Apple Refreshes iPhone SE, iPad Air, Debuts Studio Desktop

Apple Refreshes iPhone SE, iPad Air,

The updated iPhone SE runs iOS 11, has support for MagSafe accessories, and features a larger battery, wireless charging, and more storage than before. Image : Samuel Gibbs / Getty Images

Apple previewed several iPhone upgrades

during an online presentation at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) on Monday, including some changes to the previous generation of the smartphones. One feature that was specifically highlighted at WWDC is the introduction of a desktop version of the iPhone SE, Apple’s mini-sized smartphone that takes advantage of faster processors and higher memory. Apple also hinted at future improvements to the iPhone XS, a successor to last year’s iPhone 8, as well as what Apple calls “the next step in Apple vision,” an “entertainment platform” that lets users create video and audio experiences using new apps or services available through it.

The company first teased the upgraded devices back in April with a product showcase in San Francisco that featured a set of videos that showed a series of scenarios for new features in the iPhones. At the time, Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook noted that one of the first things he would like to see from the devices is apps that allow people to get around without running up the battery. He also said there would be a way for Apple to automatically start recording footage when you open a screen app, which he expects will become possible in the coming days. In addition to letting you record your surroundings, many apps that need full access to camera features require special software installed into a user’s phone. The development team didn’t go into details about how the screens will display these apps. But they did tell investors that a key feature would be automatic recording, which Apple envisions as being enabled by a small sensor located on each device.

The updates came amid speculation

The updates came amid speculation about Apple shifting focus away from developing the latest products. According to Bloomberg, Apple will be releasing three new phones between the end of this quarter and the beginning of 2022. Each phone will be focused towards a particular market; the iPhone 13 will be aimed at business owners, while the iPhone 15 will target high-end enthusiasts who want speed and flexibility in apps and services. While most of the new devices have been revealed to be geared toward consumers, some analysts expect them to focus on businesses first.

While the iPhone 13 lineup is expected to include two cheaper models and four mid-range ones, CEO Cook is expected to return to introducing the lower-end model soon. That means a smaller price range that will likely mirror similar choices we’re seeing this year for affordable phones from companies such as Samsung, Motorola, Huawei, and others. It’s not clear yet whether that new strategy will lead to better sales in 2021; Apple hasn’t released any sales projections since launching its first Mac in 2006. However, a report from Wedbush Securities suggests that Apple could sell nearly 60% of its total units during 2020 at $1,000 and 70% of all those units at $1,200 a pop. Given rumors that Apple is gearing its budget-minded devices towards mass appeal, that makes sense given earlier success, but the real question is how much demand there will actually be for lower-end phones in particular. There are plenty of phones going for less money. For instance, the Samsung Galaxy Flex 2 costs $300, but it comes in stock form for free. This type of move seems unlikely to pay off for Apple, especially not after the fact that the tech industry started getting more important and competitive in recent years. Meanwhile, Android phones are driving sales growth even though they are starting to plateau in sales. And while Apple does make a significant amount of money on the backs of tablets and smartwatches, their share has been declining in recent months. Allowing the company to focus more on hardware will help the company grow more profitably and become profitable.

At first glance

At first glance, Apple’s latest flagship phones look like any other smartphone model sold today. But there is something different about this one: it costs just $429 — $30 cheaper than last year’s standard iPhone SE, making it far more affordable than most Android smartphones. And that’s because of some big upgrades to both the processors and chips in those devices — along with increased storage, battery life improvements, wireless charging capabilities, and even higher refresh rates on some models. These upgrades have made it possible for those phones to be considered budget-friendly thanks to their price tag.

There are two major changes underappreciated features that are currently absent from iPhones, but are key components of success on these pricier handsets. First, you see them more often. The cameras and sensors inside are among the best around and it makes much of a difference when used together. In fact, according to App Annie, users spend 1.5 billion hours using apps daily, so many people would love to have that much data that comes with each day’s battery life. In addition, you get faster processing speeds and faster graphics, bringing up smoother visuals of your movies and games when streaming, and giving you greater performance when editing videos and working on larger documents. Nowadays, you get all these things on your phone, which allows users to get very good results in almost every aspect they can think of.

Apple has also upgraded its iOS ecosystem, so no longer do you have to worry about running Windows or installing Linux anymore to use that powerful productivity suite like Photoshop, Adobe Lightroom, Audacity, and beyond. There’s still plenty of work to give developers time to get accustomed to iOS 14, but it seems like one of the benefits of upgrading to later versions is access to more apps so that you can take advantage of what’s available. Another benefit is that it will allow you to download even more apps, so you never have to worry about missing out on anything. You even have the ability to download music directly in the app store without having to leave the browser tab open. It’s probably not the easiest upgrade to make, though.

The second thing worth mentioning is how well the iPhone handles video calls. Last year, we had a chance to try out the feature. Of course, you can’t really talk over someone who isn’t listening, or having technical problems that need to be resolved through conference call. While these are rare occasions, having audio and video calls on your phone should help improve your relationship with others—and improve productivity. After trying it, it sounds like it could make all the differences between having great social media and not so great. Whether it improves our business or not, it definitely gives us a few more reasons to want an always-on connection.

We had previously heard rumors that Apple was planning to introduce its own “Mac Mini” laptop that will cost less than an Intel Mac Pro 13-inch model that is powered by M1 Cinecures. This wouldn’t be surprising considering the recent switch to dual M1 chips with the introduction of macOS Big Sur 12 operating system and the arrival of the M1 Bionic and A15 Cinecures, as well as the transition toward 64-bit computing. The company already made headlines after announcing plans to ditch the Exynos 2100 chipset, but nothing beats switching to the 8 nm process, something Apple is known for. We previously learned about a MacBook Pro that contains four CPUs, including the same CPU it uses on the upcoming M1 Cinecures. So why go down that route? What’s the point of going smaller? There’s only a handful of pros and cons to the move. For starters, it means that Apple will finally be able to start competing with Nvidia, which it acquired back in 2016 for close to $40 billion (an equivalent of $21Bn) and holds the world’s largest GPU contract, having won several lucrative contracts with automakers. If this becomes the way Apple designs products for both consumer and enterprise purposes, then the move towards this newer 8 nm node could present itself as the perfect timing. On the other hand, if the move does help strengthen the core competency of AMD, they might see themselves better positioned at meeting demands from consumers and manufacturers than before. However, Apple remains unlikely to use its own M1 chips for laptops as the company prefers the 10 nm nodes. That said, it has been hinted that another 11nm node could join Qualcomm, which Apple bought earlier this year.

As you can see, the change in design and processor architecture for the 2020 iPhones might be great news for anyone wanting to stay competitive yet keeping it simple, cheap, and easy to use. They will be able to do a lot of the same things that previous generations have done perfectly — even if some of the features that come with them seem a bit odd.

 

 

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