iPhone 15 Pro sales performance updated February 4: article originally posted February 2.

Taking a look back at this week’s news and headlines from Apple, including the latest iPhone 16 hardware leaks, iPhone 15 Pro problems, an App Store dilemma, Apple Pencil leaks, Apple Vision Pro reviews, and the magic of an Apple unboxing.

Apple Loop is here to remind you of a few of the many discussions around Apple in the last seven days. You can also read my weekly digest of Android news here on Forbes.

iPhone 16 Camera Upgrade

The camera continues to be a battleground for smartphone manufacturers. 2024 has a difference, though, with the widespread use of AI being promoted by several manufacturers. Apple’s plans on the AI front are tied up in iOS 18 (which will likely be revealed in June at WWDC 2024). Until then, we have details on the hardware Apple will use to upgrade the Pro handsets:

“…this year’s iPhone 16 Pro Max will have an advanced sensor in the main camera. It’s reported that not only will it be more advanced than the current iPhone 15 Pro Max, but it’ll be bigger, too. That’s important because the race for more megapixels is an empty one unless it’s accompanied by pixels of a decent size. Bigger pixels can draw in more light than smaller ones, so a sensor with the same number of pixels, but bigger ones, can perform better than a similarly sized sensor with a higher pixel count.”


iPhone 15’s Falling Customer Satisfaction

Although the iPhone 15 Pro represents the best iPhone that Apple is offering, customer satisfaction has fallen well below the iPhone 15, reports the team at Perfect Rec. Part of that may well be down to the high expectations the Apple community had for the 15 Pro, expectations that Apple did not meet:

“We suspect the early adopter phenomenon might also be responsible for the large changes in satisfaction rates on the iPhone 15 and 15 Plus models between September and October. They may have had higher expectations for the phones and been somewhat disappointed by incremental upgrades than people who bought later in the cycle and may have been upgrading from older models.”

(Perfect Rec).

Update: Sunday February 4:

While the iPhone 15 Pro’s satisfaction numbers may be down, the retail performance of the premium handset has been a welcome surprise for Apple watchers.

Power-On’s Mark Gurman reports on Apple’s earnings. Apple did return to revenue growth following four declining quarters, and much of that can be put down to the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro. With An annual cycle of releases, most consumers know to wait for the September announcements before buying a new phone. That demand boosted Apple’s final calendar quarter of 2023, with the iPhone family revenue rising by six per cent:

“Apple has returned to growth, avoiding a fifth quarter in a row of sliding sales (a streak that would have been the company’s longest since the iMac era in the 1990s). Other good news: The iPhone 15 Pro wasn’t a stinker. The new model did well enough to propel iPhone sales up 6% in the quarter, topping Wall Street estimates.”


Apple’s iPhone Woes Continue

The iPhone modem continues to be an area where Apple can’t design and build its way out of a reliance on Qualcomm. The purchase of Intel’s modem division in 2019 was part of a plan to take production in-house, a plan that has so far failed to produce a usable modem. That has left Apple little choice but to continue its relationship with Qualcomm. This week, it confirmed that the deal will run for another two years, out to 2027.

“…Apple’s work on a modem chip had been postponed until late 2025 or 2026, and it is possible it could see further delays. Apple was initially aiming to have an Apple-designed modem chip ready to go by 2024, but it missed that target. The company then wanted to introduce the modem chip in an iPhone SE that would launch in spring 2025, but it will not be able to make that goal either.”


iOS 17.4 And The European App Store Dilemma

Apple is—incredibly reluctantly—opening up its iPhone App Store and payment services. While Apple is working hard to retain as much control over what can be installed on the phone someone has purchased, these changes are now available to the European public. Will that be the end of it?

“…the changes which allow for rival app marketplaces to exist, which change Apple’s commission fees to app developers, will probably spread beyond the EU to affect everyone. The same will apply to the alterations to which web browser is the default choice on the iPhone. While many will welcome greater variety in app providers, and which web browser they can easily use, Apple says the new system could be less secure.”


New Apple Pencil Leak

The quiet accessory beloved by many iPad users is set for an update. Apple’s stylus, the eponymous Pencil, is getting “Find Mu” capabilities to make a lost stylus easier to find.

“The big news is that the software hints compatibility with Apple Find My will be built in to the next Pencil. That’s a first for Apple Pencil. It’s not clear whether this means the next model will have Ultra Wideband built in or not. If it does, you’ll be able to precisely find the Pencil (though, trust me, it’s almost always going to have slipped down between the cushions on the couch, so look there first).”


Apple Vision Pro Review

Ahead of the public release, several reviewers have received Apple Vision Pro headsets and are quietly pushing the envelope now they are at home and not in a controlled Apple Demo space. While the technical prowess can be clearly seen, the human impact is finally on show:

“And the biggest tradeoff of all is that using the Vision Pro is such a lonely experience, regardless of the weird ghost eyes on the front. You’re in there, having experiences all by yourself that no one else can take part in. After using the Vision Pro for a while, I’ve come to agree with what Tim Cook has been saying for so long: headsets are inherently isolating. That’s fine for traditional VR headsets, which have basically turned into single-use game consoles over the past decade, but it’s a lot weirder for a primary computing device.”

(The Verge).

And Finally…

What does it take to make a box for an Apple product? Trung Phan goes on a deep dive to find out:

“As the first stage of the iPhone experience, Apple put in 1000s of hours perfecting the package. There is literally a “packaging room” where a design employee will spend months opening up 100s of prototypes — with different materials and shapes — to nail the experience (I need footage of the Apple designer making a $500k annual salary, who’s locked up in this room once-a-year opening boxes until the fingers bleed).”


Apple Loop brings you seven days worth of highlights every weekend here on Forbes. Don’t forget to follow me so you don’t miss any coverage in the future. Last week’s Apple Loop can be read here, or this week’s edition of Loop’s sister column, Android Circuit, is also available on Forbes.

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