Apple’s Next iPhone Is Coming Soon
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Apple’s Next iPhone Is Coming Soon

Analysts say camera improvements are the biggest changes hitting Apple’s coming smartphones.

By Nicole Ngyuen
Tue, Sep 14, 2021 12:41pmGrey Clock 4 min

About to buy a new iPhone? Don’t. We expect Apple to announce new models at its Sept. 14 news event, which the company will once again stream virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic. And even if you aren’t interested in the latest and greatest, the company generally drops the price of some older models along with the new crop.

Apple is, of course, hush-hush on what’s to come. A company spokeswoman declined to comment on future products. But iPhone production tends to be a leaky business, and I asked analysts who monitor Apple’s sales and supply chain to weigh in on the next iPhone.

First, what will it be called? The iPhone 13? It’s a likely bet, since Apple skipped the iPhone 11S and went right to the 12.

Some have hypothesized Apple might steer clear of the number because of superstition, the way some skyscrapers skip a 13th floor. A survey of 3,000 Apple users by Sell Cell, a used-electronics vendor, found that 18% would be put off by an iPhone 13. But Apple hasn’t shied away from naming software iOS 13 or selling a 13-inch MacBook.

Whether it’s iPhone 13, iPhone 12S, iPhone 2021 or even iPhone (15th generation), there will be several new models this year. Here’s what you can expect from the coming device:

Modest Changes

“We’re in the 5G chapter of the iPhone, which is a multiyear chapter,” said Gene Munster, a managing partner and Apple analyst with venture-capital firm Loup Ventures. “It’s going to be pretty modest over years two and three.”

Last year was significant for the device. The iPhone 12 models—the first to support faster 5G cellular networks—got a redesign and gained two new sizes in the Mini and Pro Max. Apple typically follows a big update with a less noteworthy release. Mr. Munster said we’ll see incremental improvements: a faster processor, longer battery life and camera upgrades.

Brian White, an analyst with Monness Crespi Hardt, expects Apple to release four new models resembling the iPhone 12 designs, including an iPhone 13 Mini with a 5.4-inch display, an iPhone 13 with a 6.1-inch display, a similar-size iPhone 13 Pro and a larger iPhone 13 Pro Max with a 6.7-inch display. The phones will likely feature a new A15 Bionic chip, Mr. White said.

Camera Improvements

“There’s a pretty healthy set of rumours about the camera, which are true,” Mr. Munster said. “I believe that this will be Apple’s selling point this time around.”

Mr. Munster pointed to a Bloomberg story that reports the camera on the higher-end Pro and Pro Max models could support Portrait mode (where the background is artfully blurred) when shooting video, as well as a higher-quality video format. High-end Samsung Galaxy phones have been able to shoot portrait mode during video—called Video Live Focus—since 2019, with the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G.

One More Mini

Apple saw lackluster sales of the iPhone 12 Mini, which has a 5.4-inch screen. Counterpoint Intelligence Research Partners estimates that the Mini made up just 5% of total iPhone 12 sales in the quarter ending June 2021. Trendforce, a market research firm, reported that Apple halted iPhone 12 mini production.

However, Mr. Munster believes that we’ll see another Mini this year. “It’s a niche, but people in that niche tend to like them,” he said. This was welcome news to me. I happen to be in that niche—though I do think the small phone’s battery life could be much better.

Adam Wears, an analyst at Juniper Research, agrees. He expects Apple will phase out the Mini in subsequent years, focusing instead on its standard and premium-tier Pro and Pro Max models, while the iPhone SE, with a 4.7-inch screen, becomes the lower-priced model.

Wider 5G Availability

Mr. Wears also anticipates the next iPhone will expand the use of high-frequency millimetre-wave technology in handsets in more countries across Asia and Europe.

The iPhone 12 globally supports the more conventional sub-6-gigahertz band, but the faster millimetre-wave antenna, which can’t travel long distances and is more susceptible to obstacles such as trees, is only available in iPhone models in the U.S.

Mr. White agrees that the next iPhones will likely “further tap into this nascent global 5G ramp.”

Shipping Delays

Apple said it is affected by the disruption to the global supply of microprocessors. “We’re going to take it sort of one quarter at a time and, as you would guess, we’ll do everything we can to mitigate whatever set of circumstances we’re dealt,” Chief Executive Tim Cook told analysts during a public conference call in July.

Mr. Munster said that while he expects the company to announce the phone in September with availability in October, he thinks most customers won’t receive devices until December.

No Foldable—Yet

“The chapter after 5G is foldable phones,” said Mr. Munster, who expects Apple to release that device in 2023. The competition in the space is heating up: Samsung recently announced two foldable devices, the Galaxy Z Fold3 and Galaxy Z Flip3. The former opens like a book and the latter works like an old-school flip phone, like the old Motorola Razr. The prediction that iPhones will eventually flip is reinforced by the fact that Samsung is one of Apple’s top display manufacturers.

My colleague Joanna Stern found a pattern in Samsung and Apple releases. The iPhone maker typically incorporates features two to three years after Samsung. And if that timeline is any indication, the iPhone is soon due for an in-screen fingerprint reader and a screen with a faster 120-hertz refresh rate for smoother animations.

Joanna reported that Apple has been working on in-screen fingerprint technology and has considered including Touch ID and Face ID on the same device, according to two former Apple employees. It probably won’t appear this year, however.

What About Other Phones?

If you’re in the market for an upgrade, there are, of course, other options to consider.

Google already announced that its next Pixel 6 will run its own proprietary Google-designed chip and feature a new camera system. We’ll hear more details sometime this fall. Meanwhile, Samsung lowered the price of its recent foldables. And while the Galaxy S21 is still probably the best overall Android purchase, Samsung will likely launch its next non-folding flagship Galaxy phones in early 2022.

Reprinted by permission of The Wall Street Journal, Copyright 2021 Dow Jones & Company. Inc. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Original date of publication: September 10


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The Fremantle cottage rewriting the blueprint for conjuring space

You’ll never guess where they found a little extra room when renovating this west coast house

By Robyn Willis
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There was a time, not too long ago, when the most important must-have for would-be renovators was space. It was all about space to be together and space to be apart.

But as house prices increase across the country, the conversation has started to shift from size for the sake of it towards more flexible, well-designed spaces better suited to contemporary living.

For the owners of this 1920s weatherboard workers’ cottage in Fremantle, the emphasis was less on having an abundance of room and more about creating cohesive environments that could still maintain their own distinct moods. Key to achieving this was manipulating the floorplan in such a way that it could draw in light, giving the impression at least of a larger footprint. 

See more stories like this in the latest issue of Kanebridge Quarterly magazine. Order your copy here

Positioned on a site that fell three metres from street level, the humble four-room residence had been added to over the years. First order of business for local architect Philip Stejskal was to strip the house back to its original state.

“In this case, they were not quality additions,” Stejskal says. “Sometimes it is important to make sure later additions are not lean-tos.”

The decision to demolish was not taken lightly. 

“Sometimes they can be as historically significant as the original building and need to be considered — I wouldn’t want people to demolish our addition in 50 years’ time.”

Northern light hits the site diagonally, so the design solution was to open up the side of the house via a spacious courtyard to maximise opportunities to draw natural light in. However, this had a knock-on effect.

A central courtyard captures northern light. Image: Bo Wong

“We had to make space in the middle of the site to get light in,” Stejskal says. “That was one of the first moves, but that created another issue because we would be looking onto the back of the neighbouring building at less appealing things, like their aircon unit.”

To draw attention away from the undesirable view, Stejskal designed a modern-day ‘folly’.

“It’s a chimney and lookout and it was created to give us something nice to look at in the living space and in the kitchen,” Stejskal says. 

“With a growing family, the idea was to create a space where people could find a bit of solitude. It does have views to the wider locality but you can also see the port and you can connect to the street as well.”

A garden tap has also been installed to allow for a herb garden at the top of the steps.

“That’s the plan anyway,”  he says. 

A modern day ‘folly’ provides an unexpected breakout space with room for a rooftop herb garden. Image: Bo Wong

Conjuring up space has been at the core of this project, from the basement-style garaging to the use of the central courtyard to create a pavilion-like addition.

The original cottage now consists of two bedrooms, with a central hallway leading onto a spacious reception and living area. Here, the large kitchen and dining spaces wrap around the courtyard, offering easy access to outdoor spaces via large sliding doors.

Moments of solitude and privacy have been secreted throughout the floorplan, with clever placement of built-in window seats and the crow’s nest lookout on the roof, ideal for morning coffee and sunset drinks.

The house has three bedrooms, including a spacious master suite with walk-in robe and ensuite overlooking the back garden. Adjustable blades on the bedroom windows allow for the control of light, as well as privacy. Although the house was designed pre COVID, it offers the sensibility so many sought through that time — sanctuary, comfort and retreat.

Adjustable blades allow the owners to control light on the upper floor. Image: Bo Wong

“When the clients came to us, they wanted a house that was flexible enough to cater for the unknown and changes in the family into the future,” Stejskal says. “We gave the owners a series of spaces and a certain variety or moods, regardless of the occasion. We wanted it to be a space that would support that.”

Mood has also been manipulated through the choice of materials. Stejskal has used common materials such as timber and brick, but in unexpected ways to create spaces that are at once sumptuous but also in keeping with the origins of the existing building.

Externally, the brickwork has been finished in beaded pointing, a style of bricklaying that has a softening effect on the varied colours of bricks. For the flooring, crazy paving in the courtyard contrasts with the controlled lines of tiles laid in a stack bond pattern. Close attention has also been paid to the use of veneer on select joinery in the house, championing the beauty of Australian timbers with a lustrous finish. 

“The joinery is finished in spotted gum veneer that has been rotary cut,” says Stejskal. “It is peeled off the log like you peel an apple to give you this different grain.”

Rotary cut timber reveals the beauty of the natural grain in the kitchen joinery. Image: Bo Wong

Even the laundry has been carefully considered.

“The laundry is like a zen space with bare stone,” he says. “We wanted these different moods and the landscape of rooms. We wanted to create a rich tapestry in this house.”

The owners now each experience the house differently, highlighting separate aspects of the building as their favourite parts. It’s quite an achievement when the site is not enormous. Maybe it’s not size that matters so much after all.


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