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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Apple is usually quite good about announcing things when they’re ready. Rather than promising the earth and then quietly removing all references to the earth from its website a year and a half later – the Peter Molyneux approach, I call this – Tim Cook likes to leap on stage, demo a new product and then smugly reveal that pre-orders will begin when he finishes his sentence. Or maybe a few days later.
(Okay, there was AirPower, which was very much a Molyneux-style project. But that was out of character.)
Last month’s September extravaganza mostly fit the template, with pre-orders for the iPhone 13 handsets and for both the iPad mini 6 and ninth-gen iPad beginning promptly. But the announcement of the Apple Watch Series 7 was weirdly vague, saying only that the new wearables would become available “later this autumn”. Come on Apple, be specific.
With Apple’s next event looming this month, it’s faintly embarrassing that it hasn’t yet cleared the decks from the last one – but this week we heard rumours that the Series 7 is almost with us. The leaker Jon Prosser reckons pre-orders will begin on 8 October, with deliveries arriving a week after that. This fits with our observation that the Series 6 is largely sold out, suggesting that Apple is winding up ahead of the next device’s launch.
To which we can only say: about time.
News in brief
Apple has decided to let users review and rate its own preinstalled iOS apps – and those users haven’t held back. Translate and Podcasts have both come in for punishing feedback.
It’s time for Apple to wave the white flag and switch from Lightning to USB-C, argues Anders Lundberg in our weekly Different Think column. This follows last week’s news that the EU has proposed legislation to standardise phone chargers.
Apple should stop taking itself – and the iPhone – so seriously, says Jason Snell.
There’s been lots of speculation about when Tim Cook will retire, ever since he revealed in an interview that he doesn’t intend to be at Apple in ten years’ time; a month ago we covered the claim that he simply wants one more major category launch before quitting the day job. The rumour mill roused itself again this week when it was reported that Cook had bought a new $10m house eight hours’ drive from Apple HQ. Is he preparing to wrap things up?
Macs are cheaper to own than PCs, according to researchers. Now that’s a counterintuitive conclusion – until you hear that the study was commissioned by Apple.
I love Safari in iOS 15, says Michael Simon, and he reckons you will too.
Apple recently appeared to let slip that it has fewer than 20 million paying subscribers for its TV+ service across the US and Canada, compared to more than 35 million for Disney+ and more than 70 million for Netflix. A trade union charges different fees for streaming services with below and above 20 million; Apple indicated that it qualified for the lower fee.
The Macalope analyses Google’s airtight legal defence: that Apple is better.
Video of the week
Despite app-tracking transparency, iPhone apps continue to track users, according to the Washington Post. It found that the type of data gathered about a user’s device could be used to ID individual iPhones – even after users explicitly asked apps not to do so. Meanwhile, in Android 11, app permissions automatically reset for unused, older apps.
In the video embedded below, Ken Mingis and Michael Simon join Juliet Beauchamp to discuss iPhone versus Android privacy measures and the way that fingerprinting affects users.
Software, bugs & problems
Only a week after hitting the shops, the new iPad mini has been hit with a widely reported screen problem. Known as ‘jelly scrolling’, the issue causes one side of the display to refresh more quickly than the other, resulting in a wobbly effect when scrolling through text-heavy screens in portrait orientation. Apple has since claimed such behaviour is normal, which suggests a recall is unlikely.
Bad news for those who jumped straight into iOS 15: bugs continue to be identified, including a concerning one where photos saved to the Photos library from iMessage could be automatically deleted if certain conditions are met – one condition being the original message’s deletion.
Speaking of iOS 15 and its associated bugs, on 29 September Apple issued the second version of the iOS 15.1 beta to developers. This beta version addresses a problem with masked unlocking of the iPhone with the Apple Watch, among other things.
The new version of Safari – Safari 15 – can be installed on Macs running Big Sur or Catalina. Unfortunately some Mac users are reporting serious problems with Safari 15, including difficulties loading some sites.
An angry developer has released details of four vulnerabilities that he says Apple was aware of (because he flagged them) but never acknowledged – and only one of them was ever closed.
Another security concern emerged this week, this time related to Apple Pay. A video demonstration showed that it is possible to make a £1,000 Visa payment from a locked iPhone. It’s only possible if a user has set up a Visa card for Apple’s Express Travel feature, but researchers were able to trick a locked iPhone into believing it was near a ticket barrier and fooled it into making a payment. All a bit concerning…
And that’s not all. There was one more warning issued this week: apparently AirTags can be manipulated in such a way that they can lure unsuspecting finders to phishing websites.
iFixit, a repair site famous for its tear-downs – in which it completely and wantonly dismantles a device to reveal its innermost secrets – has torn apart the iPhone 13 Pro and discovered something alarming. The screen and the rest of the phone are linked by matching serial numbers, which means Face ID stops working if you replace the screen. Following last month’s video leak exposing Apple’s anti-repair persuasion tactics, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the company has little regard for the right to repair.
The rumour mill
The iPhone 13 has barely launched, but rumours are already swirling around the iPhone update coming next year – which may be a little more dramatic. The latest report claims the iPhone 14 will offer a completely new design and no mini model.
New screen sizes ahoy: the latest macOS beta indicates that Apple is preparing for displays that offer more pixels. The devices in question are probably the new 14in and 16in MacBook Pro models.
Talking of new MacBooks, hopes are high for the next version of the MacBook Air, which is expected to receive a design overhaul in 2022. The respected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo this week published an investor note predicting that the new Air would go into production next summer.
Is Pro Mode about to make a comeback? The optional battery-busting, high-performance feature appeared in beta versions of macOS 10.15.3 last year, then vanished before the public launch; now something apparently similar called High Power Mode has been spotted in a Monterey beta.
David Price rounds up all the new Apple products we expect to launch in October 2021.
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.