What Apple’s Event Signals about the Future

Along with the rest of the core Tech.pinions team, I attended Apple’s event in San Francisco on Wednesday. Between us, we’ll be covering a lot of the angles in our various columns over the coming days but I wanted to focus on what the announcements suggest about future Apple products. As I’ve written before, Apple tends to build up to big changes in an incremental fashion. There were clues to this future throughout the announcements on Wednesday.

From a Taptic Home Button to No Home Button

The iPhone 7 does away with the headphone jack, something many of us would have considered indispensable until recently, but I suspect the apparently equally indispensable home button might be next to go. Why? Well, another big hardware change Apple made this time around was replacing the old home button with a new one using the Taptic Engine for feedback rather than actually being depressed. This is analogous to the changes Apple has made recently to its trackpads, which now only appear to “give” in response to clicks — the Taptic technology gives the impression of movement with a small click-like vibration. By making the same change to the home button on the iPhone, Apple could potentially move the home button functionality into the screen in a future iPhone because people will get used to the sensation of pressing an immovable object with only the impression of movement in response. Removing the separate home button would allow Apple to reduce the size of the bottom bezel or eliminate it entirely, something it could do as soon as next year’s iPhone model, which has been rumored to get a big design change.

From Wireless Audio to Wireless Charging

One of the biggest announcements at the event was the new AirPods and the justification for these new audio devices was centered on a vision Apple has for a wireless future. Phil Schiller said, “It makes no sense to tether ourselves with cables to our mobile devices”, while Jony Ive said in the AirPod intro video, “We believe in a wireless future.” All of this raises an obvious question: what wires and cables remain when it comes to the iPhone and could these similarly be eliminated? The equally obvious answer is charging is the one area where iPhones still require cables. Tethering devices to the wall or to other devices prevents them from being truly mobile. Wireless charging is already widespread in competing devices and the Apple Watch makes use of a plug-less charging technology. While wireless charging over distance continues to be the most intriguing long-term possibility in my mind, I wouldn’t be surprised if Apple introduced a contact-based wireless charging technology for iPhones in the next couple of years.

From Water Resistant Watches to Water Resistant iPhones

Apple made a pair of water resistance announcements today, improving the ratings for both the iPhone and the Apple Watch in the process. The Apple Watch is now certified water resistant up to 50 meters, while the iPhone receives an IP67 rating. It’s now rated for immersion in shallow depths of water as well as dust resistant. There is arguably a steady progression here in both devices – the original Watch was already water resistant as demonstrated by a number of third party tests and my own repeated showers and swims while wearing my Watch. The iPhone has progressively become more resistant to casual exposure to water. All this raises the question of whether the iPhone, too, will become progressively water resistant and eventually secure a more extensive water resistance rating. Clearly, most of us aren’t going to take our iPhones swimming (or try to write notes underwater, a la Samsung), but a more extensive water resistance might be useful for certain applications and would provide greater piece of mind when on vacation at the beach, for example.

From a W1 Chip for Audio to Other Applications

The W1 chip was a major focus of the section of Apple’s keynote dealing with its new AirPods for wireless audio. The W1 is the latest in a long line of Apple-designed chips including the A-series that are central to the iPhone and iPad, the M-series motion coprocessors, and others. This chip, though, has a very specific focus: providing Bluetooth-like functionality with greater power efficiency and reliability. For now at least, it’s being deployed solely in audio devices like headphones and earbuds but I wonder what other Apple devices might in time benefit from using either the W1 or some of the other underlying technologies. The Apple Watch already pairs with the iPhone over Bluetooth – might some of the technology developed for the W1 or something related to it eventually allow the Watch to pair more power efficiently with phones? Might Apple develop other accessory devices to pair with either the iPhone or the Apple Watch using similar technology?

From FeliCa in Japan to More Regional Variations

One announcement of minor importance outside of Japan but great significance in that country was the addition of FeliCa support to the iPhone and Apple Watch, for compatibility with the Japanese transit system. FeliCa itself has no real relevance outside of Japan, but this kind of regional customization of Apple’s hardware is indicative of the kind of incremental feature advances Apple is likely to have to continue to make in order to increase its market share going forward. We’ve already seen significant investment in transit mapping in China, for example, well before similar efforts in other countries, while support for additional languages and similar efforts are underway in other markets, including India. I suspect we’ll see lots more of this as Apple attempts to make inroads and continues to break down barriers in additional regions.

Published by

Jan Dawson

Jan Dawson is Founder and Chief Analyst at Jackdaw Research, a technology research and consulting firm focused on consumer technology. During his sixteen years as a technology analyst, Jan has covered everything from DSL to LTE, and from policy and regulation to smartphones and tablets. As such, he brings a unique perspective to the consumer technology space, pulling together insights on communications and content services, device hardware and software, and online services to provide big-picture market analysis and strategic advice to his clients. Jan has worked with many of the world’s largest operators, device and infrastructure vendors, online service providers and others to shape their strategies and help them understand the market. Prior to founding Jackdaw, Jan worked at Ovum for a number of years, most recently as Chief Telecoms Analyst, responsible for Ovum’s telecoms research agenda globally.

80 thoughts on “What Apple’s Event Signals about the Future”

  1. “The iPhone 7 does away with the headphone jack, something many of us would have considered indispensable until recently”

    And yet still other’s of us “considered indispensable until we were recently told to think otherwise”. “No. New. Capability. Was. Added.” by it’s removal.

    Developing audio technology around Lightning-Potentially Innovative.
    Claiming removal of headphone jack as innovative-Not even lame.

    1. This is not the correct viewpoint. What they gained by the space the long internal copper tube gave them was to put a slightly larger battery in and the new taptic engine. Both of those are benefits which will yield much better experiences which was made possible by its removal. Meaning, quite a bit of new functionality was added, it just doesn’t have to do with audio.

      1. Considering the space of the headphone jack, they could have spread it across the volume of the whole device and achieved both. The increase in size woukd be tactilely imperceptible. Not impressed.

        If that really mattered imagine growing the device by 1 mm in each dimension and see the difference in battery life.

      2. Normally I am in agreement with you. But this is just simply not true. This was only one of other possible solutions. The “courage’ was they did not want to admit making the iPhone thinner was done at the cost of battery functionality. So they were willing to extricate the plug instead of making the phone thicker or otherwise larger by some marginal dimension (one possible solution).

        The other bit of “courage” was to actually induce more complexity with the provided workaround, aka adaptor, when Apple is supposed to be known for simplification. In reality it doesn’t get simpler than that 3.5mm jack.

        This would be a more believable and possibly acceptable argument if Apple was still dealing with only the 4″ iPhone size. As it is they are rightly being charged with arrogance.


          1. I saw that. Some of those dongles are absolutely work-arounds and add complexity.

            As some who has had to deal (and unfortunately still does) with a lot of video for live performance, it is just simply unreasonable for one computer to accommodate all the video connections out there, so adaptors make sense. Sometimes adaptors address complexity.

            This is not one of those cases.


        1. “So they were willing to extricate the plug instead of making the phone
          thicker or otherwise larger by some marginal dimension (one possible

          The inside of the pnone is not a magical liquid, it’s a complex jigsaw puzzle of dozens of components, all of which are already as small as they can be made and still do their job. The battery is not a magical liquid either, it has to be a rectangular box shape. So no, you cannot just “add a millimeter to all dimensions” to make room for everything. Either everything fits together nicely and leaves the maximum amount of volume left over for the battery, or it doesn’t all fit together well, and you have dead space and a smaller battery.

          If you read the buzzfeed article that interviewed Apple execs on their decision to take out the jack, you would learn that thinness was not the issue, but rather they were trying to make room for a bigger camera, which resulted in a cascade of other components having to be moved, which resulted in them asking themselves if there was anything they could do without. The 3.5 audio jack, being a single purpose port whose functionality was already duplicated by the lightning port (which by design can carry an audio signal since the 30 pin dock it replaced can carry audio), became a prime candidate for removal. The fact that Apple is enamoured of wirelessness, and had a set of wireless earbuds in the works, just made it more inevitable.

          1. But still, the main culprit is the random “thinness” diktat. Plenty of phones accomodate dual and/or OIS cameras AND a jack.

            What I don’t get about the thinness fixation is that at the same time, Apple’s bezels are on the humongous side: Apple’s are 20% bigger than Samsung’s (34% of the phone’s face to 28%, iP6S to GS7), and Samsung are by no means leading (Xiaomi’s Mi Note is 25.6%). Plus I find bezels much more bothersome than thickness: they directly impair accessing the screen, they’re ugly…

      3. I would think the stereo speakers were also made possible, in part at least, by being able to shift the internals around due to getting rid of the headphone jack. That jack really was a pesky long fixed size component getting in the way of progress. Wireless is the future. Five years from now no one will care or talk about this particular change.

          1. Your anger is clouding your thinking. It was time for the jack to go. Wireless is the future. And if that doesn’t work for you the adapter comes free with the iPhone. If you lose it you can get another for nine bucks. There will be other docks and adapters that allow you to use headphones while charging. In a year you’ll have wireless charging as well. Progress often has some downside, but usually there’s a lot more upside. I was right that Apple had concrete plans for reworking the internals of the iPhone without the jack, but that was always obvious. I’m not revisiting this discussion with you. Be mad about the jack if you like, I have no problem with that.

      4. Come on, Other phones have had non-moving buttons, larger batteries, water resistance… *and* an audio jack. Even wireless charging, but that’s for another year I guess ^^
        Reciprocally, some phones have not all/none of that, and *no* audio jack.

        There’s no either/or here, just a culmination of wanting to give people something to talk about, wanting license revenues from proprietary connectors and protocols, and a strange fixation on making thin phones that break, slip, don’t last a day, and now scratch.

        1. You missed my point. It was not about what others were doing but relative to the component decisions what the removal let Apple do.

          Also, there is nothing out there like the taptic engine. I know because I did a lot of work through the years for Immersion who’s engine is in all the aforementioned devices you bring up. Look where that engine is, and also note where that space allows them to go in the future for bezelless displays etc. The answer you gave is too simplistic to the bigger picture of what they are planning in the future.

          Also, MFI license fees are no where near as expensive as you imagine. It’s really moot, and just there to weed out the crappy vendors.

          1. It’s Apple saying a trade-off is forced when it isn’t that’s simplistic.
            1- There’s a whole continuum of formats and features, there’s no “we had to get rid of the jack to give you haptic feedback on the button”.
            2- even if there were (and there isn’t) , haptic feedback vs simple vibrate does need to be discussed, same as 6mm and 3/4th of a day’s battery vs 7mm and a full day, metal casing and scratches + wired charging + holding it wrong vs non-metallic casing w/ none of that., etc..

            Last I seen, MFi was $4/connector. Assuming they sell 50M iPhones per qrtr, and a 20% attach rate, that’s $160M/yr, raising to $500M if they reach 60% attach rate. I’ll take that inconsequential money ^^ (Attach rate meaning *one* headset, customers who purchase several headsets, a dock, … count several times, so 60% is not unimaginable if some people get up to 5 audio devices.)

            Edit: also, why Lightning and not USB-C ?

          2. because it’s a) standard and b) a lot more versatile. Maybe even c) faster, if they don’t pull a MacBook with it and plug it into 3.1gen1 instead of 3.1gen2 ^^

          3. If 1.5+ billion devices using Lighting doesn’t make it a standard, than there is no such thing as a standard. I would hazard a guess that there are far more devices using Lightning than there are devices using USB-C.

            Lightning is fast and versatile enough for Apple’s needs. They invented it for the purposes it serves.

            Your answer was as ill considered as your question.

          4. Standard ? Which device aside from iPhones and iPads use it ? It isn’t a standard when 2 device families from the same OEM use it. Not even Macs use it. Plus it’s licensed and it’s closed.

            The one thing that would be lost by going USB-C is control and licensing revenues. What would be gained is the ability to connect a bunch more stuff w/o a dongle. Double whammy on the revenue loss side I guess (licensing + dongle sales), hence Lightning.

          5. “The one thing that would be lost by going USB-C is control and licensing revenues.”

            You are a deep thinker.

          6. Well, if you deep thought something else that would be lost, please don’t leave us hanging in doubt you’re full of hot-but-nasty air ?

          7. Macs don’t need Lightning ports because a Lightning cable has USB connecter on one end and a Lightning connecter on the other.

            For security reasons, Apple doesn’t want “a bunch more stuff” plugged into its iPhones and iPads. USB requires software drivers and deep hardware interconnects to function. That is unacceptable on a secure device. USB is still a wide-open door to problems. This is just the latest:


            I realize you don’t value (or even understand the value) of security, but it isn’t lost on some of us. Being “closed” is a GOOD thing.

            Incidentally, a “standard” doesn’t have to be open. I’m sure even you could think of some proprietary standards if you bothered to think about it.

          8. A standard generally does have to be used by more than one company on less than a quarter of their device lines…

            As for USB security, I’m sure it could be fixed. And not sure there aren’t similar issues with Lighting.

            I realize you don’t value/understand the value of standards, openness, non-lock-in, and interoperability. but some of us do.

          9. “A standard generally does have to be used by more than one company…”

            You redefine “standard” to narrowly suit your rhetoric, postulate that there is some as yet undiscovered security weakness in Apple’s implementation of Lightning, brush off the glaring problems of USB, and then circle back to “Lock-In.”

            You are a deep thinker.

          10. So be it. If you really respect the value of standards, pick products that use them. Meanwhile, for us who respect closed-ness, locked-in, and privacy, let us pick products that fit our needs. Do not force our preference to other people, and vice versa. Respect each other. Everybody wins.

          11. Wrong. A specification defines a standard. Acceptance and use in a marketplace creates the standard.

            HD DVD was a specification. MiniDisc was a specification. PCI-X was a specification. Unix is a specification. There are thousands more.

            You’ll notice that none of these are standards.

          12. Beg to differ, though it’s a semantic argument.
            Some standards are just more widespread than others.

            This DVD is published under the HD-DVD standard, etc…

          13. Words have meaning. A standard is something that is widely accepted/used/admired/measured-against.

            Anything else is not a standard — it’s just a specification that lost out to the standard.

          14. I explained it here: “A standard is something that is widely accepted/used/admired/measured-against.”

            Read the words “measured against.”

          15. Were not HD-DVD and Blu-Ray not both high definition DVD standards? One standard did win, but they are both standards as defined by their specification.

            Still we’re close yet far. A spec both defines the standard and in so doing sets the yardstick with which to measure. We’re going to have to disagree, and we are playing with semantics.

          16. “why Lightning and not USB-C ?”

            Apple transitioned the iPhone from the legacy 30-pin connector, when others were using USB-mini (USB 2.0) to the Lightning interface. That was iPhone 5. That was circa late 2012. USB-C spec did not come until Aug 2014. Amazing how many time I read this same complaint by “tech” writers and self-professed geeks. People bitch and moan when Android was on slower USB-mini. People now bitch and moan when Android finally moving to USB-C that is comparable speed and versatility as the Lightning.

          17. I’m curious:
            1- where did you get the info about Lighting being faster than USB, especially Lightning on the successive iPhones (not the same as on Macs) ? I’ve been looking for actual speed tests, and couldn’t find any. I’m very interested in your source. The best info I have is that Lighting was “USB-2 based” until the iPad Pro, and will be “USB 3 based” going forward. ( http://www.macrumors.com/2015/11/12/ipad-pro-lightning-port-usb-3-0-speeds/ ; http://www.techradar.com/news/computing/apple/apple-lightning-connector-what-you-need-to-know-1106884 )
            2- why do you equate connectors with transfer speeds ? You can have USB 3.1gen2 (that’s the fastest one right now) on micro-USB, and USB 2 on USB-C (that’s what Apple has on the MacBook Air, except they renamed it to USB 3.1gen1 to make it sound new and fast)
            3- why do you bring up the situation 3 years ago when today is today ? 3 years ago USB-C didn’t exist and Apple took the opportunity to switch to a DRM-ed proprietary connector. Today USB-C exists, even has a specific Audio mode, probably has better characteristics than Lightning while being standard ( http://www.theverge.com/2015/3/10/8181551/thunderbolt-lightning-usb-type-c-new-macbook ) so to me the question is worth asking again ?

          18. 1 – You are missing the crucial reasons that Apple chose their Lighting interface over USB back in 2012. By that time the 30-pin interface used on the iPhone and iPad is very sorely in need of a major architecture overhaul. The 30-pin connector has an assortment of signals, including the power supply, analog audio and SD video, as well as USB 2.0 interface. Apple engineers want to pick an interface that will serve their mobile products for many years to come. I believe while USB 3.0 spec exist at the time, there were no elegant and compact connector suitable for mobile application. If I have not mistaken, Apple’s Lighting interface is based on Intel’s Thunderbolt high speed serial interface bus. The Lighting connector is apple’s own proprietary designed for ease of use and serves many functions, among which is digital AV. The common USB 2.0 interface chosen by their competitors at the time cannot support HD video but the Lightning can.

            I was overjoyed when the iPhone 5 came out as I wanted to be able to use the iPhone to output 1080p video to an LCD TV. Apple makes a little known Lightning to HDMI adapter which you plug into the iPhone or iPad. The common USB-mini connector cannot possible support this use case. That is why some Android phones have a dedicated mini HDMI connector.

            For most layman it is easy to mistake Apple’s Lightning connector as just a proprietary connector and think that it is basically an USB interface because the most often use iPhone/iPad cable is the USB to Lightning cable. Lightning interface is way more than that. It is everything USB-C now does, but ready back when the iPhone 5 was launched.

            USB –C only begins to show up in early 2015, More than 3 years after Apple’s major interface overhaul. There is no reason for Apple to switch to USB-C. Their Lightning interface was well architected back in 2012 and would serve well for many years to come, including the ditching of the analog headphone jack.

            I don’t know why you bring up DRM. If you think DRM is not enforced on USB-C you are very mistaken.

          19. “The common USB 2.0 interface chosen by their competitors at the time cannot support HD video but the Lightning can.”. Wrong, see MHL: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_High-Definition_Link . My 2011 Galaxy Note had it, so before Lightning. MHL even supports CEC, ie remotes. Also, no need for an dongle à la Apple, just a cable. This seems to be becoming a theme ^^

            You could have been overjoyed (delighted ?) a good bit earlier with Android ;-p

            USB-C supports DRM when the specific datastream traveling over it requires it, but does not force it 100% of the time the way Apple does it for even simply… connecting a cable, to ban non-licensed Lighting cables and peripherals. That’s why I brought it up.

            Again, I’m waiting for a source on your earlier performance claims. Once you’ve done that, we’ll move on to the “well architected” one ^^ For example, USB-C supports sound from an *internal* DAC, via wire reassigning. I’m not sure Lightning supports that.

            Edits: clarity, grammar.

  2. In fairness to the author, Apple imposes the future rather than having the customer decide when it’s time to abandon old standards.

    When headphone jacks are no longer used by most people then they should consider removal.

    1. “… no longer used by most people then they should consider …”

      Since when? When has a technology leader in ANY field lived by that principle?

      Tech has never held back for laggards. And Apple certainly doesn’t.

      1. Simple!

        RS-232 ports and Parallel ports existed until you could no longer buy devices that used them. Spinning disks still are the majority over SSD. DVI ports still exist and so on. Having them does not hurt, not having them does.

    2. If you let the customer decide, they will never abandon old standards and technology doesn’t move forward.

      1. a) Ford served his own interests first. He wasn’t exactly a “customer first” kind of guy. May as well be quoting Trump.
        b) Choice is good. The customer is not wrong to demand to change on their own timeframe.
        c) This isn’t about adding, it’s about taking away.

        1. a) Neither is Apple. If you understand Apple’s culture.
          b) Yes, we got Android devices if Apple disappoints us.
          c) Yes, it is. Apple’s adding many things after removing some things.

          1. What’s funny is Apple’s War Against Thick Phones. I’m not sure who is in that war apart from Apple management. Actually, most people voluntarily add 1-2-3mm for a Real Case ™, that does protects and sometimes power.

            Maybe Apple could show some *real* courage and forgo a bit of looks and thinness for a durable, practical, non-idiotic casing material. Apparently they… aren’t ready to, and keep dishing out the flawed shiny.

          2. Indeed. But then you don’t claim “courage” when you’re selling hardware that does compromise a lot of functionality for looks.

            I’m not saying it’s only Apple, and I’m not saying it’s utterly bad. It’s a valid choice since most people are wildly under-using their smartphones anyway. But if at least we could get a choice.. alas even Samsung gave up. Finding a radio-optimized phone with a large battery in the phablet size I want is impossible. At least the premium for metal unibody is low, mostly the cost of the now-required case.

          3. Agree. Just tested the Galaxy 7 Active and it has a 4000 mAh battery, a rugged case, shatterproof display and it weighs just 1.5 ounces more than the iPhone 6. In big companies, often once a position is set (such as thinner is better), the organization follows without question. It seems Apple has no counterpoint to push back.

          4. I don’t think Apple is having any wars about anything with anyone. Apple is just trying to create the best smartphone, of course according to Apple (not you, me, or us). Being like everybody else doesn’t take any courages. But being better does. Even if the “better” is subjective.

          5. A). Then why should I care about Apple? I’m a participant as a user.
            B). Not good enough. As a consumer I would like competition in iOS.
            C). Do both. But especially don’t insult me that with removal you are innovating.

          6. A) Then don’t. Nobody forces you to care about Apple. Even Apple doesn’t care about you. Apple is just selling its iPhone. If it fits you, buy it. If it doesn’t, buy something else. In consumers, we vote with our money, not opinion.
            B) Apple as the producer of iPhone doesn’t want a competition within its own product, obviously. How can Apple let competitors to get into its own product? Bizarre.
            C) Apple is the producer of iPhone, it’s its decision. If you don’t like it, Apple doesn’t insult you or anybody. Just go find something else that suits your preference.

        2. Apple is clearly at the same point that the Mac was when Jobs said he would milk it for it’s worth and work on the next big thing. Everything Apple introduces now just adds another layer of complexity.

          They are suffering by not having the one thing that I think was most important about Steve Jobs, what I called customer ‘0’. Everything had to be designed for Steve Jobs first, then the rest of us. Even the iPad Mini had to convince Jobs first. They do not have that now. Each new product and feature they release clearly shows this.

          I don’t think it has to be Jobs, but it has to be someone. I don’t think it is Cook. It shouldn’t be Ive. It has to be the last filter everything goes through. I am not saying they don’t have talent. They do have VERY talented people. But they need an editor.


          1. What you present is exactly correct. You might also remember that I had measured admiration for Jobs, to go along with my unbridled contempt.
            He was a fantastic product manager. The best. Problem was it had to work specifically for Jobs, and none of us are him (though many may think their fandom entitles them to the same tastes).

            Yes, Apple needs that product manager, and I (personally) need that person to think of me. If not me, then at least some semblance of democratic principles.

      2. “I decided people wanted headphones that are clunky, ugly, more expensive and/or require daily charging”. –Tim Cook.

  3. “While wireless charging over distance continues to be the most intriguing long-term possibility in my mind,”

    It’s a nice pipe dream, but short of magic or completely new laws of physics, that aint going to happen. Power transmission is inherently extraordinarily wasteful, because the radio energy goes out in all directions, and you only need it in the direction of the device you want to power. If I have done my math correctly, at 1 meter from the power transmitter, you have a sphere with a surface area of 1.2 million square centimeters. Suppose the entire back of the phone is your power receiving antenna, 128 square centimeters for the plus sized iphone. Divide the surface of the sphere by the size of the receiving antenna to determine how much power you are wasting at a given distance. At one meter, for every watt of power recieved by the iphone, you have to transmit over 9 thousand watts of power. Sure, an incredibly efficient directional transmitting antenna might cut that down to a mere hundredfold loss, but then you have to build the power transmitter to be able to intelligently swivel around and aim at the phone wherever it is in the room… and the amount of power you need to transmit increases with the square of the distance. To power the phone from across the room (three meters-ish) you need to transmit nine times as much power than at one meter — so even with our hypothetical a super directional transmitting antenna, you are using 900 watts to send a trickle charge of one watt into the phone.

      1. Magnets are weird. One way they are weird is that while eletromagnetic energy falls off with the square of the distance, magnetic field strength falls off with the cube of the distance. So I think it’s *extremely* unlikely that this technology, depending as it does on magnetic field strength, is going to work beyond a few feet from the charging station. maybe, if it actually works, useful in a “toss the phone anywhere on this little endtable and it will charge,” scenario, but no good for “charging the phone from across the room,” which is the SF dream that the column alluded to.
        (the above based on just reading the abstract of the source article, because I was expected to fork over a minumum of $10 to actually read it. Academic journal publishers are parasites, all of whom need to be drop kicked into a dark crater on the far side of the Moon without a space suit).

        1. Plus, frankly, “contact” wireless charging, which I’ve had with the HP Touchpad and bought for my brother’s GS7, is already a world of difference: just dump the phone/tablet on its stand, where you can see it and use it, and it charges w/o fuss.
          Put it down for 5 minutes, pick it up whenever you walk away… I don’t do that with my wire-charging phone.

          What’s dispiriting is the OEMs’ inability to market such a killer feature, and the users’ inability to realize how handy it is. I prioritized size over wireless charging (no 6″+phone w/ it), so at least I got an excuse ^^

        2. “One way they are weird is that while eletromagnetic energy falls off with the square of the distance, magnetic field strength falls off with the cube of the distance.”

          That is, until Apple invents the monopole! 😉
          Then it will be inverse square. Gee, why don’t we cut the magnet in half! 😉 😉

        3. There seems to be a number of companies working on many different solutions to the same problem. XE, uBeam, Energous, Cota, and I’m sure there are others. It’s possible they’re all snake oil, but most have working prototypes.

  4. “All this raises the question of whether the iPhone, too, will become
    progressively water resistant and eventually secure a more extensive
    water resistance rating…. a more extensive water resistance might be useful for certain applications and would provide greater piece of mind when on vacation at the beach, for example.”

    Your example doesn’t make a lot of sense. The old watch and the new phone are resistant to immersion. So the new phone is already safe for such wet things as taking to the beach, dropping in the sink, etc. The new watch is resistant to prolonged immersion at depths up to 50 meters, which means you can take it swimming or diving in water no more than 150 feet deep. As you say, there’s not a lot of value to be gained in making the next phone something you can go swimming or diving with.

    Re: the W1 chip. Two possibilities: it’s a custom bluetooth implementation designed to make the bluetooth actually painless and easy to use (no pairing annoyances, etc). Or, it’s a custom bluetooth thing plus audio codecs to produce superior sound to the standard, rather crappy bluetooth audio experience. If the latter, we will only see it in audio devices.

    Of greater interest to me is whether the W1 constitutes Apple’s training wheels for the next step of an apple-made LTE chip, which would make them independent of Qualcomm and enable them to integrate the phone’s connectivity technology into their SOCs (with all the power savings that would imply) going forward.

  5. Thinking back on it, I think a significant piece of news is that there’s a ceramics iWatch. With Apple’s very incremental path to improvements, it might mean that iPhones will get a wireless-charging (and not-radio-impairing) casing in the near future. That would be wonderful, especially if sheepish Android OEMs feel allowed/forced to follow suit.

    That watch is fairly ugly though (boxy+shiny), and look slippery as hell. With luck, that can be improved. Hopefully, if anything but glass or metal gets some street cred from Apple, we will finally graduate to a non-stupid phone casing material.

      1. I’m thinking the most important thing about it is the name and looks. It could be 99% plastics, 1% ceramics, they call it Magiramics, and we’re all set ^^

  6. I still can’t comprehend the reason for all the drama about the jack. Tiny, fragile wires leading to headphones are a pain in the keester.

    Also, I see no irony in Apple’s American website giving both metric and imperial measurements. In fact, it would seem that all iOS devices are designed in metric units. American scientists and technicians use metric units because they are the language of science and technology (and because everything is manufactured overseas).

    But, I get your point.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *