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Apple’s iPhone 15 turnaround, metalens is coming, and a carbon-free future protected

Apple and the iPhone 15

Appleviews – 14th April 2023

iPhone 15 round-up

So there we were thinking we had all the details sewn up about iPhone 15 – then suddenly, it’s all change!

Yesterday news broke that the 15 Pro and Pro Max will now not feature the unified volume button – that is according to MacRumors leaker Unknownz21.

Now it seems that the volume buttons will be almost identical to those on the current iPhone 14 Pro & Pro Max. But, there is something new changing with the mute switch though…

The switch will be replaced by what Apple is calling the ‘ringer button’, or ‘action button which will more than likely be customisable – mimicking the one found on Apple Watch Ultra.

According to Ming-Chi Kuo on Twitter, he says that the change of heart, which only happened this Tuesday was due to “unresolved technical issues.” Until then, we’d been expecting Apple to switch to a unified solid-state volume button that was to have haptic feedback.

Metalens coming

It’s been a busy week for Ming-Chi Kuo.

I found this, here on Medium, where he wrote about the Apple supply chain gearing up for mass production of the company’s metalens for 2024.

A Harvard University paper describes metalens as a flat surface that uses nanostructures to focus light. Metalens offers the advantage of both being cheaper and also smaller than the existing plastic lenses. Apple has three goals in mind for the switch to the metalens;

  1. Reduce reliance on existing plastic lenses
  2. Leverage metalens’ technological and cost advantages for product design and sales and,
  3. Facilitate the extensive use of metalens in Apple Glasses

Metalens is expected to first find its way to the iPad – there it will replace the Face ID plastic lens. If that transition goes smoothly, then we can expect to see metalens used for Face ID on iPhones come 2025 or 2026. But due to the manufacturing issues & the algorithm progress, it will be a few years after that before the new lens technology finds its way to our cameras.

Long term though, where this gets interesting is in the future for Apple Glasses. This is where metalens really comes into its own. Possibly Apple is testing the water quietly in the background, gearing itself up to eventually be ready to use the lens on its glasses.

Goertek is the global leader in this kind of lens technology – might be worth keeping an eye on their stock price over the next few years.

You heard it here first!

Read all about it

We all like something for free, right?

Well, this week a new book about Steve Jobs has been made available. Designed by Jony Ives’s firm LoveFrom, and with an introduction from Steve’s widow Laurene Powell Jobs, it makes for a fascinating read.

The 295-page book is split into three eras – 1976-1985 (Apple’s founding and the launch of the original Macintosh), 1985-1996 (the creation of NeXT), and 1996-2011 (the return to Apple).

Although you’ll doubtless recognise many of the quotes and pictures, there are also some never-before-seen images as well. Each chapter starts with a quote from Jobs and a brief overview of what was happening at the company during those years.

Part III, 1996–2011

“Much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on.”

There are even copies of original emails that Jobs sent to himself with the signature ‘Sent from my iPad’ still at the bottom.

You can read the book online on the Steve Jobs Archive site or download it as a free ebook using Apple Books.

Apple and the environment

On Tuesday Apple released a statement where it said they are doubling its financial commitment to the Restore Fund which it started two years ago.

The fund is intended to invest in projects that help remove carbon from the atmosphere.

Apple said it will invest up to an additional $200 million in the fund, which will be in addition to the initial $200 million commitment it made in 2021.

The Fund was launched along with the Goldman Sachs Group and the nonprofit Conservation International. The latest investment will help in starting new projects which will move them closer to their intention of removing one-million metric tons of carbon dioxide per year, the company said.

Apple Music gets told!

You can’t possibly have missed all the hoopla over AI and the storm of ChatBots over the past few months. Well, it’s just taken yet another turn.

Global music giant Universal Music Group (UMG) has openly asked Apple Music, Spotify and numerous other music streaming platforms to purge streaming AI-generated music. Moving forwards they want AI music generators to stop being trained on copyrighted music, that is according to the Financial Times.

UMG is a big player and controls almost a third of the global music market. Artists signed to them include Elton John, Taylor Swift and The Weeknd and they have grown alarmed at the AI models that have been specifically created to generate music that sounds like popular artists and being trained on datasets that include songs the company and its artists own the rights to.

“We will not hesitate to take steps to protect our rights and those of our artists. We have become aware that certain AI systems might have been trained on copyrighted content without obtaining the required consents from or paying compensation to, the rights holders who own or produce the content”.

But there is also a good side to AI…

Sensei does it

I am a devout Adobe user and use Premier Pro to edit all my videos.

Adobe this week announced some major updates utilising their AI tool – Adobe Sensei. Soon, within Premiere, thanks to Sensei, you’ll be able to carry out text-based editing and automatic tone mapping.

Sensei will now automatically analyse and transcribe clips, allowing video editors to copy and paste sentences in any order and see them appear on the timeline. Not only that, but you can now also search the transcript window to find exact words and phrases for easier video editing.

Tone Mapping and Logo Colour Detection will enable users to mix and match HDR footage from different sources into SDR projects without manual colour balancing or using LUTs.

The new features will be available in May after the 2023 NAB show.

iOS 16.6 is happening

According to Joe Rossignol of MacRumors, Apple has started testing iOS 16.6 – well internally at least. It was discovered using their website’s analytics logs, which have proven to be a reliable indicator of upcoming software updates for them in the past.

Apple typically releases the beta of their ‘.6’ updates before WWDC (5th-9th June 2023), so presumably, the beta will be seeded in the next few weeks. With iOS within view, I’d guess that the updates to 16.6 will be fairly minor.

It’s expected that the Apple Card’s savings account will finally be launched next week, which means that only iMessage Contact Key Verification will be the only previously announced feature yet to be released.

Meanwhile, iOS 16.5 remains in beta testing. So far testers have only come across only two noteworthy changes – namely a Sports tab in Apple News and the option to start a screen recording via the voice assistant Siri.

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