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.
If you’d like to get regular roundups, sign up to our newsletters. You can also follow us on Twitter for breaking news stories.
Ups and downs of the iOS 15 update
The big news of the week – at least for iPhone owners – happened on Monday, in the form of iOS 15‘s public release. We’ve been pretty excited about this specific update since it was first demoed in June, and iOS updates in general are underrated events. They give you a bunch of new features, security patches and interface tweaks for free, like somebody just handing you a new iPhone. Yes please!
At least, that’s the idea. In fact, if you haven’t installed iOS 15 yet you might want to hold off doing so, as early updaters have been complaining about a number of annoying iOS 15 bugs, running the gamut from reduced battery life to incorrect ‘storage almost full’ alerts. In general, keeping iOS up to date is a sensible strategy, but for major updates it’s wise to wait at least a few days for precisely this reason, as David Price explains in this week’s Different Think column.
We run through all the problems with the latest iOS version in a separate article. Apple has already released betas of iOS 15.1 and iPadOS 15.1, so the company is hopefully addressing some of the issues already.
And there are other potential downsides to consider too. You may be feeling particularly concerned, for example, if your handset is a few generations old. Will iOS 15 slow down your iPhone? We’ve run exhaustive tests. Older devices may also miss out on some of the new stuff; for advice, read Does your iPhone get all the iOS 15 features?
Finally, it’s worth bearing in mind that change is not always comfortable: those who are used to the way iOS 14 works may have difficulty adapting to iOS 15’s eccentricities. You aren’t alone, for example, if you’re wondering where Safari’s address bar has gone – luckily we’ve got a tutorial explaining how to move the address bar back to the top – and it may take some time before you’re used to the fact you can now go on FaceTime and blur your background.
Deciding whether to update to iOS 15, then, is a more difficult decision than you might think. Just spare a thought for those poor tech journalists who have no choice. Truly, we are the most wretched of all.
News in brief
Never again call the EU a slow-moving bureaucratic gravy train. This week, after years of hinting that it would outlaw Apple’s Lightning chargers because they contribute to e-waste, it leapt into action and finally presented a bill calling for the unification of charging cables. If the legislation passes into law Apple will probably get two years to switch from Lightning to USB-C – or to iPhones that are completely portless.
Tim Cook has been grilled by Apple employees over pay inequality, harassment complaints and the company’s political influence. But the affable CEO proved disappointingly reluctant to engage with the more challenging questions, and one leader of the #AppleToo activist group said they did not feel heard.
Cook also made the news this week when he raged against leaks in an internal memo. Hilariously, this internal memo was itself leaked.
Apple has banned Fortnite indefinitely.
Simon Lohmann explores a fascinating conspiracy theory about why the Apple Watch Series 7 didn’t match the leaks. Jon Prosser – one of several leakers to get this one badly wrong – theorises that something went “catastrophically wrong” during mass production, leading to a last-minute change of direction.
A leaked series of videos expose Apple’s strategy for persuading customers to get authorised product repairs, instead of saving money by going elsewhere. Employees are instructed to sow doubt concerning the reliability of parts used by other repair firms.
The new A15 processor is plenty fast, but its true power is versatility, writes Jason Snell.
Perhaps in tune with the ups and downs we discuss above, iPhone users haven’t exactly been falling over themselves to install iOS 15. An analyst firm says just 8.6% of iPhone owners had updated 48 hours after the roll-out, compared with a figure of 14.7% for iOS 14 last year.
Dan Moren explains why the old products that Apple keeps around are crucial to its success.
Do iPhone 12 cases fit the iPhone 13? Halyna Kubiv offers a warning.
Video of the week
Bootcut jeans, butterfly clips and… flip phones? Y2K trends are back, and that even includes nostalgia for the Motorola Razr.
Of course in 2021, old technology has received a big makeover. Microsoft’s recently announced Surface Duo 2 is the latest folding smartphone; it joins a handful of other foldable from the likes of Samsung, Huawei and, yes, even Motorola. They may be cool and gimmicky, but are they here to stay?
Macworld Executive Editor Michael Simon and Computerworld Executive Editor Ken Mingis join Juliet Beauchamp to discuss how folding phones like the Surface Duo 2 might shape the future of mobile. For more on Apple’s plans in this direction, read our guide to the latest foldable iPhone rumours.
Those new products that Apple launched on 14 September – what a glorious, action-packed night that was – are starting to ship now, which means we are finding out a lot more about them.
For example, it turns out that as great as the new iPhones’ macro mode sounds, it might cause some problems if you’re particularly attached to the way you’ve framed the shot.
We’ve also started to publish detailed reviews of the new products. You might like to read the following:
If you’ve seen the new Apple Watch straps, meanwhile, you may be wondering if they will fit your current watch. In which case, read: Do the new Apple Watch straps fit old models?
Software, bugs & problems
We’ve written before about reports of inexplicable screen damage on M1 MacBooks – reports to which Apple responded with the not entirely convincing advice that users stop putting foreign objects between the keyboard and display. Matters have now stepped up a level, with the news that two groups filed lawsuits against Apple on the same day.
iOS 15 got most of the headlines this week, but Apple quietly updated one of its less well-known operating systems at the same time. We round up all the new features in HomePod OS 15. The HomePod didn’t get support for Lossless Audio in that update, but we’ve got good news there too – it does (for now) in the first beta of HomePod OS 15.1.
Speaking of obscure operating systems, remember iOS 12? Apple’s updated the years-old iPhone operating system to protect older iPhones from a serious security flaw that made devices vulnerable to the Pegasus spyware. This is a key update for anyone on iPhone 6 and older.
Want to run Windows on an M1 Mac? VMware has finally released an update that should mean Fusion can run on M1 Macs, but there’s a catch.
The rumour mill
2021 isn’t over yet, but the knowledgeable Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman has pretty much written off the rest of the year. Apple will, he predicts, offer a “stronger showing” in 2022, after incremental launches this year.
One product that could launch in 2022 is Apple’s much-anticipated AR headset. The latest report, based on sources in the supply chain, says production will begin in the second quarter of 2022, with the completed device going on sale in autumn of that year.
The next big thing comes to those who wait, writes the Macalope. Whether it flips, folds or rolls, Apple isn’t going to rush its next innovation.
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, enjoy your weekend, 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.