Categories
Uncategorized

How Apple Destroys OLED

$2000 and the MacBook Pro doesn’t even have and OLED Display. Never mind the $1100 iPad Pro. Why? Because OLED is… hella problematic. It’s expensive, leading edge supplies are limited, it allows for always-on but it’s prone to burn in, smearing, and off-axis color shifting. it decays unevenly, and while it can be flexible and provides the deepest, truest blacks, it struggles with peak brightness. Like hitting that subscribe button so we can build the best community in tech… brightness.

So, what do you do? I mean, besides hitting that button and cursing in the comments. Well, if you’re Apple, you power word kill regular old LCD, just obliterate it from the premium lineup. Then you divide and conquer. Build up OLED on the smaller devices while hedging with mini-LED on the bigger ones. Then… then you make them fight it out, like Kaiju and Jaegers… or just wait for micro-LED to mature and extinction level event both of them.

And the way that works is… well, I’m not going to go all the way back to when Apple switched from CRT, cathode ray tube, to LCD, liquid crystal display to begin with. Basically switched from the OG TV set iMac to the Pixar Lamp iMac. Not today Satan. Just to the original iPhone and it’s 3.5-inch LCD display. 3.5-inches not because Apple cared about single-handed ease of use or anything like that, not yet, but because 3.5-inches was literally the biggest LCD display Apple could get for the iPhone back then.

Over time, they increased density, first with 2x Retina on the iPhone 4, then height, with the 4-inch iPhone 5, then size in general with the 4.7- and 5.5-inch iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. But in all that time, 2007 to 2014, just over 7 years, Apple never switched the iPhone from LCD to OLED. Even though Samsung began getting into it around 2009. Even though the Apple Watch, Apple’s own Watch, was introduced with an OLED display in 2014.

Why? Because OLED isn’t really just OLED. Well, it is, of course, but it’s so damn finicky different suppliers have developed different ways to handle it, some based entirely on how much OLED they have to handle. Electronics with OLED screens that are typically at arms length use entirely different processes than TV sets with OLED screens that are typically across the room. LG OLED TVs, for example, emit all white light then use filters to create the colors. That’s not only cheaper when you’re dealing with comparatively huge TV-sized displays, but it means no one color decays faster than any other. Something that’s way more problematic on smaller OLED displays.

But for the Apple Watch, battery life was so limited and the screen sizes so small, Apple felt they had no choice but to go with OLED. Specifically, LG OLED in an RGB stripe. Not the classic with LCD version of RGB stripe, where each pixel is literally divided up into a line of equal-sized red, green, and blue sub-pixels, but for reasons I’ll get in a blue decaying minute, unequal sized and shaped red and green squares and a long, thin blue line.

All this is because OLED can be more power-efficient than LCD, because OLED, technically AMOLED these days, generates its own light. Active Matrix Organic Light Emitting Diode. It’s right there on the label. And LCD… does not. It needs a backlight. Typically an LED, or light emitting diode backlight. The non-organic kind. Insert your species 8472 joke here. The backlight adds mass to the device, sure, but in standard LCD implementations, it’s also all or nothing. All on or all off. The whole thing. Which is why it consumes a fairly consistent amount of power. Also why true blacks are almost impossible — the backlight leaks worse than the iPhone supply chain.

With OLED, since it generates its own light, off pixels are off and on pixels are on. Basically it’s every pixel for itself. And, the less pixels that are on, the less power they draw. So, with a mostly black interface like the Apple Watch, you mostly get a hella lot of power savings.

Smaller displays also inherently have higher yield because, even if there’s a defect or several, you’re not throwing out 13-inches of tablet or laptop display, or 6-inches of phone display. You’re still chopping out a bunch or a ton of totally usable 1-inch displays from that same sheet. And with RGB stripe, even if it causes some color aberration, like aliasing around high-contrast edges, you’re getting a pixel density pretty much equivalent to LCD, which means it’s still sharp, crisp, and bright. Even if it’s also still way more susceptible to burn in and color shifting.

So, yeah, let’s get into that. Basically, because with OLED, the individual pixels light up, those pixels also burn out… individually. Decay, actually. So if you leave something like a bright logo on screen for a ridiculous amount of time, the pixels showing that logo will decay faster than the ones that aren’t. But, Shyalam-style plot-twist, the blue OLED sub-pixels also decay faster than the green and red, making those pixels not only dimmer but… yellower. And because it’s only those pixels, if you switch to something else on the screen, that logo will still persist, you’ll still be haunted by the dimmer, yellower ghost of its decayed pixels.

On a watch screen, where you’re not lighting it up anywhere nearly as much or as often as phone or TV, it was a smart tradeoff. Especially with the kind mitigations I’ll get to in a minute.

For phones, though, because sharpness and brightness weren’t considered as critically important, but blue sub pixel decay was kind of a deal break, they went with a diamond-shaped sub-pixel arrangement. What Samsung calls Pentile. That puts a giant blue sub-pixel in the middle and surrounds it with two much smaller red and two green sub-pixels. Sure, you get a lower effective sub-pixel density and brightness, but that giant blue sub-pixel is going to last you. Plus the lower density made them cheaper to produce than RGB stripe of the same physical size. Which became increasingly important as phones became increasingly bigger.

But burn-in is only one of OLED’s hot messes. There’s also off-axis color shifting. Basically, the thickness of the OLED layer changes when you look at it from an angle, causing it to desaturate and take on a red or blue tint. Because of the response time, or the time it takes to go from off to full on — black to white — moving bright text or graphics across a dark background can cause a smearing effect. And there used to be graininess to lower density OLED as well, especially in the mid-tones. Exasperated by no one else really seeming to care about color calibration or color management back then either. So OLED could look… hella garish. Boosting sat like a first year Instagram clout chaser or something.

And Apple just didn’t think those trade-offs were worth it for the iPhone. Not back then. Because if there are two things that dictate Apple display moves, it’s fussiness and scale. Fussiness, because there was just no way Apple was going to slap OLED on an iPhone until they could get panels that were high enough quality for their display team to start working on. And scale, because there was just no way to get enough quantity of that quality… not for hundreds of millions of iPhones, not for years.

Which has been a recurring issue for Apple. It’s why they’re sometimes lagged behind in screen technology more than a few times over the years. Like when Amazon got higher contrast TFT LCD into their tablets before their was enough supply for the iPad. Or the Apple Watch, even some other phones, got LTPO OLED for adaptive refresh before there was enough supply for the iPhone. It was easy to make those leading edge panels in small batches. It was impossible to make enough for hundreds of millions of iPhones.

See, Apple may contract Samsung’s OLED process for their displays, like they’ll contract TSMC’s 5 nanometer process for their chipsets. But Apple’s doesn’t do anything commodity or off the shelf. Everything is custom designed. And Apple Display is every bit as exacting and annoying about how Samsung fabs their OLED panels as they are how TSMC fabs their chips. Maybe more so even, since they’ll ask for completely different materials than Samsung is using for Galaxy panels on the same process, for example. And then they’ll take those panels and implement everything else, including all their own mitigations, like machine learning processes that study how you’re using your display so it can micromanage exact positioning and brightness levels to greatly reduce burn-in. Implement their own filtering to effectively eliminate off-axis red shift, though not entirely blue. Factory calibrate and completely manage the color system.

And because OLED can be fabbed on flexible plastic substrates, they can be flexible. Apple used that to fold the display back on itself, so they didn’t have to stuff the drivers into the bottom of the phone, creating a big bezel beard of a chin. Hell, they even built a dedicated OLED display engines into their A-series chipsets to control the whole damn chain at the silicon level.

It was at that point that Apple decided OLED was mature enough for the iPhone. But the supply of leading edge OLED was still so constrained, and the price so high, Apple only implemented it in one iPhone. The first $1000 iPhone. The 2017 iPhone X. At least at first. By 2020, Apple there was enough supply for Apple to go OLED across the entire iPhone 12 product line. Though that and 5G still resulted in a price bump.

Same thing with 120Hz adaptive refresh. Earlier implementations forced people to manually select lower resolutions, or abandoned color management, or lost high refresh rates at low brightness levels. And Apple hated all of that, so they waited until the quality they wanted was available in the quantity they needed.

Specifically in for this, the same LTPO OLED they’d used for adaptive refresh on the Apple Watch’s always-on display. It just took until 2021 before they could get enough just for the iPhone 13 Pro to implement up to 120Hz ProMotion Adaptive Refresh. Something they’d done with IGZO LCD on the iPad Pro back in 2017. Right when they were switching the iPhone to OLED to begin with.

And that’s just exactly why we don’t have OLED on the iPad or MacBooks yet either. On top of everything else — on top of mitigation mountain — they also have trouble with consistent brightness. With every pixel lighting up at the exact same level as every other pixel. That’s not a showstopper on phone-sized panels, but it can really stand out on bigger tablet and laptop sized panels. Like the snow on Hoth just looks kinda splotchy. Also, peak brightness, because watching HDR on a phone-sized display and battery is one thing, producing HDR on a tablet or laptop-sized screen is a complete pro workflow another.

And that’s just something not LG, not Samsung, and not BOE… who… liberated a previous generation Samsung process years ago and has been working to catch up and undercut the market ever since, have so far been able to solve. I mean, Samsung uses S-Stripe OLED for their tablets, which is similar to what the Apple Watch uses, but that’s not something that scales in price or yield to… Apple scale. Especially not LTPO OLED, which Apple would need at iPad Pro and MacBook Pro size and quantity to maintain that 120Hz adaptive refresh functionality.

That’s the whole entire reason Apple went another way for the 12.9-inch 2021 iPad Pro and the 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pros — Mini LED.

Now, Mini LED is still like LCD in that it’s true RGB stripe and requires an LED back light, but instead of one giant backlight to rule them all… them all being the pixels all. It has way smaller LEDs, like 10,000 of them, and 2500 local dimming zones, each of which can turn on and off independently. So, light control isn’t granular to the sub-pixel level like OLED, but it’s a jump to Lightspeed beyond traditional all-or-nothing LED. And it can also get super, super bright.

But… yeah, like social media influencers, there’s always a but… because of those local dimming zones, there can be a blooming or haloing effect where bright areas still bleed out over the dark. And, at least in Apple’s implementation on the MacBook Pros, the same type of smearing as OLED, maybe worse, as the black to white response times can’t keep up with the refresh rate, so you can see trailing on white text on a black background, for example.

Now, there have been a bunch of reports about Apple switching mini-LED out for OLED on the iPads and MacBooks Pro… a year or several from now at least. But it’s tough to tell how much of that is real and how much is LG and Samsung using local industry rags to posture in public.

Realistically, it’s just a question of whether Mini LED can get better to the point Apple stops flirting with OLED for those size displays, or OLED can get to a high enough quality, in sufficient quantity, that Apple decides to go all-in and swap it in.

So, for now, Apple seems content to leave them both in the gladiator pits of Sakaar and let them fight it out.

If I were a bustabit betting man, my money would be on OLED coming back late in the 3rd round and just Hulk-smashing mini-LED out of the lineup. Even despite it being so damn mitigation thirsty. But also, that a new challenger will enter the pixel combat ring. Yup, Micro-LED.

You can kinda sorta think of MicroLED being to OLED what mini-LED is to LCD. In other words, a fresher, newer, better looking younger sibling that basically just fixes almost all the problems of the OG.

Specifically, MicroLED offers pixel-level light emission, like OLED, but it’s not organic, like OLED, so it won’t be plagued by burn in or premature blue sub-pixel decay, like OLED. But since it doesn’t even need local dimming zones, like Mini-LED, it also won’t suffer from blooming, like Mini LED.

And, according to reports, Apple’s had hundreds of engineers working on microLED for almost a half-a-decade now, doing what they did with chipsets, and maybe modems next — making way, way more of the process internal. And if past is at all prologue, they’ll do with MicroLED what they did with OLED, and that’s start with the Apple Watch and then slowly expand — literally — to the iPhone, and then on from there as quality and quantity allow.

And what’ll be super exciting about this — I mean, if it works and doesn’t just get AirPower’d along the way — is that Apple will finally own their whole entire display pipeline. Not just from engine to design, but fully from transistor to pixel. Silicon to screen. And that’s one of those highly differentiated experiences involving complete control of key technologies that makes Apple, Apple.

Categories
Uncategorized

iPhone 14 — 5 Huge MISSING Leaks!

48MP camera. 8K video. 8GB of RAM. 2TB of SSD. 3 or 4 nanometer chipset. Satellite modem. iPhone 4-style design. With Titanium rails. And, yeah, the mother of all hole punches. It’s the iPhone 14, and by all accounts it’s going to be something. Just not everything! Not for everyone. Because there are a few really, truly, hotly rumored features that just don’t seem to have made the cut. At least not this year. So hit that subscribe button and bell and grab a beverage, because I’m going to tell you what — and why!

Touch ID

We’ll get to USB-C in a thunderbolt hot minute, but ever since the 2020s came crashing down on us like… the Star Wars prequels of years… pretty much everyone and their responsibly masked faces have been yearning to get Touch ID back.

Because Face ID — which Apple switched to with the iPhone X back in 2017 — Face ID needs to see the triangle between our two eyes and mouth in order to collect enough facial geometry to make a secure match. Cover the bottom of that triangle with a mask, and there’s just not enough geometry points left. It’d be like, covering half a fingerprint with a bandaid. And yeah, Apple shipped a really clever Watch-based workaround, but you need a watch for it to work… around. Hence the lust in so many hearts for Touch ID.

Now, Apple doesn’t make parts-binned phones like some other companies. They don’t just pluck stuff off the shelves, slap it together, and ship it with less than a year lead time. Everything about an iPhone is custom, so the lead time it needs it generally closer to 2 or 3 years. So, even the just-released iPhone 13 was halfway out the door by the time 2020 hit us… like the Games of Thrones finale. And, even if Apple started planning a new unlock the minute the world stopped, it’d take until about now for us to get it anyway.

But here’s the thing — Apple’s already got power button Touch ID shipping on the 2020 iPad Air and 2021 iPad mini. Granted, a lot of cases cover the power button on the iPhone, but those cases can be modified a hell of a lot faster than an iPhone roadmap.

Also, there have been reports of under-display Touch ID coming to the iPhone for years already. By which I mean, every year, for the last few years, there have been reports of it coming next year. You know, like the Avatar sequels.

Sure, many under-display fingerprint readers on other phones are… Terri-bad. On my Pixel 6 Pro, which uses an optical scanner, it’s basically the equivalent of the Apple Watch Breathe app at this point, forcing me to take an awkwardly long moment of zen each time I want to unlock. But Apple supposedly has their own, home-grown acoustical scanning tech, and since they’re playing nice with Qualcomm over modems now, it’s not unimaginable they could play nice over Qualcomm’s ultrasonic scanner tech either. Yet, the latest reports from this year say maybe we’ll see under-display Touch ID next year.

So, is Apple still not happy with how it’s working yet? Or is it really only going to arrive when the world ending finally leaves?

Periscope Zoom

Real, honest to Eobard Zoom is pretty much the last major piece of the camera puzzle Apple has left to solve. I mean, over the last few years, they’ve covered the range of ultra wide to telephoto, taken a stab at depth of field with Portrait Mode, and even nailed Low Light with Night Mode. But aside from a 3x punch-in thanks to the iPhone 13 Pro’s new, effective 77mm lens, you still can’t really capture your kid playing soccer across the field, or the architectural details further down or higher up a city walk.

And that’s where periscope cameras come in. Pericope because a proper zoom requires way too much depth to fit in a super thin phone enclosure. Without jutting out entirely inappropriately, that it. So, you let it go wide instead of deep, fold it sideways to fit across the enclosure, and then use mirrors to point it back out the… back. Basically, less submarine outie and more spy craft innie.

And you can get hella zoom with these things. Like full on creepy levels of zoom. If you don’t care too much about the quality. But, you can also get really good levels of entirely useful zoom out of them as well.

And this is something Apple’s reportedly been working on as well. Because let’s be honest, they know the holes better than anyone because they actually have the next few generations of iPhone prototyped and wooden boarded and white boarded out in front of them. But just like Touch ID, Periscope has both been rumored for the last couple of years, and always said to be coming in just another year.

So, is this because there are patents Apple has work around or license out? Or, because despite the trips trillion market cap, does Apple’s insistence on keeping teams small and focused mean the more confidently rumored for this year 48 megapixel wide angle is just saturating the camera team’s time this year and so the periscope zoom has to wait for next?

No Notch

Last year Apple narrowed the Notch. A bit. This year, reports suggest they’ll be swapping it for a dot dash over a hole punch, at least on the Pro models. But there have also been reports that Apple intended to delete it… just magic eraser it away completely and also make the whole entire camera and Face ID system — if not go away — at least go under the display.

The way that currently works on other phones is by stretching out the OLED pixels as much as possible so that the camera can shoot through them. Kinda. Sorta. There are two main issues. One, the stretched part of the OLED display isn’t quite invisible but it’s way less visible than a notch or hole punch. And two, the stretched out OLED still interferes with the camera capture, resulting in pretty shirty data, to put things in The Good Place parlance. To try and make up for that, they run machine learning algorithms, the end result being something that looks halfway between a decent photo and complete forking mess.

Now, if you hate the notch and hole punches, like they’re just splinters in your Retina display, and you don’t care at all about selfies, FaceTime calls, or FaceID security, that might sound like one hell of a good deal. Done and done.

But on the most popular phone and camera in the world, that’s a problem for a lot of people who care very much about their selfies and FaceTimes, and you know, keeping Instagram and TikTok in business… Wait, which side of this am I on again?

Either way, a completely clean display, bereft of any trace of notch or hole, is once again being rumored for next year. But like the future, it’s always coming and yet never quite arriving. Probably because Apple’s waiting on an implementation that really is near flawless.

Reverse inductive charging

Reverse — aka — bi-directional inductive charging is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. Instead of slapping your iPhone onto a Qi or MagSafe disk to charge it, you can use iPhone AS a Qi or MagSafe disk, and just slap your AirPods on to charge them. Similar to how you can slap your Apple Pencil onto the side of your iPad to charge it.

The magnets make it easier to align, which makes it slightly less… less efficient than inductive charging would otherwise be, and also stop it from sliding off, which, whenever it happens on non-magnetic chargers, makes inductive effectively useless.

It’s still nowhere nearly as good as just plugging in, but if there’s anything humans care about more than efficiency, it’s convenience. There’s no future viability we won’t mortgage in the name of present comfort. Even if, yes, physical ports can also be less accessible to people with low or no vision or motor skills, and can become hardware failure points as well.

But anyway, other phones have been offering bi-directional inductive charging for years. The iPad has been offering reverse charging for the Apple Pencil since 2018. Even the iPhone MagSafe Battery Pack can reverse charge off the iPhone 13 — if the iPhone 13 is plugged in. So, unlike previous years when this feature has been rumored but no coils were ever found in tear downs to support it, this year we know… we know there’s at least some mechanism already existing for it. Just not for AirPods — even if the iPhone 13 is plugged in.

So, Apple may be just religiously opposed to ever giving up any of the iPhone’s precious, precious battery life to any other device peasant device, like AirPods, any device that’s not itself a battery life extender. Or, given the inefficiency of inductive charging, Apple just may not yet be happy with the battery life tradeoff they’re seeing when charging anything other than something that charges back. Like, the gain just doesn’t make up for the drain yet.

USB-C

Look, ok, real talk. We could go round and round on Lightning vs. USB-C until we wind the earth back a day, but nerds won’t be happy until we can plug one cable, the same cable, into our Macs, iPads, Switches, Androids, increasingly everything else, and our iPhones. And normals won’t be happy if we come anywhere near their Lightning cables or CarPlay wires. No matter what Apple does, either the very loud or the very numerous are going to be very angry.

But here’s the the thing — we had just about 10 years of 30-pin Dock connector before Apple began switching to Lightning, and we’ve now had just about 10 years of Lightning, so it feels like it’s time to start another switch.

It’s just unclear if that should be USB-C. Let me finish! Yes, USB-C would offer multi-device compatibility, which would be a huge convenience for people living multi-device lives. And that’s a huge convenience, which I just finished saying humans are more than willing to trade almost anything for. It would be dongles for older accessories and CarPlay, but so would changing to anything else. And it would be faster than Lightning, because camera-kit for iPad aside, Apple’s kept Lightning cables locked to USB2 speeds since inception, while every iPad that’s made the switch to USB-C has seen it’s transfer rates go up 10 fold, at the very least. Which may seem unnecessary on a phone… but Apple did just drop all 6GB per minute of ProRes on the iPhone 13 Pro last year, so kinda super hella necessary now.

It’s just… USB-C is already 6 years old now. And if Apple makes the same decade-long commitment to it that they made to the 30-pin and Lightning, that would make it 16 years old by the time 2032 rolls around. And I think, Treker-check me if I’m wrong here, but it feels like even the Enterprise went from C to D faster than that? Don’t get me wrong, there aren’t even rumors of a USB-D yet, but that seems like long time to be cable stagnant. Especially when you just know that, like Enterprise, E will end up being the very best one.

But there also aren’t any credible rumors about the iPhone switching to USB-C, at least that we’ve seen so far. I mean, I’d all caps love it, because ProRes, but I’m only going to expect it when I see it.

Categories
Uncategorized

M1 iPad Pro vs M2 — Buy Now or Wait?

M1 vs M2 Apple Silicon. Current design vs. maybe new design? LCD and Mini-LED vs. All Mini-LED and maybe OLED? Thunderbolt charging vs. maybe MagSafe? Same price… probably… but schedule… uncertainty? And just so much fanfic. So much. If you want an iPad Pro but you’re wondering if you should buy the M1 now or wait for the M2 coming at some point next, I got you.

For this, and for every single Apple product coming up next. So hit that subscribe button and bell for some common sense tech, and let’s do this!

Design

In 2018, Apple gave the iPad Pro the biggest redesign… ever. All retro-future chic, Thanos snapping the bezels and curves, and leaving just a whole lot of flat and thin in their wake. It was such a big redesign that Apple kept it for the 2020 and 2021 iPads Pro, and even pushed it down to the 2020 iPad Air and 2021 iPad mini. But after basically 10 years on the old design, would Apple really change it up again after just 4 with the new? And.. maybe? There were some early reports of Apple switching up the full metal jacket on back for something closer akin to the glass on more recent iPhones. At least partially to enable inductive charging, but more on that in a MagSafe minute.

More recently, those reports have been back tracking, citing concerns over the durability of glass that big on an iPad that thin. But if glass was the only big change, that’s less new design and more just new material.

Never say never, but a revolutionary new look just doesn’t sound likely, so if that’s what you’re waiting for, don’t bother. Get the M1 iPad Pro now and enjoy.

But, if you really want to hold to hope, and see if maybe Apple goes back to curves or to the non-retro future, then hold out for the M2 iPad Pro.

Display

Last April, Apple gave us mini-LED on the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. But not on the 11-inch. At the time, Apple said it was to keep the wait down on their most mobile of Pros. But my guess, then and now, was to keep costs down on their most affordable of Pros.

This time around, though, mini-LED yield and cost may just have matured enough that Apple’s not just able, but willing, to offer it on the 11-inch as well, and without the price bump that It brought to the 12.9.

So, if you prefer the 11-inch iPad Pro, but you want mini-LED, you should definitely wait for the M2 model.

What about OLED? Well, mini-LED offers almost as good of an HDR or high dynamic range experience as OLED. With deep, inky shadows, and and ever brighter, more blinding highlights. It can have issues with blooming, or a halo around bright on black regions, but it also avoids a lot of OLED’s issues, including burn-in, lack of consistent brightness, pulse width modulation, and off-axis color shifting, to name a few.

Most of those have been overcome on phone sized panels. And TV panels are implemented just completely differently. But on tablet and laptop-sized panels, getting enough LTPO OLED to maintain 120Hz ProMotion, and consistent enough OLED so it doesn’t look splotchy in places… is still a huge challenge.

So, if you want a 12.9-inch iPad Pro just for the display, you can go ahead and get the M1 now.

If you want to wait for OLED, I’m guessing you’ll need to wait for the M3, maybe even the M4.

Chipset

Last year, Tim Cook mission-impossible’d his way into the Mac lab, liberated an M1 chipset, and single-tweezer-dly transplanted it into an iPad Pro. All, for some reason, to avoid having to call up John Ternus and CEO ordering him to just do it.

It gave a lot of tech heads a good 12 seconds of hope that they’d be getting macOS along with it, but what they were really getting was super-economical way to get the kinda-sorta equivalent of an A14X to replace the A12X and Z that came before it. And juts a ton more RAM to keep a ton more big apps and browser tabs in memory at the same time. Yes, a life almost entirely without jetsam. That’s the iOS process that yotes old processes out of memory to make room for new ones, but… pull out nerd leader, pull out!

Point being, if the next iPad Pro comes any time soon, it should be packing an M2 that’s kinda-sorta equivalent to an A15X. Basically, same IP and architecture as the A15 Bionic in the iPhone 13. So, more efficient performance cores, higher performance efficiency cores, way more powerful, 10 instead of 8 graphics cores, and the junior version of the ProRes engines Apple just brought over to the new MacBook Pros. At least enough to make ultra-light, ultra-high fidelity video editing way better on mobile than its ever been before.

In other words, same 10-hours of battery life Apple seems to have pinned in place for the whole entire iPad lineup, but a whole lot more capability and performance.

Also, iPad Pros already have 5G, but we could see an improvement in terms of Wi-Fi 6E, maybe U1, finally. But there’s nothing to suggest an increase in RAM or SSD this time around.

So, if the M1 is more than enough power for your needs, go ahead and get it now.

But if you want to see Apple squeeze just a little more power into the same size packaging, wait for the M2.

Ports

Thanks to the dual Thunderbolt controllers on M1, we got… a single Thunderbolt port on the 2021 iPad Pro. Not gonna lie, I’d have all caps loved two, one one each end, especially if it forced them to finally move the FaceTime camera to the side, and then the Pencil to the bottom and… I swear it’s becoming musical chairs for features already…

But, and would it were not so, I just don’t see M2 changing anything there.

What rumors have suggested, though, is MagSafe. Now, even the type of MagSafe Apple just re-introduced with the new MacBook Pros would be hella cool on an iPad Pro. But I don’t see it working with a Thunderbolt plug, and I don’t see Apple adding a second port just for MagSafe. Again, much as I would all-caps love it. Unless… maybe… there’s some smart connector combo pogo pin play to be had?

But either way, anyway, it sounds more like iPhone style MagSafe, which is less magnet + pin and more magnet + inductive charging. The kind the Apple Pencil is already doing from the iPad Pro, but reverse reversed, so the iPad Pro could do it from a Qi or, yeah, iPhone style MagSafe charger.

Now, it’s really hard to do that through metal, which is why the iPhone switched back to glass when it got it’s Qi on. But if the iPad Pro isn’t going glass for the first time, at least the Apple logo might be? That would not only provide a window for the inductive charging coils, it would provide a big ass visual target for the MagSafe disk as well.

How important magnetic inductive charging on an iPad Pro is to anyone — to you — I’m super beyond curious to find out. If Apple’s really working on a next-generation wireless data transfer protocol, then maybe it suddenly becomes way, way more compelling. But that’s all just fanfic for now.

So, if Thunderbolt is fine for you, the M1 iPad Pro will be more than fine.

But if you really, really want you some MagSafe, you’ll have to wait and see if the M2 can deliver it.

Camera

2021 kept the iPad Pro on a dual rear camera plus LiDAR system on the back, but added a wider angle and Center Stage smart framing system on the front. And.. it’s hard to see a 2022 update offering much more than that.

M2 will bring a new image signal processor, which is always good. And it might even bring Cinematic Mode to the wide angle and Macro to the ultra-wide, which would be legit fantastic. But unless Apple fundamentally changes their strategy, there’s just no way it’ll bring a full on iPhone 13 class, much less iPhone 14 enhanced, camera system to the iPad Pro. Much as I — and I think any pro who loves a huge viewport — may truly, deeply, wish otherwise.

So, if camera is what you care about, you’ll probably be just fine with the M1

But if you’re camera curious about what Apple may just offer next, by all means, wait for the M2.

Accessories

The original Apple Pencil debuted in the fall of 2015. Apple Pencil 2 in the fall of 2018. Apple Pencil 3… we’re still waiting on. There have been rumors, but they’ve mostly been around finishes and colors, not functionality.

The magic keyboard debuted in the spring of 2020 and was tweaked slightly in the spring of 2021. Would Apple release — could Apple release — a new Pencil and Keyboard that break compatibility with older models and only work on the latest greatest? I mean, of course, it’s Apple!

But if the Apple Pencil 2 and current Magic Keyboard seem good to you, than the M1 iPad Pro is already a go

If you’re hoping for a different form factor or an escape key, then you may want to wait and roll the dice on M2.

Availability

Apple held the line on iPad Pro 11-inch pricing last year, but increased 12.9-inch pricing by $100 to help pay down mini-LED and M1. I don’t see them spiking the 11-inch this time, because it would ruin the “Starting at…” price. But there might be a chance the 12.9-inch price could come back down… if mini-LED has been paid down.

When is a bigger question. Apple introduced the iPad Pro in the fall of 2015, and updated it in the summer of 2017, fall of 2018, spring of 2020, and spring of 2021. So, mostly every 18 months, with last year being the big 12-month exception.

If that exception is the new rule, we could see the new iPad Pro as early as this April. If it was the exception that proves the rule, then maybe not until June or October.

Reports are currently saying new A15 iPad Air is spring, with M2 coming in the second half of the year.

So, if that’s too long for your, grab an M1 iPad Pro now.

If time is no object, then get comfy waiting for M2.

Categories
Uncategorized

How Apple DESTROYS Lightning

$1000 and the iPhone 13 Pro is still stuck at USB2 speeds. Never mind the $1100 iPhone 13 Pro Max. Why? Because, Lightning, and — wait for it — Lightning has pretty much been stuck at USB2’s half a gigabit per second, since… 2012. That, in spite of Apple adding 10-bit ProRes HDR video recording back in September. With hardware acceleration fast enough to encode 6GB a minute — a minute! — and a new storage system fast enough to save it, but no… no as in nothing approaching… a new I/O system fast enough to transfer it. So, you can now record the highest quality video of any phone on the planet, you just can’t get it off any faster than the cheapest phone on the block. Any faster than hitting that subscribe button so we can build the best community in tech together…

So, what do you do? I mean, besides hitting the button and cursing in the comments, obviously. Well, if you’re Apple… If you’re Apple, maybe you kill the now 10 year old Lightning connector. Summary de-resolution it just to get it off the grid. And then you replace it… maybe with Lightning 2… Maybe with USB-C or even Thunderbolt… Or maybe, just maybe, something that could take the iPhone and us forward into the next 10 years?

Lightning 2

Well, I mean, Apple could just make Lightning faster. Lightning 2, literal electric boogaloo. Wikipedia it. If you use the OG Lightning, you’re stuck at OG Lightning speeds. Use Lightning 2, and you get 5 Gigabits per second, maybe 10, hell, 20.

Everyone on Tech Twitter and tech YouTube would lose our collective minds, of course. Even though there’s a non-trivial, set theoretics intersection of people, who both complained about the iPhone being locked to a proprietary Lightning connector for years instead of USB-C, while at the same time demanding Apple hard to switch the Mac back from USB-C charging to the proprietary MagSafe connector. More on that in a minute, but hey, the nerd heart wants what the nerd heart wants.

I’m just not going to go all Giant Green Rage Monster about it because I just don’t think it’s that likely. Or, more to the point, I think if a faster Lightning was the sum total of Apple’s ambitions for the next decade of connectors, they would have done it last year with the faster ProRes engines and faster storage controllers. There’d be no reason to torture creative pros, the exact people they’re targeting with so many of these new Pro capabilities, with a connector that’s still so… incapable.

Especially because It would also only solve for the speed problem for a very small group of power users, not the convenience problem for a much larger group of mainstream users. The ones who really just want one standard plug, one standard cable to rule them all. You know, Ash nazg thrakatulûk USB-C krimpatul

And I beg you no pardon, because the European Union, who you may remember from such regulatory cock-ups as the browser ballot, cookie disclosures, and GDPR, is pushing for USB-C to be required on all mobile devices. That doesn’t mean Apple couldn’t keep Lightning or add Lighting 2, it just means they’d have to add USB-C as well. And more on that in a hot, superset’ed minute. And, who knows, maybe the U.S. will also make similar plans as part of their recent big tech plan of attack. By which I mean their plan is basically — attack.

USB-C

So, USB-C is the obvious answer then, right? Just the super-easiest, barely an inconvenience-est solution. Now, with USB, the letters represent the type of plug. So, USB-A for old computers, USB-B for old peripherals, USB-B mini and micro for old, mobile devices. And the number represents the capability, like data transfer speeds… even though USB keeps changing those what those numbers mean, probably because they’re in a heated battle with HDMI over who can be the absolute worst plug authority on the planet. Either way, by USB-C we’re talking specifically about the shape of the plug. But every time Apple has switched an iPad from Lightning to USB-C, it’s also come with an increase in speed as well. Barest minimum up to 5Gbps.

So, USB-C would solve for speed… but also for convenience. You wouldn’t have to keep a specific cable around just to charge your iPhone any more. You could charge it with the same cable as your iPad Air… your Nintendo Switch, your partner’s Google Pixel, whatever. Use that cable between devices as needed, maybe even keep only one to travel with. We’ll have achieved true port peace in our time.

And the funny thing is… The hilarious thing is… There’s a multiverse of madness out there where Apple switched to USB-C instead of Lightning all the way back in 2012 to begin with. I mean, the same team at Apple that developed Lightning also pretty much handed the C spec over to USB as well.

See, Apple was working on the iPhone 5, which was going to be way, way too thin to fit the old 30-pin dock connector. The one they’d switched to from FireWire almost 10 years before. The one that and they were just… beyond based… rewiring and cross-wiring just to keep up with more modern protocols. And there was already a bunch of talk from a bunch of companies about replacing the old USB-A standard, and just nuking all the USB-B, mini, and micro variants from orbit at the same time. Mass driving them off of other electronics and out of existence. But, surprise surprise, Apple doesn’t all the time play nicely with others, and has less than zero patience when dealing with the slow pace of standards bodies. Like negative patience, really.

So, the USB-C movie had a ton of other writers who’d submitted various drafts and proposals, but Apple’s connector team came in, and just handed Intel a script and said: make that. Even knowing at that point there was no possible way it’d ever be ready in time for the iPhone 5. Maybe MacBook Stealth, the one port-to-rule-them-all 12-inch MacBook that ended up shipping as just MacBook in spring of 2015 — and as the first USB-C laptop.

But Apple wasn’t about to wait two and half more years than they absolutely had to for the forum to finalize USB-C, not with iPhone 5 on deck, so the team also made Lightning. And they made it the Apple way. Slightly more water resistant, an outie instead of an innie, so it could be slightly smaller for even thinner devices in the future, but most importantly, even more standardized than USB-C would end up being, and way, way, way better managed.

Apple did screw up the initial transition by not having extra cables and adapters ready and available for the first couple of weeks after launch. And that just made people already beyond angry about suddenly being deported to dongle-town just to keep using their 30-pin car connectors and iPod boom boxes… just full on apoplectic. But 10 years of 30-pin was a long time, Lightning was inarguably a Quantum-level leap ahead, and no one had to worry about which Lightning cable had what data rate or charging speed, and no Google engineer had to personally test and review each and every one to see if it would fry your phone or, hopefully, not.

And, yes, absolutely, Apple also made money from licensing Dock and Lightning and its associated chipset through their MFi or Made for iPhone program. But the reality is, it’s never been more than pocket change compared to their massive, massive iPhone profits. If they just wanted the money, they’d make more selling Apple T-Shirts online, or, I dunno, checking Tim Cook’s sofa cushions. They also switched the Mac from MagSafe to USB-C for a few years there — and more on that in minute — and they’ve been switching iPads from Lightning to USB-C for years now. So proprietary really isn’t religion. It’s pragmatism. And what MFi really gave Apple was the one thing they value more than money — control. If Apple controls Lightning chip, it’s not like they control spice flow on Arrakis, but on a device with a battery as small as the iPhone, with no need to plug into computer peripherals, it means no one ever has to worry about a cable working, or worse, damaging the power management system. I just think we all wished they cared a little more about the quality and durability of the actual cable materials as well… Like, can we move everything to more affordable, braided cables already?

Anyway, when 2015 rolled around, and USB-C finally shipped on the 12-inch MacBook, there was no pressure, like zero pressure to push it to the iPhone as well. Because, it had been less than 3 years since the Lightning switch, and if you made people switch and double dongle up again that soon, they’d cut you.

But also because Lightning had already become pretty much ubiquitous thanks to iPhone sales volumes, USB-C was a nightmare hellscape of quality and compatibility issues, and all the rest of the real world was still stuck in USB-A and mini micro damnation anyway. And Apple couldn’t do anything about that other than contribute slightly to the mess with USB-C charging cables that were frustratingly data anemic.

Of course, Apple did eventually switch Lightning to USB-C… on the tail end of of the cable, the end that used to be USB-A. It took an aggravating amount of time for Mac users, especially since Apple switched basically all Macs to USB-C years ago, but PC users have always been the bulk of iPhone users and it took an aggravating amount of time for PCs to go USB-C…

Now, If Apple was going to switch the Lightning end to USB-C as well, arguably the best time would have been fall of 2017 with the iPhone X. It’d been 5 years since the 30-pin transition, and Apple was already going to flip the table on the iPhone with an almost complete modern redesign, including Qi-standard inductive charging, so why not dumpster fire Lightning along with the Home button? I mean, the iPad Pro was going to switch in the fall of 2018 anyway, right?

But no. Apple’s team weighed the pros and cons — or pros and controls — and they figured the switch made sense for a much bigger device that was meant to be used much more like a traditional computer, and would benefit from plugging in to traditional computer peripherals. But it just wasn’t anywhere nearly as compelling for a smaller device, given Lightning had a big enough ecosystem, far less complexity — partially because far less capability — and way fewer quality and power management issues. So, for the iPad, they chose compatibility over control, and for the iPhone, verse vica.

Even though, yes, Android phones were already standardizing on USB-C, Apple saw it as more of a step diagonally sideways than truly forward.

Which brings us to 2021, when Apple announced the iPad mini was moving from Lightning to USB-C, and then immediately hard trolled every creative pro on the planet by delivering ProRes to the iPhone 13 Pro, without any way to deliver that ProRes from the iPhone 13 Pro, not any faster than Lightning and half a gigabit per second.

And so, now, today, in 2022, almost a decade after Lightning, the same 10-year doomsday clock Apple gave the 30-pin is ticking down just minutes away from midnight. And there’s an inarguable reason to make the chance, could Apple finally, the Rock-level FINALLY, be ready to switch from slow Lightning to fast USB-C?

Yes, absolutely. But… I just don’t think they will. Much as I hate it, I think Apple sees USB-C as a 6-year old standard that may be ok for a few more years, but just isn’t something Apple wants to make a similar decades-long commitment to, like they did with 30-pin and Lightning, for the next 10 years. I think they want to give the people more… and, yeah, maybe hold onto that control where they can.

Thunderbolt

Which is why I also don’t think they’ll switch to Thunderbolt either, much as I would personally love it. All caps, get down on one knee, marry it, birth a whole entire generation of cyberpunks, love it.

See, Thunderbolt is another protocol Apple worked on with Intel, basically taking light peak, swapping optical for good old copper, and productizing it into something they could combine with USB-C, starting with the 2016 MacBook Pros. And Intel has eased up on Thunderbolt licensing, if not Thunderbolt certification, but USB3 and USB4 include support for dual mode-ing it in the spec. Hell, Apple even brought Thunderbolt to the the 2021 iPad Pro along with M1., and can go up to a blistering, just ProRes ripping 40 Gbps.

But Thunderbolt means surfacing PCIe lanes and adding a Thunderbolt controller to A16, the way they added two to M1 and three to M1 Pro and Max. And unlike a Mac or iPad, Apple still fights for every millimeter of volume inside an iPhone, and every milliamp of draw on its power system. Hell, we haven’t even seen Thunderbolt on an Android phone yet, and they’ll try to spec wreck each other every chance they get.

It’s also not any fresher than USB-C, not really. Which is why I think Apple’s going to keep it relegated to their non-ultra mobile Pro level devices. The ones that really benefit from Thunderbolt peripherals in a multitude of ways. And, yeah, thanks, I hate that too.

Lightning 2 (Redux)

But the idea of Thunderbolt is still interesting. More specifically, the idea of supersetting USB-C is super interesting. That’s what some Android phones do already for their high speed charging systems. You need their proprietary cable to get the quick adaptive super warp turbo speeds, but if you don’t have it handy, you can fall back to a generic peasant USB-C cable cannibalized from any another device… Except an iPhone. But at least you can fall back to any generic peasant USB-C cable, and that’s compelling.

So, Apple could make Lightning 2… and just so happen to use USB-C as the plug. That way, anyone buying Lightning 2 knows they’re getting a cable that’s 100% designed to just work with their iPhone, but if they don’t have it handy, they can use any old generic peasant USB-C cable in a pinch. It’ll make all us nerds ecstatically happy, and maybe even get the EU and DOJ just all the way off their backs about it. Just completely off of those things.

I don’t know if that would reduce confusion or just add to it, like… be the best of both worlds or just the worst, but you tell me?

MagSafe

Then, there’s something not quite as super easy, but maybe significantly more convenient? Especially for people with accessibility needs, like low or no vision or motor skills. Something that doesn’t require a tiny plug get jammed into a tiny port, with tiny pins that can get all gunked up. Something… I don’t know… maybe magnetic? Maybe just like MagSafe?

Yes, the exact same type of connector a huge swath of tech nerdom just celebrated Apple switching back to from USB-C on the Mac. Kinda, I mean, Apple left it so we can still do data transfer and charge through USB-C on the Mac, but you all know what you did!

Now, everyone likes to call it wireless charging, but it’s not like wireless internet. It still requires physical contact either for pins or through coils. Where wireless internet doesn’t require you to drop your laptop or phone on top of the router to actually work. But, not my terminology clowns, not my consistency circus.

So, anyway, MagSafe on the Mac, then and now again, use magnets for alignment and pins for power transfer. On the Apple Watch, where it’s technically not called MagSafe but so really is, it uses magnets for alignment and inductive coils for power transfer. Magnetic alignment making the less efficient inductive charging slightly less less efficient. Same for the very different type of MagSafe Apple introduced for the iPhone in 2020. Magnet and coils. There have been rumors about MagSafe for iPad as well, but so far only the SmartConnector, which is basically MagSafe on easy mode for keyboards. MagSafe 3 for the latest MacBook Pros, which sticks with magnets and pins, is even one of the first implementations of USB-PD 2.1, or ultra-high power delivery. And yes, USB has different numbers for data transfer and for power delivery capabilities, because it was apparently neither designed by nor for actual human beings. But whatever.

Point being, MagSafe can bring the juice, either through pins or inductively. But can it bring the data? Because so far, all we’ve seen is that keyboard functionality on the iPad smart connector, and case color recognition on the iPhone MagSafe. In other words, nothing to light our data dreams on fire, much less our ProRes fantasies.

And yeah, sure, either through pins or purely wirelessly, likely through some combination of ultra wide band and point-to-point Wi-Fi. The latter of which would also make Apple exempt from the EU’s proposed regulation, because it only covers physical ports, not inductive or wireless.

And there have been rumors of the iPhone going full on — full off! — portless for a while now. Same with Google’s Pixel and other phones. Some crazy ass Android concepts have even shipped port loose and connector free for years already.

Now, me, personally, I’m still all Battlestar Galactica, all… OG Matrix about this stuff. I want a hardline. So do most creative pros and developers who spend so much time debugging so much code. It would also complicate device recovery and restore, like DFU mode. That’s rumored to be the reason the Pixel didn’t go portless years ago. But Apple just removed the service port from the Watch, and is apparently using some hot new wireless connector internally now anyway, so maybe that’s getting closer to a solved problem?

Going with MagSafe would also reduce hardware complexity, improve water resistance — mainly because people keep getting the ports wet and then plugging in, causing shorts — and allow for that incredibly intoxicating, totally addictive magnetic thunk when you hook up.

Categories
Uncategorized

iPhone 14 — 10 Biggest Leaks!

First it was a hole punch. Then it was a pill… punch. Now… it’s an exclamation punch? Can iPhone 14 leaks get their acts together, already. Kidding, that’s what you have me for. So hit that subscribe button and bell and grab a beverage, because I’m about to break down the 10 biggest new features rumored for the iPhone 14. Let’s do this!

Hole Punch

Ok, so, the regular iPhone 14 and the iPhone 14 non-Pro Max — more on that in a minute — are still supposed to be getting their notches on this year. Same narrower notch as last year. But the iPhone Pro and iPhone Pro Max… well, rumor has it Apple’s going to be replacing those notches with cutouts. Not a hole punch, that’s so last month. Not even a pill punch, so last week. But a double punch, like a left jab and right cross. Yeah. An exclamation punch.

It’s not that Apple is changing their minds about the shape, but more so the early human leaks probably never described the whole entire actual shape, while now we’re starting to see potential parts leaks that show it off in all it’s glory. Or gory, depending on how you feel about it.

Why a dot and a dash instead of just one or tother? Probably because the iPhone houses so many cameras and sensors up top of the display. And they just won’t work well enough if they’re paved over with OLED sub pixels, with only Machine Learning left for the cleanup. At least not yet. So, the RGB selfie camera is still exposed, for sure, and then whichever parts of the Face ID system, flood illuminator, dot projector, or camera also need to stay out in the open… are just still all out in the open.

Why not just leave the notch at that point? Probably to freshen things up. Because we hate boredom and we hate change, so like the Simpsons, they just have to keep feeding us the perception of change. But, hey, if we nerds get our battery percentage indicator back, we’ll take it, right?

48 Megapixel camera

From the exclamation mark up front to the surprise face on back! But all emoji aside, this I’m really excited about.
Because, for the last few years, Apple’s stuck with a 12 megapixel sensor and focused… no pun intended… ok… a little intended… on making those individual pixels as large and sensitive as possible. Quality over quantity. But now reports are saying Apple is finally getting ready to add some quantity. But… still in the name of quality.

If you want a deeper dive on this, I’ll drop a link to my video in the description below the like button, but basically it takes those 12 megapixels and divides each one by four, resulting in 48. Then it makes each of those smaller pixels just a tiny bit bigger, and merges them them, like Devaastor — or more accurately, bins them or downsamples them — back into groups of 4… to give us… wait for it!.. 12 megapixels again. But a better 12 megapixels! For still photography.

Why not leave it at 48 megapixels? Because those pixels are so small they don’t pull in a good enough image under anything less than ideal conditions. Why not leave it at 12 then and just make those bigger pixels even bigger? Because 48 gives some extra flexibility for zoom and they can stack and bracket frames from both the 48 and the 12 to try and get as much detail with as little noise as possible. But, also for 8K video…

8K video

First we had 4K. Then 4K with interleaved extended dynamic range. Then 4K with non-interleaved EDR. Then 4K HDR and Dolby Vision. Then 4K ProRes 422 HQ. In other words, 4K with better and better data, year after year. But now it sounds like Apple is ready to give the people more…. 8K more, which is actually 4 times the data, because it’s double the size horizontally as well as vertically.

Which is why they need a sensor that’s 4 times the size in order to capture that data. Both for 8K and — more applicable to my own current personal needs — downsampled 4K.

Why go to 8K? Because we climbed the 1080p mountain and crossed the 4K ocean and 8K is just what’s next. It’s what we do. It’s where our TVs and pro-workflows are headed, and sure, most people won’t need it on a phone camera, but most people don’t need ProRes on a phone camera either. These are high-end features that Apple is using to target high-end pros.

And all I personally ask is this: Please, in the name of all that is holy and compassionate in this universe and… all the Spider-Verses to follow, give us something faster than USB2 Lightning to pull it off with. I don’t care if it’s Lightning 2, Thunderbolt 4, AirDrop Extreme, whatever. You built the imaging pipeline, you built the storage system, now give us the I/O to go with it. You know, for the high-end Pros.

8 GB RAM

Ok, so, I’m super happy about this as well. The current iPhone Pros have 6 GB of RAM, in part to help handle those 4K Dolby Vision Pro Res 422 HQ files. But, since iOS has no concept of swap or paging out to disk, it also means more apps and browser tabs can be left live at the same time, without being jetsamed to free up memory for newer, thirstier apps and tabs. Looking at you Camera and Pokemon Go…

So why go to 8GB? Well, with the potential for 8K video on the iPhone 14, rumors around 8 GB of RAM, would help handle those even bigger frames.

And since iOS apps are native, not interpreted like Android, and because they use auto release instead of garbage collection like Android, virtually none of that extra RAM should be needed to reduce overhead. Which means, even if you don’t care about 8K, getting the twice the memory we had just a few years ago won’t make the iPhone Pro just barely livable — should make it downright wonderful.

2 TB SSD

Likewise a 2 TB storage option. Why 2 TB if we only just got 1 TB last year on the iPhone 13? Well, those 4K ProRes 422 HQ files are already 6GB per minute. Per minute. So, going to 8K ProRes 422 HQ is going to be… a lot. Maybe even a linear 24GB a minute. So 2TB is going to be a necessary option for anyone intent on using the iPhone 14 as a primary ProRes camera. At least, that’s the best explanation I can come up with for this particular rumor.

And as to the price — yeah, it’s going to be ridiculous. Maybe even downright offensive. But people buying multiple 8K iPhone cameras for ProRes work, the same type of people that’s spend thousands, if not tens of thousands on camera bodies and storage media already, they’re not even going to blink. They’re just going to charge it all off to the studio or a client or two.

A16 Bionic

Ok, this is where my inner silicon nerd final forms. The A15 Bionic added faster efficiency cores, more efficient performance cores, way faster graphics cores, as well as a 5th GPU core and ProRes accelerators for the Pro. All on Taiwan Semiconductor’s second-generation 5 nanometer process. And it was really pushing the thermal limit of the iPhone enclosure. But the A16 — maybe still Bionic — is reportedly going on TSMC’s next-generation 4 or 3 nanometer process. Those are all just marketing names. But what it means is: either the same amount of performance at even less power draw, even more performance at the same power draw, or more likely — a good balance of both.

Some of that will go to driving new and heavier computational imaging, some will be overhead for the next 5 or so iOS updates, and some might even be used to reduce the weight of the battery again… or just provide for even longer battery life at the same capacity. Sign me up for any of that.

X65 Modem

Same with Qualcomm’s X65 modem, which is next in line after the X60 modem in the iPhone 13. Sure, in a couple of years Apple might do what they did with their ARM license and switch from licensing chips to just licensing the IP for their own custom chips. But for now, the X65 is faster, offering up to 10 Gigabit… if you can find it… but also more efficient. So, like A16, it could either let Apple reduce size and weight while maintaining battery life, or provide even longer battery life at the same size and weight, even when using power-hungry features like 5G.

All of that without a SIM-card slot, a physical SIM, at least on some models and in some regions. In other words, eSIM only, or more specifically, dual eSIM only. Because we all know how Apple loves deleting physical hardware features like 3.5mm headphone jacks, and Home buttons, and if they can’t take out the charging and data port yet, they may just take that out on the SIM card slot. All in the name of reducing complexity, potential failure points, and one day, improving water resistance.

For now though, it might let Apple include some limited form of satellite connectivity. That was rumored last year, before the iPhone 13 came out, but that seems to have been the result of premature… speculation. Why satellite? For emergencies. Specifically, SOS, maybe even limited texting if you’re in trouble but off the cellular network, as well as disaster reporting if there’s a whole lot of trouble and no functioning network.

Apple’s been ladling the life saving features on the Watch for years, but now they’re starting to add them to the iPhone as well and I’m so very much here for it.

Titanium

Something that has me Miles Finch level psyched about the iPhone 14 is that the it may be more… iPhone 4-like than the current iPhone 5-like design, meaning less slab and more sandwich. Still aluminum for the regular models, but with the Pro models switching from steel to titanium. Regardless of what Apple does with battery efficiency vs. capacity, that could at least save some weight on what have become, by far, the heaviest iPhones ever. Especially if the other big design rumor is true — the ones about Apple flattening out the back. Which would be great for stopping the current teeter totter effects of the camera bump when you put it down on the table… but depending on what exactly Apple fills all that extra thiiiiiic space with, may be not so good for that already hefty Max.

Max non-Pro

Especially since Apple is reportedly doubling down on the Max this year. By discontinuing, deleting, end-of-lifing, murder-death-killing the mini to do it. Because despite it getting so much big nerd love, most people just seem to want more big phones to love. So, the new lineup is supposed to be iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Max, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro Max. In other words, two 6.1-inch, two 6.7-inch.

Blame it on the last couple years keeping people out of stores, so they couldn’t actually try the mini out in hand, on Apple splitting the original cheap and small iPhone SE market into a cheap SE 2 and small mini market, on people conflating size with value, or on phones increasingly becoming primary computing devices where bigger display means better productivity.

Categories
Uncategorized

M1 MacBook Air vs M2 — Buy Now or Wait?

M1 vs. M2 Apple Silicon. Old design vs. new design. LCD vs. Mini LED. Black bezels vs. white. Forehead vs. notch. Potato cam vs. 1080p. $999 vs. $1099… Maybe $1199? Yeah, if the rumors are true, there are a few really good reasons to wait, but also a couple truly massive reasons not to. So, if you’re perseverating over grabbing an M1 MacBook Air now, now, now, or trying to hold out for the M2 MacBook later, don’t worry, I got you.

Design

First up. Design. The M1 MacBook Air didn’t get a new one. It stuck with the same enclosure it’s had since 2018 in specific and 2010 in general. And that’s ok. That’s fine. It’s a classic and it gave Apple not just a known thermal envelope for that M1 chipset, but some breathing room to focus on the new iMac and MacBook Pro designs. Plus is kept the price down. And more on that in a potentially show-stopper minute.

It’s still thin, still light, still the absolute easiest Mac to carry from home to school to work — or these days, kitchen to bedroom to couch — and still has that famous Star Destroyer-style wedge shape that launched a thousand ultrabook clones. And I still love it. All caps love it. It’s just not new any more.

But that’s exactly where the M2 redesign is supposed to come in. According to reports, it’ll be a bit flatter and more retro, like the new MacBook Pros, but way lighter and thinner. And way less wedge-ee-er? Maybe as light and thin and flat as the previous, now discontinued, 12-inch MacBook. Once again pushing the envelope — the manila envelop — on what an ultra-light, ultra-portable Mac really means. And it maybe, just maybe deleting the Air brand again and taking back the MacBook… as in MacBook Nothing name.

Also, Thanos-snapping the bezels to make the overall casing around the display as hipster minimal as it can possibly be. Reportedly off-white, like the recent 24-inch M1 iMac redesign, which Apple thinks fades away better into home and front-of-house decor. And bringing back that old school iBook — or just modern iMac-style — taste the rainbow palette of colors. Which, yeah, I can’t freaking wait.

So, if you don’t give a damn about design and the classic Air is more than light and thin enough, and you prefer Air wedged, your bezels black, and your casings more silver and space grey conservative, get the M1 now.

But if you’re all hot damn about the potential for something even smaller and lighter and flatter, with white bezels, and a cavalcade of colors, you’ll want to wait for the M2.

Display

The M1 MacBook Air has the best display ever in an Air. 13.3-inches and Retina, which means high enough density you can’t easily make out individual pixels at normal viewing range, just crisp, clean text and images. TrueTone, so whites never look too blue or too yellow, just proper, paper white. P3 wide color gamut for richer reds and more vibrant greens. But only standard dynamic range and nowhere nearly as bright as Apple’s more recent displays.

Which is exactly what the M2 MacBook is supposed to fix. Probably the same 13.3-inches, give or take, just in a smaller enclosure. Like what Apple did with the 12.9-inch iPad Pro rather than the 11-inch iPad Pro, or 14-inch MacBook Pro. Though maybe, just maybe with a notch. That is, if they want to get the bezels as small as possible and also increase the quality of the camera as much as possible. Which, yeah, all the fingers crossed.

Also, the M2 display is rumored to be mini-LED, which Apple seems intent on pushing across their whole entire premium product line right now. That’ll allow for HDR, high dynamic range, meaning deep, inky shadows and bright, blinding highlights. Probably no 120Hz ProMotion, since Apple seems just as intent on keeping that exclusive to their Pro level product line, at least for now. But otherwise just a huge escalation all around.

So, if the current display or more than enough for your computing needs, go ahead and get the M1 MacBook Air.

But, if you really want you some high dynamic range, you’re going to have to hold out for the M2.

Silicon

The M1 MacBook Air has… the M1. Apple’s first generation of custom silicon for the Mac. It’s ased on the same IP and architecture as the A14 Bionic in the iPhone 12. And I’ve got a deep dive video up on it that I’ll drop a link to in the description below the like button. Basically, it’s an ultra-low-power system on a chip, which means it’s ultra efficient to the point of providing up to 18 hours of battery life, but also higher performance than pretty much any other chipset in its class. There’s no fan, so it’s ultra quiet, but if you want to do heavy sustained workloads of longer than 20 minutes, you may want to check out the Pro instead. Otherwise it’s just ultra fast and ultra responsive as it is quiet and long lasting. Like, game-changer level. All of it.

The M2 MacBook will have… M2. Apple’s second generation custom silicon. And if it comes out any time soon, that means it’ll most likely be based on the same IP and architecture as the A15 Bionic in the iPhone 13. So, more efficient performance cores, higher performance efficiency cores, way more powerful, and more numerous, graphics cores, and maybe some level of the ProRes engines Apple just brought over to the new MacBook Pros. At least enough to make ultra-light video editing, if nowhere nearly Pro level, at least way less frustrating than its ever been before. In other words, same if not slightly better battery life, but a whole lot more capability.

Unfortunately, there’s nothing to suggest an increase in memory, storage, Wi-Fi technology, or the addition of any cellular options. At least not this time around.

So, if the M1 is more than enough power and battery life for your needs, go ahead and get it now.

But if you want to see Apple squeeze just a little more power into a little less packaging, wait for the M2.

Ports

For a while the MacBook Air was the only Apple laptop loitering with legacy ports. But, in 2018, it went all-in on USB-C and Thunderbolt, just like everything else. All-in meaning to two of them, even if both were… yeah… hey Cap, on your left. Rather than the more useful one on each side. And that’s what the M1 has. Two of them. Both on the left.

The M2 MacBook is rumored to be restoring at least the MagSafe port, Apple’s magnetic charging dingus. That should be in addition to 2 USB 4 ports, which carry both USB-C and Thunderbolt 4. Because going to one port, even one port plus MagSafe, would just be one hell of a regression.

So, if you’re cool with the two USB-C slash Thunderbolt 3 ports on the M1 MacBook Air, go get ‘em. And if you’re at all worried Apple might drop that down to one, go get ‘em now.

But, if you think M2 might give you MagSafe back and two USB-C slash Thunderbolt 4 ports to boot, well… you’re just going to have to wait and see.

Pricing

The M1 MacBook Air starts at $999, even less with an education discount or if you can find it on sale. And that’s always been just the minimum magical price for the Air. And sure, $999 isn’t as cheap as a low-end plastic PCBook, but given the performance, the battery life, the build-quality, the macOS, just everything that comes with it, the value more than makes up for the cost. Which is just exactly why it’s perennially the most popular Mac. And it’s available now.

The M2 MacBook though… that might start at $1099, just to cover the increased cost of mini-LED. Maybe even $1199, if there’s any other new technologies Apple needs to pay down on top of that. Also, because rumor has it, it’s not so much meant to replace the M1, but to slide in on top of it as a more premium option. At least at first. Which wouldn’t be anything really new for the MacBook or the Air. They’ve always launched at higher prices, and then, in the Air’s case, dropped down over time. And in the 12-inch MacBook’s case, just been dropped. Plus, it’s only come this spring at the earliest, but maybe not until the late fall.

So, if money or time matters to you most, and you want an entry level MacBook Air, you’ll want the M1, available now.

But if money and time are literally no object and you’re lusting after a higher-end MacBook, you’ll have to wait on the M2.

Now, I’m nowhere nearly smart enough to all the math, relativistic physics, quantum mechanics, and probability theory around those equations, but that’s where today’s sponsor, Brilliant comes in. The online, interactive STEM-learning platform, and there’s no better time to start than right now, with the New Year.

Brilliant has a growing catalog of courses specifically crafted to help you learn concepts by working through them yourself in visual, hands-on ways. I cannot stress this enough: I wish school had been like this because it would have been just so much less stress.

And they’ve been totally revamping their courses so they’re even more interactive, including their brand-new Logic course, which is just jam packed with opportunities for hands-on problem solving. For example, exercises like this one (clips here) open up your mind and help you look at problems in a completely new way. Maybe even enough to figure out the maximum risk reward ratio

Categories
Uncategorized

AirPods Pro 2 — How Apple DESTROYS Bluetooth

$550 and the AirPods Max can’t even stream lossless audio. Never mind the $250 AirPods Pro. Why? Because they’re Bluetooth and — wait for it — Bluetooth is lossy. Well, lossy like trying to fit a river through a hose is lossy or… watching the cam version of No Way Home IMAX is lossy. You can have the best source in the multiverse but Bluetooth has such limited bandwidth, is such a narrow pipe, that you just can’t fit real, true lossless audio through it. Including Apple Music Lossless. Or hitting that subscribe button so we can build the best community in tech together… lossless.

So, what do you do? I mean, besides hitting the button and cursing in the comments, obviously. Well, if you’re Apple… If you’re Apple, maybe you kill Bluetooth. MDK it just to watch it die. And then you replace it — or maybe superset it — with a silicon and signal solution that’s just way, way better.

That’s what Front Page Tech’s John Prosser said Apple was planning on doing — updating the AirPods, or AirPlay, or both, to support lossless audio. AirPlay being Apple’s wireless media streaming protocol. It’s what the iPhone uses to send video to the Apple TV or audio to the HomePod, for example.

I’ll get to how in a minute, but the why is super important. See, according to Apple lore, the original version of AirPlay was a weekend project, a hack, to get something like the old AirPort Express AirTunes protocol up and running for iOS.

It was really, really cool and compelling, and worked well enough at the time for Apple to ship it. But it was also extremely limited and inherited a ton of technical debt. Like a lot of Apple’s audio stack at the time. Something they found out the hard way when they wanted to ship that OG HomePod with features like… multi-room audio. So, AirPlay 2. Refactored to fit the needs of a way more modern media ecosystem. Ultra-low power Bluetooth to broadcast availability and negotiate connections, and ultra-high capacity point-to-point Wi-Fi to handle the actual media streaming.

Which was really critical for a product like the OG HomePod, whose marketing pitch was based entirely on it sounding way, way better than Bluetooth speakers. And part of me still wonders if the reason Apple didn’t include Bluetooth on the HomePod was so that it could never, not ever sound only as good as a Bluetooth speaker, not just in rooms, but reviews, in Pepsi challenges all over YouTube, just blowing up that whole entire marketing pitch.

And yeah, I know, Apple spent millions on AirPlay 2 and Russia just took a pencil to space. By which I mean why not just include an actual hard line-in for actual high quality audio.

But all-caps love it, or just hate it’s breathing guts, Apple is all-in on the future being wireless. And for AirPods, which Apple was developing at the same time as HomePod, AirPlay just wasn’t an option. Because, unlike the Apple TV, the HomePod, AirPods weren’t going to be plugged into a wall 24/7. They weren’t going to be plugged into anything, well, except for our ears and tiny, tiny batteries.

And while Wi-Fi can be more efficient than Bluetooth for specific use cases, basically race-to-sleep, or transiting very fast bursts of data and then shutting the radio off to save power, streaming media is pretty much the exact opposite of that use case. And thanks to the way each protocol has been used, and how the chips and radios have evolved to support those uses, AirPods were limited to Bluetooth, it’s very, very low bandwidth, and all the lossy, lossy compression that came with it.

Which brings us to Gary Geaves, Apple's VP of Acoustics, who’s legit awesome, and what he just told What Hi-Fi:

“We have to concentrate very hard on squeezing the most that we can out of the Bluetooth technology, and there’s a number of tricks we can play to maximise or get around some of the limits of Bluetooth. But it’s fair to say that we would like more bandwidth and… I’ll stop right there. We would like more bandwidth”, he smiles.

That first part involved spending some of Apple’s billions on one of the largest, state-of-the-art-of-audio labs in the world, just down from Apple Park in Cupertino. I got a tour back when the HomePod was released, and from the negative decibel… a quiet place… to rooms that could be molded and remodeled to match the acoustic profiles of a multitude of test environments… There’s just been a serious escalation in Apple’s physical and computational audio teams over the last few years. As all their recent headphone, speaker, and mic systems can attest.

But also in silicon. The original AirPods use W1, Apple’s first wireless chipset. Basically tiny little computers in each pod, they’re what made the Bluetooth connections and synchronization so quick, easy, solid, reliable, low latency, and consistent. I mean, Bluetooth is still Bluetooth, so if you put enough of your ugly bag of mostly water body between, say, your iPhone and your AirPods, more than they can compensate for, you can still disrupt them. But, for anyone who previous lived their lives on the island of traditional Bluetooth, W1’s implementation was indistinguishable from radio magic.

For efficiency and specificity reasons, Apple eventually split W1 into W2 and W3, adding Wi-Fi handling, and integrating them into the Apple Watch system-in-package, or SiP. And, H1, Apple’s first Headphones chip, for the second-generation AirPods and, eventually, AirPods Pro and AirPods Max. H1 stuck to Bluetooth but became basically it’s own SiP, using up to 10 audio cores to support computation-heavy features like active noise cancellation, transparency mode, conversation boost, Dolby Atmos, and spatial audio with dynamic head tracking. But, not lossless audio, never lossless audio, because stuck to Bluetooth. And like Gary said… Apple would like more bandwidth.

And, just by way of showing how concerned Apple is for efficiency in the AirPods, the original HomePod used an A8 system-on-a-chip, same as the iPhone 6, and the HomePod mini uses an S5 system-in-package, same as the Apple Watch Series 5. If not recycling silicon but spending actual real new money and resources on something custom for headphones, it’s because everyone from the execs on down consider it essential.

Which is why I wonder if Apple really could just flip a bit and turn on Wi-Fi-dependent-AirPlay on for existing AirPods, not just because of the power draw — the potential hit on battery life — but the system architecture itself. I mean, I’d all caps love it, best surprise upgrade ever, but I’ll only ever expect it when I see it. And having not seen in in the year-and-however-long its been now since AirPods Pro and Max and Apple Music Lossless… those expectations are only dwindling.

Same with Apple going all-in on aptX, which is Qualcomm’s high-fidelity Bluetooth audio compression codec. Specifically, the recently announced aptX: Lossless. Which, yes, all the nerd dreams and drool. All of it. But even though Apple and Qualcomm are playing nice with 5G modems these days, aptX Lossless is really aptX CD quality. 16-bit.44.1kHz. Which is phenomenal for Bluetooth. Legit game-changing for Bluetooth. And a huge improvement for AirPods. But still Bluetooth. And Apple may want their dependency on Qualcomm to go only so far… if not in the other direction entirely.

Also, just licensing a codec doesn’t really seem to fit Apple’s style, let alone swagger. Not when their key product differentiator is better experience through tighter integration of hardware, software, and most recently, services.

Which is why it’s possible Apple will finally, the Rock-style FINALLY move to just replace Bluetooth altogether with something much higher performance but also.. even more efficient. Maybe it’s marketed as AirPlay 3, maybe not. Maybe it leans on a next-generation H2 system-in-package for AirPods Pro 2, and eventually AirPods Max 2, if there are an AirPods Max 2. Maybe not.

But supply chain exfiltrator extraordinaire, Kuo Ming-Chi, just released a report saying that AirPods Pro 2 would not only have a new design and speakers in the charging case to improve the Find My experience, but they’d also support Apple’s own lossless audio codec, or ALAC.

Now, I’ll drop a link to more on Apple’s upcoming AirPods in the description right below the like button, but here’s a question that pretty much immediately pops to mind:

Which version of ALAC, since Apple’s codec supports 16 to 32-bits and up to 384kHz? Unclear, but I’ll also assume the least for now so I can be surprised rather than disappointed later. Even if these are the freaks and geeks who just added 10-bit ProRes HQ to the iPhone Pro…

But if Apple really wants to blow minds and ears, they’re going to really want that more bandwidth than Bluetooth by itself allows, and that leaves some type of point-to-point Wi-Fi, or maybe some fusion of Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, even ultra-wide-band like the U1 chip. None of which are ideal on their own, but maybe could be in very clever combination. I mean, it’s really just an implementation detail at this point, but one I’m super beyond curious about.

Now, In Nilay Patel’s worst nightmare hellscape of a world — and mine too, honestly — this… as of right now almost entirely fanfic new protocol… would be all the next generation of AirPods and headphone silicon support. Like AirPlay 2 on the HomePods. But my own personal hope and dream would be for Apple not so much to rip and replace Bluetooth, but to superset it. Not just so that Nilay’s head is saved from actually exploding, but so, if you have an older device or a non-Apple device that can’t support Lossless, you can elegantly fall over into good old fashioned Bluetooth lossy. Maybe even aptX. I mean, make the kids happy — hell, make the Qualcomm patent licensing treasury, and those increasingly beyond acid salty regulators happy! Just oh, so very, very happy. But… but… if you have the latest and the greatest, you get the absolute best lossless AirPods experience on the planet. If your human ears can even distinguish the difference… beyond audiophile LARPing, that is.

Categories
Uncategorized

iPhone — 15 Years in 2 minutes!

15 years ago today, Steve Jobs and the iPhone changed... everything. Since then, Apple has relentlessly introduced new models and new features every year, on the year, from the retro-chic iPhone 4 to the ultra-modern iPhone X, to the jam-packed iPhone 13, to whatever is coming next in 2022. This video highlights every major step along the, every keynote, every advance, everything that, for a decade and half, has made the iPhone... the iPhone

Categories
Uncategorized

iPhone 14 — NEW Notch Leak Bombs!

I’m going through all the popping fresh hot new iPhone 14, iPhone SE 3 and 4, and iPhone Fold Alpha leaks that just dropped, reacting live, and giving you all the background, context, and analysis you need to figure out how to best spend and save your hard earned Apple Cash in 2022. Because some of this… is really, really cool, and some… is just flat out terrible.

Categories
Uncategorized

iPhone 13 vs iPhone 14 — Buy Now or Wait?

iPhone 13. Mini. Pro. Max. Same retro future chic design. Same OLED Displays, Notch, Dolby Vision Cameras, and Lightning Ports. But with way, way better battery life and 120Hz, ProRes, Macro, and 3x Zoom on the Pros. But what about iPhone 14? Well, some of that might be changing for the better… and for the worse. So, in this video I’m going to tell you if you should race out and get an iPhone 13 now, now, now, or do everything you can to wait for an iPhone 14 this fall. And the answers… never mind may — they WILL surprise you!

Design

The iPhone 13 has the same iPhone 5-inspired design as the iPhone 12, with flat sides that look way cooler but aren’t anywhere nearly as comfortable to hold as the old curves.

The mini has a 5.4-inch display, the 13 and Pro have 6.1-inch displays, and the Max has a 6.7-inch display. All still notched, though a tad narrower.

Rumor has it, the iPhone 14 with switch from the iPhone 5-style metal wrapped design, to something closer akin to the iPhone 4-style glass sandwich. Just ever so slightly more retro, but maybe also just ever so slightly more comfortable?

On the Pro models, those bands might move from stainless steel to titanium as well, which would make the whole package a bit lighter. Combined with a more efficient A16 chipset and X65 modem allowing for a smaller battery, maybe more than a bit lighter. More on those, and the Lightning Port, in a minute.

Now, the mini is supposedly being replaced by a decidedly non-mini, but also non-Pro version of the Max. That’s right, no more 5.4-inch model, like at all, just two two tiers of 6.7-inch model. So, if you really want a mini, just go get the 13 mini right now and hold onto it for as long as you can. With all day battery life, it’s basically the platonic ideal, form mini iPhone now anyway.

But, if you’ve always wanted a 6.7-inch iPhone but simply refused to pay full-on Pro prices, and don’t care AT ALL about ultra-high end displays or cameras, you might want to wait on the 14 non-Pro Max. Unless you can find a really good deal on a 13 or 12 Pro Max.

And, yes, I’ll be doing it for every Apple product coming our way this year, so hit that subscribe button and bell so you’ll know how best to spend — and save — your hard-earned money in 2022!

If you like steel and substantial, hefty-feeling phones, you might also want to jump on a 13 Pro now, whereas if you’re all Ghetta-level in love with Titanium — or holding out, literally, for a lighter Pro phone — you may need to hold out, literally, for the 14 Pro.

Likewise, if you hate notches, multiple reports now suggest at least the iPhone 14 Pros will be switching to hole punches instead. So, Face ID sensors under the display, RGB selfie camera still cut out front and center. If you hate the hole punch more, though, grab a notch while you still can.

Displays

The iPhone 13 Pro LTPO OLED displays are literally the best in the business right now, with all the 120Hz benefits and none of the compromises that plagued earlier, competing displays. No decrease in resolution, No loss of color management or high refresh at low brightness. They’re so good, it’s legit hard to see what the iPhone 14 could do to improve on them. Maybe always-on, like the Apple Watch, if the battery life hit isn’t too severe?

It’s also hard to see what Apple could do to improve the non-Pro displays, aside from adding the 120Hz ProMotion of the Pros, and they’re just not likely to do that until the Pros go to 240Hz, which will probably take a while still.

Maybe I just lack imagination here, so tell me if I’m missing something, and hold out hope if you can wait, but if the display is what’s most important to you, and you need an iPhone now, you can go ahead and get one now.

Cameras

The iPhone 13 cameras are likewise some of the best in the business, and for video, the absolute best. Period. Exclamation mark even. You’ve got IBIS, or in-body image stabilization across all the wide angles now, improved ultra wide angles, macro and 3x telephoto on the Pros, the ability to shoot ProRAW photos and 10-bit Dolby Vision ProRes videos on the Pro models, and Cinematic Mode for video focus select and depth effect on all the models.

And yeah, I’ll get into the whole ProRes over Lightning thing in a minute as well.

Point is, though, they’ve been terrific everyday cameras under ideal conditions for years now, so what Apple’s been focusing on is making them as terrific as possible under less and less ideal conditions, and even better for creative pros in general.

And it sounds like that’s going to continue with the 14 line. Especially for the Pros. With a 48 megapixel, 4x binned wide angle that’ll not only take better photos, and maybe provide slightly better zoom, but enable 8K and downsampled 4K for the first time.

I’ve got a whole entire video up diving deep into the new camera system rumors, which I’ll link in the description below the like button, but If none of that means anything to you, or it does and you just don’t care, then go ahead and grab an iPhone 13 or Pro now. If it means everything to you… well, then you might want to wait for the 14 Pro.

Chipsets

The A15 in the iPhone 13, and the extra, 5 core GPU version in the iPhone 13 Pro, are still a couple of generations ahead of everyone else on the planet. Qualcomm has some ex-Apple engineers that might help them out longer term. Google has the currently very Exinos-y Tensor that, if they stick with it, will get better and better every year. But for right now, Apple could cram the A15, never mind into the next SE, but the next next SE, and it’d still be world class.

Of course, the A16 coming with the iPhone 14 will be even better. The A15 is fabricated, or fabbed, on TSMC’s second generation 5 nanometer process. But A16… that should be on their next-generation 4 or 3 nanometer process. Which means even better performance with even better efficiency. How much of each will depend entirely on how Apple spends and saves that new transistor budget. But if they go heavy on the efficiency, especially on the GPU side, then it could be real good news for hardcore iPhone gamers, given the tiny thermal envelope of even the non-minis. Likewise, the Neural Engines could see an extra boost thanks to ARMv9 matrix multiplication improvements. Which’ll be great for anything Machine Learning related.

So, if you love Apple chips even more than you love Pringles or… I dunno… Doritos, well… you probably buy every new iPhone every new year anyway. But this iPhone 14 year could be something extra special. Otherwise, again, the iPhone 13 is going to be better than everything else on the market for good while still. So buy at will.

Radios

The iPhone 13 has Qualcomm’s X60 5G cellular modem, which is slightly more efficient than the previous X55. Thank goodness. And battery life. Also, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0, and a U1 ultra-wide-band spatial positioning chip.

The iPhone 14 should have Qualcomm’s X65 5G modem, which will be even slightly more efficient again. Maybe Wi-Fi 6E, which includes 6GHz capabilities. But Apple, who usually jumps on new wireless standards faster than JJ Abrams on beloved sci-fi franchises, has been uncharacteristically slow about going to 6E. So, at this point, I’ll believe it when we see it.

Bluetooth isn’t getting much better in general these days, but there are fresh rumors about Apple super-setting it again for lossless audio on AirPods. Even if it makes Nilay’s head explode. Or maybe specifically TO make it explode? And there’s always a chance they’ll go from U1 to U2, even if nobody could take all the potential jokes they’d incur on that. Nobody.

So, if you’re super into radio nerdery and have the towers and routers and everything else ready and waiting to actually get any benefit from the newer modems, it’s worth waiting to get that benefit. If not, most people won’t see much if any real difference for another generation or few.

Biometrics

When it comes to Biometrics, the iPhone 13 is Face ID-only, like the iPhones 12, 11, XS, and X before it. There have been persistent reports about Apple testing in-display acoustic or ultrasonic finger print readers, and they’ve even shipped power-button Touch ID on the iPad Air and iPad mini… but common case designs often cover the power buttons on iPhones, and there’s still nothing to suggest in-display is imminent.

So… despite us now entering year 3 of the world ending, many places masking up and locking down again, and Apple Watch being the only workable workaround for the current version of Face ID being less authentication and more frustration, it’s even odds as to how or even if Apple will address any of it with the iPhone 14. I mean, unless they figure out a form of facial geometry scanning that can get sufficient data points to guarantee security without having to include the nose or mouth…

But at this point, I’m only going to expect that when I see it. Or unlock with it. Whatever!

Lightning

Apple replaced FireWire with the 30-pin Dock Connector in 2003 only to kill it for the much better 8-pin Lightning Connector in 2012, just under 10 years later. September of 2022 will mark exactly 10 years for Lightning, so a lot of people are hoping Apple’s about ready to repeat history — Kill Lightning and replace it with something much better again on the iPhone 14. But what exactly?

One possibility is Lightning 2. Same plug that fits millions of existing iPhone accessories, nowhere near the complexity of USB-C, but still with much faster charging and data transfer speeds. The EU would hate it, but it’s be seamless for the vast majority of actual mainstream iPhone users. And their CarPlay systems.

Another possibility is USB-C. Same plug as the Mac and now, most iPads, never mind almost every other modern gadget not made by Apple. And, yeah, USB-C isn’t getting any younger either, and speeds and power delivery potentials are still a laughing crying mess boomer emoji of a mess, but it kicks the connector can down the road for another half decade at least. And if Apple can somehow cram a Thunderbolt lane and controller into A16, every Pro trying to pull 4K ProRes off their iPhone might just have reason to celebrate, never mind 8K ProRes if that turns out to be true.

Then there’s wireless. Because of all the persistent rumors around Apple deleting all the ports on an upcoming iPhone, or all upcoming iPhones, in the near future. Sure, that future is always coming but never quite arriving, but it’s probably going to happen one day. And, according to some more recent reports, Apple’s already testing a new, ultra-fast wireless connection for the Watch, which lost its diagnostic port last year.

But there’s plenty a slip twixt a leak and a ship, so this is also all just stuff I’d never base a buying decision on at this point. Like, pretty much fanfic. So, I mean, if you’re desperate for something faster than Lightning, which is still stuck at USB 2 point nothing speeds, it might be worth waiting. But if you’re paranoid that Apple might take away your hardline, then you might want to buy now.