August 30 update: Apple confirms the termination of Epic Games’ App Store account; post originally published August 28.
Taking a look back at another week of news and headlines from Cupertino, this week’s Apple Loop includes the latest iPhone 12 leaks, new iPhone display problems, saying goodbye to the MacBook Pro, more speed for the largest macOS laptop, new iPads and Apple Watches confirmed, Fortnite’s latest move, and Apple’s potential search engine.
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).
iPhone 12 Display Problems
Apple’s iPhone 12 Pro Max has been widely expected to ship with a fast refresh on the screen with the 120 Hz Pro Motion seen in the iPad. Supply chain issues, due in part to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, may mean that iPhone misses out on the new screen technology this year. UNfortunatly, the design of the screen has some big problems compared to the competition, as I reported earlier this week:
“While it will come with smaller bezels compared to previous models, put them side by side with some of the latest Android flagships such as the Galaxy S20 Ultra and you’ll see that Apple’s bezels are nowhere close to the current vision of a premium screen. If your only point of reference is the iPhone 11, then yes, it’s a great upgrade, but there’s more to the smartphone market than Apple.
“And that’s not going to be the most noticeable problem. The notch is still ridiculously wide.”
iPhone 12 Camera Surprise
What does look like an improvement in the high-end iPhone 12 models is the camera. Apple was already expected to use the LiDAR sensor already seen in the iPad, but brought to the smartphone. The latest leak shows not only the LiDAR sensor, but also improvements over the iPad equivalent. Forbes’ Gordon Kelly reports:
“Apple was widely tipped to add the LiDAR sensor by shifting the iPhone 11’s triangular camera setup into a square design of four equal sized lenses (three cameras, one LiDAR sensor). Instead, the case shows Apple has kept the same layout and managed to shrink the LiDAR sensor down significantly from the large module first seen in the iPad Pro in March. The result is a sensor which is as small as the LED flash and can nestle into the bottom right corner of the camera hump.”
Goodbye To The MacBook Pro As We Know It
It’s time to say goodbye to the MacBook Pro as we know it. With the introduction of ARM processors for the Mac platform, the next flagship laptop from Apple will have new chips, a new board design, new screens, innovative hardware updates, and more. It will still be called a MacBook Pro, but it will be leaving countless users behind. How will Apple manage the current MacBook base while pushing forward with something radically different? It’s a question I posed earlier this week:”
“The historical move from PowerPC to Intel saw Apple support the older architecture for four years. Is four years of support for an Intel machine purchased in 2020 enough? Given macOS Catalina supports Mac machines from 2013, I think the answer is no.
“Consumers who have put their trust in Apple by purchasing a new Intel MacBook this year will not want to be short-changed by Apple’s tendency to push forward to the future by breaking older technology.”
A Little Bit More Speed For Your 16 Incher
Of course right now the only MacBooks in town are Intel-powered MacBooks. Apple is planning a small update to its largest laptop. Whether the move from Intel’s ninth-generation chipset to the tenth-generation (brining it in line with the 2020 updates for the 13-inch Pro and the Air) is enough to bring more users to a platform arguably near the end of its lie remains to be seen. Darren Allan reports:
So, if this speculation is right – exercise caution as ever around anything from the rumor mill – we are likely looking at 10th-gen Intel processors and beefier GPUs for the MacBook Pro 16-inch, with the FaceTime camera being upgraded from 720p to Full HD resolution.
A Treasure Trove Of iPads And Apple Watches
Thanks to the certifications listed on the website of the Eurasian Economic Commission, a number of new Apple Watches and iPads have been effectively confirmed. William Gallagher reports:
“As previously rumored, the “Apple Watch Series 6” and new iPads are now expected to be soon released by Apple, following a listing on the Eurasian Economic Commission’s regulatory database. A total of seven new iPad SKUs — so one or more models with multiple configurations — and eight Apple Watches are listed.
“The new filings with the EEC found by Consomac show the iPads as running iPadOS 14. Similarly, the Watches are all shown as running watchOS 7.”
Epic, Apple, Fortnite, Unreal, and the Courts
The battles between Epic Games and Apple continued this week. Following Apple’s notification that it would be removing Epic Games access to Apple’s developer ecosystem – which would directly impact the Unreal engine used by countless developers – on top of the removal of Fortnite from the App Store, the companies have been in court as Epic sought a temporary restraining order on Apple. Manish Singh reports:
“A district court denied Epic Games’ motion to temporarily restore the Fortnite game to the iOS App Store, but also ordered Apple to not block the gaming giant’s ability to provide and distribute Unreal Engine on the iPhone-maker’s ecosystem in a mixed-ruling delivered Monday evening.
“U.S. District Court Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers said Apple can’t retaliate against Epic Games by blocking the gaming firm’s developer accounts or restrict developers on Apple platforms from accessing the widely used Unreal Engine tools.”
“Meanwhile, this public-facing anti-Apple campaign is doing…what, exactly? The idea seems to be that a bunch of kids try to log on to Fortnite on their iPhones at season 4 start and they can’t get the new battle pass so they…complain to their parents? Their parents…call Apple? Complain online? I really don’t understand the call to action here, and all Epic seems to be doing is highlighting the futility of their fight, however correct they may be in pointing out Apple’s monopolistic position.”
Action Taken On Epic Games’ Account
August 30 update: As expected, Apple revoked Epic Games’ App Store account that was tied to Fortnite (and other Epic titles, including the Infinity Blade series). Heading to the App Store through direct links to the apps will show “this app is currently not available in your country or region”. Following the early legal ruling, the separate account for the Unreal gaming engine remains active. Filipe Espósito reports:
“It’s worth mentioning that Epic Games has an alternative Apple account to manage its Unreal Engine, which according to a judge cannot be blocked by Apple in retaliation for the Fortnite situation. The account that was blocked today was only used to offer Fortnite and some other apps from Epic, which consequently will now prevent the company from offering any updates to its game on Apple platforms.”
Apple has confirmed the move with an official statement:
“We are disappointed that we have had to terminate the Epic Games account on the App Store. We have worked with the team at Epic Games for many years on their launches and releases. The court recommended that Epic comply with the App Store guidelines while their case moves forward, guidelines they’ve followed for the past decade until they created this situation. Epic has refused. Instead they repeatedly submit Fortnite updates designed to violate the guidelines of the App Store. This is not fair to all other developers on the App Store and is putting customers in the middle of their fight. We hope that we can work together again in the future, but unfortunately that is not possible today.”
Is Apple preparing to launch a Search Engine? It’s a curious question The potential of having a search engine deeming embedded into iOS, and one that does not rely on external advertising to finance it feels very Apple especially when you consider its possession of other parts of the ecosystem. Fanciful? Perhaps. Yet AppleBot s acting more like GoogleBot since the July update. Jon Henshaw has thoughts:
“Apple is investing heavily in search, as shown in their job postings for search engineers. The job listings reveal they incorporate AI, ML, NLP, and more into all of their services and apps.
“It’s not clear if Apple uses Bing anymore, as results are labeled only as Siri Suggestions. It is clear that Apple has started to return search results within Spotlight Search and is completely bypassing Google altogether.”
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.