Taking a look back at another week of news and headlines from Cupertino, this week’s Apple Loop includes the reactions to WWDC, including Apple Vision Pro, MacBook Air, and Mac Pro, the latest iPhone 15 Pro leaks, USB-C speeds for the next iPhone, the dangers of Apple’s new Journal app, and say goodbye to saying duck.
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).
The Vision Of Apple Vision
The big news from WWDC is, of course, the introduction of Apple’s Mixed Reality system and the first headset, the Apple Vision Pro. This features high-definition screens, pass-through video to relay the real world into your eyes, multiple audio and visual sensors, speakers, positional tracking, and more. It’s impressive hardware, but what does Apple want to do with it? Apparently, launch an entirely new subset of computing that it is calling spatial audio.
Marketing aside, what did we see? We saw a carefully crafted ideal that Apple hopes will become the dominant view of a mixed-reality headset. Kyle Orland lays out the pieces:
“…it mainly showed Vision Pro users lounging on a couch and flicking through apps or movies or sitting at a keyboard and working on massive virtual displays… Whether Apple’s device can live up to the vision presented by this carefully crafted presentation is an open question. But the product’s focus highlights just how different this AR headset could be from previous VR headsets—if Apple can get it right.
The Apple Vision Pro handset is one of the most expensive consumer-focused headsets on sale, significantly more than the equivalent from Meta. How does it all fit together? David Pierce has taken a closer look at the hardware details announced by Apple:
“The small bumps you see on the sides of the Vision Pro’s band are where the built-in audio lives. (Spatial audio is one of the big selling points of the device.) Most of its other sensors and cameras are housed just under the front-facing glass; at just the right angle, you can see some of the cameras pointing outwards from the headset. The cheese grater-style vent runs underneath both eyes, presumably to push all the processor’s hot air down onto your cheeks.”
And then we come to the more nuanced and more commercial argument. Apple may have made the best Mixed Reality headset, but what will its impact on society be if Apple’s vision is carried through to the logical conclusion? Paris Mark paints a dystopian picture:
“The goal of these companies is to isolate us so more of our interactions occur through the products and services they offer, instead of just living our lives and actually interacting with people throughout the course of our days instead of apps and chatbots. The Vision Pro lets users further separate themselves from their surroundings and even create “digital personas” for video calls so other people are talking to a digital, abstracted version of themselves instead of seeing the real person.”
Apple Vision Pro, Meet iPhone 15 Pro
The Apple Vision Pro is Apple’s first device to fall under the Spatial Computing title, but it may not be the first to market. The iPhone camera already senses its surroundings to take better pictures. Suppose you join a few more dots together. In that case, there’s an interesting possibility for the iPhone 15 camera… that it will have the capability to take 3D photos in exactly the same style as the Vision Pro. After all, it’s easier to take a phone than a headset with you to the beach.
“With an improved LiDAR scanner expected to arrive with the iPhone 15 Pro, this could be the push Apple needed to deliver this spatial photo and spatial video feature. While I believe current pictures and videos probably look good on the device, I think the company will activate a toggle to capture spatial photos and videos with the upcoming iPhone model.”
The Speed Of The iPhone 15
The leaked specifications of the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro both show that Apple will be using USB-C on their iOS smartphones for the first time, but it looks likely that the faster transfer speeds of USB 3 will be reserved for the more expensive Pro machines. How much of a difference will using USB 2 on the vanilla machines make? The team at USB Makers has crunched the numbers to find out:
“We’ve created a USB speed calculator that allows us to compare the data transfer speeds of different USB devices. We used this calculator to calculate how much slower the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus will be compared to the iPhone 15 Pro and Ultra. On average, across different files sizes and types, we’ve calculated the Pro and Ultra will be over 90% faster.”
Concerns Around The New Journal App
Apple announced a new app for collating and presenting digital memories as part of iOS 17. Designed to curate details from your photos, videos, contacts, and more, it will present you with a look back on your life each day. Which sounds lovely, but Victoria Song has concerns. Can the app be sufficiently tactful enough to understand that not all memories should be packaged up into a jaunty video clip?
“People don’t only take photos of happy things or moments that spark joy. If your camera roll is like mine, it’s a jumble of happy, serene, infuriating, vain, mundane, and melancholy moments. It’s messy because life is messy. And if the Journal app truly takes a page from Apple’s Memories feature, there’s a good chance it’s going to tactlessly ambush you with memories you either don’t want or aren’t ready to see.”
The Bigger, Boring MacBook Air
As expected, Apple announced a 15-inch MacBook Air, its first consumer laptop with a larger display. And as expected, beyond the screen, there was not much difference compared to the MacBook Air in 2022 beyond the ‘supersize me’ tweak. A cynic would think that Apple has changed nothing bar the screen, relying on its supporters being dazzled by the larger screen.:
“Apple’s faithful have been waiting many years for a larger MacBook Air. Now it’s here, but it feels like an afterthought, a product that Apple decided not to launch in 2022 now being shoe-horned into WWDC 2023 to illustrate that Apple hasn’t forgotten about the MacBook while it focused on its quixotic mixed reality quest.”
The Mac Pro’s Windows Audience
Apple also updated the Mac Studio and finally introduced an Apple Silicon-powered Mac Pro. The former offered an experience close to that of a mythical M1-based Mac Pro and satisfied many users. For those needing ultimate power, the M2 Ultra powered Mac Pro is, hopes Apple, the answer. Will it be enough to convince the most demanding users to risk going with Mac rather than playing it safe and staying with Windows?
“The Mac Pro is the nichest of niches. It doesn’t sell in enough numbers to drastically impact Mac sales, and the companies and users who are buying one won’t replace it for several years. But in the PC market where Apple touts the power of its silicon, the company needs the Mac Pro to complete a picture that shows how its Mac lineup can accommodate users from the most basic to the most demanding professional. It needs to satisfy those users who want a Mac but need a PC.”
What the duck? Yes, Autocorrect on the iPhone will finally remember how to swear. That this is a headline out of WWDC speaks more about Apple’s power to decide what is wholesome on your iPhone, rather than a brave new world of customisation:
“The iPhone autocorrect feature has always had its quirks, at times taking a misspelled word and substituting it with what it deems a logical option, but which ends up changing the meaning of a particular phrase or sentence… the “ducking” substitution is a longstanding source of mirth or frustration, depending on how many times one has had to rewrite their own texts or scream at one’s own device.”
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.
Read the full article here