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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Christmas is cancelled
We’re in a Sheriff of Nottingham mood this week. “Cancel the kitchen scraps for lepers and orphans, no more merciful beheadings, and call off Christmas!”
Our festive woes, to be honest, have been coming for a while. The global semiconductor shortage started way back in 2020, caused by COVID-19, the US/China trade war and several other factors, and while Apple managed to ride it out for a while – securing
preferential treatment from suppliers thanks to its size and market leverage – that was never going to last. At the company’s blockbusting
Q3 earnings call last month, CFO Luca Maestri warned of
imminent supply constraints.
And this week the chickens started roosting. We heard that the iPhone 13 shortage is likely to
last until February, while delivery times
started to stretch on the new MacBook Pro: UK consumers are being told to expect a wait of 22-29 days (up from the usual 2-6), while US customers may not get their laptops until the New Year.
This is all coming at the worst possible time, with the deals season well underway (it’s nominally centred on Black Friday on 26 November, but in reality takes up the entire month) and the crucial Christmas buying period looming. But of course that isn’t coincidental: when demand is at its highest is when the supply chain is stretched the most.
Cash-rich Apple will weather the storm, and even the considerably less wealthy third-party retailers should be able to get through what is likely to be a difficult winter. So we will instead focus our sympathies and advice on consumers.
With demand massively outweighing supply, retailers are under very little pressure to offer genuinely good-value deals: they are likely to sell out of most Apple products no matter what price they charge. What they are under pressure to do, given the circumstances, is maximise their margin per unit, which means prices are likely to stay high.
So please be vigilant this deals season. There will be some good offers, but there will be far more stinkers. Check, check and check again, for example, that the “original price” being quoted is real and recent, and isn’t the old RRP before Apple cut the price for everyone; make sure the device you’re buying is new enough to be worthwhile, and isn’t ancient stock being flogged off to clear space in a warehouse.
We will be providing large volumes of detailed and expert deals advice from now until Christmas, and will do our best to guide you through the minefield. But the first thing we should all do is admit that this might not be a particularly good season for Apple deals. And remember that the beheadings are going to be the painful kind.
News in brief
More ups and downs in the rollercoaster-esque Apple vs Epic Games legal dispute: after declaring
“resounding victory” and then
appealing (slightly bizarrely), Apple has had its request for a stay denied and will now have to
allow external app payments by 9 December. That’s assuming no more ups or downs get in the way before then.
Two years after Apple TV+ and Disney+ launched we have news that Disney already has more than 118 million paying subscribers worldwide. There is a debate over whether Apple even has 40 million subscribers, as we explain in
Disney+ is so far ahead of Apple TV+ it’s embarrassing.
Readers may recall Apple’s notorious
Polishing Cloth, a 16x16cm wiping rag for which customers were charged the extraordinary sum of £19/$19, and which against all reason and logic sold out in record time. Samsung, in a brilliant piece of lampooning, has
given away a bunch of 20x20cm cloths for free! That’s one in the eye for ol’ Tim Cook, who is presumably crying all the way to the bank.
Image courtesy of Apple.
Forget the Apple Car, Samuel Nyberg this week told Apple in our Different Think column, and
revolutionise health instead. (Samuel, or Negative Nyberg as he may soon become known, has previously
poured water over the idea of a touchscreen Mac.)
Tim Cook has given a cautious
thumbs up to cryptocurrencies as part of a balanced diet… sorry, I mean part of a diversified investment portfolio. Cook has invested in crypto himself, so could hardly denounce it as an environmentally ruinous pyramid scheme.
In the past, Apple has ‘paused’ the App Store over the Christmas period, making developers wait before rolling out any updates or price changes. But that’s
all in the past, we learned this week. It’s a Christmas miracle!
Software, bugs & problems
A zero-day vulnerability in macOS Catalina was used to
hack Hong Kong web users back in August, according to Google’s Threat Analysis Group. Researchers believe the attack was likely state-backed – or, as security expert Patrick Wardle puts it, China or somebody wanting to look like China.
Several owners of the new MacBook Pro have
reported crashes when they watch an HDR video on YouTube. It’s not been easy for Apple’s premium laptop; this follows a previously reported issue that caused menu bar items to
hide behind the notch, and was followed by complaints that
‘MagUnsafe’ is not doing its job.
More news about iOS 15.2, which is being beta-tested right now. This week we discovered that the new version will be able to scan for devices (like
AirTags) that may be tracking you via a new ‘Items That Can Track Me’ function. Plus in iOS 15.2 it will be possible to specify who will be allowed to access one’s accounts in the event of death, thanks to the new Legacy Contact feature that didn’t make it into iOS 15 in time for launch.
Similarly, Apple and beta testers are working on macOS Monterey version 12.1. New features coming (probably) before the end of the year include: SharePlay – so you and your friends will be able to watch series and movies together at your different locations; you’ll be able to use the iCloud+ Hide My Email feature within the Mail app; and there will be support for AMD’s Radeon 6600XT GPU. Read more here:
macOS Monterey 12.1 beta brings SharePlay and more.
Apple has also released an
important Monterey fix for Macs with a T2 chip, which could be bricked by a bug.
Apple has released a
new version of iCloud for Windows, including support for ProRes video and ProRAW images, and strong password generation.
The rumour mill
Apple will move to a 3nm production process as early as 2023 for both Mac and iPhone processors, according to the latest report. This will enable it to
“easily outperform” Intel’s future processors.
As 2022 looms on the horizon we’ve got out the crystal ball to update our predictions story to include
every new Apple product coming in 2022. We are definitely most excited about the MacBook Air and the replacement for the 27in iMac.
Speaking of the MacBook Air, it might not even be called the MacBook Air, it
might just be named MacBook. We think that idea makes a lot of sense, as we explain in our
MacBook Air 2022 rumour roundup.
Is Apple working on a drone? Probably not – despite the discovery of more
drone-related patent activity – but can you imagine?
Apple deals of the week
We’re getting ever closer to
Black Friday (which is on 26 November, so mark your calendars), but you don’t need to wait that long to save money on Apple products. Retailers started rolling out their Black Friday sales at the start of the month, and we’ve been seeing some appealing deals – if you’re able to grab them before stock runs out.
Remember the warning from the beginning of the article. Not every deal out there is worthwhile, and it’s worth taking the time to research whether the product, and the price, are really as strong as they sound. KRCS’s
10% discount on the new MacBook Pro is an example of what you should be looking for: a solid discount on a device that’s only a month old.
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
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
£39.95 per month
Adobe’s slashed 20% off its Creative Cloud subscription prices. The offer ends 14 April.
Apple AirPods 3
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
£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)
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
For some time a gang of retailers have been offering the entry level MacBook Air for £889, but this month John Lewis has dropped the price to £887, RRP £999. Very has the same deal.
You can also get the £999 MacBook Air with 8-core CPU and 7-core GPU in gold for £889 from Currys or Amazon, and AO.
Apple Watch Series 6 (40mm)
Bag the last gen Watch 6 for under £300 at Amazon’s Spring Sale!
Apple Watch Series 6 (44mm, Cellular)
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)
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
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.
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)
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
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
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)
Get a great saving on last year’s Apple Watch SE from Amazon.
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)
The 256GB iPhone 12 mini has over £100 off from Amazon.
Apple iPad mini (2021, 6th gen)
From: Currys PC World
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)
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)
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.