How Apple plans to update new iPhones without opening them

How Apple plans to update new iPhones without opening them post thumbnail image
Being in a box doesn't mean the iPhone can't update.
Enlarge / Being in a field does not imply the iPhone cannot replace.

Unboxing a brand new gadget is all the time a enjoyable expertise, however it’s normally marred considerably by the setup course of. Both your machine has been in a field for months, or it is simply now launching and ships within the field with pre-release software program. Both means, the very first thing it’s important to do is hook up with Wi-Fi and wait a number of minutes for an OS replace to obtain and set up. The problem is so widespread that going by a prolonged obtain is an anticipated a part of shopping for something that connects to the Web.

However what for those who might replace the machine whereas it is nonetheless within the field? That is the newest plan cooked up by Apple, which is near rolling out a system that can let Apple Shops wirelessly replace new iPhones whereas they’re nonetheless of their containers. The brand new system known as “Presto.”

French website iGeneration has the primary image of what this setup seems like. It begins with a clearly Apple-designed silver rack that holds iPhones and has a number of lights on the entrance. The location (by translation) calls the machine a “toaster,” and sure, it seems like a toaster oven or food heating rack.

A Presto box. They hold six devices at once. There are two of them stacked on top of each other in this picture.
Enlarge / A Presto field. They maintain six gadgets without delay. There are two of them stacked on prime of one another on this image.

Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman has been writing about whispers of this mission for months, saying in one article that the machine can “wirelessly activate the iPhone, replace its software program after which energy it again down—all with out the cellphone’s packaging ever being opened.” In another article, he wrote that the machine makes use of “MagSafe and different wi-fi applied sciences.” The iGeneration report additionally mentions that the machine makes use of NFC, and there are “templates” that assist with positioning the various-sized iPhone containers so the NFC and wi-fi charging will work. With that wi-fi charging, downloading, and putting in, all whereas being remoted in a cardboard field, Apple’s “toaster” most likely will get fairly sizzling.

Nobody has defined precisely how the system works, however we will make some educated guesses. Even when an iPhone is “off” or discharged, it is still possible for the NFC chip to work. Apple Pay and digital card keys are already set as much as work with a low battery. Inserting a field within the Presto oven would presumably set off the NFC chip, wake the OS, and trigger the cellphone in addition into an Apple-only unattended replace mode (hopefully, there’s plenty of safety round this).

NFC’s most knowledge fee of 848 kbit/s means there isn’t any means you possibly can ship an OS replace over that connection, however that fast burst of knowledge is nice sufficient to wake the cellphone and go it an SSID and password for a Wi-Fi connection of some sort, which just about has to exist within the Presto oven someplace. With wi-fi charging powering the cellphone the entire time, it would have loads of juice to hook up with the Web, obtain the replace, and set up it.

The concept of updating a cellphone in its field is a uniquely Apple proposition, as pulling it off requires end-to-end management of the machine. It’ll take plenty of work put into the {hardware}, software program, field design, and the distinctive cellphone oven itself, and the system would require a military of Apple-controlled retail shops which are dedicated to updating the gadgets. That is an enormous quantity of labor simply to keep away from the minor inconvenience of the preliminary setup obtain. Solely Apple would suppose to do that.

Some software program assist for the Presto field is already built into iOS 17.2, so it sounds prefer it’s only a matter of rolling out the {hardware} at Apple Shops. Gurman’s report from earlier this week stated the rollout would begin in April for the US and end by the summer time.

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