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Right to Repair gets REAL – a good idea or 2nd rate?

Apple View round-up

25th April – 29th April 2022

Right To Repair

Plenty to bring you this week including stories on Right to Repair, iPadOS 16, iPhone 14 and a new entertainment system

Right to Repair

It’s actually here

This week, the long awaited Self Repair Store, opened its doors for business. Announced late in 2021, we were almost starting to think it had disappeared without trace. As long as you own iPhone 12 or later, you can now repair components including the display, battery & camera. You rent a tool kit for one week from Apple for $49. These tool kits consist of the same tools that Apple themselves use, and come complete with the necessary press, screw bits and protective covers. Prices vary, but for example, a new iPhone screen will cost you $269. For context, getting your screen repaired by Apple costs $279. On the face of it, that is only a $10 saving, but where it gets interesting is the money you’ll receive on credit when you return the broken parts. The same screen we are talking about here, will give you $33.60 back in your Wallet app, and Apple will recycle those parts. So, in our example, you’d save $46.85 over getting Apple to repair your broken iPhone 13 screen. At last – now we have the flesh on the bone, I can see this being hugely popular, particularly with the credits in play.

Oh great!

If you read my blogs or watch my videos regularly, you’ll know I have ordered both a MacBook Pro and a Studio Display. On release, everyone was moaning about the quality of the 1080p webcam on the display. Apple insisted they were aware of it, and that it would be fixed with a firmware update that they would be pushing out. The faults being fed back to Apple included the image being blurry, washed out and image ‘noise’. This week, that update was rolled out to beta developers, and the news is not good. Jason Snell admitted that whilst Centre Stage is a little more useable and there is less noise, the poor, washed-out image quality has not been improved in the slightest. It seems the problem is to do with hardware and not software. Their choice of a wide-angle camera seems to be the issue, and the fix could be sensor related. The only two possible solutions to solve this problem are to use a higher resolution sensor, so that the cropped image is at least 12 megapixels. The other solution is a larger sensor to capture more light – which would help reduce noise in the image. Fingers crossed by the time mine ships in June, I will have better hardware on board.

iPhone 14 case rumours

This year’s iPhone will be with us in under six months, and as Apple suppliers gear up, leaks are emerging from that supply chain. Images published this week by Mac Otakara offer us a closer look at what to expect. As we know, there will only be two screen size options this year. We’ll have a 6.1 – inch and 6.7 – inch option, and no mini. Given the screen sizes are the same as on the current lineup, there was hope that you’d be able to swap out the cases to use on the 14. Sadly, that seems not to be so, due to our old friend, the camera bump. It is not only the fault of the bump, but also the overall thickness of the phone is now over 11 mm. The devil is always in the detail, eh!

The screen is out

A leak, originally posted on Chinese social network site Baidu, shows us the front facing glass on this year’s phone. It confirms what we had heard and suspected. The two non-pro phones will still have the notch as per the 13’s, but the two pro phones will be adopting the new pill and hole design. From what we can tell, the pro phones will also have a slightly smaller bezel as well. The proof will be in the pudding, I guess, but it does not look so bad after all.

Let’s talk dollars

If you thought that the notch-less design on this year’s pro lineup was going to be the big news, think again. It will be the price. Mark Gurman revealed that even though the non-pro phones share even fewer features than previous generations, due to the restricted sizing options and rising component costs, we could be seeing some hefty price hikes. No surprise there, then.

Watch time

This summer, we can also expect the next generation of Apple Watch to be launched. Rumours are scarce, but here are four I think worthy of mentioning. The screen size won’t change. That does not seem to fit in to this year’s design remit, so there will still only be a 41 mm and a 45 mm option as per the 7 series. A body temperature sensor has been confirmed by both Bloomberg News & Ming-Chi Kuo. As I have already reported, though, it will only be available for women to measure their ovulation cycle. A better chip should be at the heart of this year’s watch, with a new S8 SoC. This chip will be generally faster and also bring major updates to activity monitoring. Lastly, there will be an improvement to the sleep tracking app. Apple included it on the 7, but it was poor in comparison to third-party offerings. The ongoing battle with sleep tracking, though, is battery life. We are even monitored in our sleep. Will it never end!

Apple in trouble again

Earlier this year, I reported that Apple was going to make contactless payment a thing on iOS 16. This is done via the NFC chip within the phone, but it seems Apple is limiting its access. The EU are concerned that the company are ‘unfairly blocking’ groups such as PayPal and Venom to access the chip. This would mean that other financial providers cannot use the Apple Pay experience. Not only that, but Apple is still facing pressure to open its iPhone to third-party app stores and allow iMessage to become a cross-platform messaging service. I actually feel for them. They create technology and hardware, the capitalist way is to surely let them reap the rewards.

Time to treat your mum

Over in the US, Mother’s Day approaches. Just so you don’t forget, the date for your diary is Sunday 8th May. Over in the States, there are some great offers to be had if you use Apple Pay. Discounts are available on flowers, fragrances and personalised gifts. I will leave a link to the promotion here. Treat her – you only have the one!

HomePod news

Last week, I reported that HomePod was starting to become something of a collector’s item. The next-generation promises to be so radically different, that it may even take an altogether new name. It looks like it could incorporate the HomePod, Apple TV and a FaceTime camera. I am guessing Apple are seeing this as centre to their home lineup, and then will feed off to numerous (improved) HomePod Mini’s dotted about. There may yet be an actual HomePod replacement, but that seems some way off. First will be a home entertainment system, followed by a spec pump to the HomePod Mini and then, finally, a new iteration of the original HomePod. I have a HomePod Mini and love it. Bring on more kit.

The growth carries on

Android versus Apple, it seems is no fair fight. New research shows that Android’s market share has fallen by 8% over the last five years, whilst Apple iOS market share has grown by 6%. Research firm StockApps reports that Androids highest ever market share was in 2018 at 77.32%. As of January 2022, that has dropped to 69.74%. In that same period, iOS market share has grown from 19.4% to 25.49%. Android’s loss of market share boils down to heightened competition within the OS space. In similar news, Counterpoint Research claims that PC shipments were down 4.3% in Q1 compared to that period in 2021, yet Apple’s MacBook sales have risen by 8%. There was an overall drop in laptop sales globally, and this was put down to the supply chain issues. I need to bottle the Apple success pill!

iPadOS 16

Almost certainly, iPadOS 16 will be announced at Junes WWDC. The next-generation OS will be supported on iPads as old as 2nd gen iPad Pro 10.5. Leaks are thin on the ground, but the hot tickets seem to be that a new multitasking feature and a revamped Notes app are on the way. Notifications have been toyed with over the past few years, but it would appear that Apple are still not happy with it. Users have wanted a better multitasking experience for years, and it seems that is being worked on. Windows, for example, would be the safest bet to really improve the iPad experience for those with bigger screens. Although the company made it easier to use Slide Over and Split View, the operating system is still not there yet. Other options iPad users would love is for pro apps to make their way to iPad and also to be able to sign in to other user accounts, in the way a Mac does. I wrote a whole blog about this!

What’s that noise?

It seems that one month after release, a lot of Mac Studio owners are reporting a high-pitched “whining sound” that appears to be coming from a fan in the machine. Apparently, the noise is in addition to the fan noise and is hard to ignore due to its high-pitched frequency. The majority of the complaints are coming from M1 Max Studio users rather than the M1 Ultra chip. The two machines have wholly unique heat sinks, the Ultra having a much larger, copper heatsink, which we assume helps prevents the fan kicking in as often. Some users have returned their machines, but report the same issue on their replacements. New tech, eh – who’d have it!

That’s loud

After numerous reports on the misuse of AirTags, back in February you may recall, Apple promised to make the noise they emit louder so that they are easier to locate and more findable. The roll-out started this week, but in a very staggered fashion. Only 1% of users received the firmware update on Tuesday, the day of release. 10% more will be updated by 3rd May, 25% by 9th May, and the update should be complete by 13th May. Seems a complicated roll-out. I assume they have their reasons.

And finally

Ahead of the expected release of this year’s news M2 chips, Bloombergs Mark Gurman has reported that Apple is already planning an iMac with an M3 chip. With the M2 likely to be only a minor upgrade to the M1, I’d expect the same to be true of the M3 base chip. The biggest surprise, though, was that Gurman is certain that an iMac Pro will happen. As for the 24 – inch M3 iMac, don’t expect it any time soon. I’d suspect the end of next year would be the earliest we’ll see it. Other than the chip, expect no other major changes, though. It just never stands still, huh!

Let me know if I have missed any news and I will cover it next week – with a credit to yourself, of course!

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Originally published at https://www.talkingtechandaudio.com/blog on April 29, 2022.

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