Taking a look back at another week of news from Cupertino, this week’s Apple Loop includes Apple’s problems with the iPhone 6 Plus and 6S, a magical power source for the iPhone 8, thoughts on the iPhone 7S, new problems with iOS 10, a new ten-inch educational iPad, Apple dropping out of the router business, where Jony Ive is going next year, and the ultimate app for the MacBook Pro Touch Bar.
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 our weekly digest of Android news here on Forbes).
Apple’s Problems With The Older iPhones
This week saw Apple quietly acknowledge a number of issues in older iPhones. First up was the iPhone 6 Plus’ ‘touch disease’ which third-party repair site iFixit (and others) believe is caused by the screen controller chips separating from the main logic board. Rather than a full replacement device, Apple will now offer a repair for $149.
It should be noted that Apple is not acknowledging any flaw in the design of the iPhone 6 Plus, so this is not seen as an issue that would be covered under warranty. Neither is the iPhone 6 covered by this new repair procedure. Users who have already paid for a service on their 6 Plus can contact Apple for a reimbursement if they were charged more than the $149 charge now in place.
Meanwhile the battery issue that has been causing a number of iPhone 6S handsets to shut down unexpectedly. If your handset is affected, Apple will replace the battery free of charge (assuming there are no other issues with the handset). Forbes Amit Chowdhury reports:
Apple has acknowledged that there are battery problems on some iPhone 6S models that cause the devices to shut down unexpectedly. Fortunately, the battery problem is not a safety hazard. The battery replacement program may have been in response to a request by the China Consumers Association (CCA) asking Apple to investigate complaints about permanent iPhone 6 and iPhone 6S shutdowns last week, according to AppleInsider.
“Apple has determined that a very small number of iPhone 6s devices may unexpectedly shut down. This is not a safety issue and only affects devices within a limited serial number range that were manufactured between September and October 2015,” said Apple on a support page. “If you have experienced this issue, please visit an Apple Retail Store or an Apple Authorized Service Provider and have your device’s serial number checked to confirm eligibility for a battery replacement, free of charge.”
Next year’s iPhone 8 is expected to see a number of major new features and technologies. Two more ideas that may appear have been covered by Forbes’ Amit Chowdhury. He looks at two more potential features for the tenth-anniversary handset expected in September 2017, dual optical image stabilisation and remote wireless charging:
Apple is reportedly revamping the telephoto lens that is being used for the optical zoom emulation capabilities, which should be ready in time for the iPhone 8 release. And Apple supplier Largan Precision is expected to be the exclusive provider of 6P and telephoto lenses for the new iPhones.
…The iPhone 8 is reportedly going to be chargeable from a distance of up to 15 feet from a plugged-in transmitter. Essentially the iPhone 8 would have a receiver built into the device to support the wireless charging feature. The benefit of the wireless charging feature is that you would not have to be tied to an outlet while using an iPhone 8 with a low battery.
If Apple can pull of wireless charging at a a distance of fifteen feet, it’s going to be very close to magical and I will be seriously impressed. That said, to have that ready in ten months time seems to be a very big ask.
The iPhone 7S Strategy Leaks
The jump up to the next cardinal digit in the presumptively titled iPhone 8 leaves a branding gap in the portfolio. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes the iPhone 7S and 7S Plus will make an appearance during 2017, replacing the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus to allow Apple to sell a cheaper iPhone:
Apple pulled a similar redesign of the models further down the portfolio when it released the iPhone 5S. Rather than push the iPhone 5 down a rung on the ladder to become the cheaper model, Apple released the iPhone 5C. While it had a similar specification and design to the iPhone 5, it was marketed as a brand new machine with funky colours adorning the polycarbonate case.
Although the supply of OLED screens for the iPhone 8 appears to be more robust than first expected, it’s unlikely to satisfy the demand if OLED was to move across the whole iPhone range in one fell swoop. The iPhone 8 is expected to be a pricey handset, pushing the $800 mark to buy SIM-free. Apple needs to maintain some presence in the lower priced markets. An updated LCD version of the iPhone 7 could be just what the portfolio requires
More here on Forbes.
Latest iOS Update Causing More Problems
Following a quick update to iOS to fix Apple Health losing data, the latest version of iOS (v10.11) has highlighted two awkward errors in daily use. Some handsets are locking up at thirty percent battery power and the microphone in Apple’s own earpods may stop working during a call. Forbes’ Gordon Kelly:
Reported by the ever diligent users at Apple AAPL -0.49%’s official Support Communities forum, is a thread that is now 11 pages long detailing how iPhone users are finding their battery life suddenly gives out at around the 30% mark.
While the exact percentage where the battery suddenly drops out varies, it is typically around the 30% mark. Interestingly several users also report they have experienced this since iOS 10.1 but iOS 10.1.1 did nothing to fix it and neither does the latest beta of iOS 10.2, which suggests that the bug is not currently on Apple’s radar.