Death of 3D Touch, AirPods with health sensors, and a MacBook Pro flaw you need to know about, on The CultCast

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Cultcast 372 MacBook Pro
New AIrPods with health sensors in 2019? Is Apple killing 3D Touch? We'll tell you what we know.
Photo: Apple

This week on The CultCast: Why iPhone’s 3D Touch is probably dead; new reports say AirPods packed with health sensors are coming in 2019; the MacBook Pro “stage light” flaw affects all models built after 2016 — and could cost you $600 to fix. Plus, the wild saga of MoviePass … continues.

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Episode

CultCast #372 – Health-tracking AirPods, death of 3D Touch, and MoviePass LIVES!

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On the show this week

@erfon / @lewiswallace

Erfon goes hands-on with the Rodecaster Pro, a unique new jack-of-all trades podcast mixer unlike any other

Sign the petition! Ask Apple to extend the warranty for the MacBook Pro “stage light” flaw.

3D Touch is probably dead

  • iPhone’s ability to tell how hard someone is pressing on the display won‘t be a part of the 2019 models, according to multiple sources.
  • It will apparently be a victim of Apple’s attempts to lower the price tag of future models.
  • A recent article in The Wall Street Journal compiled several rumors about the next iPhone said Apple is considering trimming functions from its 2019 iPhones to cut costs. That includes the force-touch module.
  • And last year, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicted that no iPhone coming in 2019 will have this feature.
  • His assertion was then echoed months later by an analyst from Barclays.
  • iPhone XR doesn’t have 3D, and I don’t miss it. The Haptic Touch is just as good in areas where Apple added it.

Health-tracking AirPods rumored for first half of 2019

  • Updated AirPods are supposedly on their way in the first half of 2019, according to a new report from Digitimes. The next-gen AirPods may have some impressive new features, too — including new health-monitoring functions that are “expected to receive enthusiastic market responses.”
  • If Apple does include health-tracking features in its new AirPods, it will be interesting to see what they are capable of. A previous patent filed by Apple with the United States Patent and Trademark Office covers wireless earbuds with build-in sensors for performing heart rate monitoring and taking body temperature measurements.
  • AirPods have been a huge hit for Apple. Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo thinks Apple sold 16 million AirPods units in 2017, the first full year they were available. He also predicts sales will grow to more than 100 million by 2021, and suggested a full-on redesign could take place in 2020.

MacBook Pro ‘stage light’ flaw could hit you with a $600 repair

  • According to iFixit, every MacBook Pro since 2016 has a design flaw that will inevitably require an expensive repair
  • The problem supposedly lies in “delicate” ribbon cables that connect the screen with the display controller inside the main body of the laptop. Opening and closing the clamshell case causes these to wear out and begin to tear.
  • Taylor Dixon from iFixit explains it this way:
    • “The current generation of MacBook Pro laptops (2016–present) uses flexible ribbon cables to connect the display to a display controller board beneath the Touch Bar. These cables wrap over the board, where they’re secured by a pair of spring-loaded covers — and they’re subjected to the stress of bending with every opening and closure of the laptop. Within a seemingly short time, those cables are starting to fatigue and tear.”
  • The first to fail is usually the backlight cable, causing the “stage light” effect at the bottom of the screen.
  • Apparently the new MacBook Air has the same design and may be prone to the same problem.
  • These thin ribbon cables are part of the screen. When they wear out the only way to fix the problem is to replace the entire display, “effectively turning a $6 problem into a $600 disaster,” according to Dixon.
  • A petition on Change.org by Louis Rossmann asks Apple “to launch an extended warranty program addressed to this issue as soon as possible.” For a lot of folks, the problem seems to appear just when the one-year warranty runs out.

MoviePass Explores Reintroducing Unlimited Plan as It Tries a Relaunch

  • MoviePass believes it has finally found a business model that will allow it to improve its service and continue to operate, according to Variety
  • This month, the company introduced a new series of plans, which vary in price depending on location.
  • Next week, MoviePass plans to reintroduce some sort of unlimited program that would enable users to see as many movies as they want each month, according to Khalid Itum, MoviePass executive VP. He did not reveal pricing for that plan.