By Jonny Evans, Computerworld |
Appleholic, (noun), æp·əl-hɑl·ɪk: An imaginative person who thinks about what Apple is doing, why and where it is going. Delivering popular Apple-related news, advice and entertainment since 1999.
Apple appears to have slipped in hints of a new feature in the latest beta of iOS 17 released this week — a new solid state Action Button. The multi-function button would replace the existing mute switch and is thought to be one of the marquee features coming to the high-end iPhone 15 Pro.
Just like the Action Button on Apple Watch Ultra, this is a taptic button. This implies the new device will have no remaining moving parts and a completely sealed chassis.
The latter implies these iPhones could become more waterproof and resilient than they already are.
The speculation began when Apple rolled the latest iOS 17 beta, where MacRumors found code referencing an Action Button capable of nine user-definable functions:
While everyone has an opinion, given previous speculation has claimed Apple’s new Pro iPhone will also offer a built-in telescopic lens, I could envision most users choosing to set the Action button to take shots with the camera.
These iPhones will feel very much like ultra-slim digital zoom cameras with semi-professional features, augmented by Apple’s sophisticated machine vision algorithms and native AI processing, thanks to the Neural Engine on the powerful 3nm A-series chips inside the pro models.
The company is also expected to replace its Lightning connector with USB-C across the range, and to deploy its Dynamic Island across the new range.
It has become a bit of a tradition for new iPhone features to slip out in the summer weeks prior to a new product release. Not only does speculation about the new device help Apple exploit the traditional silly news season in mid-summer, but rumors also help maintain optimism around the company’s stock price during slower summer quarters. Morgan Stanley this week predicted stable but subdued demand for Apple in its June quarter. It expects declining iPhone and iPad revenue, but year-on-year increases in Mac and services sales.
Looking to September, the analysts said:
“We expect Apple to post an in-line June quarter but guide September quarter revenue and gross margin materially higher than current Consensus estimates, reflecting stable iPhone builds, seasonal Mac strength, low-teens Services growth, and continued secular and cyclical margin tailwinds,” the analysts said in a note.
Most recently we learned Apple’s new device might ship a little later than anticipated, but we’ve heard similar claims in advance of every iPhone introductionso there may be little material consequence. At worst, any such delay simply defers sales to a subsequent quarter, as has been proven before.
All the same, Apple will no doubt hope that powerful new pro-photography features and the fastest mobile processor in the business will ignite strong interest across its most loyal high-end customers — and perhaps inspire some of the 250 million existing iPhone customers running a model four or more years old to upgrade.
It wants to continue to upsell the planet, after all.
The company might succeed in this ambition, but the year-on-year comparison will be tough, given the company has experienced record iPhone sales on a regular basis since 2020.
Eroding consumer confidence, interest rates, and increasing food, housing, and energy costs will impact performance in many of Apple’s key markets, though success in expanding economies such as India might help the company drive through current complications.
Of course, underpinning the 2023 Apple story is the inexorable move forward to Apple Vision, which is when the company will maintain growth with a whole new product category, even as speculation concerning future folding iPads and iPhones quietly intensifies. The Apple franchise has plenty of action to come.
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Jonny is a freelance writer who has been writing (mainly about Apple and technology) since 1999.
Copyright © 2023 IDG Communications, Inc.
Copyright © 2023 IDG Communications, Inc.