Taking a look back at another week of news and headlines from Cupertino, this week’s Apple Loop looks at the good and the bad sides of iOS 13, Apple’s latest iPhone security nightmare, the quality of the iPhone 11 camera, reviewing the new iPhone in full, details on the iPhone 12 leak, iOS 13’s secret features, covering the ugly camera bump, specs of the new MacBook Pro, and which apps love dark mode.
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).
Here Comes The iPhone 12
Naturally Apple is working on next year’s iPhone, and the first leaks around the design of the 2020 smartphone are coming out. Curves are out, and boxy construction is back, according to noted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. I talked about the power of the cosmetic update earlier this week:
The recently launched iPhone 11 family are building on the three year old design that debuted with the iPhone X in 2017. This design replaced the curved edge look used from the iPhone 6 through to the iPhone 8.. In effect Apple will roll back the iPhone design to the generation of the iPhone 5S from 2013 (which debuted in 2010 on the iPhone 4)
Heaven And Hell With iOS 13
Alongside the release of the three iPhones, Apple’s new iPhone season included the public release of iOS 13. Announced at WWDC (and available in beta to those who wished to live on the edge), it shipped in the new iPhones and is rolling out to older iPhones. Samuel Axon goes in depth to review iOS 13, but first, the compatibility chart:
iOS 13 drops support for the following iPhone models that were supported by iOS 12: the iPhone 5S, the iPhone 6, and the iPhone 6 Plus. It also ends support for the first iPad Air, the iPad mini 3, and the iPad mini 2. It now supports the somewhat recently released seventh generation iPod touch, but this release drops the sixth generation.
This is a pretty dramatic culling, though it comes a year after iOS 12 did not drop support for any devices at all that were already supported by iOS 11. You can essentially summarize iOS 13’s cuts as Apple declining to support all iOS devices that had only 1GB of RAM.
Apple’s Keyboard Danger Lurking In iOS 13
As with any major software roll out, the public launch has not been without problems and Apple has brought forward the scheduled release of iOS 13.1 to fix a number of issues, including a rather nasty security issue with the on-screen keyboard. Forbes’ Gordon Kelly reports on the dangers present to everyone who updates to the current version of iOS 13:
In an official security post, Apple confirms that both iOS 13.1 and its new iPadOS 13.1 have a flaw which enables third-party keyboards to attain “full access” to your iPhones and iPads “even if you haven’t approved this access”. Ouch.
Apple states that the problem doesn’t affect its official iOS keyboard, but does admit that the exploit is public and it has yet to find a fix. The company does promise that “an upcoming software update will fix an issue” but it gave no details of when this update will arrive. As such, you can expect malicious iOS keyboards to try and make the most out of this while they still can.
Just How Good Is The iPhone Camera?
Key to Apple’s latest offering is the camera. While you can be confident that the iPhone 11 Pro has a better camera than the iPhone XS, can it stand comparison to Huawei’s Mate 30 Pro, last year’s Pixel 3XL, and the legendary warhorse of the Lumia 950 XL. Steve Litchfiled lines up the competition, but also highlights one of Apple’s ‘new’ features:
In fact, the iPhone includes a cool feature where, having taken a standard shot, if you accidentally chop something out of the frame and wish, after the fact, that you had taken a wider angle photo, you can multi-touch ‘out’ inside the Photos ‘Edit’ cropping UI and – magically – information from a ‘behind the scenes’ wide angle shot is spliced in around your main shot. When this works – and saves the day – it’s reminiscent of the best of the Lumia 1020 back in 2013, with its ‘reframing’ feature.
The iPhone 11 Reviewed In Full
Of course a smartphone is more than just a camera, as Forbes’ David Phelan finds out in his full review of the iPhone 11, including the specifications and flexibility of the new chipset:
The iPhone 11 shares its processor with the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max. What this really means is the processor is designed to be fast enough to handle the extra demands put on it by, say, the higher-resolution display and three cameras found on the Pro models which means, unsurprisingly, that it’s blazingly fast here.
Apple has quoted figures for how much faster apps launch, for instance, but in practice it’s just really, really quick. The previous iPhone processor, called A12 Bionic, remained unbeaten in performance terms for most of the time it was available, and this new chip, somewhat unimaginatively called the A13 Bionic, moves things forward again.
Your iPhone’s Secret Features
Putting aside the issues with iOS 13 for a moment (but we’re watching for the updates), Forbes’ Gordon Kelly has taken a look the smaller touches inside both the OS and the associated Apple apps to find the ‘secret’ features of Apple’s new platform.
Launching alongside the new iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max is Apple iOS 13. Unfortunately, the release suffers from serious problems so do not upgrade right now. This is a shame because iOS 13 hides many great secret features. Here are 25 of the best hiding beneath the surface.
Cover Your New iPhone’s Ugly Camera Bump With A New Ugly Battery Case
One other secret lurking inside iOS 13 is the updated Smart Battery Case peripheral from Apple. Tim Cook and his team have leaned heavily on the ‘long battery life’ story of the iPhone 11 family, but of course short term revenue goals mean driving up the average revenue generated by each customers. Selling a case and a spare battery ticks that box nicely. There’s no official sign of the hunchback case just bet, but Guilherme Rambo has found the software hooks:
I can confirm that there are references to three new Smart Battery Case models that can be found inside iOS 13.1. The model codes are A2180, A2183 and A2184, presumably for the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max, respectively.
We don’t know when Apple plans to release the new cases, but given their presence in iOS 13.1, it’s likely they’ll be announced in time for the holiday shopping season.
New MacBook Pro Specs
Following research notes from Ming-Chi Kuo and IHS Markit’s Jeff Lin, most of the specs, design, and decisions around the upcoming 16-inch MacBook Pro have leaked. Brooke Crothers reports, including on the changes to the all important display:
It’s likely that Apple will drop the 16-inch display into the same chassis as the 15.4-inch MacBook Pro. So, consumers will essentially be getting the same 15.4-inch chassis with a bigger display and smaller bezels. Apple may end-of-life the 15.4-inch model, Lin said in an earlier email.
Apple will opt for a 3,072-by-1,920 resolution LCD — not an AMOLED display, at least on the model specified by IHS Markit. The current 15.4-inch MBP has a 2,880-by-1,800-pixel resolution or 220 pixels per inch. Apple will increase the resolution on the 16-inch MBP to 227 PPI, the same as the 13-inch MacBook Pro and Retina MacBook Air, according to Lin.
Everyone is talking about dark mode in iOS 13, it’s the easiest feature to describe (and for once Apple is not years behind one of Android’s software features). But what apps are suitable for Dark Mode? The simply titled darkmode.app has a useful list.
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.