Apple generates a lot of news, and it can be hard to keep up. If your mind was on other things this week, our Saturday morning roundup of Apple-related headlines will bring you up to date.
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All aboard Apple’s money train
If anyone was in doubt, Apple took the opportunity this week to demonstrate once again that it is the most efficient money-making machine in the history of business.
(You may have heard that some historical firms – such as the Dutch East India Company – made more money, or were worth more, if you take inflation into account. But this claim does not stand up to scrutiny.)
We thought Apple did surprisingly well during the worst days of the pandemic, but its results for Q3 2021, released on Tuesday night, put those numbers in perspective. In the three months ended 26 June, the company made revenue of $81.4bn (up 36% on the same quarter in 2020) and profit of $21.7bn (up 93%).
It’s an astonishing performance, with only one fly in the ointment: chief financial officer Luca Maestri revealed to investors that shortages of iPhones and iPads are likely in the next quarter, which will encompass the launch of the iPhone 13. It probably doesn’t hurt to whip up the pre-order hype train a little, but it would hurt for Apple to leave significant demand for its new phone unfulfilled.
That’s a possible bump in the road ahead. But over on the US site – and giving us the headline for this section – Jason Snell reports that even iPhone chip shortages can’t slow down Apple’s money train.
Here at Macworld, by the way, we often wonder how interesting Apple’s financial results are to the average reader. Do you care how many billions Apple has added to its giant swimming pool of gold coins this year? Get in touch on Twitter if you think we should write more coverage of the company’s quarterly earnings – or way, way less.
Face ID forever
Face ID is a convenient feature on the iPhone and iPad Pro (although it faced some difficulties under lockdown until Apple taught it to cope with face masks). But it won’t be long before the speedy facial recognition appears on all of Apple’s devices – or at least the premium versions of each.
That’s according to Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman, in a discussion of the company’s long-term biometric strategy in his Power On newsletter. Gurman thinks Face ID will come to the Mac within a couple of years, and spread to the rest of the range after that.
Another clue to the future of Face ID arrived this week in the form of a successful patent application. Apple has been awarded a patent for Electronic device display for through-display imaging, which primarily explores the idea of a Touch ID fingerprint sensor being embedded in a device’s screen, but explicitly links this to related ideas such as facial recognition.
It’s too late for the iPhone 13, of course, but this could well mean that the iPhone 14 in 2022 has no notch at all. And it will also make it a lot easier to add Face ID (or Touch ID) sensors to a wider range of Apple devices.
News in brief
Bad news for Siri fans: Apple’s voice assistant will lose 22 features this autumn for reasons that remain unclear. The news emerged via a discreet support document for developers, and is unlikely to be popular.
Last week we learned that users are deserting Android in droves and switching to iOS. But Google is fighting back – it’s working on a Switch to Android app that will make it easier to move in the opposite direction.
Maybe Google won’t have that much of a battle on its hands though. In Different Think, our regular Tuesday column, Karen Haslam argues that Apple is letting down ex-Android users.
Dan Moren explains how Apple can make iMessage better.
Ted Lasso, Apple’s hit comedy about an American football coach who moves to the UK to manage a struggling football team kicked off on Friday 23 July and, according to Apple it broke records on Apple’s subscription TV service, with the biggest premiere audience on the Apple TV+ service to date. If you want to find out how you can watch it – and why you should – read: How to watch Ted Lasso.
A whopping 700 million people around the world now pay for at least one Apple subscription service, we learned during the firm’s earnings call (discussed above). This is great news for Apple’s pivot from hardware to services, but there are gaps in what we know: are the newer services, such as TV+ and Arcade, pulling their weight, or do those numbers lean heavily on proven performers like iCloud And Apple Music?
Apple has hit another low note with the App Store, says the Macalope.
Apple has ordered an astonishing 100 million A15 chips for the upcoming iPhone 13. This is well up on orders placed ahead of the iPhone 12 launch last year, and gives an idea of quite how bullish the company is feeling about sales of the new handsets.
Roman Loyola says he won’t miss the Touch Bar.
Remember the reports back in June 2021 that Apple had threatened leakers with legal action? It turns out it’s not only leakers that Apple is targeting and it seems that the company’s motives are not simply to protect its intellectual property. In one such letter Apple has outlines its concern that the prototypes could be used by third-party accessory manufacturers as a basis to “develop and sell mobile phone cases and other accessories that are not actually compatible with the unreleased products.” More here: Apple’s desire to stop leaks is to protect its partners.
Software, bugs & problems
Apple released a batch of security updates this week following the discovery of a IOMobileFrameBuffer security flaw that could have been lead to arbitrary code being executed. iOS 14.7.1 and Big Sur 11.5.1 both address this IOMobileFrameBuffer security flaw, as does watchOS 7.6.1. The three updates “provides important security updates and is recommended for all users,” according to Apple.
iOS 14.7.1 also fixes that annoying bug preventing iPhone owners from using Touch ID to unlock their Apple Watches. (Here’s how to update iOS.)
As for the software updates coming later this year: iOS 15 could be able to recognise people even if their faces are obscured, based on newly published article by Apple’s scientists.
And as we outline in Which Monterey features work on my Mac, various new features coming in the new macOS later this year will be destined only for M1 Macs. However, it seems that Apple has now decided that it will allow support for the Live Text feature on Intel-powered Macs after all. Read: Apple to bring OCR-like Live Text to Intel Macs.
The rumour mill
Apple is working on a new external monitor, codenamed J327, to replace the Pro Display XDR. The really interesting bit is that the monitor will feature a built-in A13 processor chip, and can thus be used as an external GPU.
The iPhone 13 will support 25W fast charging, according to the latest report. Handy upgrade, or excuse to sell a bunch of higher-wattage power adapters? You decide.
Talking of the iPhone 13, it looks increasingly likely that the new iPhones (and the new Apple Watches that are customarily announced at the same event) will have a third big announcement to compete with: sources say the third-gen AirPods will be released in September.
Interested to know what’ll happen to the iPhone next year? We’re fairly sure the iPhone 14 Pro will be made of titanium.
Excited about the big-screen new iMac? Cool your jets, because it’s unlikely to be here until 2022.
Apple has already brought the delights of mini-LED screen backlighting to the iPad Pro 12.9in, but we’re hearing that the MacBook range will soon (or relatively soon) get to join the party. Sources say a mini-LED MacBook Air will come out in 2022.
We could get a mini-LED iPad mini too, if reports are to be believed. And the mini is going to get a bigger screen at last!
Apple deals of the week
I’ve embedded a list of the best current Apple deals below, but other than that, we’re done for this week. See you next Saturday, and stay Appley!
Top 10 Apple Deals
Apple 11in iPad Pro (2021, M1, 2TB) – Wi-Fi + Cellular
Now: £1,314.16 (£584.84 off)
We’re not sure if Amazon will bring back the £639 discount we saw in October on this iPad Pro M1 variant, but almost £600 off is still an excellent deal. See our review of the 11in iPad Pro with M1.
Adobe Creative Cloud – All Apps (1 Year)
Was: £49.94 per month
Now: £39.95 per month (£119.88 off)
Adobe’s slashed 20% off its Creative Cloud subscription prices. The offer ends 14 April.
Apple AirPods 3
Now: £159 (£30 off)
The AirPods 3 offer better battery performance, an updated design, and support for Spatial Audio and Adaptive EQ. Save £30 from Amazon.
Smarty 12GB data SIM-Only
Was: £8 per month
Now: £4 per month (50% off for 3 months)
Grab three months of 12GB data for just £4 per month. If you’re after more data, you can see all its plans here. You can cancel anytime.
Apple iPad mini (2021, 6th gen, 64GB, Cellular)
Now: £464 (£155 off)
This is the best deal we’ve seen on the iPad mini you can get the 64GB Cellular (RRP £619) for just £464 – which is less than the RRP for the Wi-Fi model!
Apple MacBook Air, M1, 8-core CPU, 7-core GPU, 256GB (2020)
From: John Lewis
Now: £887 (£112 off)
Apple Watch Series 6 (40mm)
Now: £229 (£90 off)
Bag the last gen Watch 6 for under £300 at Amazon’s Spring Sale!
Apple Watch Series 6 (44mm, Cellular)
Now: £349 (£160 off)
Amazon’s just slashed £160 off the Watch Series 6 with Cellular connectivity as a part of its Spring Sale.
Apple 10.2in iPad (2021, 256GB, Wi-Fi)
Now: $429 ($50 off)
Save $50 on the latest regular iPad. It’s a great affordable slate that’s perfect for web browsing or video calls.
Logitech Combo Touch Keyboard for iPad Pro 11
Now: £115.99 (£74 off)
Save an excellent £74 on this Logitech keyboard for the iPad Pro 11 – this is currently the best discount we can see. The Combo Touch works with the 1st, 2nd and 3rd gen models.
Now: £79.60 (£19.40 off)
Grab this set of Apple AirTags for just under £80 – that’s a saving of roughly £9 per AirTag, which costs £29 separately.
Apple Watch Series 7 (GPS, 41 mm)
Now: $279 ($120 off)
The Apple Watch Series 7 has a solid $120 discount in Amazon’s Prime Day sale, making it one of the best prices around.
Beats Solo 3 Headphones
Now: £99 (£80 off)
Get £80 off the Beats Solo3 Wireless on-ear headphones (which we gave four stars in our review). They’re available in a range of colours.
Apple AirPods Pro with MagSafe charging case
From: John Lewis
Now: £189 (£50 off)
Amazon’s excellent £64 saving on the AirPods Pro from March is no longer available. Multiple sites are selling for £189 (a £50 saving), including AO and Laptops Direct – but we’d go with John Lewis on account of its two-year guarantee.
Apple Watch SE 2021 (44mm, GPS)
Now: £239 (£60 off)
Get a great saving on last year’s Apple Watch SE from Amazon.
Now: £53.99 (£11 off)
Want a more affordable alternative to the Apple Pencil? Check out the Logitech Crayon, which works with all iPads from 2018 and later.
Apple iPhone 12 mini (256GB)
Now: £619.99 (£109.01 off)
The 256GB iPhone 12 mini has over £100 off from Amazon.
Apple iPad mini (2021, 6th gen)
From: Currys PC World
Now: £464 (£15 off)
A handy saving on Apple’s new iPad mini model for 2021, but note that this price applies to the Starlight colour finish only. eBuyer is matching the deal on certain colours.
Apple iPad Air (2022, 256GB, Wi-Fi + Cellular)
Now: £557.62 (£11.38 off)
KRCS has knocked money off the 2022 iPad Air. You will find savings across the whole range.
Apple MacBook Air, M1, 8-core CPU, 8-core GPU, 512GB (2020)
Now: £1,099 (£150 off)
An excellent deal, this. Save money on the MacBook Air with 8-core CPU and 8-core GPU from Very. The discount applies to the silver version only.
This deal is only slightly better than Currys who has the silver model for £1,099.97. John Lewis had the same deal, but it is currently out of stock there.