Surprising MacBook Pro Upgrade, iPhone 12 Problems, Secret iPhone Feature Revealed


Taking a look back at another week of news and headlines from Cupertino, this week’s Apple Loop includes a pair of problems for the iPhone 12, the iPhone 13 camera leaks, dangerous iOS vulnerability exposed, new MacBook Pro design, Apple switching on a hidden iPhone feature, lower Apple Store commissions for small businesses, Amazon’s Mac plans, and Product (Red) looks to support the global COVID-19 response.

Apple Loop is here to remind you of a few of the very many discussions that have happened around Apple over the last seven days (and you can read my weekly digest of Android news here on Forbes).

iPhone 12 Problems Hitting Users

There’s a double whammy of problems on the iPhone 12 this week. First up is the battery, specifically the battery drain while in ‘stand by’. Users are reporting far higher battery drain than would be expected, and with the relatively smaller batteries on the iPhone this is not something that can easily be ignored. Forbes’ Gordon Kelly:

“Users are reporting that battery drain can be so high that an iPhone 12 Pro can lose 50% charge overnight while an iPhone 12 Mini can discharge completely. More commonly, affected users see a 20-30% drop overnight. So far attempts to isolate the problem have come up short, with users disabling mobile data, GPS, WiFi, push email and even factory resetting their phones without success.”

Users are also reporting problems with reception, both on 4G LTE and 5G. The issue is one that appears to be a known issue, with Verizon’s executive relations team acknowledging as much to one Reddit commentor. Michael Potuck reports:

“The iPhone 12 lineup has been in the wild for a little over a month and is the first generation of Apple’s smartphones to come with 5G support. But there seems to be a notable issue with the iPhone 12 dropping service unexpectedly (both 5G and LTE) and users are seeing it happen most when driving or traveling.”

More at 9to5Mac.

Apple’s Origami iPhone Camera Leaks

With the camera being one of the key points of differentiation that manufacturers like to use, the big year-on-year changes can always be seen in this area. The iPhone 13 will be no different, and the latest leaks promise some interesting updates. Tom Pritchard reports:

“…Apple is getting ready to include a “folded” periscope camera in the iPhone 13. That means we could well see an explosion in the quality of zoomed photos from now on. The rumor comes from sources speaking to Korean site ETNews. Apparently Apple is now looking for suppliers of “folded cameras” to boost the power of its existing optical zoom lenses.”

More at Tom’s Guide.

Dangerous iPhone Security Vulnerability Has Been Patched

Ian Beer, a member of Google’s Project Zero team, has demonstrated a security attack that could open up an iPhone located within a short distance of the attacker. The vulnerability has been patched by Apple. Forbes Thomas Brewster:

“[Beer] said that prior to Apple patching the weaknesses, the attacks were possible using a Raspberry Pi and two WiFi adaptors, all costing under $100. In a video to demonstrate the attack, Beer hacked an iPhone 11 Pro in another room, stealing the most recently-taken photo on the device. The “implant” he created would also have access to the user’s personal data, including all emails, photos, messages, iCloud Keychain and more.”

Read more here on Forbes, with more details on Beer’s blog.

Wait Until 2021 For The New MacBook

Unless you have an absolutely pressing need to buy one of the new ARM-powered MacBooks, you might want to wait until next year’s update. Not only will it allow Apple’s engineers to improve the software and address any hardware issues that arise in the meantime, but the latest display technology is expected to be fitted to a new design of Mac laptops. I took a look at the options earlier this week:

“Building on his previous reports, noted Apple analyst Ming Chi-Kuo lays out a stronger case for Apple switching to mini-LED displays in the MacBook hardware next year. With Apple’s suppliers gearing up for a massive switch in production, it’s clear that the LED panels offering improved colors, higher contract, and better brightness, are on the way.”

Read more here on Forbes.

The iPhone’s Hidden Feature Is Revealed

Tucked inside the update of iOS to 14.2 was a new feature for FaceTime. iPhones reaching back to the iPhone 8 are now able to use FaceTime with 1080p resolution. The iPhone 12 family gains this new super-power when on Wi-Fi or 5G, with older handsets switching to the higher resolution when they are on a Wi-Fi network. Michael Potuck reports:

“With the latest public release, iPhone 8 and later have gained support for 1080p FaceTime HD video calls on Wi-Fi and for iPhone 12, on 5G and Wi-Fi… Apple didn’t detail the upgrade in resolution for FaceTime calls that has arrived for iPhones all the way back to iPhone 8. However, it looks like the support came with the public release of iOS 14.2”

More at 9to5Mac.

Apply Now For Apple Store’s Lower Commission

The Apple Store is now accepting applications for its ‘Small Business Program’. This will allow smaller developers to access a lower rate commission rate of 15 percent, starting from January 1st 2021, although applications need to be in by December 18th. Dan Moren reports:

“Eligible businesses—those that have made less than $1 million in 2020—can apply for a reduced commission of 15 percent in 2021. If they cross that line, they will go back up to 30 percent for the remainder of the year and the following year; businesses whose proceeds drop below $1 million in a calendar year can reapply for the subsequent year.:

More at Six Colors.

Amazon’s Cloud Of Macs

In a big win for Apple’s relationship with developers, Amazon’s AWS service will now offer Mac EC2 instances, allowing developers to ‘rent’ Mac hardware in the cloud. Larry Dignan has more details:

“AWS’s blog walks through the Mac instances on-demand detail, but the most important takeaway is this: “EC2 Mac instances with the Apple M1 chip are already in the works and planned for 2021.” According to AWS, the EC2 Mac instances are built on Mac Mini devices and can be used to create apps for Apple devices ranging from iPhone and iPad to Mac and Apple Watch.”

More at ZDNet.

And Finally…

Apple has announced a change to its Product (Red) program. The partnership between Apple and (Red) has seen nearly $250 million donated to fund treatment programs around HIV and AIDS. From now till June 2021, the donations will go towards pandemic relief efforts – which in turn will allow HIV/AIDS programs to continue operating. From Apple’s announcement:

“For 14 years, our partnership with (RED) has led to almost $250 million in donations to fund HIV/AIDS treatment programs. Now through June 30, Apple is working with (RED) to redirect 100 percent of eligible proceeds from (PRODUCT)RED purchases to the Global Fund’s COVID‑19 Response. This will provide critical support to health systems most threatened by the outbreak and, in turn, help preserve lifesaving HIV/AIDS programs in sub-Saharan Africa.”

Read the full announcement at the Product (Red) page.

Apple Loop brings you seven days worth of highlights every weekend here on Forbes. Don’t forget to follow me so you don’t miss any coverage in the future. Last week’s Apple Loop can be read here, or this week’s edition of Loop’s sister column, Android Circuit, is also available on Forbes.

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