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Apple’s (first) fall 2022 announcement occasion: half-steps present solely prior-gen increase (vs fuller development)

Even earlier than Tim Cook dinner and different Apple execs hit the stage this Wednesday (fast apart: Apple occasions are usually on Tuesdays; I assume the reschedule this time was attributable to Labor Day proximity, however I don’t know why they held the occasion so early this month this 12 months), the media was already damping the anticipation of what can be unveiled on the “Far Out” soiree, as an alternative specializing in subsequent month’s (or every time it’ll truly be) subsequent occasion. And people lowered expectations have been admittedly (and sadly) in no less than some instances fulfilled:

Nonetheless, though the firm’s rumored AR/VR headset (or, if the most recent scuttlebutt finally ends up being true, headset collection) stays below wraps (versus being the “yet one more factor” that some people thought can be unveiled this week…the AR “easter egg” was an efficient feint), and though lots of the merchandise have been spitting photographs of their predecessors (no less than judged by exterior appearances), there was nonetheless notable information, significantly associated to SoCs and connectivity. What follows are the main points that caught my consideration, within the order during which they have been introduced.

Apple Watch

I’m going to start this part by reiterating the frustration that I first voiced again in June. The Apple Watch Sequence 3, first launched 5 years in the past, is admittedly getting fairly “lengthy within the tooth” at this level, powered by a now-geriatric SoC and with restricted on-board reminiscence that hampers efficiency and makes software program updates troublesome at greatest. As such, it wasn’t shocking that the corporate introduced at WWDC that Sequence 3 (two of which I personal) wouldn’t be supported by upcoming WatchOS 9 (which acquired its seemingly closing public beta launch this week). However after WWDC, Apple continued to promote the Sequence 3 in each brand-new and refurbished variants. And despite the fact that it’s now now not obtainable new from the Apple Retailer as of this week, you nonetheless should purchase them direct from Apple refurbished. See for your self, courtesy of a screenshot taken from my also-soon-to-be-obsolete iPad mini 4:

That Apple’s nonetheless fortunately extracting cash from unknowing shoppers’ wallets, direct-hawking merchandise that it is aware of full effectively gained’t be supported going ahead, leading to eventual obsolescence from unpatched safety flaws and the like, is flat-out unconscionable.

Off soapbox. All three new Apple Watch households launched this week have the identical SoC at their nexus: the S8 SiP. Not a lot is thought about it but past the truth that it’s a dual-core processor structure, together with whether or not it truly is a brand new design (the S6 and S7 have been equivalent, regardless of their moniker-driven supposed differentiation). However the sensors, shows and different circuitry surrounding it are maybe the extra fascinating bits. First off, there’s the second-generation Apple Watch SE, the Apple-anointed successor to the Sequence 3:

Upgraded accelerometer and three-axis gyro sensors help Crash Detection, the place watch knowledge combines with the barometer, GPS, and microphone on a tethered iPhone to find out whether or not a extreme automobile crash has taken place. In such a state of affairs, quoting from the press launch, “the system will examine in with the person and dial emergency providers if they’re unresponsive after a 10-second countdown. Emergency responders will obtain the person’s system location, which can also be shared with the person’s emergency contacts.”

The brand new Sequence 8 watches are additionally in a position to measure physique temperature on the wrist, a functionality usable to each women and men however particularly highlighted by the corporate as being helpful for figuring out ovulation and enabling extra normal menstrual interval predictions:

After which there’s the beefier new Apple Watch Extremely, whose enhanced water resistance (making it possible for carrying when diving, for instance) and extra normal ruggedness, together with an one-touch Motion button for entry within the midst of gloved and different actions, have opponents reminiscent of Garmin (my present choice) and Suunto (which I additionally used to personal) in its sights:


The primary-generation high-end AirPods Professional earbuds are three years at this level, so that you may be considering they’re due for an replace. If that’s the case, you’d be proper.

These second-generation successors are powered by an equally next-generation SoC, the H2. Its added processing energy permits, Apple claims, each extra strong lively noise cancellation and Transparency (the flexibility to listen to your environment whereas additionally listening to what’s coming over the Bluetooth hyperlink) capabilities, in addition to the means to extra precisely tailor the earbuds’ spatial (digital encompass) and different sound specifics to every listener’s distinctive head dimensions, ear canal buildings and different auditory particulars. Contact controls are a welcome enchancment (says this first-generation proprietor) over the predecessor’s extra rudimentary “stalk” switches. And these added and enhanced capabilities don’t include a requisite battery life lower, fairly the opposite: as much as 1.5 hours of added estimated listening time between costs.

Talking of costs, the charging case has been equally enhanced; it, just like the earbuds themselves, is now trackable utilizing Apple’s Discover My services, and, an built-in speaker aids in finding it between the cushions of your couch or wherever else you’ve inadvertently stashed it. The case can now be charged utilizing a (proprietary, don’t overlook) Apple Watch wi-fi charger, together with legacy MagSafe and Qi wi-fi chargers and a wired connection.

Talking of wired connections, a extra modest (and never talked about on the occasion) evolution additionally got here to the third-generation typical AirPods. Each they and their second-generation precursors are nonetheless bought (right here’s a abstract of the variations, in addition to one for the second- vs first-gen predecessor), and the third-gen providing now comes optionally bundled with a wired-only supportive charging case at a slight low cost. Right here’s the curious bit; each it and the case for the second-gen AirPods Professional nonetheless solely comprehend Lightning wired connections. Given the growing regulatory strain in Europe and elsewhere to as an alternative undertake industry-standard USB-C, I’m wondering how for much longer Apple will stubbornly cling to its proprietary legacy port.

And talking of Lightning…


Traditionally, no less than to the bounds of my admittedly imperfect reminiscence, the whole lot of a brand new iPhone collection’ merchandise have been based mostly on an equally new SoC (albeit generally selectively utilizing variants with completely different practical CPU and GPU core counts, operating at completely different clock speeds, and so on.). Then once more, traditionally Apple reserved full-generation product quantity will increase for significant redesigns, reserving “S” interim upgrades for half-step updates…however I digress.

Any preliminary confusion you would possibly due to this fact be feeling if you take a look at the iPhone 14 versus its iPhone 13 forebear can be comprehensible, as a result of they’re based mostly on the similar A15 Bionic SoC. Not precisely the identical, thoughts you…with the iPhone 13 era, the complete five-functional-GPU-core model of the A15 SoC was reserved for “Professional” variations, with the usual iPhone 13 as an alternative utilizing the four-GPU-core A15 SoC variant. Apparently TSMC has improved its yield on the now-mature 5 nm course of, as a result of the five-GPU-core A15 is now mainstream. And, after all, Apple by no means talks about different specs reminiscent of the quantity, sort and velocity of DRAM, so there could also be evolution right here within the iPhone 13-to-14 transition as effectively (that stated, rumor has it that the LPDDR4 allocation has grown from 4 to six GBytes…we’ll want to attend for impartial developer affirmation right here). Nonetheless, the core {hardware} variations are modest at greatest.

They embrace tweaks to the cameras:

  • The primary rear digicam now has a ƒ/1.5 max aperture, versus ƒ/1.6 on the iPhone 13, and though the picture sensor pixel depend is similar (12 Mpixels), the pixel measurement has grown to 1.9-micron, which may also enhance low gentle efficiency
  • The entrance digicam’s most aperture has additionally widened, from ƒ/2.2 to ƒ/1.9, and now helps autofocus performance

Battery capability (due to this fact between-charges working life) has additionally grown, reportedly from 3,240mAh to three,279mAh on the bottom 6.1” iPhone 14. The iPhone 14 (following within the footsteps of Android predecessors) additionally natively helps Crash Detection, courtesy of upgrades to its personal accelerometer and gyro. As you’ll have seen from the sooner photograph, there’s no 5.4” display “mini” variant this time (though the iPhone 13 mini remains to be being bought…talking of “mini”, reiterating a degree I made again in June, my first-generation iPhone SEs can be made out of date by the looming iOS 16 replace, as effectively); as an alternative, Apple’s gone the opposite path, including a 6.7” “Plus” model.

Neither cellphone helps bodily SIMs any longer, no less than within the U.S.; as an alternative, they will concurrently comprehend a number of carriers’ eSIM credentials. And final however undoubtedly not least, Apple’s (on the heels of each SpaceX-plus-T-Cell and Huawei) added restricted satellite tv for pc connectivity; not internet looking, electronic mail and even texting, solely SOS messaging. Apple didn’t announce its satellite tv for pc associate but it surely’s reportedly Globalstar which, if true, is a curious choice. Globalstar’s satellites sit in long-distance HEO, versus the closer-proximity LEO employed by SpaceX (for instance), the farther Globalstar orbit seemingly requiring a lot larger iPhone 14 transmit energy.

Then there are the “Professional” variants of the iPhone 14 household, additionally obtainable in base and bigger (this time “Max” versus “Plus”) measurement choices:

Right here the generational adjustments (constructing on the inspiration of the sooner documented iPhone 13-to-14 enhancements) are extra substantial, beginning with a processing nexus swap to the 4 nm-fabricated A16 Bionic SoC. Does this iPhone era’s extra restricted processor evolution replicate constrained latest-generation TSMC course of capability (and/or yield), is it merely a mirrored image of Apple’s want to inject extra function set differentiation between normal and “Professional” product variants, or are each (and/or different) elements at play? Hypothesis apart, Apple continues in its position as a lithography-adoption trendsetter. Though the CPU (two excessive efficiency, 4 “effectivity”, i.e., low energy) and GPU core counts stay unchanged from the A15 Bionic precursor, all three cores’ architectures have purportedly superior.

The whole transistor depend now exceeds 16 billion (consider it or not), the next-generation 16-core neural engine is claimed able to performing as much as 17 trillion operations per second, reminiscence bandwidth to and from the graphics subsystem has elevated by 50%, and the design displays ongoing give attention to lowering energy consumption: the A16 Bionic’s high-performance cores supposedly use 20% much less energy in comparison with these of the A15 Bionic, whereas the effectivity cores use a 3rd of the facility (of unnamed competitor chips, thoughts you). Apple’s give attention to energy consumption vs uncooked efficiency is smart in gentle of subsequently leaked preliminary Geekbench outcomes, which recommend scant-at-best artificial benchmark enhancements versus the A15 Bionic. Maybe Geekbench isn’t totally exploiting the A16 Bionic’s varied architectural enhancements…and/or maybe Apple is downclocking the A16 Bionic versus its A15 Bionic predecessor in pursuit of diminished energy consumption with comparable efficiency.

Talking of reminiscence, the telephones purportedly embrace 6 GBytes of latest-generation LPDDR5 DRAM this time round. The digicam subsystem enhancements are additionally extra substantial, together with:

  • A 48 Mpixel important rear picture sensor, albeit with every quad-pixel cluster mixed on the digicam degree
  • A brand new 12MP ultra-wide rear digicam with 1.4 µm pixels
  • An improved rear telephoto digicam now providing 3x optical zoom, and
  • A brand new entrance TrueDepth digicam with an ƒ/1.9 aperture and autofocus

Talking of the entrance digicam cluster, Apple has migrated from the “notch” on the prime of the display to a “tablet” inside the primary OLED (which for the primary time gives an “At all times-On mode”). The corporate refers to it because the Dynamic Island:


and you’ll simplistically consider it as a mini digital show (plus bodily cameras) inside a show. Intelligent.

Just a few closing notes on wi-fi and wired connectivity, which apply equally to all 4 iPhone 14 variants mentioned right here:

With that, and with the two,000-word threshold looming, it’s a wrap. Over to you to your impressions within the feedback!

Brian Dipert is Editor-in-Chief of the Embedded Imaginative and prescient Alliance, and a Senior Analyst at BDTI and Editor-in-Chief of InsideDSP, the corporate’s on-line publication.

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