Apple is expected to launch its new series of iPhones this month, but Australians wanting one any time soon may be disappointed.
Apple’s upcoming iPhone 13 has been hit with an unfortunate raft of issues that could result in lengthy delays to it reaching shelves and its pricetag sharply increasing for Aussie customers.
The highly anticipated new smartphone series is expected to be launched at an official event this month, but details around it have been kept under wraps.
Apple typically hosts an iPhone launch event in September each year which it uses to unveil a range of new mobiles as well as other gadgets, and it is rumoured the new devices will include satellite communications and increased 5G-like mmWave support for more countries.
There are also rumours the iPhone 13 line-up will be similar to the 12 range, with four devices on offer at 5.4-inches, 6.1-inches, and 6.7-inches.
However, some of the most important details for customers — the price and the timeframe in which they can pick one up — could be hit hard by series of problems Apple has encountered in making the new phones.
The Wall Street Journal reports that more than a thousand tiny pieces of ceramic are needed for the iPhone’s charging mechanism and the two suppliers of these pieces known as MLCC’s — Murata Manufacturing and Taiyo Yuden in Japan — have closed down because of Covid outbreaks.
But perhaps the strongest evidence for the price-hike rumours is that the chips that make the magic happen on the phones have skyrocketed in price.
Tech websites are reporting that chip making giant TSMC in Taiwan could be hiking up prices of its chips which in turn could lead to higher prices for certain consumer electronics.
If the report is accurate, TSMC — which is Apple’s sole chip maker — will be charging 25 per cent more for its 300mm wafers, compared to pricing from a year ago.
As if Apple hadn’t encountered enough problems in trying to get the new phones on the market, Nikkei Asia reported last month that the most important factory that makes Apple’s chips has been hit by gas contamination.
Finally, there’s also been a hike in delivery charges and disrupted delivery schedules in Australia because of our latest Covid outbreaks.
Australia Post is trying to hire thousands of posties to clear a record backlog of parcels at Christmas level volumes with limited staff.
And, last week it announced it was pausing collections from retailers in NSW, the ACT and Victoria for four days in an effort to catch up.
The litany of challenges facing Apple means we will likely see delays and issues once the phone is unveiled later this month.
Tech journalist for The Australian, Chris Griffith, said there could be a bigger gap between the official launch and when we can actually buy the phones in Australia.
“It will be to Apple’s credit if the iPhone still launches in September, but an imminent launch doesn’t mean there won’t be delays before its release to the public,” he said.
What do we know about the new phones?
All that we know so far is based on speculation and rumours from well-positioned people in tech, as Apple has played its cards close to its chest.
However, one of the biggest and coolest rumours is that the new phones will boast satellite connection.
Respected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is behind the rumours, saying that the next iPhone will be able to send messages even when you’re nowhere near a cell tower or Wi-Fi.
He reckons Apple will do it by connecting to LEO (Low Earth Orbit) satellites — meaning the iPhone’s modem will enable a new radio technology that allows this connection.
It would be an awesome feature that would allow someone to make a call from pretty much anywhere. However, not everyone believes the technology is ready for it yet.
Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, for example, says that Apple eventually wants to deploy its own array of satellites to beam data to devices “but that plan is likely years away from taking off”.
In terms of size, Apple is expected to be rolled out as four models: iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max.
And some of the big mooted new features are around 5G and cameras.
In the last generation of phones, Apple offered a short range version of 5G known as mmWave that would help you get better signal at busy and crowded environments.
Unfortunately, that technology was available only in the US. However Aussie Apple enthusiasts are hoping this will be expanded to other nations, like ours, in the new generation of smartphones.
In terms of battery power, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo reckons the new series will have a larger battery that can fill more space due to other components being smaller.
According to YouTuber Filip Koroy/EverythingApplePro, apparently, there will be a slight difference between the Pro and Pro Max versions of the iPhone.
According to Koroy the iPhone 13 Pro Max will also have a slightly larger LiDAR sensor — uses laser to measure the size, orientation and depth of nearby objects.
Both phones will apparently also get a 0.9mm bigger camera covered in sapphire glass.