Taking a look back at another week of news and headlines from Cupertino, this week’s Apple Loop includes Apple’s Epic Court Battle, folding iPhone leaks, new iPad Mini details, iPhone 13 specs, and secrets of the AirTag.
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).
Apple And Epic In Court
With the opening remarks this week, the legal case of Epic Games vs Apple over the App Store, its policies, and the impact on Fortnite and Epic has begun. No doubt there’s going to be lots of little reveals of the business side of app development that will feed headlines for weeks,
Nick Statt has laid out the high level details and how the two sides see the battle:
“The theme emerging from both days of testimony is that Sweeney sees this as a fight that goes well beyond a single game and even a single platform. In Epic’s eyes, suing Apple is an existential fight for the future for media, computing and software distribution, and maintaining the status quo would represent a major setback for Epic’s ambitions.”
What About Web Apps?
Although not specifically called out as progressive web apps (PWAs), Apple has been leaning heavily into the idea of web apps being a functional equivalent to native iOS apps; but web apps don’t need to go through the App Store. Dieter Bohn goes into detail on why Apple’s approach to web apps falls a long way short of the support offered by Google and Microsoft:
“Google has been pushing the idea (though support for PWAs on its own platforms is a little mixed), and some companies like Microsoft and Twitter have wholeheartedly embraced PWAs.
“Not Apple, though. There are a variety of reasons for that — ranging from genuine concern about giving web pages too much access to device hardware to the simple fact that even Apple can’t do everything. There’s also the suspicion that Apple is deliberately dragging its feet on support for features that make PWAs better as a way to drive developers to its App Store instead.”
Does Apple Need A Folding iPhone
A foldable iPhone. Really. The hardware used by many Android manufacturers that demonstrates the technical prowess in ultra high-end smartphones has long been a favourite ’surely that’s next’ for Apple’s iPhone line. Noted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo reports that its definitely coming in 2023:
“Does Apple have a magical answer to the question of why someone would want a foldable phone? They come with numerous compromises, increased cost, and by their nature are less durable than regular smartphones.
“The best answer I’ve seen on the rise of foldables is they are the ridiculously overpowered supercars that are designed not to sell phones, but to be used as showcases for the 21st century.”
New iPad Mini Leaks
Also in Kuo’s report is a new iPad Mini with an updated form factor. The suggestion is a 9-inch display and a design that follows the iPad Air with smaller bezels and a TouchID sensor mounted on the side of the chassis rather than below the screen:
“Kuo said that a touch-panel supplier will benefit from the release of a new iPad mini in the second half of 2021… However, it seems that an update to the small iPad, which Apple only updates infrequently, should now be expected in the fall.”
Apple’s Faster iPhone 13 Screen
Last year saw Apple effectively choose 5G for the iPhone 12 over the faster refreshing screen technology. This year? Well 5G is already there so the expectation is for the 120Hz display to arrive. With reports that Apple will be using LTPO based OLED panels – the technology required for faster refreshing – the expectation is looking like reality:
“Meanwhile, the two higher tier iPhones this year that will use RFPCB will have low-temperature polycrystalline oxide (LTPO) thin-film transistor (TFT) OLED panels. LTPO OLED is needed for a 120Hz refresh rate screen. These panels will be supplied exclusively by Samsung Display.”
Speaking of AirTags, the team at iFixit have performed their customary teardown and discovered something relatively unique in a piece of Apple hardware… you can change the battery, just like competing products by Tile and Samsung:
“All three trackers open up with finger power—no other tools required! That said, the AirTag is by far the most difficult, especially if you indulged in a snack earlier and have greasy digits. Imagine opening a stubborn pickle jar with just two slippery thumbs, and you’ve got the idea. The other trackers have dedicated divots for separating the pieces with a fingernail—moisturize to your heart’s content!”
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.