-generation iPad Air will continue to feature a 10.9-inch display and a Touch ID button on the side, but it will gain a dual-lens camera system with Wide and Ultra Wide cameras. A LiDAR Scanner is also a possibility for the iPad Air, though it is not guaranteed and the supplier did not know for sure. Additional features include a four speaker audio system and a 5G mmWave chip.”
(Mac Otakara via tMacRumors).
Are You Sure Every Mac Will Go ARM?
At the launch of the Apple Silicon project at WWDC 2020, Tim Cook and his team said the entire platform would be running on ARM by the end of 2022. Which makes the multiple leaks around the Mac Pro – that it will be offered with Xeon W-3300 series CPUs – a curious one. Will Apple offer the Mac Pro with both flavours of processors, or has the industry at this premium level of hardware let it be known they won’t be ready to support an ARM Mac Pro at this time?
“A future Mac Pro is rumored to use the Xeon W-3300 CPU family, in parallel with Apple’s commitment to fully transition to Apple Silicon by 2022. A reliable leaker known as YuuKi_AnS says that the 2022 Mac Pro will use Xeon W-3300 series CPUs. While this corroborates other leaks, it also goes against Apple’s promise to transition all Macs to custom silicon.”
Apple may have pushed one to many revolutionary ideas onto the geekerati. The reaction to the new tabbed experience in Safari has been loud enough that the UI changes have been downgraded to optional in the latest beta build. It’s a climbdown from a company that rarely does so in such a public manner
“Like in macOS Monterey (and every version of Apple’s desktop OS in recent history), tabs will once again live in their own separate row by default, alleviating some of the crowding that made Apple’s initial compact redesign annoying. The tab experience is now also controlled via a toggle in the Settings app, so if you’re committed to Apple’s original vision, you can enable it with a tap.”
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.