Apple View round-up
18th April – 22nd April 2022
Spring in the city and the living is easy….this week’s sun filled Apple views, and we start with HomePod
The HomePod story
The original HomePod has an odd story with a very un-Apple look about the whole adventure as well. It was first announced in 2017, but the actual release delayed until 2018. Already the writing was on the wall. Apple insisted that the delay was purely to make sure everything was perfect for its big day. In its short lifespan, we saw Apple do the unthinkable and reduce its price from the original $349 to $299. Not only that, but massive staff discounts were available as well, with employees being able to buy a HomePod for $149! Eventually, the speaker which was discontinued in early 2021, with the focus then being placed on HomePod mini. Lovers of the original feel that the sound does not compare to the mini, and lament its passing. Although the sound is as good as ever today, it is blighted by the old A8 processor, which shows its age with Siri and AirPlay functionality. If you do have one of the OG’sand love it…take care! There are reports of popping sounds which apparently seem to mean, the speaker is on its last legs. But, the oddest thing is, they are appreciating in value! To buy a new or unused speaker on Ebay will now run you around $500! Perhaps we should have shown it some love when it was with us!
iOS 16 – there is actually something to report on!
It would seem that the biggest updates for the next OS, will feature around notifications, and in particular the Focus Mode. Focus Mode, of course, lets users manage which apps and notifications they want to see through the day. The other leak to come out from Mark Gurman this week, was that the Apple News App is also to have some work done to it, plus some health-tracking features on watchOS and an improved multitasking interface on iPadOS 16. OK… I lied – not really that much to report on!
iPhone 14 – the latest
Each week, we get fresh, new leaks about this autumns iPhone. 9to5Mac this week confirmed that the Pro models will be running a different chip and that the phones will be taller. It seems more likely, than we at first thought, that the Satellite feature may also now be on iPhone 14. Ming-Chi Kuo this week tweeted that the front facing camera on all the four models in the new lineup will be upgraded to an autofocus sensor @ f/1.9 aperture. He also tweeted this week that a major change could come to the design of the phone in 2024 (iPhone 16), with its first full screen, and he is predicting it will also have the long anticipated under-display Face ID too. And finally, on the phone rumours this week, ShrimpApplePro showed us the first sight of the screen protector designs. They mention that the earpiece on the Pro Max is too thin for a cutout at the top! For those wondering, the new front lens would mean the front facing camera will give you a blurry background!
Oh, those CADS
You may have seen some CAD images floating about online over the last week or so, turns out they were not direct from Apple, rather from case manufacturers. That as may be, it confirms that there will be no iPhone Mini option this year, the size of the camera bump and also the overall dimensions of the Pro and Pro Max. They are gonna big, big, boys these 14 Pros!
Trouble on the horizon
Workers at an Apple Store in Atlanta are the first to file to become unionised. This looks certain to set up a battle with the Silicone Valley giant. 70% of the 107 strong workforce at the Cumberland Mall store in northwest Atlanta have supported the move. 5th or 7th May are likely dates for the union election. Organisers are saying that the store falls below the living wage for Atlanta. Starting pay is about $20 an hour, below the $31-an-hour living wage for a single parent with one child, according to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Is all publicity really good publicity?
Anti trust costs!
Appleinsiderthis week have reported that Apple have spent $2.5 million on political lobbying in the first quarter of 2022. The previous high had been held by Amazon and Meta, but as Apple face intensifying pressure on its App Store from congress, the spend has risen. From January to March 2022, the $2.5 million spend represents an increase of 34% over the same period last year. Apple has stepped up its efforts as it tries to combat proposed legislation that could mean changes to its App Store. Ooof! Even for Apple, that is a BIG sum of money!
Are you a bit of an audiophile? Well, if you are a Tidalsubscriber, things just took a turn for the better. In their latest iOS update, users of the music streaming service can now ask Apple’s voice assistant, Siri, to play content. However, for the time being, it is limited to only iPhone and iPad users. The service does not yet extend to HomePod or HomePod mini. That means Tidal listeners still can’t take advantage of the HomePod’s Siri voice controls to navigate their tunes and playlists. I did subscribe for a while – but once Apple Music went lossless, that was good enough for me.
Some good lightning news!
Honestly, there is some! Whilst virtually every other product in Apple’s lineup now uses USB-C adapters, the iPhone remains steadfastly with a lightning connector. If we needed any further information to suggest this will be with us longer than some had hoped, then it came this week. It appears that the two Pro phones in this year’s 14 range will be given USB 3.0 lightning ports. Currently, the ports are 2.0 but technically, they are not limited to that. Apple engineers have been hard at work to increase transfer speeds via the cable. With the Pro range of phones able to shoot 4K pro res video, getting those files off the phone has proved painful. 2.0 USB speeds can only transfer at a speed of 480 Mbps, whereas with USB 3.0, that is increased to 5 Gbps! As someone that use his iPhone for YouTube videos, this would be just the news I am after.
Do you wear lycra?
Well, if you do and that’s because you are a cyclist, then I have news for you. Cycling directions, first introduced last year in iOS, have quietly been added to since the start of April. Cycling directions consider elevation, how busy a street is, and whether there are stairs along the route. Officially supported in Barcelona, London, Canada and mainland China, there have been some local improvements in parts of the States. Detailed and updated coverage reportedly includes all of Ohio and West Virginia, as well as parts of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Virginia, reports Justin O’Beirne. Don’t get me started on cycling clubs!
WhatsApp with you then?
In the last week, WhatsApp, the encrypted, messaging service, announced reactions are finally coming to the app. They will make all emojis available so that users can react to a message, the same as Instagram already does with its Direct Messages. To use the reaction emojis, users just need to update the app, then tap and hold a chat bubble to react to a message. Currently, it is only available to Beta users, but will roll out in their next full update, which I hear is coming soon. Reactions – the only way I communicate with my daughter!
Keeping up with the demand
As China restarts iPhone production after its Shenzhen lockdown, Foxconn is almost doubling staff at its Chennai plant and expanding for more production. Demand for iPhone models has greatly increased in India. According to The Economic Times of India, Apple has the local government’s clearance to do what’s called “denotifying.” Foxconn’s Chennai plant operates within a special economic zone (SEZ), which infers benefits along with certain conditions. The global domination continues at pace then.
A word from Tim
Last week, I reported on Apple’s environmental intent. This week, that was corroborated with a press release from Apple, in which they state that they are to expand the use of recycled materials across its products. For the first time, the company introduced certified recycled gold, and more than doubled the use of recycled tungsten, rare earth elements, and cobalt. Nearly 20 percent of all material used in Apple products in 2021 was recycled, the highest-ever use of recycled content. The company also shared new ways customers can celebrate Earth Day, including supporting the World Wildlife Fund by using Apple Pay. On Earth Day, April 22, Apple customers can learn about the exciting environmental innovations behind iPhone 13 — including the Daisy recycling robot — with a new immersive augmented reality experience on Snapchat. I think they do actually care about this issue, and it’s not just good PR…although that can’t hurt!
Even Apple need some help
Whilst all production of Apple’s own Silicon is fabricated exclusively by Taiwan’s TSMC, the chip actually includes components from several suppliers. For example, the chip’s board is supplied by Ibiden and Unimicron. And that also will be true on this year’s M2 chip as Apple continue to work with Samsung. Samsung Electro-Mechanics supplies the flip chip ball grid array (FC-BGA), a printed circuit board used as a semiconductor. Little was known about the outsourcing on Apples’ M1 chip until The Elec uncovered it almost a year after its release. The devil is always in the detail.
Charge me up
This week, Apple released a new firmware update for their MagSafe Battery pack. It allows users to enable 7.5W charging, up from the old standard which was only 5W. Apple suggests users attach a Lightning cable to a MagSafe Battery Pack and then plug in the USB side to an iPad or Mac to initiate the update process. You’ll require an iPhone 12 or later to benefit from this update. Never again will you need to be without charge, no matter how busy you are.
Are you a Netflix subscriber? If so, then you are one of the few that have not cancelled on the streaming service. Viewers are leaving in their troves, with other services providing better content at cheaper prices. This week, Netflix posted a big first quarter earnings loss, as they saw 200,000 subscribers cancel in the same period. The choice is greater than ever for viewers now. Apple at $5 a month and Amazon at $9 are just two examples. You know I am a massive Apple TV+ fan, and I watch more content on there now than Netflix for certain.
Let me know if I have missed any news and I will cover it next week – with a credit to yourself, of course!
There are a number of ways to stay in touch with me. You could join my Discord Server here or, even, join up for my weekly newsletter. Every Sunday, I send out a free, newsletter video, chatting about what has been going on. You can add your name to the list here.
And…if you really enjoy these blogs, then why not subscribe to Medium, for unlimited access, to not only my blogs, but loads of great content from other writers as well.
Finally, keep your Mac as new with CleanMyMac – my go-to tool for making sure my Mac stays match-fit.
Originally published at https://www.talkingtechandaudio.com/blog on April 22, 2022.