Apple Loop: Magical iPhone 8 Leaks, Apple Blocks Samsung, Major MacBook Pro Problems – Forbes

Taking a look back at another week of news from Cupertino, this week’s Apple Loop includes a magical wireless charging solution for the iPhone 8, a review of the iPhone 7 Plus, the unique MacBook Pro battery solution, the MacBook Pro’s bad week, the hidden David Bowie tribute in iOS, ‘Mac and PC’ ten years later, Samsung Pay not arriving on iOS, and a musical use for the Touch Bar.

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

Charging The iPhone 8 From A Distance

I’ve talked before about the magic of wireless charging on smartphones, and the expectation that Apple would add some form of it to the iPhone in some form. The latest rumors around the iPhone 8 suggest that a form of wireless charging will be used – not the Qi style induction charging at close proximity, but wireless charging from a distance of up to 15 feet. Yoni Heisler reports for BGR:

As for the technology itself, it’s far more advanced than most wireless charging implementations you may already be familiar with. Specifically, Energous has come up with a way for a smartphone to charge wirelessly from a distance of 15 feet away. As we detailed just last month, users need only to position a base station in their home whereupon a tiny chip in a mobile device can connect to it and soak up power through the air. Without question, the ability to charge an iPhone from across the room would be a huge game-changer.

More at BGR.

iPhone Case Review, Zens Wireless Charger (image: Ewan Spence)

Wireless Charging The iPhone 6S  (image: Ewan Spence)

Reviewing the iPhone 7 Plus

Apple’s phablet sized iPhone 7 Plus proved to be a popular handset when it was launched, experiencing notable stock shortages as demand rose. For many the larger handset is the better handset, including Damien McFerran. He’s reviewed the oversized handset for Know Your Mobile:

Apple knows what its users like, so it says, and it knows how to give it to them. This is why it is the biggest tech brand in the world. The split in features between the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, however, is only getting bigger. I mean, save for size, I cannot think of a good reason not to get the Plus over the standard model. Case in point: for the first time ever, shipments of the iPhone 7 Plus model have out-paced the standard iPhone 7 model.

This is significant because it not only shows a maturation inside Apple’s traditional user base, they’re warming to the idea of larger phones, but it also shines a light on just how important consumers see the cameras on their phones. Apple says the iPhone 7 Plus is the best camera it has ever created.

You can read the full review here.

The Hidden Solution To The MacBook Pro Battery

What are you going to do about the ‘time remaining’ battery indicator in macOS when it shows far less than the advertised ‘over ten hours’ on your laptop? For Apple, the answer is to take out the long-standing feature because of the variable demands the processor makes on the battery in the new hardware. Sean O’Kane reports for The Verge:

Apple promises a ceiling of about 10 hours of use with the new laptops, but many reviewers — including our own — had a hard time replicating that performance. Verge editor Jake Kastrenakes had so much trouble getting the 13-inch version to regularly eclipse six hours of battery life that Apple sent another MacBook Pro in hopes that there was an issue with the first unit. There wasn’t.

Apple developer Marco Arment has a strong viewpoint on the utility of ‘time remaining’, and I get the feeling that he (and others) would rather Apple worked out a solution to address and fix the issue,r anther than remove the problem from sight:

Having used Apple laptops for over a decade, I’ve always found the time-remaining estimate to also be a good indicator of how much power I’m burning with my current activities so I can “budget” my battery usage when I’m going to need it.

At the start of a long flight, for instance, I can check the time estimate, and if it only says I have 2 hours left at 90%, I know something’s burning a ton of power and I can go do something about that. A percentage only tells you the current state, not the rate of change — it would take much longer to notice an unexpected power drain from the percentage alone.

Macbook, March 2015 (image: Apple PR)

Macbook, March 2015 (image: Apple PR)

The MacBook Pro’s Bad Week

The new MacBook Pro has a lot going for it. It’s selling in huge quantities, it has introduced a new paradigm for keyboard input with the Touch Bar and its tight integration with Apple’s cloud services ties it closely to your iPhone or iPad. But this week has seen OS updates, the aforementioned battery issues, and a rival working out how to attack the flagship laptop. It’s not been great:

This year’s MacBook Pro has not had an easy ride, but then why should one of the fastest selling laptops from one of the biggest hardware manufacturers expect to be waved through on past glories? On the flip side of that argument is an expected element of tall poppy syndrome. Apple is too big in general and the MacBook Pro a key machine in particular for there not to be dissenting voices.

The negative points around the laptop may be building but the biggest feature should not be ignored. Not only does it continue to sell, but it is continuing to sell well in significant numbers. The issues brought into focus this week will not cause sales to fall off a cliff, they should be seen as early warning signs that need to be addressed in future models. The MacBook Pro is having a hard time, but its status demands that it receives more attention.

More of my thoughts on the MacBook Pro’s worrisome week here on Forbes.

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