04/18 Update below. This post was originally published on April 16
Leakers have revealed many of the iPhone 14 range’s best features as well as some concerns. But having already let slip one eye-opening upgradea new Apple blunder has accidentally leaked further upgrades which millions of iPhone and iPad users will benefit from.
The blunder was spotted by 9to5Mac digging through the source code of Apple’s new iOS 15.5 beta release. Despite being the very latest publicly available iPhone software, Apple code makes references to enhanced Focus and News functionality for “a device with newer software” as well as hinting at exclusive upgrades that are “no longer fully supported on older devices.”
04/18 Update: in a nugget missed by many, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman has let slip that Apple is planning to integrate satellite calling into the iPhone with it potentially arriving in time for the iPhone 14 range this year. The information was buried in the final paragraph of a report focused on the Apple Watch:
“The company is also working to eventually bring satellite connectivity to the Apple Watch, setting the stage for emergency texting and SOS response features. It’s planning to release those capabilities on iPhone as early as this year. The technology would allow users to send text messages to emergency personnel over satellite networks and report incidents.”
If this news gives you feelings of déjà vu, you are not alone. In August last year, Gurman and respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo both reported that satellite calling was being planned for the iPhone 13. While this feature never arrived, the duo were convinced that it remained in Apple’s long term plans. So this leak makes perfect sense.
It is also a feature that makes perfect sense. In terms of security, the knowledge that you are never cut off from emergency help, no matter your location is a significant selling point. It is also a strong differentiator because no mainstream Android rival currently has this functionality. That said, if Apple does succeed in bringing satellite calling to the iPhone 14 line-up, expect rivals to quickly copy the move.
At 9to5Mac notes, the code strings not only shed light on Apple’s upcoming plans (and a Focus mode overhaul, in particular, would be massive for an increasingly distracted society) but also a range of product cuts with the company set to cut loose another generation of older iPhones and iPads. iOS 15/iPadOS 15 currently support the iPhone 6S (2015) and newer and iPad Mini 4 (2015) and newer, so owners of these devices may be forced to upgrade this year.
Moreover, Apple’s code ties in with leaks from Bloomberg’s respected Apple writer Mark Gurman who claims there will be “fairly significant enhancement” [of iOS/iPadOS] across the board” including a long overdue overhaul of notifications. As is Apple tradition, you can also expect several of these features to be exclusive to the new iPhone 14 range — again something hinted at in the new code references.
I would not expect the reliefs to end here. Apple has consistently exposed its own plans through the inclusion of future-looking source code in iOS releases and with the first iOS 16 beta likely to arrive in June, expect the floodgates to open.
And they might need to. The current narrative pegs the iPhone 14 range as somewhat stale with leaks revealing the standard model will be virtually identical to the iPhone 13 (even in performance), while Pro models have a divisive new dual punch-hole display and higher prices.
Yes, the range’s supersized new cameras will turn heads but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Apple ‘accidentally’ leak additional iPhone 14 features in iOS 16 beta code to increase excitement.
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