Taking a look back at another week of news and headlines from Cupertino, this week’s Apple Loop includes leaked iPhone 14 details, selling the MacBook Air, forced iOS updates, ignoring the iPad Pro, second place in the music charts, the expense of VR, and Apple cuts Android prices.
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).
Help The iPhone, Hinder The iPhone 14?
Apple’s updates to the base iPhone 14 models are going to be welcomed, but they will make it harder to differentiate them against the Pro handsets. Will ‘better cameras’ be enough for the market to consider the monetary jump to the more expensive handsets?
“The analyst claims that Apple will upgrade them with 120Hz ProMotion displays and bump their RAM from 4GB to 6GB. This will bring them into line with their iPhone 14 Pro-model equivalents. On the flip side, Pu states that Apple will downgrade the iPhone 14 models from 128GB to 64GB of entry-level storage. A move that would shortly cause considerable backlash.”
Of course that drop in storage will create a step in the portfolio that could help the upset.
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Giving The MacBook Some Air
It’s not just the iPhone line-up that’s looking to create a distinction between the upper and lower tiers. With the practical power of the MacBook Air more than enough, the excess power of the MacBook Pro beloved by developers isn’t as attractive as it was under the Intel processors. So, what happens next? How about a delay to the next MacBook Air?
“If Apple waits until the back quarter of the year, it leaves the current MacBook Air – the Air that was once the future – stuck with the slowest M chip, the older MacBook design with fewer ports and functionality, and tired specs outside of the chipset. With the MacBook Pro striding forwards, the Air looks out of sorts. This approach would create a notable difference in specs between the MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro.”
Security Updates Wagging The Update Dog
Meanwhile Apple’s long support window for its hardware has been in the news. During the launch of iOS 15, Apple announced that users could stay on iOS 14 and still receive security updates. That’s now changed as Apple looks to be forcing the update to iOS 15 on every user if they want to stay secure:
“As spotted by developer DhinakG, Apple quietly removed the option to remain on iOS 14.8.1 with the release of iOS 15.2. Many considered this a bug, but the option was again missing with the release of iOS 15.2.1 and Apple has now removed the iOS 14.8.1 as well. Now every iPhone owner is being pushed to install iOS 15.2.1, no matter which version of iOS they are running. “
Practically Perfect iPad Pro?
Do we need an update to the iPad Pro? It’s an intriguing question from Tom Bedford, in light of the widespread belief that Apple will update the professional tablet in March. Of course its these upgrades, and their iterative nature, Bedford is challenging:
“Brand-new must-have innovations don’t come about every year either, which is why the phrase ‘incremental upgrades’ is used so much in tech – companies have convinced themselves that they need to put out a new device each year, despite the fact that most years there’s nothing new to add, resulting in minimal upgrades and boring phones.
“…Just as with other devices, we don’t need to see iPad Pros each year, and if Apple waited two or more years between updates, we might see new iPads that are bigger changes from their predecessors.”
Second Place Is Still Far Away From First
Spotify may be leading the world in the streaming music business, but Apple Music is comfortably in second place according to a report from MIDiA this week… although the gap between first and second place is huge:
“Apple Music accounts for 15% of global music platform subscriptions, which means that it has already surpassed 78 million paid subscribers… Apple’s main competitor had over 160 million paid subscribers by Q2 2021 – which is twice as much as Apple Music had. However, the research company notes that Spotify’s market share dropped from 34% in 2019 to 33% in 2020 and now 31% in 2021. While there’s no risk of Spotify losing its leading position at this point, the competition has certainly been taking some of its users.
Apple’s VR plans, while unconfirmed, will be the talk of the year, and this week it’s all about the potential price of Apple’s headset. A figure in excess of $2000 has been mooted by Apple reporter Mark Gurman, citing the processing power and long development costs involved:
“I’d expect two processors inside of the device, including one on par with the M1 Pro in the MacBook Pro. Combine that with multiple displays—including super-high-resolution 8K panels—an interchangeable prescription lens option and advanced audio technology, and the costs add up. And don’t forget seven years of internal development expenses that need to be recouped.”
Apple’s trade-on program has historically offered to buy your Android devices as well as older Apple products. That’s still the case, but this week saw the Android offer reduced, including a cut of $65 on the Galaxy S21, $80 on the Pixel 5, and $100 on the Note 20:
“On its website, Apple displays the highest possible amount a customer can get when trading in a specific device for an Apple product, such as an iPhone, iPad, Mac, or Apple Watch. The listed prices only represent the highest possible value, with the final trade-in value dependent on factors such as the condition of the device. Today’s price reductions for Android smartphones are notable, with some more significant than others”
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.