AWT News Update: January 22, 2016

After a brief, one-day hiatus yesterday due to conflicting podcast recordings, we're back with news. Well, not really news, because two of the items are actually rumors. So how about rumors plus one news item? OK? 

  • iPhone 5se coming soon?
  • Anandtech does a big review of the iPad Pro, compares it head to head with a number of Intel Core M devices
  • Tim Cook met with who?

The text version is below, or you can watch the video recording here and see what the temperature was like today in Lima, Peru. 

Text Version

Hi, I’m Steve Sande from Apple World Today, and this is a short and sweet AWT News Update for January 22, 2016. In case you were waiting for the podcast yesterday, we were unable to record and publish it due to other obligations.

The rumor of a 4-inch iPhone seems to be getting more clear, with 9to5Mac citing unnamed sources as saying that the small device will be called the iPhone 5se, with the “se” standing for “special edition”. Like the iPhone 6, the new device is expected to come with an A8 processor, 8-megapixel camera, and an NFC chip so it can be used for Apple Pay. It’s also anticipated that it will have a 4-inch Retina display like that on the existing iPhone 5s, but not support the 3D Touch input found on the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. It’s felt that the device will have a metal enclosure, unlike the plastic case that the former low-cost model — the iPhone 5c — came in. There are still rumors that Apple will hold an event to unveil new and updated products, probably in March.

The iPad Pro is a powerhouse when it comes to its dual core A9X chip, and today Anandtech published a review that included a performance comparison between the A9X and Intel’s Core M lineup. The iPad Pro’s A9X was compared against the Broadwell-based 12-inch Retina display MacBook with a low-end Core M chip, the ASUS Transformer Book T300 Chi with a high-end Core M chip, and the Skylake-based ASUS ZenBOok UX305CA with a base tier Core M3 CPU. Running the SPECint2006 benchmarks on the devices, Anandtech found that the iPad Pro is competitive with the Retina MacBook and Asus ZenBook in about half the tests. The high-end ASUS device beat the iPad in every category. However, the tests are interesting considering that Apple might consider using its own processors in future Macs, which would allow the company to synchronize processor upgrades immediately with new product launches. At the present time, Apple often has to delay updating the Mac lineup while waiting for the latest Intel processors. A French website, MacBidouille, reported in 2014 that Apple had actually prototyped devices with the ARM-based AX processors, including an iMac, Mac mini and a 13-inch notebook along with new keyboards with larger Magic Trackpads. Whether we’ll actually see Macs built with Apple’s own chips is unknown, but these tests indicate that the processors are finally becoming competitive with Intel’s offerings.

Apple CEO Tim Cook meets with a lot of interesting people, and this morning’s meeting was probably one of the more fascinating. The National Catholic Reporter published a photo of Pope Francis’ schedule today, which included a meeting at 11:30 AM Vatican Time with “Il Signor Timothy Donald Cook, Administrator Delegato di Apple”. It’s suggested that Cook was probably chatting with the pope about humanitarian issues and environmental protection, two interests the two men share in common.

I’ll be back Monday with another edition of the AWT News Update.