The GoPro-ification of the iPhone

Hello friends, and welcome back to Week in Review!

Last week, we talked about some sunglasses from a company that many people do not like very much. This week, we’re talking about Apple and the company 1,600 times smaller than it that’s facing similar product problems.

Thanks for joining in — follow my tweets @lucasmtny for more.


(Photo by Brooks Kraft/Apple Inc.)

the big thing

When you get deep enough into the tech industry, it’s harder to look at things with a consumer’s set of eyes. I’ve felt that way more and more after six years watching Apple events as a TechCrunch reporter, but sometimes memes from random Twitter accounts help me find the consumer truth I’m looking for.

As that dumb little tweet indicates, Apple is charging toward a future where it’s becoming a little harder to distinguish new from old. The off-year “S” period of old is no more for the iPhone, which has seen tweaks and new size variations since 2017’s radical iPhone X redesign. Apple is stretching the periods between major upgrades for its entire product line and it’s also taking longer to roll out those changes.

Apple debuted the current bezel-lite iPad Pro design back in late 2018 and it’s taken three years for the design to work its way down to the iPad mini while the entry-level iPad is still lying in wait. The shift from M1 Macs will likely take years as the company has already detailed. Most of Apple’s substantial updates rely on upgrades to the chipsets that they build, something that increasingly makes them look and feel like a consumer chipset company.

This isn’t a new trend, or even a new take, it’s been written lots of times, but it’s particularly interesting as the company bulks up the number of employees dedicated to future efforts like augmented reality, which will one day soon likely replace the iPhone.

It’s an evolution that’s pushing them into a similar design territory as action camera darling GoPro, which has struggled again and again with getting their core loyalists to upgrade their hardware frequently. These are on laughably different scales, with Apple now worth some $2.41 trillion and GoPro still fighting for a $1.5 billion market cap. The situations are obviously different, and yet they are both facing similar end-of-life innovation questions for categories that they both have mastered.

This week GoPro debuted its HERO10 Black camera, which brings higher frame rates and a better performing processor as it looks to push more of its user audience to subscription services. Sound familiar? This week, Apple debuted its new flagship, the iPhone 13 Pro, with a faster processor and better frame rates (for the display not the camera here, though). They also spent a healthy amount of time pushing users to embrace new services ecosystems.

Apple’s devices are getting so good that they’re starting to reach a critical feature plateau. The company has still managed to churn out device after device and expand their audience to billions while greatly expanding their average revenue per user. Things are clearly going pretty well for the most valuable company on earth, but while the stock has nearly quadrupled since the iPhone X launch, the consumer iPhone experience feels pretty consistent. That’s clearly not a bad thing, but it is — for lack of a better term — boring.

The clear difference, among 2.4 trillion others, is that GoPro doesn’t seem to have a clear escape route from its action camera vertical.

But Apple has been pushing thousands of employees toward an escape route in augmented reality, even if the technology is clearly not ready for consumers and they’re forced to lead with what has been rumored to be a several-thousand-dollar AR/VR headset with plenty of limitations. One of the questions I’m most interested in is what the iPhone device category looks likes once its unwieldy successor has reared its head. Most likely is that the AR-centric devices will be shipped as wildly expensive iPhone accessories and a way to piggy back off the accessibility of the mobile category while providing access to new — and more exciting — experiences. In short, AR is the future of the iPhone until AR doesn’t need the iPhone anymore. 


Image Credits: Tesla

other things

Here are the TechCrunch news stories that especially caught my eye this week:

Everything Apple announced this week
Was it the most exciting event Apple has ever had? Nah. Are you still going to click that link to read about their new stuff? Yah.

GoPro launches the HERO10 Black
I have a very soft spot in my heart for GoPro, which has taken a niche corner of hardware and made a device and ecosystem that’s really quite good. As I mentioned above, the company has some issues making significant updates every year, but they made a fairly sizable upgrade this year with the second-generation of their customer processor and some performance bumps across the board.

Tesla will open FSD beta to drivers with good driving record
Elon Musk is pressing ahead with expanding its “Full Self-Driving” software to more Tesla drivers, saying that users who paid for the FSD system can apply to use the beta and will be analyzed by the company’s insurance calculator bot. After 7 days of good driving behavior, Musk says users will be approved.

OpenSea exec resigns after ‘insider trading’ scandal
NFTs are a curious business; there’s an intense amount of money pulsating through these markets — and little oversight. This week OpenSea, the so-called “eBay of NFTs,” detailed that its own VP of Product had been trading on insider information. He was later pushed to resign.

Apple and Google bow to the Kremlin
Apple and Google are trying to keep happy the governments of most every market in which they operate. That leads to some uncomfortable situations in markets like Russia, where both tech giants were forced by the Kremlin to remove a political app from the country’s major opposition party.


Gitlab logo

Image Credits: Gitlab

extra things

Some of my favorite reads from our Extra Crunch subscription service this week:

What could stop the startup boom?
“…We’ve seen record results from citiescountries and regions. There’s so much money sloshing around the venture capital and startup worlds that it’s hard to recall what they were like in leaner times. We’ve been in a bull market for tech upstarts for so long that it feels like the only possible state of affairs. It’s not…”

The value of software revenue may have finally stopped rising
“…I’ve held back from covering the value of software (SaaS, largely) revenues for a few months after spending a bit too much time on it in preceding quarters — when VCs begin to point out that you could just swap out numbers quarter to quarter and write the same post, it’s time for a break. But the value of software revenues posted a simply incredible run, and I can’t say “no” to a chart…

Inside GitLab’s IPO filing
“…The company’s IPO has therefore been long expected. In its last primary transaction, GitLab raised $286 million at a post-money valuation of $2.75 billion, per PitchbBook data. The same information source also notes that GitLab executed a secondary transaction earlier this year worth $195 million, which gave the company a $6 billion valuation…”


Thanks for reading, and again, if you’re reading this on the TechCrunch site, you can get this in your inbox from the newsletter page, and follow my tweets @lucasmtny

Lucas Matney

Apple sheds value during iPhone event

The TechCrunch crew is hard at work writing up the latest from Apple’s iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch event. They have good notes on the megacorp’s hardware updates. But what are the markets saying about the same array of products?

For those of us more concerned with effective S&P dividend yields than screen nit levels, events like Apple’s confab are more interesting for what they might mean for the value of the hosting company than how many GPUs a particular smartphone model has. And, for once, Apple’s stock may have done something a little interesting during the event!

Observe the following chart:

Image Credits: TechCrunch/Y Charts

This is a one-day chart, mind, so we’re looking at intraday changes. We’re zoomed in. And Apple kinda took a bit of a dive during its event that kicked off at 1 p.m. in the above chart.

Normally nothing of import happens to Apple’s shares during its presentations. Which feels weird, frankly, as Apple events detail the product mix that will generate hundreds of billions in revenue. You’d think that they would have more impact than their usual zero.

But today, we had real share price movement when the event wrapped around 2 p.m. ET. Perhaps investors were hoping for more pricey devices? Or were hoping Apple had more up its sleeve? How you rate that holiday Apple product lineup is a matter of personal preference, but investors appear to have weighed in slightly to the negative.

Worth around $2.5 trillion, each 1% that Apple’s stock moves is worth $10 billion. Apple’s loss of 1.5% today — more or less; trading continues as I write this — is worth more than Mailchimp. It’s a lot of money.

You can read the rest of our coverage from the Apple event here. Enjoy!

Read more about Apple's Fall 2021 Event on TechCrunch

Here’s everything Apple announced at its event this morning

It’s that time again!

It’s September, which generally means two things: We’re blasting Earth, Wind, and Fire on repeat, and Apple will announce a new iPhone (or four).

Right on schedule, Apple held a remote event this morning, streaming kinda-sorta-live from its Cupertino campus. Whether you didn’t have time to watch the entire hour-long stream or just want the highlights, we’ve got you — as usual, we’ve boiled the whole thing down to the bullet points.

New iPads

Both the standard iPad and the iPad mini have gotten the update treatment — here’s whats new for each:

Image Credits: Apple

New iPad:

  • Runs the A13 Bionic chip, which Apple first introduced in 2019 with the iPhone 11. Apple says it’s 20% faster across the board compared to the last gen.
  • The front-facing camera has been bumped from 8 megapixels up to a 12 megapixel ultrawide lens.
  • It’s getting Center Stage, the feature that debuted on the iPad Pro and automatically reframes front-facing video to keep your face centered as you move around a room.
  • Starts at $329 (or $299 for schools). Orders start today, shipping next week.

    Image Credits: Apple

New iPad mini:

  • Redesigned with slimmer borders and rounder edges.
  • The display has been bumped up to 8.3″ (from 7.9″) while keeping the overall device size the same.
  • The CPU is 40% faster, while the GPU is 80% faster.
  • USB-C!
  • There will be a 5G model.
  • The back camera has a much-improved 12 MP camera with True Tone flash, and, as with the standard iPad, the front camera is getting 12 MP ultrawide lens and Center Stage support.
  • It’ll support the second-gen Apple Pencil.
  • Starts at $499. Orders start today, shipping next week.

Apple Watch

Image Credits: Apple

Apple kicked off the Watch segment with a few new features coming to iOS 8 (like fall detection for cyclists and better algorithms for detecting calories burned when you’re on an e-bike) before announcing a new Watch — Series 7, they’re calling it.

Apple Watch Series 7:

  • By reducing the screen’s borders, they were able to squeeze in a display that is 20% bigger.
  • To take advantage of that bigger screen, buttons are bigger across the UI.
  • It’s got a swipe-style prediction keyboard, for easier text input on the go.
  • Apple says it’s got the strongest (most crack-resistant) display to dat, and is the first Apple Watch to be IP6X certified against dust.
  • An “updated charging architecture” and a new USB-C charger allow it to charge 33% faster.
  • Series 7 will start at $399 and start shipping “later this fall.”

New iPhones

Image Credits: Apple

Not one, not two, but four new iPhones — iPhone 13, iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro max. Faster chips, better cameras, better battery life.

iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini:

  • Both run Apple’s new A15 Bionic chip. It’s got a six-core CPU (two high-performance cores, four high efficiency), a four-core GPU and big improvements to the neural engine that Apple taps for on-device machine learning.
  • A “ceramic shield front,” which Apple says is tougher than any other smartphone’s glass.
  • IP68 water resistance.
  • 28% brighter display.
  • iPhone 13 comes in at 6.1″, while iPhone 13 mini will be 5.4″.
  • A wild new “Cinematic” mode that uses machine learning for tricks like auto-shifting the camera’s focus when one on-screen speaker looks at someone behind them.
  • The 64 GB model has finally been retired, with the base models coming with 128 GB of storage.
  • Apple says the iPhone 13 mini’s battery life has been improved by an hour and a half, while most iPhone 13 users will get two and half more hours per charge.
  • iPhone 13 will start at $799, while iPhone 13 mini starts at $699.

iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max:

Image Credits: Apple

  • It’s getting that new “ceramic shield front,” along with an upgrade to A15, here with a five-core GPU.
  • As rumored, it’ll get a display that can adjust its refresh rate up to 120 hz for super smooth movement/scrolling.
  • It’s got three cameras on the back: a telephoto lens with 3x optical zoom, an ultrawide and a wide angle. Night Mode will now play friendly with all three cameras (including the telephoto lens, which previously didn’t support it).
  • It’ll come in two sizes: 6.1″ (Pro) and 6.7″ (Pro Max).
  • For those who just can’t seem to get enough storage space, they’re introducing 1 TB models!
  • Pro starts at $999, Pro Max starts at $1099. Pre-orders start September 17, shipping September 24.

Other stuff

  • iOS 15 will ship Monday, September 20th.
  • Apple’s Fitness Plus service is rolling out in 15 new countries, including Austria, Brazil, Colombia, France, Germany, Mexico and Russia. Workouts will be in English and subtitled in six languages. They’re also launching group workouts, which can be launched from iMessage or FaceTime and will let you multitask your hangouts and your workouts.
  • Apple’s MagSafe wallet will now be able to display its last known location via the Find My app if the wallet gets separated from the phone.

Read more about Apple's Fall 2021 Event on TechCrunch

The iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max features 120Hz display, better cameras

Apple has announced its new lineup of phones at its virtual conference. In addition to the regular iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini, the company has two Pro models with some premium features that you won’t find in the regular iPhone 13.

Of course, the Pro models are also more expensive. For reference, the iPhone 13 Mini starts at $699 and the iPhone 13 starts at $799. As for the Pro models, the iPhone 13 Pro starts at $999 and the iPhone 13 Pro Max starts at $1,099. The iPhone 13 Pro has a 6.1-inch display while the iPhone 13 Pro Max has a 6.7-inch display.

“Our Pro lineup pushes the limits with our most advanced technologies for users who want the very best iPhone,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said.

Here’s what you’ll get if you decide to buy the iPhone 13 Pro instead of the iPhone 13. The design is slightly different as the Pro models get shiny stainless steel bands around the case of the phone. There are also three stainless steel rings around the three camera sensors. The back of the device is made of matte glass.

There are three different camera sensors at the back of the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max instead of two. In addition to the ultra wide and wide camera, you get a 3x camera. It seems like the wide and ultra wide cameras aren’t identical in the Pro models vs. the regular models either.

Last year, only the iPhone 12 Pro Max featured sensor shift optical image stabilization. This time, the entire iPhone 13 lineup gets sensor shift optical image stabilization. Basically, the regular iPhone 13 is getting many of the advanced camera features that was restricted to Pro models.

In particular, there’s a new cinematic mode with rack focus. You can track a subject and lock focus on that subject in real time. Cinematic mode shoots in Dolby Vision HDR. Later this year, you’ll be able to shoot ProRes videos with the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max.

So here’s what you get in the iPhone 13 and 13 Pro Max:

  • A 77mm telephoto camera with 3x optical zoom.
  • An ultra wide camera with f/ 1.8 aperture and “up to 92% improvement in low-light performance,” according to Apple.
  • A wide camera with f/1.5 aperture and “up to 2.2x improvement in low-light performance,” according to Apple.

For the first time, you can use Night mode with all three cameras. This way, you don’t have to remember which camera will give you the best result.

The iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max comes with a Pro Motion display with P3 color range. Like on high-end iPad models, these iPhone models have an adaptative framerate. If you need it, your iPhone display can run at 120Hz. If you’re watching a movie, the iPhone can use a lower framerate to save battery life.

As the iPhone 13 Max is the largest smartphone in the lineup, you get more battery life. Apple promises a battery that lasts 2.5 hours longer for the iPhone 13 Pro Max compared to the iPhone 12 Pro Max.

Like the iPhone 13 and 13 Mini, the Pro models come with Apple’s A15 Bionic chip. It’s a 5-mm design with 15 billion transistors. There are two high-performance cores and four energy-efficient cores. You should get the same performances across the lineup.

Pre-orders start on Friday and they will be available on September 24. There are four different models with 128GB, 256GB, 512GB or 1TB of storage.

Read more about Apple's Fall 2021 Event on TechCrunch

Apple’s new MagSafe wallet works with ‘Find My’ app for when it goes missing

Alongside the introduction of the new iPhone 13, Apple introduced a few new accessories to complement its upgraded flagship devices. One of the more interesting additions in the accessories in the lineup is a new MagSafe wallet that works with Apple “Find My” service. That means if you accidentally lose your wallet when it becomes unattached from your iPhone, you can launch the Find My app to locate it as you can with other Apple devices or items attached to your Apple AirTags.

In this case, the MagSafe leather wallet will notify users of the last known location where the wallet was separated from the phone. It will not, however, provide real-time tracking.

This is a small, but clever addition for those who use Apple’s MagSafe products. The technology was first introduced last fall to allow iPhone users to attach all sorts of products to the back of their iPhone, like cases, wallets, tripods and car mounts, as well as Apple’s own accessories for charging, like the MagSafe battery pack — which is coming to iPhone 13. MagSafe works by layering on a magnetometer, a copper-graphite shield, two shields, multiple layers of magnets, an NFC antenna and more on the back of the iPhone, to make the accessories attach.

But it had not yet combined the power of MagSafe with the capabilities of “Find My” until now.

Image Credits: Apple

Along with the launch of the “Find My”-connected wallet, aka the iPhone Leather Wallet with MagSafe, the company is also introducing a range of new cases and colors for iPhone, designed to work with MagSafe. This includes MagSafe cases in leather and silicone, as well as a clear case with MagSafe. All are available to order today.

Read more about Apple's Fall 2021 Event on TechCrunch

This is the iPhone 13

The rumors were right. The centerpiece of today’s big Apple event is the latest iPhone. The latest device lands less than a year after its predecessor, now that things have settled down somewhat on the supply chain side for Apple. Last year’s iPhone 12 was a massive seller, bucking the trend of stagnating smartphones sales, in part due to a bottleneck in sales from the unplanned delay, but also because it finally brought 5G connectivity to Apple’s mobile line.

Lucky number iPhone 13 (no skipping for superstition’s sake, mind) features a familiar design. The front notch has finally been shrunken down — now 20% smaller than its predecessor, while the rear-facing camera system has also gotten a redesign. The screen is now 28% brighter on both the iPhone 13 and 13 mini at 1200 nits.

The phone is powered by Apple’s new A15 Bionic chip, built with a 5nm processor. The CPU is 6-core that the company is calling “the fastest CPU on any smartphone.” The new 4-core GPU, meanwhile, brings advanced graphics to the handset.

The rear dual-camera system features a 12MP wide angle camera that’s capable of pulling in up to 47% more light. The new Cinematic Mode, meanwhile, brings rack focus-style shooting capable of adjusting the focus on subjects, using machine learning (you can also tap to adjust manual or switch between subjects).

Developing…

Read more about Apple's Fall 2021 Event on TechCrunch

Watch Apple unveil the new iPhone live right here

Apple is set to announce new iPhone models today. The company is holding a (virtual) keynote at 10 AM PT (1 PM in New York, 6 PM in London, 7 PM in Paris). And you’ll be able to watch the event right here as the company is streaming it live.

Rumor has it that there will be a new generation of iPhone models. Reports suggest that the company is going to call it the iPhone 13 and that there will be four different models just like last year. Today, you can expect to learn more about the iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Mini, iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max.

When it comes to new features, it’s safe to say that there will be big camera upgrades. This year, the company seems to be focused on video improvements in particular. The iPhone 13 should also come with a better display and a faster chip.

But that’s not all. Apple is likely to use this opportunity to announce a new Apple Watch model. There will be bigger design changes with the Apple Watch Series 7 with sharp edges.

There could be more product announcements as Apple has been working on the AirPods 3. They will replace or complement the entry-level AirPods 2 in the audio lineup. The AirPods Pro and AirPods Max will remain unchanged for now.

Finally, there’s a small chance that we get to hear more about new Macs with custom designed Apple chips as well as new iPad models…

You can watch the live stream directly on this page, as Apple is streaming its conference on YouTube.

If you have an Apple TV, you can open the TV app and look for the ‘Apple Special Event’ section. It lets you stream today’s event and rewatch old ones.

And if you don’t have an Apple TV and don’t want to use YouTube, the company also lets you live stream the event from the Apple Events section on its website. This video feed now works in all major browsers — Safari, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge and Google Chrome.

We’ll be covering the event and you can follow our liveblog for live commentary.

Read more about Apple's Fall 2021 Event on TechCrunch

Apple patches a NSO zero-day flaw affecting all devices

Apple has released security updates for a newly discovered zero-day vulnerability that affects every iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple Watch. Citizen Lab, which discovered the vulnerability and was credited with the find, urges users to immediately update their devices.

The technology giant said iOS 14.8 for iPhones and iPads, as well as new updates for Apple Watch and macOS, will fix at least one vulnerability that it said “may have been actively exploited.”

Citizen Lab said it has now discovered new artifacts of the ForcedEntry vulnerability, details it first revealed in August as part of an investigation into the use of a zero-day vulnerability that was used to silently hack into iPhones belonging to at least one Bahraini activist.

Last month, Citizen Lab said the zero day flaw — named as such since it gives companies zero days to roll out a fix — took advantage of a flaw in Apple’s iMessage, which was exploited to push the Pegasus spyware, developed by Israeli firm NSO Group, to the activist’s phone. The breach was significant because the flaws exploited the latest iPhone software at the time, both iOS 14.4 and later iOS 14.6, which Apple released in May. But also the vulnerabilities broke through new iPhone defenses that Apple had baked into iOS 14, dubbed BlastDoor, which were supposed to prevent silent attacks by filtering potentially malicious code. Citizen Lab calls this particular exploit ForcedEntry for its ability to skirt Apple’s BlastDoor protections.

In its latest findings, Citizen Lab said it found evidence of the ForcedEntry exploit on the iPhone of a Saudi activist, running at the time the latest version of iOS. Citizen Lab now says that the same ForcedEntry exploit works on all Apple devices running the latest software, Citizen Lab said.

Citizen Lab said it reported its findings to Apple on September 7. Apple pushed out the updates for the vulnerability, known officially as CVE-2021-30860. Citizen Lab said it attributes the ForcedEntry exploit to NSO Group with high confidence, citing evidence it has seen that it has not previously published.

When reached, Apple declined to comment. NSO Group did not immediately comment.

Developing… More soon…

What we expect from next week’s Apple event

We’ve been scouring the latest rumors and leaks and playing all of The Mamas and The Papas songs forward and backward to get the best possible picture of what we’re in store for with next Tuesday’s “California Streaming’” event.

The invites, which went out a week in advance, don’t appear to give the game away here. There was some extremely cool AR trickery, accessible through Safari on mobile, which could point to some fancy camera upgrades, though augmented reality has become a bit of a staple on these invites.

The California Streaming title, meanwhile, seems likely to be more of a nod to the all-virtual nature of the event, rather than anything to do with, say, Apple TV (of course, we’ve been one-more-thinged in the past). And as for that lovely shot of the Sierras — that could well be a nod to macOS, though the company has moved onto Monterey. It seems just as likely to be a reference to the aforementioned title.

The biggest, simplest and most important answer to the question of what to expect is a new iPhone. Last year’s models saw a notable delay due to COVID-19-related supply chain bottlenecking. Supply chain problems have persisted, of course, but by all accounts, the company appears to be back on track with its pre-pandemic release cycle.

The iPhone 12’s biggest upgrade was, of course, the long-awaited addition of 5G. That, coupled with the delay, led Apple to some pretty massive sales quarters amid a broader stalling of the overall mobile market. While other manufacturers have skipped the number out of superstitious concerns, Apple seems firmly on board with iPhone 13 (even as renders of its successor, the iPhone 14 have reportedly already leaked).

Image Credits: Getty Images / Qi Heng/VCG

Recent reports suggest that the iPhone 13 will arrive in four different configurations — much like its predecessor. So: the iPhone 13, 13 Mini, 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max. The screen sizes should remain the same: 5.4, 6.1 (x2) and 6.7 inches. A separate report, meanwhile, suggests that we’ll see additional colors, with the full lineup being black, white, blue, purple, pink (rather than green) and Product (Red). But, keep in mind that offering different color availabilities in different markets isn’t entirely out of the question.

Unsurprisingly, camera upgrades appear to be the biggest news here. Word from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is that last year’s Pro Max model specs will graduate to the rest of the line (including, potentially, lidar). A ProRes video mode is said to be following the addition of ProRAW to further advance the handset’s bonafides as a semi-pro video shooting rig. Cinematic Video, meanwhile, is said to bring a Portrait-mode-style effect to video. Kuo has also suggested that the devices will be getting a feature based on the Qualcomm X60 that allows for emergency satellite calls — reportedly only available in select markets.

Of course, the phone will also be getting Apple’s latest chip, the A15, said to be coupled with 120 Hz ProMotion display. Apple could also be bringing an always-on feature to the screen, hopefully with minimal impact on battery life. Looks-wise we anticipate it will be more or less the same as its predecessor, albeit with a somewhat smaller camera notch up front — though not to the point of the fake Ted Lasso iPhone. The camera bump around back, meanwhile, is said to be getting larger, perhaps offering an improved telephoto lens.

Oh, and apparently they’ll be more expensive than the iPhone 12 — clearly not one of the new features Apple is going to be actively promoting.

Image Credits: Apple

The Apple Watch 7 seems destined to be the other big news of the event. Apple’s massively popular wearable is reportedly set to get more massive, with a larger display, resulting in a slightly larger case size, from 40 mm and 44 mm to 41 mm and 45 mm. The overall size won’t be too large a change, however, as the company is said to be reducing its bezels this go-round.

Perhaps the most exciting rumor around the Watch is the addition of significant battery life. That’s long felt like a blind spot for the product, compared to competing smartwatches — particularly after Apple significantly improved sleep tracking. Most aren’t anticipating major new health features for the Watch this outing, which is a bit of a surprise here, given that health and fitness have been a major cornerstone for Apple.

Image Credits: TechCrunch

AirPods 3 seem like a reasonably good bet. The latest version of the company’s entry-level earbuds (and their case) are said to be getting a more Pro-style redesign, along with a new chip that’s designed to improve battery life. Active noise cancelation and replaceable tips are apparently not going to make an appearance to maintain the distinction between the two models.

With the company’s rangewide upgrade to its own silicon chugging along, don’t be surprised if we see a number of new Macs. Rumors suggest a new MacBook Pro, Mac Mini and a larger, 27-inch version of its ARM-powered iMac.

The event kicks off Tuesday, September 14 at 10 a.m. PDT/1 p.m. EDT. We’ll be here, bringing you the news as it arrives.
Read more about Apple's Fall 2021 Event on TechCrunch

What China’s new data privacy law means for US tech firms

China enacted a sweeping new data privacy law on August 20 that will dramatically impact how tech companies can operate in the country. Officially called the Personal Information Protection Law of the People’s Republic of China (PIPL), the law is the first national data privacy statute passed in China.

Modeled after the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, the PIPL imposes protections and restrictions on data collection and transfer that companies both inside and outside of China will need to address. It is particularly focused on apps using personal information to target consumers or offer them different prices on products and services, and preventing the transfer of personal information to other countries with fewer protections for security.

The PIPL, slated to take effect on November 1, 2021, does not give companies a lot of time to prepare. Those that already follow GDPR practices, particularly if they’ve implemented it globally, will have an easier time complying with China’s new requirements. But firms that have not implemented GDPR practices will need to consider adopting a similar approach. In addition, U.S. companies will need to consider the new restrictions on the transfer of personal information from China to the U.S.

Implementation and compliance with the PIPL is a much more significant task for companies that have not implemented GDPR principles.

Here’s a deep dive into the PIPL and what it means for tech firms:

New data handling requirements

The PIPL introduces perhaps the most stringent set of requirements and protections for data privacy in the world (this includes special requirements relating to processing personal information by governmental agencies that will not be addressed here). The law broadly relates to all kinds of information, recorded by electronic or other means, related to identified or identifiable natural persons, but excludes anonymized information.

The following are some of the key new requirements for handling people’s personal information in China that will affect tech businesses:

Extra-territorial application of the China law

Historically, China regulations have only been applied to activities inside the country. The PIPL is similar in applying the law to personal information handling activities within Chinese borders. However, similar to GDPR, it also expands its application to the handling of personal information outside China if the following conditions are met:

  • Where the purpose is to provide products or services to people inside China.
  • Where analyzing or assessing activities of people inside China.
  • Other circumstances provided in laws or administrative regulations.

For example, if you are a U.S.-based company selling products to consumers in China, you may be subject to the China data privacy law even if you do not have a facility or operations there.

Data handling principles

The PIPL introduces principles of transparency, purpose and data minimization: Companies can only collect personal information for a clear, reasonable and disclosed purpose, and to the smallest scope for realizing the purpose, and retain the data only for the period necessary to fulfill that purpose. Any information handler is also required to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the data it handles to avoid any negative impact on personal rights and interests.