Ha, finally I get to write our weekly column “Winners and Losers”. Nothing was rosy for me last week. Qualcomm’s new mega chip was boring, Apple is also releasing a phone with a 5-year old design, and my Pixel 6 called an ambulance on its own. Welcome to my special edition called “Losers and Losers.”
Maybe it’s the grey veil that settled over Berlin earlier this week, or the “Blue Monday” after Black Friday 2021. The past week didn’t convince me at all news-wise. There were rather negative reports and when something positive fluttered into the home office via Google News, Flipboard and others, it left me with a bad taste.
But as we all know, the Rage culture is very popular on the net! And even though I tend to spend my days on the emotional level of an enlightened Zen master in Nepal, today I’m going to pull some punches! Because, NOBODY BELIEVES ME when I tell them that something is wrong with the tech world this week… (Huh, so this is how it feels to write ranty clickbait articles). So, first a roundup of the last week:
So we start with the loser of the week! That title goes to …
Loser: Qualcomm for the new top SoC that could spy on us
My buddy Marcel from Allround PC magazine really made me jealous on Instagram this week! That’s because Qualcomm’s tech summit is currently taking place in Hawaii, where the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 was unveiled. So we know the new top-of-the-line SoC that will power models like the Galaxy S22 (in the US), Xiaomi 12 and Oppo Find X4 Pro in 2022.
But as unspectacular as most smartphone launches, that’s how Ruben’s summary of the SoC keynote reads. Same processor cluster, a bit more power, support for 200-megapixel resolutions in the ISP and that’s pretty much it. Qualcomm donned the butcher’s hat towards the end of 2021 and quite cheekily asked, “Can I have a little more?”.
In the process, one piece of information almost ruined everything: As our colleagues at WinFuture reported, front-facing cameras driven by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 appear to be permanently active. As a result, phones will soon be looking for our face “even if we don’t touch or lift the phone to activate it” – according to loosely what Judd Heape, Qualcomm’s product manager, said.
Who thinks that’s a good idea? In the current discussions around data and personal privacy, surely it would make more sense that the ISP of the new system-on-a-chip could be turned off completely, or something along those lines. Qualcomm(e) on!
Loser: Apple still produces an 8-year old phone
My second steep take, for which I may get a lot of flack in the comments, is that Apple is said to already have the iPhone SE 3 in production and is planning a March 2022 launch. Even though, as a fresh MacBook user, I’m currently trying to become more and more friendly with the Cupertino-based company, I find one piece of information from my Thursday news scary.
Apparently, Apple is sticking to the design of the iPhone 8 – and thus the design of the iPhone 6. An 8 (!) year old smartphone. Basically, this is nothing too bad, because the design was functional then and so it is now. However, Apple already showed how cool small and affordable iPhones could be with the iPhone 13 mini and the iPhone 12 mini.
Apple sees itself, quite rightly, as a driver of innovation. Most recently, the notch was the big thing, but subsequently, it is found in many other phones. I find nothing less than insulting for the customer, to presume that loyal Apple fans will buy a product with the old design anyway. The iPhone SE 2 was already a borderline product in terms of innovation and if the iPhone SE 3 does indeed come in the ancient design, Apple is showing that innovation, at least in the mid-range, is happening elsewhere.
That would be a pity, because iOS 15 should also come as an alternative to Android 12 in the hands of those who just can not afford a 1,000-euro iPhone. You shouldn’t pay for that with thick display bezels and the knowledge that you’re basically buying an 8-year phone with new hardware at the 2021 price tag.
Well, did you like my rant? This stirring of emotions that I carried to you in text form? Share it with me in the comments! Really let loose, it’s quite liberating.