Apple generates a lot of news, and it can be hard to keep up. If your mind was on other things this week, our roundup of Apple-related headlines will bring you up to date.
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Goodbye Intel, hello Apple Silicon
That’s it, then? The old team on the scrapheap?
Tough news this week for Intel, whose relationship with Apple is going to end within the next two years. Apple is switching from Intel processors in the Mac to its own ARM-based chips, which are being branded as
This is a
historic transition, although it’s also a gradual one: there are still Intel-based Mac launches to look forward. Some will wonder, however,
if it makes sense to buy an Intel Mac now the writing’s on the wall.
In the long run this feels like a
good move for Apple, which will be able to lower costs, improve battery life (or make its Macs thinner with the same battery life) and potentially ratchet up performance. There may be other benefits too; a former Intel engineer suggests that the switch may have been prompted by the
“abnormally bad” quality assurance on the Skylake architecture.
But there will be bumps in the road too: one analyst has predicted that manufacturing costs
will be higher initially, and it remains to be seen if Apple would pass any higher costs on to the consumer. Our experience with currency-based price fluctuations in the UK suggests that it totally would.
Windows virtualisation on the Mac now appears to be a dead end, too, although some argue that this
probably doesn’t matter.
Apple Silicon was one of the headline announcements on Monday night, when Apple held its first ever online-only WWDC. The event went pretty well, on the whole: the lack of whooping audience members didn’t appear to detract from the atmosphere and meant the speakers were able to rattle through the new OS features so quickly that steam starting to come out of the ears of watching journalists.
Top of the bill was
iOS 14, which was discussed for almost half an hour with no pauses. It looks like a corker of an update: we expected Apple to focus on stability but there are lots of
brilliant new features coming to your iPhone. One of these is the new ability to set third-party apps as the default web browser and email app, but Apple kept that one
surprisingly quiet. There are also lots of
new Siri features.
macOS Big Sur looks promising too (aside from the name, which we thought sounded like an intimidating headmaster). One of the less heralded changes is the return of the much-loved
But don’t forget the smaller software updates, each of them packed with changes worthy of attention:
watchOS 7 and
tvOS 14. Software changes bring
new features to the AirPods, too, such as a new Spatial Audio mode, and there’s a HomePod update that allows you to steam music
direct from Spotify and Pandora rather than having to rely on AirPlay.
Sorry to bombard you with links – there’s a lot to cover. For the full roundup, read
Everything Apple announced at WWDC 2020.
News in brief
After four years’ absence from iOS and macOS,
Game Center is back! It will feature an updated design and integration with Apple Arcade.
Insider gossip suggests that Apple Glass could be on the market right now if it weren’t for
Sir Jony Ive’s objections – although given the guy’s track record I’m tempted to assume the objections were well founded. A lot of the debate centred around whether to have a separate hub, or compromise on power so the glasses could be self-contained.
Starting this autumn, iPhone and iPad apps will
automatically appear on the Mac App Store unless developers explicitly opt out. Get ready for a lot of new Mac apps.
Apple has rolled out a raft of new developer tools, including
Xcode 12 and ARKit 4. If you’ve always wanted to become a dev, now’s a great time.
Shortly before WWDC, Apple announced that
81% of iPhone and iPod touch units were running iOS 13. We wonder if that number will now drop as people switch to the
iOS 14 beta.
mystery firmware update for the AirPods Pro may relate to the new Spatial Audio feature, or fix the noise-cancellation issues caused by an earlier update – as yet, nobody’s sure.
A third of all games on the Chinese App Store
could vanish, as strict approval rules are set to be enforced more strictly than in the past.
Bugs and problems
Mac malware has been spotted spreading
through Google search results. It’s a Trojan specifically designed to circumvent macOS Catalina’s security.
The rumour mill
ARM-based Macs still feel a long way off, at least for regular customers. (Apple has announced that it’s making a special ARM-based Mac mini for developers.) The first consumer Macs with Apple Silicon chips are expected
by the end of the year.
Another week, another bunch of iPhone 12 rumours. We’ve seen
“the first dummy units”, which point to an iPhone 5-esque flat-sided design. And we hear that the new handsets will come with
faster 20W chargers, up from 18W on the current Pro models and 5W on the rest.
That’s it for this week. Stay Appley!