Here’s a First Look at Apple’s New ‘Presto’ Machine That Updates iPhones in the Box

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A few days ago, iDrop News reported that Apple is readying a new in-store system that would fix the years-old problem of being required to update your new iPhone as soon as you turn it on straight out of the box.

The new system allows Apple retail employees to wirelessly update the iOS software on in-stock iPhones before being sold. The updates can be performed without the need to break the box’s seal and take the iPhones out of their packaging.

This week, iGen provided a peek at the new proprietary system, which has been dubbed “Presto.” The system allows Apple retail staff to place a sealed iPhone box in a small locker-like device, which wirelessly turns on the iPhone inside of the box, updates the device to the latest version of iOS, and then powers the device down.

The Presto consists of small lockers that can update up to six boxed iPhones at once. The lockers have markings designed to ensure that the iPhone boxes are correctly positioned according to size (which takes 20 seconds or so, iGen notes). Once the iPhone is placed in the locker, the iPhone will be updated in 15 to 30 minutes.

The Presto uses NFC, wireless charging, and software installed on a Mac mini. The Mac mini stores an updated version of the iOS software on its hard drive and communicates wirelessly with the iPhones still in their packaging.

iGen shared a frame capture from a video showing two of the Presto machines stacked one on top of the other, as seen below.

The Presto device was built in California by Apple’s Backstage Operations team, which develops tools for use by Apple retail employees and technicians.

The system should eliminate the need for customers to update their new iPhones straight out of the box before being able to transfer data from their old iPhones. This happened most recently with the release of the iPhone 15, which was shipped with iOS 17 installed, but required an update to iOS 17.0.2 to fix a problem with transferring data from an older iPhone.

Even aside from that bug, iOS does not allow users to transfer a backup made under a newer version of iOS onto an iPhone running an older version of iOS, even if that’s only a minor version difference such as having iOS 17.4.1 installed on your old iPhone and iOS 17.4 installed on your new one.

While a new iPhone will offer to perform an iOS update if you attempt to restore a backup made on another device running a newer version of iOS, that adds time to the setup process and doesn’t always work correctly. If it fails, the user will need to set up the iPhone as a new device, apply the latest update, and then wipe the device so the process can be started over to allow restoring the iCloud backup to the handset.

Apple is reportedly aiming to have Presto machines installed in all US retail stores by early summer. At this point, it isn’t clear whether or not Apple will make Presto available to third-party retailers like cellular carriers or Best Buy or whether they’ll simply update the devices before shipping them to the retailers.

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