Putting iPhone SE back in play, a government official praises Apple’s security stance, and Apple’s other soccer season gets a trailer.
Report: iPhone SE 4 Back in Development with Apple 5G Modem
The fourth generation iPhone SE was thought to be dead. It was thought to be dead thanks to a Mediaum post dated Jan. 6, 2023 offered by TF International analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Just under two-months ago, Young MC said:
The supply chain has received instructions from Apple indicating that the production and shipment plans for the 2024 iPhone SE 4 have been canceled rather than delayed.
This was seen as good news for Qualcomm, from whom we’ll hear in a moment. First, the fourth generation iPhone SE is thought to be undead. It is thought to be undead thanks to a series of Twitter posts from — oh… TF International analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. “Update,” reads the first of many:
Apple has restarted the iPhone SE 4 and will adopt an in-house 5G baseband chip. The significant decline in Qualcomm’s Apple orders in the foreseeable future is a foregone conclusion.
Monday’s thread basically has the Cupertino-company picking up where it reportedly left off from the Medium post back in January. The fourth-gen iPhone SE will sort of be Apple’s baseband test kitchen, leaving Qualcomm’s future in future iPhones uncertain. According to Monday’s Twitter thread:
It’s still being determined whether the iPhone 16 series will use Apple’s 5G baseband chip. The main challenge lies in whether Apple can overcome the technical obstacles related to mmWave and satellite communications. Nevertheless, once the SE 4 starts using Apple’s 5G baseband chip, it’s a foregone conclusion that Qualcomm’s Apple orders will decline significantly in the foreseeable future.
But don’t take his word for it. Take Qualcomm’s.
Qualcomm CEO Expects Apple Modem in 2024
AppleInsider cites an interview with Qualcomm CEO and President Cristiano Amon at this week’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. There he told the Wall Street Journal‘s Joanna Stern that he and his “expect that Apple will do their own modem in 2024, but if they need ours they know where to find us.”
The move would be good for Apple’s bottom line of course, with Qualcomm chips falling like dominoes in Apple hardware. Assuming the phone thing goes well, Ming-Chi Kuo figures “the iPad and Apple Watch, which have lower technical requirements, will soon abandon Qualcomm’s baseband chips, too.” Don’t look for it too soon, though. The analyst lands the fourth-gen phone sometime in the first half of 2024. That adds credence to the timeline laid out by the Qualcomm CEO. “This move will benefit Apple’s hardware gross margin,” according to the TF international analyst, “while Qualcomm’s Apple business will decline significantly in the next 2-3 years.”
At least equal to the benefit to Apple’s bottom line though, the AppleInsider piece says making its own baseband components should give Apple flexibility. The report says, “Apple could produce different 5G modem chips for different devices.” A chip for an iPhone might focus on voice, for example, while another for iPad could focus on data speeds. Tell me about the one that’s going in the headset I want, please.
Actually, let’s go back to the recently resurrected iPhone SE 4.
iPhone 13s+, Maybe?
According to the analyst’s latest surveys, the device “will feature an OLED display instead of an LCD, as the biggest change.” Otherwise, he says you’re likely looking at a “minor modification of the 6.1-inch iPhone 14.” Which many argue is a minor modification of the 6.1-inch iPhone 13.
Which makes me wonder if we eventually get a spring launch for iPhone and a fall launch for iPhone Pro.
It would certainly be less confusing.
Foxlink Facility Forced Offline After Major Fire
Here’s something we haven’t heard about in a minute: A problem in Apple’s supply chain. 9to5Mac says a fire at a Foxlink facility in India has forced it to stop work in India indefinitely.
Foxlink is a Taiwanese company that “makes cables for iPhone chargers,” according to the report. The factory in India opened in 2020, and it took severe damage in Monday’s fire. “Part of the building collapsed,” according to the piece, “destroying about 50% of the company’s machinery.”
Thankfully, there were no casualties. Estimates put the cost of the damage at about $12 million.
CISA Director Praises Apple for User Security Stance
A surprising question from a cybersecurity official in the U.S. government to some big tech players: Why can’t you be more like Apple?
A report from CNBC has Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Director Jen Easterly praising the Cupertino-company, holding it up “as a positive example of accountability and transparency for its security practices…”
What really turns her on is the rate of MFA (multi-factor authentication) use among Apple users. According to the report, Easterly “pointed to Apple’s disclosure that 95% of iCloud users enable multifactor authentication…” With Apple making MFA the default, the Director says, “Apple is taking ownership for the security outcomes of their users.”
Unlike Mr. Softy and Mr… Musky. “By contrast,” says CNBC:
Easterly said there are low MFA adoption rates at Microsoft and Twitter. She said the roughly one-quarter of Microsoft enterprise customers who use MFA, and fewer than 3% of Twitter users who use it, is “disappointing.”
Still, even they get props for their transparency around those low numbers. In a speech Monday at Carnegie Mellon University, Easterly said:
By providing radical transparency around MFA adoption, these organizations are helping shine a light on the necessity of security by default… More should follow their lead— in fact, every organization should demand transparency regarding the practices and controls adopted by technology providers and then demand adoption of such practices as basic criteria for acceptability before procurement or use.
NYC Residents Hit with AirPods Max Attacks
On the heels of the The Wall Street Journal’s iPhone Passcode theft story, a story that is definitely a people problem. We talked Monday about the Journal story. Across the country (though in small numbers, according to Apple), bad actors are watching for the public use of passcodes on iPhones, noting the passcode, stealing the phone, and wreaking havoc. They’re using the purloined device to change the owner’s Apple ID password, then draining what they can from Apple Pay, accessing other accounts that have passwords stored in iCloud Keychain, and — basically — making the lives of the victims a 21st century hell.
Stern argued that there was more Apple could do to protect the victims — to keep them from being nearly as victimized. While Apple may have a bigger part to play, I could not help wondering whether the story illustrated an Apple problem or a people problem.
I hate to do this, but what’s reportedly happening with AirPods Max in New York City is very much a people problem. AppleInsider cites a report from NY1 that says people are having the premium, over-the-ear headphones stolen right off their heads. Since the end of January, the piece says:
…thefts of the AirPods Max began in New York City. Thieves have struck at least 21 times, in each case doing so by simply taking the headphones from a victim’s head while they’re wearing [them] in day-to-day life.
Sorry to do this, but hi. You’re in New York City — probably my favorite city in the world, certainly my favorite city in the U.S. Not to be trite, but I love New York. And I’ve never been to a corner of it where I’d feel comfortable isolating myself from all surrounding sound — especially with a pair of incredibly recognizable, incredibly lux headphones.
Ask yourself this question: Would you balance $549 (regular price of a pair of AirPods Max)… would you balance $549 dollars on your head, put in noise dampening earplugs, and go for a walk in any of the five boroughs?
Heck! Would you do that in any city in America?
Not to let the bad guys off the hook. AppleInsider says:
There have yet to be any arrests over the crime spree. Police have released photographs of the suspects on the mopeds and a video, to try and get more information.
They’d also welcome any clues from the public at 1-800-577-TIPS.
Massive Lot of Apple Tech Going on Auction
If you’re a collector of Apple tech, there’s an auction about which you may want to know. AppleInsider says Julien’s Auctions is handling the sale of “The Hanspeter Luzi Vintage Apple Archive.” Up for bids, a range of over 500 Macs and other Apple products released between 1977 and 2008.
Probably the most valuable item on the list is 1983’s Lisa I Computer. It’s expected to go for between $10,000 and $20,000. Everything else is wildly accessible, as these things go. Examples include:
- An Apple II Plus — estimated value $300 to $500
- A 2001 iMac G3 Special Blue Dalmation edition — estimated value $200 to $300
- A 1997 Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh — estimated value $200 to $300
- A 1989 Macintosh Portable — estimate value $300 to $500
Basically, if there’s a piece of Apple tech you always wish you’d had or a piece you had and really miss, it might be inexpensively gotten. Then again — it’s an auction. Heat of the moment, bids go higher. You know how it is.
The auction is set for Thursday 30 March at Julien’s Auctions Gallery in Beverly Hills, CA and online at juliensauctions.com. Know your limit, and happy bidding.
Apple TV+ Releases Trailer for Season Three of ‘Ted Lasso’
And finally today, with just over two-weeks until its start, Apple TV+ has released an actual trailer for the third and (what is expected to be the) final season of “Ted Lasso.”
If you’ve seen the first two seasons, you probably know where we left off. If you’ve not seen the first two seasons, I don’t want to read the description to you for two reasons: One — you may not care, and two — spoilers.
The trailer is out now. It looks wonderful and heartbreaking, just like seasons one and two. Those are, of course, available to stream now on Apple TV+. Season three begins on Wednesday, March 15. The trailer is available now on YouTube.
Today on The Mac Observer’s Daily Observations Podcast
TMO Managing Editor Jeff Butts and I talk over the iPhone SE/Apple 5G Modem story. Plus — A look at the NYC AirPods Max attacks… That’s all today on the Daily Observations Podcast from The Mac Observer.