In a video this week the incorrigible leaker and YouTube presenter Jon Prosser laid out extensive details of Apple’s upcoming
iMac update for 2021. Evoking memories of Apple hardware from the start of the century, he predicted that the new models will be available in the same colour options as the iPad Air – which means blue, pink and green.
Prosser also spent some time discussing the rumoured miniature version of the
Mac Pro (the Mac Pro mini, presumably?). His source suggests this device will take design cues from both the Mac mini and the old G4 Cube: something like three to four Mac minis stacked on top of each other.
A terrible week for the M1 Macs
Apple’s M1 Macs have barely put a foot wrong since they launched late last year. Reviews praised the machines’ performance and power-efficiency, and earlier this month Intel’s
less complimentary benchmarks were greeted with scepticism.
But nobody’s perfect: even Don Bradman got a duck in his last Test innings. And for the M1 range this week has been the tech equivalent of an
Eric Hollies googly.
We’d already got the news, late last week, of the
first recorded M1-compatible malware: a bit of adware known as GoSearch22 that was spotted back in December and is no longer executable. No big deal, perhaps, but we observed at the time that it wouldn’t be the last.
This week saw the announcement of an altogether more alarming bit of M1-ready malware called
Silver Sparrow. Part of the worry is that nobody knows what Silver Sparrow does; once ensconced on a Mac it connects ominously to a server once per hour, and researchers believe it could be gearing up for a major attack.
Then the M1 Mac mini was hit by reports of an issue where connected displays show
rogue pink pixels. Apple is aware of the problem, so hopefully it will be fixed in version 11.3 of macOS Big Sur.
Finally it turned into a truly horrible week for the M1 Macs when users began to report
“excessive SSD read/write data”, raising fears of accelerated wear and tear on the built-in storage. We’re hopeful that this is a fixable bug, but it could shorten the machines’ life span.
Like the Don, the M1 Macs haven’t become rubbish overnight. But this week – which was chosen, with unfortunate timing, to make the claim that they’re
safer than the Intel equivalent – was one that Apple’s hardware department will probably want to forget.
A new law obliges Apple to declare a
‘repairability score’ for each product it sells in France. This will be based on access to documentation, ease of disassembly, availability and price of spare parts, and access to ongoing software updates and technical support.
Google is still refusing – or not bothering – to update its Gmail app for iOS, despite pressure to respond to Apple’s new tracking rules. (The firm had indicated that it would cunningly
stop using IDFA codes and thereby avoid the requirement to ask permission to track users, but there’s still no sign of this change being made.) Apple has now
added a privacy notice to Gmail’s App Store entry, listing the numerous forms of data that it may collect.
Yet another development in the ongoing dispute between Apple and Epic Games: Apple subpoenaed Valve Software late last year, demanding a vast quantity of
sales data from its Steam store. If you’re struggling to see the connection, Valve’s lawyers agree with you – but Apple reckons it’s a relevant comparison for the situation Epic is complaining about on the App Store.
Apple, meanwhile, has
released macOS Big Sur 11.2.2. This patches a serious bug with third-party hubs and docking stations that could cause damage to newer MacBook Pro and MacBook Air models; we advise updating at your earliest convenience.
The rumour mill
The 5G modem in the 2021 iPhone will
support better battery life, sources claim. It’s expected to use the Qualcomm Snapdragon X60, which means lower energy consumption.
Leaked photos have supposedly revealed the
design of the AirPods 3. It’s quite a bit like the AirPods Pro, with shorter stems and silicone ear tips – but don’t expect the active noise cancellation feature to make the journey.
The iPad Pro still seems to be nailed on for an update in the first half of 2021, with supply-chain sources reporting that Ennostar will begin
production of mini-LED backlights for the device in late Q1 or Q2 of this year.
David has loved the iPhone since covering the original 2007 launch; later his obsession expanded to include the iPad and Apple Watch. He offers advice to owners (and prospective owners) of these devices.