Rumination on the Action Button

The rumors surrounding the iPhone 16 get more accurate as we get further into the year. One prevalent idea is that an additional button, dubbed the capture button, will be added to the iPhone 16 on all models. The idea of this seems simple enough: You hold up your phone, point at someone, and capture a picture. It’s unclear whether this will be addressable, like the Action button, that you can set to trigger an automation or other actions. But if I had to bet a nickel, I’d say you will not be able to do that. I think the idea is for Apple to have a button on the phone that will always take a picture.

It’s intriguing to witness the emergence of this button at this particular time. The iPhone has been around for a long time now, and the concept of a capture button isn’t novel. In fact, Apple introduced one on its battery case a few years back. I can’t help but speculate if the timing of this addition is Apple simply seeking to introduce something new.

Either way, I expect the capture button is aimed at the general market and not just us geeks. (I’d argue that the Action button, in contrast, is aimed at the geekier customers.)

Many people would appreciate the ability to quickly take a picture with their iPhone without any other manipulation but pushing a single button. It’s still early, and this capture button is not confirmed, but there is a lot of smoke around this idea, and I hope it comes true.

“Shot on iPhone 15 Pro Max”

Perhaps the biggest news of the Scary Fast Apple event is that Apple shot the whole thing on the iPhone 15 Pro Max. So the Mac event was, at least, kind of about the iPhone. It’s remarkable how far the iPhone has come as a camera.

Apple shared details of how they did it. There’s some really nice equipment in this footage which begs the question, did they use iPhones to shoot the video about using the iPhone to shoot the event?

The Rumored Gray iPhone Pro

In the last week, we’ve had a lot of rumors that a gray iPhone Pro is in the works. If true, it will replace gold in the new titanium iPhone 15 Pro lineup.

My guess is that making a gold-colored titanium phone isn’t easy, so Apple decided to lean into the titanium gray.

Whatever the reason, I am down with it. I’m unsure if it is because I’m sick of the standard white and black iPhones or because my hair is also increasingly trending titanium gray. Regardless, I like the new look.

Source: 9to5Mac

Increasing iPhone US Market Share

In a recent study by Counterpoint Research (as summarized by Ben Lovejoy at 9to5 Mac), smartphone shipments are down by 24%, but Apple’s market share is up from 45% to 55%.

First, About That Decline…

Setting aside last year’s inflation and the economy in general, I’m not surprised that fewer people are buying smartphones. We’ve gotten past the point where the phones are making so monumental a jump every year, and I think most folks have slowed down their upgrade cycles.

Second, About Apple’s Increase…

This is the bit that interests me. Why did Apple’s market share jump 10% in one year? I’m sure a few people at Apple Park know precisely why, but we have to guess a bit from the outside. I can think of a few reasons:

  • Mature product line: Apple is getting phones of all sizes and at all price points out these days. If you want an iPhone, there’s probably a path for you.
  • The Big (non-Pro) iPhone: I expect many people were waiting for a big-screen iPhone without the iPhone Pro price tag. They got that in the last year.
  • Privacy: While I expect this to be a smaller factor, I believe Apple’s privacy focus is sinking in.

I’m sure there’s more, but a 10% jump in just one year after all these years of iPhone is intriguing.

“Far Out” Apple Event

Apple's "Far Out" Event Art

Today Apple made it official. The new iPhone event is September 7. Mark your calendar. Check your wallets. We’ll definitely get the new iPhones and likely Apple Watches. Things that I am curious about:

  • Rumors are the iPhone Pro camera will take a leap. I hope that’s true.
  • I’ll be shocked if the iPhone Pro doesn’t get the always on screen. I’m curious to see what that will be like in actual use.
  • There is an interesting rumor that we’ll get a “pro” or “sport” watch that will cost a bit more. It’ll be fun to see what that means if true. Also, if true it will be the first time that the phone chip between the watches will be different. Until now you got the same chip whether you bought a $300 watch or a $20,000 watch.

We’ll find out soon enough. I’ll be doing some fun things in The MacSparky Labs for this event. If you’re in the labs, keep an eye on your email over the next few days.

Shortcut for Device Info on Your iPhone

If you’ve ever needed to get a few details on your iPhone (EID, IMEI, IMEI2, MEID), you can get it in the iPhone’s General > About screen in Settings. There is, however, an easier way. Go to the Phone app, select the Keypad tab, like you are about to dial a call.

Then type * # 0 6 # *

That gets you an easy screen with the applicable numbers and scannable codes. You won’t need this often, but it is handy when you do.

The Looming Demise of the iPhone mini

Not long after Apple released the “mini” iPhone 12, the rumor mills began reporting disappointing sales numbers and its predicted demise. The fact that Apple released an iPhone 13 mini was not a stay of execution so much as a testament to the momentum and forward planning of Apple’s product lines. I expect the iPhone 13 mini was too far along not to ship it.

To add more smoke signals to the pending iPhone mini demise, 9to5 Mac recently linked to case schematics that show a new large-sized iPhone 14 but no iPhone 14 mini. So it looks like Apple is choosing to make the alternate size for the entry-level iPhone more like an iPhone Pro Max than an iPhone mini.

If forced between choosing whether to make an iPhone mini or a Max-sized non-pro iPhone, I think the bigger one will be more popular. I have several friends that buy the iPhone Pro Max not because they want its features but because they like its screen size. This will make their phones less expensive going forward.

The part that gets me is that they really shouldn’t be forced to make a decision. Isn’t Apple selling enough iPhones that they could afford to sell small, medium, and large versions of the pro and non-pro phones? You’d think they could make that work, but, for whatever reason, they are choosing not to. If you are a fan of the small-sized iPhones, my advice is to go out and buy an iPhone 13 mini now and plan on holding onto it for a while.

Considering the Folding Phone

Ben Lovejoy at 9to5 Mac has an interesting story about Apple experimenting with a folding iPhone and links to a video with some interesting renders from ADR Studio Design. (below) This topic came up on our recent MPU episode with Austin Evans. Austin, who has played with all the folding phones so far, argues that the regular-sized phone folded down to half size is better than the full-sized iPhone that folds up to iPad mini size.

I’ve not used any of the current crop of folding phones, but I can’t help but think I’d prefer that second category. I’d rather have an iPhone that can grow into something like an iPad mini and keep the whole kit in my pocket. The more I think about it, however, the more I’m convinced that if Apple were to ship a folding iPhone, it’d be like one in the video, where it folds down to a smaller phone. That just seems so much more along the lines of Apple’s genetic bent toward smaller and lighter. Regardless, I expect that a product like this from Apple (if it ever ships) will be years from now.