Apple iPhone 15 defects

By Patrick Moorhead - October 3, 2023

The Six Five Team discusses Apple iPhone 15 defects.

If you are interested in watching the full episode you can check it out here.

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Patrick Moorhead: Hey, let’s jump into Apple iPhone 15. Right, Dan? We talked a little bit about the honor that it was probably the most exciting thing that came out of that announcement was controlling your Apple Watch with your fingers. By the way, every time we laugh, but Apple will sell billings to these things. But here’s the thing, there have been reports out there from very credible sources. The first one was Wall Street Journal and also Bloomberg talking about the potential issues with the iPhone 15 related not just to heat, but other things, right?

So for instance, there were some people who tried to go from an old phone to a new phone and it completely bricked their phone. And then Apple had to put out an emergency patch out there, iOS 17.0.2, but bricked a lot of folks. People are starting to run benchmarks on this and it’s essentially throttling on CPU related benchmarks and throttling for those who might be familiar with the term, but not familiar with the term when it comes to silicon. Is when silicon gets hot to make sure it doesn’t burn up inside of the phone. You pull back on the voltage and the frequency for it to generate less heat. There have been cracks, right? Titanium, right? Is the name of the game. It’s one of the hardest materials on earth that you could make a phone for. But when you surround with a glass, hey, it tends to be a little bit more rigid.

And while I’m not a mechanical engineer, my dad has a degree in that, it doesn’t make me as smart of that. But I do know that you wrap something with less give, for instance, aluminum versus titanium and you wrap it in glass, it is going to be more prone to break. So people are really upset and they’re contacting Apple support about the phone overheating under certain instances. And Dan, the only thing I can think of here is that it’s a silicon issue. Or actually, let me step back. Some of the puzzle pieces didn’t come together in a way that holistically Apple had expected. And I think this really points out that the way that Apple works, which is they keep teams secret. For me, even each other to lessen the likelihood that information would leak out.

And by the way, there are many pluses in that, but the minuses are that the teams are expecting something to come down the pike. They’re not talking and it shows up and it’s like game day or let’s say all the information is available a couple months beforehand and you don’t have time to react. So you have titanium, which is introduced into the equation, which has different thermal properties and there’s aluminum that’s inside of that. But my guess, again, after being a creator of devices and servers and chips for over 20 years, Daniel, is that it’s the SOC. And it’s likely related to TSMC 3E and we’re going to get a patch that’s likely going to under clock, which will make your iPhone underperform what it was doing before. Apple, you’re too big for this, you’re too good for this, I feel like you’re taking advantage of your monopolistic position that you have in your app store and with iMessage and not sharing that and democratizing that, Daniel. And it’s just sad for this to happen for a company that is the “innovator.”

Daniel Newman: Well, first of all, I mean we should talk antitrust at some point. Maybe next topic. Maybe on our SevenFive podcast, we can quickly hit on some antitrust. Having said that, Pat, I mean, look, you called out some things. But yeah. I mean look, they’re announcing things fast, they’re launching things quickly, they’re looking to create more and more super cycles. They’re creating what I would call very small incremental changes to try to convince a huge number of customers to spend tons of money for a device that does really nothing that the last device can’t do.

Pat, I won’t lie, I will upgrade the phone because I always do. I make fun of myself about it even though there’s not a lot of value in it for me. But I’m still on a 13 Pro Max and to be honest with you, I haven’t been compelled by either of the last two updates to actually buy a new one. And these are part of the reasons why. So I’m going to wait and hold and reserve comments in terms of my actual own experience to when I get one. But look, are you surprised material changes often lead to problems?

Patrick Moorhead: Yeah. I mean, look at the modem, right? The modem disaster story, we-

Daniel Newman: It’s true. They can’t even build a modem.

Patrick Moorhead: Well, no, last week and when you look in, part of the reason was the different people, they didn’t share information with each other because so freaking secretive. It’s hard to build a system in secrecy. And Dan, at what point are people going to say, “Oh, this sucks.” Or, “This was a mistake, but we’ll buy a billion of them,” right? If that doesn’t shriek monopoly, I don’t know what else doesn’t. Or it’s okay to screw up two out of 10 times and you knock it out of the park. I mean, I was thinking yesterday, the only thing unique right now that Apple brings out related to mobility is AirPods and the Apple Watch. Those are truly unique products. I want to congratulate the Apple engineering teams, but when it comes to iPhone, it’s just a complete snoozer. Complete snoozer.

Daniel Newman: Been a snoozer for a long time. It’s behind on everything. I mean, I can see what they’re trying to do with VR and XR. There’s a path there. And then the typical form of letting Meta spend a hundred billion on it and then they’ll come into the market and just do… Because they’re not always the early, they tend to be the disruptor. But Pat, I think the one thing, maybe the most profound thing you said in that whole thing is that the real antitrust eyeballs maybe should be going here and they seemingly continue to go places that they shouldn’t go. And maybe we could wrap up the show talking about that.

Patrick Moorhead
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Patrick founded the firm based on his real-world world technology experiences with the understanding of what he wasn’t getting from analysts and consultants. Ten years later, Patrick is ranked #1 among technology industry analysts in terms of “power” (ARInsights)  in “press citations” (Apollo Research). Moorhead is a contributor at Forbes and frequently appears on CNBC. He is a broad-based analyst covering a wide variety of topics including the cloud, enterprise SaaS, collaboration, client computing, and semiconductors. He has 30 years of experience including 15 years of executive experience at high tech companies (NCR, AT&T, Compaq, now HP, and AMD) leading strategy, product management, product marketing, and corporate marketing, including three industry board appointments.