In today's podcast episode, we report on analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who speculates that Apple is working on improvements to the microphone in the iPhone 16 to optimize the Siri experience. There are rumors about a new MacBook Air with an M3 processor that could be released in early 2024, as well as new iPad Pro models and a larger iPad Air. It has also been revealed that Apple has fallen victim to espionage by foreign governments via push notifications.
Interestingly, Apple is planning an invisible Face ID camera under the display for the iPhone 18. Meanwhile, Beeper Mini enables the use of iMessage on Android devices. Apple also appears to be able to circumvent EU regulations on opening its iMessage service. In a strategic decision, Apple is now ordering iPhone 16 batteries from India instead of China. But there are many other topics in the podcast that Lynne and Jens discuss for you.
At this point you will also find all the show notes, sources and comments that we have put together for the individual topics below.
Note: The summaries here were created using ChatGPT, but in our podcast we talk without artificial intelligence. So if you would like background information and good entertainment about the news, then please listen to us!
Kuo: Apple plans to improve iPhone 16 microphone to improve Siri AI experience
- Apple is planning a significant microphone upgrade for the iPhone 16 to improve the AI-enhanced Siri experience, according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.
- The new microphone technology in the iPhone 16 is said to offer a better signal-to-noise ratio specification, which will significantly improve the Siri experience and increase the waterproofing of the microphone.
- This upgrade confirms reports that Apple plans to highlight improved Siri features as a key selling point of the iPhone 16. New Siri features powered by Large Language Models (LLMs) are expected in iOS 18, and Apple reorganized its Siri team in the third quarter of this year to integrate generative AI and LLMs.
Rumor: New MacBook Air with M3 processor coming in early 2024
- Apple plans to introduce a new MacBook Air with M2024 processor in early 3, after already introducing iMac M3 and MacBook Pro with M3, M3 Pro and M3 Max.
- The MacBook Air with M3 is said to be available in two model sizes, 13,6-inch and 15,3-inch, with launch dated from late January to March 2024 by Bloomberg.
- No major design changes are expected, but an improved one is expected GPU (dynamic caching, hardware-accelerated ray tracing and mesh shading), Wi-Fi 6E and support highlighted in the macOS Sonoma 14.3 operating system update for the new hardware.
- Over the course of 2024, Mac mini (M3 and M3 Pro), Mac Studio (M3 Max and M3 Ultra) and Mac Pro (M3 Ultra) will get an upgrade
- M4 processor generation could be presented at WWDC 2025 in June 2025 - always every 1,5 years
Apple will introduce new iPad Pro models and a 2024-inch iPad Air in early 12,9
- Apple plans to introduce new versions of the iPad Air and iPad Pro in early 2024.
- The iPad Air will be offered in an additional, larger size of 12,9 inches, while the new iPad Pro will feature an OLED display. The new MacBook Air is powered by an M3 processor.
- Updates for the iPad mini and the entry-level iPad are also planned, but there is no further information yet. We currently have iPad mini 6th Gen from 2021.
- In fiscal 2023, Apple saw a significant decline in Mac sales to $7,6 billion, down 34% year-over-year, and a decline in iPad sales to $6,4 billion, down of 10% compared to the previous year.
Apple reveals 'push notification spying' by foreign governments
- Apple has confirmed that foreign governments are engaging in “push notification espionage” by demanding both Apple and Google release details of push notifications sent to iPhones and Android smartphones.
- Apple tells 9to5mac: Apple is committed to transparency, and we have long supported efforts to ensure that providers can share as much information as possible with their users. In this case, the government prohibited us from sharing information. Now that this method is public, we are updating our transparency reports to detail these types of requests.
- Senator Ron Wyden, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, received a tip about this practice in the spring of 2022 and has been investigating it since then.
- Apple will now begin publishing data about such requests in its transparency reports after the practice becomes public.
Apple Card: Chase Bank new “ideal partner” according to Mark Gurman
- In the discussion about the new partner for Apple's Apple Card, JP Morgan Chase & Co is mentioned by Apple insider Mark Gurman as a possible candidate to replace Goldman Sachs.
- But not Brazilian Win-Tech Pismo, as Gurman speculated last week.
- JPMorgan Chase & Co has worked with Apple for many years, including as an early Apple Pay partner, and holds Apple's $60 billion in cash.
- Since the Apple Card runs on the Mastercard platform, which is also used by Chase, Apple would not have to switch to Visa or AMEX if it partnered with Chase.
- It is still unclear whether Apple is already in talks with other banks, and the partnership between Apple and Goldman Sachs is expected to continue for another 12 to 15 months.
UPC development: iPhone 18 planned with invisible Face ID camera under the display
- Apple plans to introduce an invisible Face ID camera that will be installed under the display for the iPhone 18 in 2026.
- This development is in collaboration with LG Innotek, which is already working on “Under-Panel Camera” (UPC) technology and has filed several patents for it.
- The biggest challenge with the UPC camera is the loss of light through the display, with around 80% of the light currently being filtered. LG Innotek is developing special “freeform optics” to capture more light and improve image quality, with the goal of achieving approximately 2024% transparency by the end of 40.
- It is expected that UPC technology will only be used in the iPhone 18 at the earliest, as the current prototypes do not yet meet Apple's high requirements.
- This technology could later be integrated into iPads or MacBooks and would improve the design of the devices.
- Technology is used by Samsung in the Galaxy Z Fold 3 (2021), but has not yet become widespread.
Beeper Mini brings iMessage to Android: It really works
- Beeper Mini is a new Android app on the Google Play Store.
- The app enables communication via iMessage with Apple devices.
- Availability: Free seven-day trial period in the Google Play Store.
- Monthly costs after the test phase: 2,19 euros.
- Compatibility: Works on all Android devices version 8.0 or newer.
- Setup process: Simple, requires Google Account and Apple ID.
- Functions: Individual or group chats, sending voice messages, photos, videos and files.
- Messages in iMessage appear as blue bubbles instead of green SMS.
- Send messages directly to Apple servers.
- Developed by Eric Migicovsky, former CEO of Pebble (Pebble was the first commercially successful smartwatch on the market in 2013).
- Beeper Mini is a third-party implementation of iMessage.
- Security features: End-to-end encryption, no viewing of messages, contacts or Apple ID password.
- Future availability of Beeper Mini uncertain.
- Apple plans to add support for RCS chat protocol in 2024.
Apple will be able to avoid EU requirements for opening the iMessage service
- Apple's iMessage is expected to bypass EU regulations and won't have to open up to other services.
- iMessage does not qualify for the EU’s new “Digital Markets Act”.
- In the EU and most other parts of the world, WhatsApp is the dominant messaging platform.
- The “Digital Markets Act” focuses on business use and not general consumers.
- Although iMessage meets the popularity criteria of 45 million monthly active EU users, it does not fall within the scope of the law.
- The EU is currently examining a handful of potential additions to the Digital Markets Act with a deadline of February 2024.
- Compliance with the law would have forced iMessage to enable interoperability with other services.
- There have been recent discussions in the US about iMessage compatibility, and companies have tried to break into the iMessage protocol.
- Apple has promised to switch non-iMessage messages from SMS to RCS in the US.
Apple orders iPhone 16 batteries from India, not China
- Apple wants the batteries for the iPhone 16 series to be made in India, not China.
- The aim is to diversify global supply chains and move them away from China.
- Battery makers such as China's Desay and Taiwan's Simplo Technology have been encouraged to set up new factories in India.
- An Indian minister announced that TDK, a Japanese supplier to Apple, is building a 180-acre facility in Manesar, Haryana, to manufacture battery cells.
- TDK plans to start production in India from 2025.
- Apple has been trying to increase production in Vietnam and India in recent months.
- The iPhone 15 series was manufactured in both India and China.
- Foxconn, Apple's largest supplier, plans to invest more than $1,5 billion in a new manufacturing facility in India.
- India introduced stricter regulations in 2020 for foreign investment from countries with which it shares a border.
- Luxshare, a Chinese rival of Foxconn, did not receive approval to expand in India and instead announced an expansion in Vietnam.
- Sunwoda, a Chinese battery maker, already operates a factory in Uttar Pradesh that supplies batteries for Apple.
- Desay may face obstacles in setting up new facilities in India.
Google launches powerful AI model “Gemini”
- Google announces Gemini, a powerful AI model designed to outperform GPT-4.
- Google claims that Gemini performs better than GPT-30 in 32 of the 4 commonly used academic benchmarks.
- Gemini is a further development of Google's previous AI model, PaLM 2, and is intended to outperform it.
- A specially tailored English version of Gemini is now available in over 170 countries and is used in Google's chatbot Bard, although not in the EU or UK.
- Gemini can handle various types of input, including text, code, images, and even audio.
- Gemini's goal is to create an AI that can solve problems, give advice and answer questions in various areas.
- Gemini will be available in three sizes: Gemini Ultra (for highly complex tasks), Gemini Pro (for a variety of tasks) and Gemini Nano (for tasks on devices like the Google Pixel 8 Pro).
- Gemini Pro, the medium version, is already used in Google Bard.
- Google claims that Gemini on Google's Tensor Processing Units (TPUs) is more scalable and efficient than previous AI models.
- A special programming-focused version of Gemini, AlphaCode 2, was also trained.
- Comment in the article: “So Ultra is GPT-4 level but is not available until next year, and is English only at the moment. Pro is GPT-3.5 level and is available today in Bard. That tells me Google is basically 1 year behind OpenAI at production scale, since ChatGPT with 3.5 launched last year this time, and GPT 4 was being used in Bing by February.”
After iOS 17.2 update, iPhone 13, 14 and 15 support QI2 charging with 15 watts
- With iOS 17.2, support for the new Qi2 charging standard will also be introduced on older iPhones.
- Qi2 is supported for iPhone 13, iPhone 14 and iPhone 15.
- Next-generation Qi2 chargers from Anker (MagGo) will charge the iPhone 13, iPhone 14 and iPhone 15 at a speed of 15 watts.
- Currently, iPhones are limited to a charging speed of 7,5 watts except when using MagSafe chargers.
- Qi2 is based on Apple's MagSafe technology and enables magnetic alignment for optimal positioning when charging.
- Qi2 is compatible with devices that support the older Qi1 standard.
- The Qi2 standard was officially introduced in mid-November.
Ex-Twitter security chief claims he was fired for flouting EU rules
- Alan Rosa, Twitter's former head of security, has filed a lawsuit against X, Elon Musk and consultant Steve Davis.
- Rosa claims he was wrongfully fired because he resisted Musk-led cost-cutting measures that would prevent Twitter from complying with legal requirements.
- The cost cuts would have affected Twitter's ability to comply with requirements from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the European Commission.
- The lawsuit alleges that Musk hired Steve Davis as a consultant and gave him broad authority, which he immediately used to cut products and services necessary to comply with the FTC consent decree.
- Rosa claims he complained to the company's legal department about these actions.
- According to Rosa, he was fired without cause or notice and his severance package was withheld while his conduct as an employee was investigated.
- Before Rosa's firing, Musk had already laid off employees en masse, leading to an immediate lawsuit and the first wave of advertising collapse of the Musk era.
First responders praise iPhone's emergency SOS via satellite, calling it a 'game-changer'
- The iPhone's Emergency SOS via satellite feature, introduced with the iPhone 14, is being praised by first responders.
- According to Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Deputy Director Mike Leum, there have already been "over a dozen" rescues thanks to this feature.
- The feature enables instant notification and two-way communication in emergency situations.
- Steve Goldsworthy, search and rescue technology director for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, calls the feature a "game changer."
- The exact location of the iPhone can be life-saving in such situations.
- The ability to call for help via satellite via smartphone significantly shortens response times in emergencies.
- Concerns about misuse or incorrect activations were addressed by Goldsworthy, who worked directly with Apple to refine the feature.
Android phone returned by thieves because it's not an iPhone
- A man in Washington, DC was the victim of an armed robbery last month.
- The thieves stole everything he had in his pockets, including his car keys and smartphone.
- The stolen phone turned out to be an Android device.
- The thieves returned the phone after realizing it wasn't an iPhone.
- They commented, “Oh, this is an android? We don't want that. I thought it was an iPhone.”
- Although the man got his phone back, his wife says the event "turned their life upside down."
Jens has been running the blog since 2012. He acts as Sir Apfelot for his readers and helps them with technical problems. In his spare time he rides electric unicycles, takes photos (preferably with the iPhone, of course), climbs around in the Hessian mountains or hikes with the family. His articles deal with Apple products, news from the world of drones or solutions to current bugs.