Categories
Uncategorized

Truly Wireless ‘AirPower’ — Real or Fake?

Tech giant Xiaomi just click-baited the whole entire internet — again! — this time with their latest, greatest render-ware… ever — true wireless charging. No cables. No pads. No nothing. Just ubiquitous, ambient power, constantly beamed into all of our devices.

But here’s the billion dollar, take all my money now, question — is it real… or just real fake?

Our phones used to need a cable just to make a call. Ask your grandparents. Then they went cordless. We used to have to plug in to use the internet. Ask your parents. Then we got Wi-Fi and cellular. Not too long ago, we needed a power adapter to charge. Now we have inductive pads, like MagSafe. And, soon, maybe… one day… eventually…. truly wireless charging. Power just… beamed straight through the air.

A lot of companies have been working on this for a long time.

Rumor had it Apple was considering short-range truly wireless charging for the iPhone X. A base-station like the old AirPort Extreme or HomePod, but instead of Wi-Fi or computational audio, it would just… radiate power. You’d leave it on your desk or bedside table or kitchen island, put your iPhone down somewhere in its vicinity, and it would just… charge. You could prioritize which of several devices you wanted to charge first, and to how much, before it would start shifting the power around.

But what Xiaomi is teasing — and let’s be 100% crystal clear, teasing is all it is right now, just a complete tech thirst trap — what Xiaomi is teasing is a huge escalation over short distance truly wireless charging. It’s room filling. Now, if you’re thinking there’s just gotta be a whole host of problems with that, you’re doing the kind of thinking that’s right. And more on that in a charging hot minute.

But what the concept renders show is a base station the size of a… of a beer fridge, with dozens of antennas, beam forming mmWave-like high band frequency transmissions at our phones and similar devices, locked on to a U1 or similar spatial positioning beacon, so as we walk around using them, texting, gaming, browsing, watching my YouTube videos the second they drop because you’re a super hero who hit that subscribe button and bell, and I appreciate you!

Instead of the battery level draining down… it’s charging up.

Which is just… the beautiful dream. Like, sci-fi level cool. The way every gadget works in every movie, never running out of power, not unless and until it becomes critical to the plot.

Now, there are problems with all of this, of course. Beyond simply that it’s not at all a real product yet, just a bunch of medium effort computer graphics. And even when and if it starts to ship, it’s going to be way less science fiction and way more science fact — way less JARVIS and way more Siri — for generations at least.

And even though all of these radio waves have been around us humans for a long time already, and the chances of them being dangerous — like setting our cats or crotches on fire — are about the same as the chances of them giving us super powers, like Wanda or Captain Marvel style super powers, are just wicked low. Not that that’ll be of any comfort to the cable news and Facebook fed conspiracy prone who don’t believe in the pandemic but somehow at the same time believe 5G caused the pandemic… that they don’t believe in.

But fundamental problems like how many base stations will you need per house, per room even? Xiaomi says they can charge through obstacles… but mmWave is currently blocked, like utterly and completely blocked by… leaves… even rain. So, are they planning on ricocheting beams off multiple base stations or objects like they’re filled with tiny Dude Perfects or something?

What kind of heat will they generate in the device? What kind of power draw will the base stations require? How fast will the technology mature? Never mind the devices, how often will we need to upgrade the base stations, and what will that cost? To buy? To lease? More than a $20 USB-C wall adapter, wanna bet? Let me know what you think in the comments.

Also, Xiaomi is talking about providing 5 watts of power… when and if this concept ever materializes into a reality. That’s what the rinky-dinky OG iPhone charger provided, the one everyone complained about being too rinky-dinky for years. It’s why companies like Xiaomi started putting their chargers on Hulk serum, even breaking compatibility for proprietary plugs, and breaking their batteries up into multiple cells so they could charge them in parallel. Basically, putting speed ahead of every other concern, even overall battery capacity and long term battery health.

Well, every concern but convenience. Because, at the same time we were complaining about wired charging speeds, we were also complaining about the lack of inductive chargers that were… yes, way less speedy.

AC plug on the back end, coils in a pad on a front end that transfer power to the coils in our phones in other end, only nowhere nearly as efficiently. Starting us all the way back down at 5 watts. Only to jump that back up with even more power hungry proprietary chargers to pump out even more speed, and heat.

Now, one day, truly wireless, for the ultimate in convenience but – just the opposite of that in terms of efficiency. Starting, say it with me, right back at the bottom with 5 watts.

But don’t let me reality punch you in your Tony Stark spot, because I’m also ludicrously excited about all of this.

Even beyond the rumors back in 2017, this is clearly where Apple has been headed for years. For years. First with inductive charging in the iPhone 8, and the ill-fated attempt at an AirPower charging pad, the one hindered and ultimately canceled by Apple’s desire to let you charge any device, including the non-standard Apple Watch, in any arbitrary place on the pad.

But they’ve been pressing on with other versions, introducing MagSafe with the iPhone 12, and now they’re rumored to be considering at least one portless model for the Phone 13. I just did a whole video on that, link in the description.

And that’ll start by leaning on MagSafe, sure, but the endgame just has to be a true AirPower system, no Mag or Safe needed. For the iPhone, which pretty much everyone is fine dropping down on or even better, near, a power source every so often to top it up, but for the Apple Watch, which most people want to just keep charged for much longer, and especially for future products like Apple Glasses, which will have the tiniest of batteries but also our least amount of tolerance for having to take them off and charge them.

Now, remember, the grand dream with inductive charging was going to be Qi embedded in every table at every restaurant and coffee shop, in bus, train, plane, and ride-share. Just… everywhere. Ubiquitous power for everyone. And, even 2020, the AirPower of years aside, that’s still not even come close, not close, to materializing.

So, while this Xiaomi render is just a render, if we look out over the next 100 years, providing we don’t conspiracy theory ourselves into extinction, if we look out over the next 100 years? Certainly. 50 years? Almost certainly. 25 years? I bet. 10 years. I think so. 5 years? Maybe?

But at some point in the near-ish future, I think it’s safe to say our power cords will go the way our telephone cables did, our internet cables, our audio cables, and we’ll just have mostly efficient, highly convenient truly wireless charging in our homes and offices and schools and malls, and then, just… everywhere.

With Xiaomi and probably Samsung, even Google, prototyping it, experimenting with it right out in the open, and Apple doing what Apple does, especially after what happened with the original AirPower — keeping it a secret project prototyped and experimented with strictly internally, until they’re ready to announce a commercialized, mainstream version that’s ready to ship that fall, with the next iPhone. And Apple Glasses.

Categories
Uncategorized

Apple Just Made HOW MUCH Money?! ($AAPL Q1 2021)

$111.4 billion. Yeah. Apple, the company that every market manipulator and pocketed click baiter loves to cast as doomed, so very legion of doomed, perpetually, flailing, failing, and sure to go under… just any product now… regardless of how those products are actually performing — just posted their Holiday quarter results and even now — in the midst of peak 2020-21, the Cyberpunk on last gen consoles of years, they crushed…

And you won’t believe how hard.

iPhone

The iPhone was up 17%. Apple sold 65.6 billion dollars of them. Now, it’s important to remember that the iPhone shipped later than usual last fall, so instead of the initial surge being in the previous quarter, all of it was in this quarter. Just all the surge.

Same with all the new M1 Macs, but more on those in a scorching hot minute.

Prices on the base models were up, due to more expensive components like OLED and 5G modems, but the mix was also high, which means the people who bought into the iPhone 12 almost immediately, often bought into the more expensive models like the 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max.

Which, to me, just highlights how people keep insisting on reading the market wrong. Like I said in my launch-day review — it’s not that everyone is looking and saying, I can save a couple hundred bucks by not going Pro. It’s that they’re increasingly looking and saying, I can spend a couple hundred bucks and get the Pro.

It’s not that everyone wants the lowest dollar price. Increasingly, more people want what they feel is the best value priced package per dollar. And that includes not only what it can do, but how long it will last doing it. How long they get updates, even how high the resale prices sustain. And yeah, still the cachet.

Which is why, I think, switchers were up as well, meaning more people coming to the iPhone from Android, and upgraders were way up, meaning way more people going from an older iPhone to an iPhone 12.

Tim Cook was also still bullish because, despite there now being over a billion iPhones in our pockets, y’all, globally there are still more people without iPhones than with. And he’s is looking at them. Looking at you maybe. And thinks he can still get way more of the market, especially in places like India.

And what’s especially fascinating here is that Apple built themselves into an iPhone company. But then they used the iPhone to build up everything else. So, when the iPhone isn’t as strong, everything else picks up the slack. But when everything is strong, they force multiply each other.

Services

Services were up 24%, to 15.8 billion dollars. Driven by record performances in App Store, Music, and Cloud, among others. When you include everything the App Store gets a cut of, Apple hit 620 million paid subscribers this quarter. Which… given how many of us are spending our time in lockdown, just makes the kind of sense that does.

In addition to the 1 billion iPhones, Apple has almost 1.7 billion devices total in active use, and that’s just a huge and still growing base to build services on. Like I said, a platform to build another platform or several on.

It’s also why, even though Apple’s margins haven’t really changed much since the Steve Jobs era, they’re at the high end right now. First, the mix towards the higher end products I just mentioned, but also more people getting in on more Apple services. My guess is Apple’s hardware margins continue to get driven down by Apple continuing to invest in more expensive components, but services margins just more than make up for that — allowing Apple to continue to make those hardware investments without eating into ancillary product profits or simply running on empty like some other companies do.

Apple retail hit also records, which given how many stores had to be closed or massively constrained is beyond impressive. Much of the business there shifted to online, but the logistical genius of Diedre O’Brien and crew in staying multiple steps ahead and handling everything from pick ups to support is… or will be… the stuff of legends. Even AppleCare was up during all… this. Which is amazing.

iPad

The iPad was up a whopping 41%, to 8.4 billion dollars, driven by the ongoing work-and-school-from-home reality so many have been facing for so long now. Also, the new iPad Air and entry-level iPad updates were compelling. And, like I said, while I think a lot of people who cover Apple still fail to realize the difference between cost and value, consumers are continuing to understand that better and better.

But what’s really remarkable is that around half the people buying iPads were first time iPad buyers as well, despite the tablet market essentially continuing to be an iPad market. And I think that goes back to work-from-home, but also to how badly most competitors continue to execute on tablets, especially in terms of software and ecosystem integration.

Apple Watch and AirPods

Apple frustratingly lumps Watch, AirPods, HomePods, and an all the extras into the same category so competitors can’t easily see how well any one of them is doing at any given time. But, taken together, they were up 30%, to 13 billion dollars.

A ludicrous 75% of Apple Watch customers were first time Watch buyers. I say ludicrous, because like the iPad, the Apple Watch essentially owns its market. But, that market is like the opposite of the phone market right now. Not that many people have smart watches, and so it’s just wide open, with tons of room to run. Especially with products like the lower priced but feature packed Apple Watch SE coming into the mix. And I wonder if Apple’s going to double-down-as-in-price-down on that this year to get even more people into the Watch, and then services like Fitness+.

AirPods continued to sell well, as did HomePod mini at launch, and while everyone was concerned about Lisa Jackson getting safely off the roof at Apple Park — she did! — I’m still concerned about Bob Borchers and team escaping that bottled house of Kandor in the Theater lobby. Hit intercom if you need help, Bob!

Mac

The Mac was up 21%, to 8.7 billion dollars, which doesn’t take a Mentat to figure had a lot to do with the release of M1, Apple’s first custom silicon for the MacBook Air, entry-level MacBook Pro, and new base model silver Mac mini.

Around half the people buying Macs were first-time Mac buyers, and since Apple still has only a tiny, tiny share of the PC market, there’s just tons and tons of room for more growth there as well. Especially as the next set of Apple Silicon Macs start coming out, the higher end Pros and iMacs, and over the next few generations of all of them.

In other words, legacy PC users, Apple thinks the combinations of industry leading performance, experience, and battery life are going to prove just way, way, way too compelling for you to ignore.

Categories
Uncategorized

How Apple Could Win AAA Gaming — M1 ATV + X1 VR

Apple doesn’t get gaming. That’s what every lazy pundit with a platform laments. But Apple absolutely gets gaming. To the tune of billions and billions of dollars in App Store revenue each quarter. They just get that… Candy Crush just crushes… and casual gaming currently offers the biggest return in the business.

But what if that was about to change? What if Apple is finally, finally getting ready to just rock with hard core gaming the way they did TV streaming back in ought 19? Well… then…

Ok, so, we’ve all heard the rumors about the next-generation Apple TV. That there’s been an A12X or A12Z — the current Pad Pro chip — version just sitting on the back burner for over a year already. An incremental update that’ll better composite HDR video and better support upcoming Apple Arcade games, and… not much else.

But also, that there just might be another, even more advanced next-generation Apple TV waiting in the wings. On whose heart beats with an A14X — something closer akin to brand new Mac M1 chip — or an even more powerful system-on-a-chip. One that comes packaged with an Apple-designed game controller. And one that may also just come with full-on triple-A game studio support. Maybe even some game studios acquired by Apple. Just gobbled up like the other consoles have been doing.

And I know, I know, fanfic. I feel that so much right now, but just freaking stay with me for a minute.

We’ve also all heard the rumors about Apple’s upcoming VR headset. Now, Apple — supposedly — already flirted with VR gaming a few years ago. Prepping a prototype under the auspices of Dan Riccio, then head of hardware. Even going so far as to get Valve and Steam involved — the company that famously powers the HTC Vive and their own Index VR systems. They were working on a headset that connected wirelessly to an external compute engine. A box. But Jony Ive, who was still chief design officer back then, said nope. Hard British nope. Not a box. Not on my watch. Just nope. So, the plan was scrapped and the whole Valve and Steam thing… fizzled out along with it.

But just this week came word that Dan Riccio was leaving the top hardware spot to focus on a new, special project at Apple. This just days after reports that Apple was focusing on a new, improved VR headset that was just a headset. No box. Not at all. Coming as soon as next year. High end, expensive, with an onboard chipset that might just be more powerful than the M-Series Apple’s just transplanted into the Mac lineup. And that it’ll be built around the content pillars of communication, entertainment, an — you better believe — gaming.

So, two sets of rumors. A hardcore Apple TV and a breakthrough VR headset. Two sets of plans. A hardcore Apple TV and a breakthrough VR headset. Am I getting to you yet?

What if these aren’t two entirely separate rumors or plans? What if they’re just parts of the same secret master plan. The plan, by Apple, to win hardcore gaming?

Or, you know, to just finally show up and start playing.

We get the first hints of it later this year with the new Apple TV. It’s the first device. The primer. The developer platform. Similar to how Apple has been using iPhones and iPads for AR. A new Apple TV meant to kickoff a new, higher-end Apple Arcade service. With a new focus on triple A gaming to go with it. To round out Arcade and make the Apple One bundle just that much more valuable.

Then, of course, it also comes to the iPhone, the iPad, and the Mac. Because we’ve got this new unified silicon architecture that can finally run the stuffing out of this.. stuff… across all of Apple’s platforms.

And then, sometime next year, we get the VR headset, just the most extra, ultimate, premium, first-in-class way to experience triple A-as-in-Apple Arcade. As well as TV+ and FaceTime theater, or whatever rounds-out the minimal delightful product spec.

And then that’s it, we’re second star on the right, straight ahead to the bolder, brighter, better future of Apple gaming for everyone.

But, yeah, like I said. I know. I know. There are… just so many problems. So many issues that’ll put all this expectational debt I’ve been accruing just straight into karma receivership.

First, Apple has shown not a Pippen of interest in hard core gaming thus far. Sure, there are hard core gamers at every level within Apple, including the highest levels, but none of that has manifested or materialized in terms of actual focus on the platform, especially, historically, hysterically, the Mac.

Second, even with something more powerful than the current M-series chipsets, Apple hasn’t done anything even close to approaching the kind of graphical power we’re seeing from AMD in the Playstation 5 and Xbox Series X, much less from Big Navi and Nvidia’s Ampere on the PC. Now, M1 pulls… what, up to 15 watts, and those hellicarrier graphics cards, over 300 watts, so there’s just tons and tons of room for Apple to amp up the core count and voltage. But until we see it, there’s absolutely no reason to believe it.

Third, Apple had the opportunity last year to erase just a huge portion of the gaming gap on their platforms almost overnight… simply by embracing the streaming services from Microsoft, Google, Sony, Amazon, and others. You know, the way they padded out the value of both the Apple TV and the TV app with the streaming services from Netflix, Disney, Paramount, Amazon, and others.

Never once demanding those video streaming services list and rate all their titles separately in iTunes or forcing them go stream through Safari. Like…. For some unfathomable-to-me reason they’re currently forcing the game streaming services to do.

Apparently not realizing or simply not caring that a gaming device with only Apple Arcade and the App Store would be about as valuable to customers as an Apple TV with only TV+ iTunes.

But, if Apple shows that interest, and has hardware that’s, never mind Playstation or Xbox level but just powerful enough, at least with gen 1, and they get over whatever mind killer they currently have about game streaming, they can do what Apple typically does in these situations — position both the next Apple TV and VR headset as the absolute best, most elegant, most secure and privacy-centric way to enjoy all of these myriad game streaming experiences. From Apple. From everyone.

If Apple is thinking anywhere even nearly along these lines, if they’re serious at all about expanding devices and services into these general gaming directions, then this could be a way for them to do it. A secret master plan to do it To take on high end gaming.

Categories
Uncategorized

iPhone 12 — Buy Now or Wait for iPhone 13?

The iPhone 12. Mini. Pro. Max. All of them. All new retro chic design, OLED across the line, Dolby Vision, LiDAR, MagSafe, and, of course, 5G. Starting at $729. For the mini.

I’ve been reviewing them all since they first came out, and I’m here to tell you whether you should get one now… or wait for the iPhone 12s… or iPhone 13… or whatever Apple calls the next iPhone this fall.

Design

The iPhone 12 kept the front and back look of the iPhone 11 but brought back the flattened sides of the iPhone 4 and 5. The result is something that looks way cooler but isn’t really as comfortable to hold. With black, white, red, green, and blue on the standard and silver, graphite, gold, and blue on the Pro. And, yeah, there’s still a notch, right up on top. Which I no longer even really notice any more but some people still treat like a splinter in the eye.

The iPhone 13 will keep the same design, though there’ll almost certainly be some variation in the colors. It’ll also reportedly keep the notch, though not quite as wide.

So, if you like the iPhone 12 design, especially the colors, go ahead and grab one now.

But, if you’re hoping to get yellow or orange back, or some other color entirely, like purple, and especially if you want just a tiny bit less notch on top, wait and see what the iPhone 13 has to offer.

Display

The iPhone 12 displays are… just… better than they’ve ever been. OLED and HDR on all of them, so you get high contrast, deep blacks, and bright whites… on all of them. They look just… absolutely terrific. And now with ceramic shield… well, they still scratch, alas… but they’re much less likely to crack.

But, they’re still locked at 60 frames-per-second. No high refresh rate, no adaptive refresh. That’s only rumored to be coming with ProMotion on the next-generation iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max later this fall. I’ve done a video explaining exactly how that’ll work for the iPhone, link in the description.

So, if you don’t care about that, or don’t even know what it is, then get the iPhone 12 now and enjoy.

But, if you’re all… no 120… hurts… Just wait for iPhone 13 Pro.

Cameras

The iPhone 12 got better cameras across the board, but the iPhone 12 Pro got ProRaw and LiDAR for low light autofocus and night mode portraits, and the iPhone 12 Pro Max got an even bigger sensor, longer telephoto, and in-body image stabilization. Also, Deep fusion and Night Mode, across all cameras, likewise Dolby Vision for HDR video. I prefer the smaller iPhone Pro, and kinda all shades of adore the mini, but for me, the cameras on the iPhone 12 Pro Max made it the must-have.

So, if you’re cool using the Max or just cool with the regular cameras, you’ll be cool with the iPhone 12.

If you aren’t willing to go Max but still want maximum cameras, rumor has it the iPhone 13 may have LiDAR and the better sensors just across the line.

5G

The iPhone 12 series are the first iPhones with 5G, integrating Qualcomm’s X55 modem, which supports both frequency range 1, or low and mid band, and frequency range 2, or high band, aka mmWave. Only… 5G itself isn’t well supported.. .at least not yet. I have FR1 for a few blocks where I live, and get about double LTE speeds, but many people don’t have any 5G… or worse — 5G so bad they’re switching back to LTE. That modem is also not very efficient, so it drags the iPhone battery life down, even with Apple’s Smart Data feature trying its best to balance things out.

The iPhone 13 should integrate Qualcomm’s X60 modem, which is smaller and more efficient, allowing for more battery but also placing less pressure on the power system in the first place. Fingers crossed.

So, if 5G isn’t in your area or just isn’t high on your list, or on your list at all, you can get an iPhone 12 and be perfectly happy.

But, if you need 5G and need it to be as battery efficient as possible, there’ll be more 5G in the future and better 5G radios to go with it. Including, maybe, getting WiFi 6E on there as well.

Biometrics

The iPhone 12 has Face ID, same as the iPhone 11. Like, almost exactly the same. Despite supporting unlock on every orientation on the iPad since 2018, it’s still portrait-only on the iPhone. It does keep getting faster and smarter, but in the age of masks, when you’re out and about, it’s just nowhere nearly as convenient as it used to be.

The iPhone 13 is reportedly going to be getting a new version of Touch ID. Not in the power button like the new iPad Air, but under the display. And not instead of Face ID, but in addition to it. As in, the best of both biometric worlds.

So, if Face ID is still fine for you, it’s totally fine to pick up an iPhone 12 right now.

But if you need you some Touch ID back, you’re going to need to wait for the iPhone 13 at the earliest.

Lightning

The iPhone 12 still has the Lightning port. The same one Apple introduced back in 2012, almost three years before USB-C became a reality. And despite literally all the nerds asking them to switch to USB-C, like they’ve done on the Mac and are continuing to do on the iPad, Apple’s steadfastly, stubbornly even, stuck to Lightning on the iPhone.

But there are reports that maybe one model of iPhone 13 will finally delete the Lightning port. Not for USB-C, no. That’d be too well received. But delete it just to watch it die. Like the headphone jack. And just stick with the recently introduced MagSafe connector or a Smart Connector hybrid instead.

So, since the iPhone 12 currently has both Lightning and MagSafe, there’s no reason to wait on that front.

But if you’re at all nervous about Apple talking away your hard line, you may not even want to wait on the iPhone 13 anyway.

And for more on the iPhone, click the playlist above. I’ve got in-depth reviews of the iPhone 12 and a complete breakdown of what to expect with the iPhone 13. Just click the playlist and I’ll see you in the next video.

Categories
Uncategorized

NEW Apple Hardware Boss — and Secret New Project!

Dan Riccio, Apple’s longtime head of hardware is out — but not really. He’s going on to run a new and so far secret project. And John Ternus, the rising star of the engineering division is all in, like at the executive team level.

It’s yet another huge shakeup at the very top of Apple’s leadership chain, something that once seemed eternal but really has been changing and growing almost every year for over a decade now.

But what about this, what does this specific change really mean for the future of Apple hardware like the iPhone, iPad, and upcoming M-series Macs? Well…

Read this rest in my column at iMore!

https://www.imore.com/apples-got-new-hardware-boss-and-new-reality

Categories
Uncategorized

M1 MacBook Air — Buy Now or Wait for M2?

The M1 MacBook Air. The first Apple Silicon Mac, with near MacBook Pro level performance, almost double — double — iPad Air battery life. With no fan… but also no redesign. Starting at $999.

It’s Apple’s most popular Mac, I’ve been reviewing it since it first came out, and I’m going to tell you whether or not you should get it now… or wait for the M2 Air redesign that’s rumored to be coming next.

Design

The M1 MacBook Air got a new heart… but not a new body. More on that incredibly impressive new heart in a hot minute, but it has the same design as the previous Intel MacBook Air. Going back to 2018. And that’s ok. That’s fine. It gave Apple a known thermal envelop to target and it absolutely kept the price down. More on that in a sizzling minute too. And it’s still small, still thin, still light. Just the easiest Mac to cary from work to school or the kitchen to the couch. And still that famous Star Destroyer wedge shape that launched a thousand ultrabooks. And I love it. It’s just not new.

But, new is what’s rumored to be coming with the next generation MacBook Air, likely some time in late 2021 or early 2022. Even smaller, even lighter, maybe as small and light as the now-discontinued 12-inch MacBook nothing. Just once again pushing the envelop — the manila envelop — on ultra portability.

So, if you don’t care about the design, and the current level of small and light is.. just… more than small and light enough, get the M1 Air.

But if you’ve been yearning for something as small and as light as the old 12-inch MacBook, then… wait on the M2.

Display

The M1 MacBook Air did get a boost in the display department. It was already Retina, which means high enough resolution you can’t really see individual pixels, just… clean crisp images and text. Also, TrueTone, so whites never look too yellow or too blue, just proper paper white. But now it’s also P3 wide color gamut, which means reds look richer and greens more vibrant. It can’t get quite as bright as the MacBook Pro, only about 80%, but I’ve found it more than enough in most situations, for most things.

The M2 MacBook Air is rumored to be keeping the same 13.3-inch display, but shrinking the bezels, so there’s less casing around the content. And while there are rumors the MacBook Pro might shift from LCD to mini LED for deeper blacks, higher contrast, and HDR, it’ll probably take even longer for that tech to filter down to the MacBook Air. Like M3 or M4 longer.

So, on display alone there’s no point waiting. If you want a MacBook Air, get it when you need it.

Compute

The M1 MacBook Air has… the M1. The first generation of Apple silicon, based on the same IP and architecture as the A14 Bionic in the iPhone 12. I’ve got a whole explainer up on it so check the link in the description. It’s an ultra-low-power system on a chip, but it’s got just about the best single-core performance in the business. Also, iPad level responsiveness, where everything just feels… utterly instant. No exaggeration, it’s the biggest boost in the history of the Mac. And that you can get it in something as small as the Air — and fanless, which means silent… is just remarkable. It runs native apps better than ever before and lolligager intel apps — especially the ones that lean hard on graphics — surprisingly well. The 18 hours of battery life are mind blowing, but the simple quality of life is game-changing.

M2… will be M2. The second generation of Apple silicon, almost certainly based on the same IP and architecture as the A15 in the iPhone 13 later this year. And that means we’ll probably get similar to the same kind of improvements in speed that we’ve seen over the last few iPhones. In other words, significant but probably not earth shattering, not at this point. Likewise, once Apple nails battery life for a device, they typically hold the line on it and use future efficiency gains to add extra features. So, I’d expect them to keep the same spec, just perform even better with it.

So, if you want the best mobile processor on the market right now, you’ll get all that and more with the M1 MacBook Air.

But, there will always be a next generation, so the longer you wait, the even better you’ll get.

Capacity

One of the coolest parts of the M1 MacBook Air is the unified memory. Just a big pool of 8GB or 16GB slapped right on the chipset and shared between the CPU, GPU, neural engine, and image signal processor. Combined with everything from memory compression to ultra-fast swap — I mean 8GB is still 8GB, but it’s the very best 8GB it can be. Same for 16GB. Especially when it comes to graphics, because embedded graphics is usually far, far more RAM constrained. And bottlenecked. But those are the only options on the Air… and on M1. 8GB or 16GB.

And… M2 probably won’t change that much. At least not for the Air. Same with storage. If you really need more, you’ll really need to wait on the higher end MacBook Pros, which currently go as high as 32 to 64GB and 4 to 8TB..

But, if it’s the MacBook Air you’re after, and the current capacities are enough, you can get the M1 today.

Ports

Back in 2015, Apple started going all-in on USB-C. But it took until 2018 for that to hit the MacBook Air. Since then, we’ve had two USB-C / Thunderbolt 3 ports on our the left. And two is good… even if they’re both, yeah… hey Cap, on your left. Which kind of defeats the whole purpose of being able to charge or connect to either one. Especially now, since Apple has put the Thunderbolt controllers right on the M1, and made them as fast as they possibly can be.

But rumor has it Apple might be bringing back MagSafe, the ancestral MacBook charging system, which snaps on magnetically when you want power and snaps off just as easily anytime anyone trips over the cord. There’s also an off-chance Apple will bring Thunderbolt 4 to the party at some point as well.

So, if you’re all about USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 is plenty fast enough, then the M1 MacBook Air is all you need.

But if you’re willing to wait, MagSafe and maybe TB4, could be yours on the M2.

I’m torn on this one, so let me know what you think in the comments.

Wireless

M1 brought Wi-Fi 6 to the Mac, which… is better than Wi-Fi 5.

There are rumors the M2 might bring Wi-Fi 6E, which adds 6GHz and makes it actually really better. Also maybe, just maybe cellular with 5G. Though that’s still a huge maybe, given how much work there’d need to be on the hardware antennas and software networking efficiency. Also, price. Which is coming right up. Because there’s a reason the cellular iPad costs so much more. A reason spelled Qualcomm.

Personally, I’m more than fine tethering, but if you really want cellular, you may really want to wait. Even if it’s a good long while.

Biometrics

The M1 MacBook Air has Touch ID. That’s Apple’s fingerprint identity scanner. Same as the previous couple of Intel models. Those were based on the Secure Enclave in the T2 co-processor, which was A10 Fusion generation, like the iPhone 7. This is built into the M1, which is A14 generation, like the current iPad Air. And it works great for everything from unlocking to Apple Pay to approving admin escalation. Just way, way faster than typing in a password.

But there’s an off-chance a next generation version, an M2 or M3, will take advantage of the neural engines and offer full-on Face ID instead. Maybe even as well. That’s Apple’s facial geometry identity scanner. It gives you everything Touch ID does, but just by looking at you. No touch needed. And hey, who knows, maybe even with a better webcam built in. Finally. If that’s high on your list as well, drop a like below.

So, if you prefer the idea of Touch ID, then no need to wait. Get the M1 MacBook Air as soon as you need it.

But, if you prefer the idea of Face ID, then you may want to hold out a while and see.

Pricing

The M1 MacBook Air starts at $999, even less with an education discount, which has always been just the minimum magical price for the Air. And sure, $999 still isn’t cheap, but given the performance, the battery life, and the longevity you get from the build quality, it’s a just ton of value. Which is why it’s just the most popular Mac.

An M2 MacBook Pro, though, sounds like it’s not going to replace the M1 so much as slide in on top of it as an even higher performance, more premium option. You know, bigger on the inside. Smaller on the outside? Just a more powerful Air in an even more portable package… for an even higher price.

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

But if money’s no object and you’re just lusting after a higher-end Air, you’ll have to wait on the M2.

And while you’re waiting, check out this playlist, where I take a closer look at the M1 Macs and preview the M2 MacBook Airs coming next. Just click on the playlist and I’ll see you next video.

Categories
Uncategorized

MacBook Pro (2021) — Why Apple’s Hitting CMD-Z

March, 2015. Tim Cook takes the stage to show off the then brand-new 12-inch MacBook. Not Air. Certainly not Pro. Just… MacBook. The first ever Mac to have a USB-C port, the first ever laptop. Just… one USB-C port. A force touch trackpad. And… a butterfly switch keyboard.

Read the rest in my weekly column at iMore!

https://www.imore.com/why-apple-hitting-cmd-z-macbook-pro

Categories
Uncategorized

M2 MacBook Air, but with Face ID & 5G…

New, higher-end 13-inch MacBook Air. Maybe even a 15-inch MacBook Air. SD card slot coming back to the MacBook Pro but TouchBar… well, that’s just gotta go. And… 5G and Face ID for the Mac… but not just yet.

Yeah, Mark Gurman is continuing his mad Bloomberg rumor bombing rampage across just every upcoming product in Apple’s 2021 lineup.

Here are my reactions!

Categories
Uncategorized

Apple’s Vision for AR and VR…

Apple is working on both a super-expensive, barely a consumer-product, VR headset (virtual reality) and a more reasonable, mass-market pair of AR glasses (augmented reality). That’s according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman who’s just been making it rain rumors this week. MacBook, iMac, Mac Pro, iPhone, flippy iPhone, all of it.

Mark says the focus for VR, will be on gaming, entertainment, and communication, but given Apple’s history with hardcore gaming and the complexity of the technologies involved, you gotta ask — will they ever come out? And if they do, will they even be worth buying?

To help answer, I’ve got former VRHeads boss and tech analyst Russell Holly on the line.

Categories
Uncategorized

iPhone 13 — Why It Will NEVER Ship…

Ok. Just so that we’re 100% crystal clear on this — Apple can call the next iPhone… pretty much anything they want. iPhone 12s. iPhone 13. Sure. iPhone… 20. iPhone 20… 21. Why not? iPhone bakers dozen. Nope. Hard nope. iPhone Extreme. Ok. Fine. iPhone… Mother of Dragons. Come at me.

So the only real question here is… what will they call it?

How Apple Names iPhones

Now, you know all those videos, the ones where the voice-over says “before I give you the information you actually clicked for, Ima have to pad this out with a bunch of useless background fill first?” And I usually just yell… Not Today, Satan!?

Well, in this case… yeah… actually…today. Because, before I can get into iPhone 12s vs. iPhone 13… I do have to provide just a little bit of background.

See, the original iPhone was just… the iPhone. But it didn’t have 3G and that turned out to be one of the big limiters Apple wanted to fix with the follow up. So much so, they actually put it in the name of the follow up.

This was back when Macs, even iPods didn’t have numbers. They had descriptors, like MacBook Pro and iPod Video. Look, everyone, now the iPod has video.

So, iPhone 3G… Look, everyone, now the iPhone has 3G.

Then it came time to name the third iPhone, and Apple chose not to do what they’d been doing with Macs and iPods, not just stick the year in parens behind it or add the gen number on tech support docs, but to stick another letter on it. iPhone 3GS… In… I dunno, wink, wink, nudge, nudge homage to the Apple IIGs. 3G for the radio, S for speed. Which… was a lot of weird marketing work, but stay with me, because it’s only going to get weirder.

The next iPhone got lost in a bar, became this… whole thing, Steve Jobs made a joke about it, but Apple also decided to switch up the naming. Remember, this was 2010. If they’d stuck to radio names, we’d have only gotten the iPhone 4G in 2012 and the iPhone 5G in… well… 2020.

So, even though there was never a Mac 4, never an iPod 4, it was a major update, and… the 4th new iPhone. So they called it the iPhone 4.

The next version fixed the antenna, improved the camera and chipset, but not much else. So, Apple decided to add the S again. This time just for Siri.

And, that pattern continued. New design, give it a new number. New internals, just give it an S. iPhone 5, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6s.

It continued… until the next iPhone, which didn’t get a new design or an extra new letter. So, either Apple was fresh out — just fresh out of letters — or they still wanted to push it as an all-new iPhone, and so gave it that next number. That lucky number… 7.

But the pattern break didn’t stop there. Because after that, Apple had the next iPhone ready to go, like… they always do.. but, that year, 2017, they also had the next, next iPhone ready to go as well. The one that was getting the redesign.

Now, Apple could have abandoned the numbers — they abandoned them on the iPad after the iPad 2… and then again after the iPad Air 2… but they obviously didn’t want to. And we’ll get to how exactly that all plays out for this year in a hot minute.

And sure, they could have gone with iPhone 7s… but that special next, next iPhone wasn’t going to be ready just quite on time, so they really, really wanted to push the regular next iPhone in the meantime. And they figured they could best do that by again going with the full on new number. So, iPhone 8 it was.

And for the next, next one. Well, iPhone 9 it wasn’t. Because Apple skipped that number entirely. Much like Microsoft skipped it for Windows. Now, some have conspiritized that in both cases it’s because of nine meaning NO in German, but that’s… about as likely as Nine Nine meaning best comedy of the decade in Brooklyn.

I mean, 4 is the same sound as the character for death in major Chinese dialects, and that didn’t stop Apple back in the day…

But, it would be the 10th anniversary iPhone, so Apple went with… 10. iPhone 10.

But, wrote it X. Because if there’s one thing Apple’s famous for, well… it’s relentlessly mainstreaming computing technology. But if there’s a second thing.. it’s utterly confusing people about just how exactly the X character should be pronounced. Mac OS TEN, but Xcode. iPhone TEN, but the A12 EX processor. Trillion dollar company. Can’t even buy some consistency…

Also S, because just when you thought it was out, Apple pulled it back in… Sorta. See, the fancy modern iPhone TEN was replaced with the iPhone XS. Which is, yeah, pronounced like tennis, not like excess. But the regular old iPhone 8 wasn’t replaced with a regular new iPhone 8s… or even a late, unlamented iPhone 9. No. It was replaced with a slightly less fancy, almost as modern iPhone XR. Where the EX was 10 but the R was… I dunno. Race cars. I give up. Learned Apple nomenclature helplessness.

And I wasn’t alone. The market didn’t appreciate it… like at all.. either. So, Apple didn’t even try to go to the iPhone TEN-EYE. They reverted back to decimals. Hard. And they didn’t just revert — they also reset.

So, the iPhone XR was replaced with the iPhone 11 and the iPhone XS with the iPhone TEN 2. Kidding. With the iPhone 11 Pro, which once again lent on the same kind of marketing descriptors Apple had been using with the Mac and, by then,the iPad as well. Because, when you come down to it, it’s all marketing. That’s the only thing any of this ever is. Just marketing. Just all the way down.

But they didn’t reset fully. Not fully. Because just this last year we didn’t get an iPhone 11s. No, we got another redesign, and another new number. iPhone 12.

And that brings us to now, today, and the next next iPhone. Again. And debates around whether Apple’s going to call it — going to position it — as the iPhone 13 or quote-unquote just the iPhone 12s.

And I say debates plural, because some people believe Apple will honor the superstition and just never name any iPhone 13. Like many buildings just don’t have 13th floors.

Others, that Apple will once again want to use the S to properly set expectations for a phone with the same design but better internals, including a better version of a new radio technology and the introduction of a new biometric fingerprint identity scanner. Just like they did almost a decade ago with the iPhone… 5s.

And I’ve got a whole video explaining how and why Touch ID is coming back, link in the description.

So, iPhone 12s. Or, rather, iPhone 12s, iPhone 12s mini, iPhone 12s Pro, and iPhone 12s Pro Max… which is actually getting more cumbersome than iPhone mother of dragons… I’m just saying.