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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‘Our soul is our people’
It’s been a difficult year PR-wise for Apple, which has proved it is rather better at making money than making friends. And while rival companies, developer partners and customers have made their feelings known about various of its business practices, the company faces almost as much criticism from within.
Apple employees and former employees speaking to The Verge this week reported “untenable” working conditions on the front lines (by which we mean retail, support and sales, as opposed to the higher-paid corporate employees who have raised issues of their own). Staff criticised pay, support, performance evaluation and career progression.
Some complained about the distribution of leftover T-shirts from a cancelled event as a “gift”; others said they felt that they were being managed by algorithm, and victimised by bullying bosses and a system that failed to tackle such behaviour. Most troublingly, one member of the support team recalled an incident when a customer became stressed and held a razor to her wrist on camera, and said they were offered just half an hour to recover before getting back to work.
Even now Apple has an enviable public image, and always talks a good game about changing the world for the better: as Steve Jobs phrased it, putting a dent in the universe. But activism isn’t just about big causes. The company stands at a crossroads, and needs to decide what really matters: its staff, or its profits.
“They say our soul is our people but it really didn’t feel like that to me,” said one former employee. Apple bosses would do well to take note.
News in brief
Legal relief for Apple this week, which secured a postponement of the injunction requiring it to allow alternative app payment systems. “We want to thank the court for granting this stay while the appeals process continues,” a company spokesperson said.
Apple is running out of time, and may not be able to deliver on its 2021 promises, says Dan Moren.
But next year could make up for 2021’s disappointments. Bloomberg oracle Mark Gurman has posted a detailed prediction of 2022’s Apple launches, and it includes no fewer than five new Macs.
It’s beginning to look a lot like the iPhone is doomed, sings a festive Macalope.
In this week’s Different Think column, Samuel Nyberg argues that the rumoured AirPower revival is about beating the EU, not providing convenience for customers.
AirTags are being used to steal cars, according to local police in Canada. Thieves attach an AirTag to an expensive car, then follow the tag and steal the car from the owner’s driveway at a more inconspicuous time. (Glenn Fleishman explains how to stop this happening to you.)
Gorgeous AirPods CT scans show Apple’s earbuds in a whole new light.
Video of the week
Apple levelled up its Mac game in 2021 by adding M1 chips to new devices and introducing the M1 Pro and Max chips to its users. In 2022, even more Macs, such as the Mac Pro, may get the Apple Silicon treatment and receive the next generation of M-series chips – perhaps an M2? Users can also likely expect a lower-cost, 5G-powered iPhone SE, a new Apple Watch, the iPhone 14 and maybe even some AR glasses.
In the video embedded below, Ken Mingis and Michael Simon join Juliet Beauchamp to discuss what business users and consumers alike can expect from Apple in 2022, and consider whether the company can maintain its 2021 momentum in the new year.
Software, bugs & problems
On 7 December Apple released the Release Candidates of both macOS Monterey 12.1 and iOS 15.2, suggesting that the final versions of both will be available for us all to download very soon.
iOS 15.2 will no doubt be eagerly awaited, bringing such features as SharePlay, an Items That Can Track Me option in Find My for those who are concerned about stalking, parental controls in Messages, and the Digital Legacy feature that will make it easier to access your loved ones’ devices after they die. For more information about the new features in iOS 15.2 read: What’s in iOS 15.2.
The arrival of the software updates will also bring the Apple Music Voice Plan, which Apple announced back in October. It’ll be half the price of current Apple Music subscription, at £4.99/$4.99 per month, but it will be feature-limited and you’ll be reliant on Siri to use it.
The macOS update will introduce a number of new features including (like iOS 15.2) SharePlay, iCloud+ Hide My Email, Legacy Contacts and various bug fixes. For more information, read about the features coming in macOS Monterey 12.1.
Those bug fixes will hopefully provide a solution for those users who reported at the end of November that they were finding that their M1 Max MacBook Pro was not charging.
This week some new MacBook Pro owners were reporting issues with certain SD cards not being read by their new Mac – it’s not clear if that will get fixed in macOS 12.1, though.
In a move that will be a relief to visually impaired iPhone users, Apple appears to have reversed a controversial change it made to Siri’s functionality. One MacRumors reader said that for many fully blind people, the change made their phone “almost unusable, because they can’t ask Siri who has called, and they can’t ask Siri if they have voicemail”.
The rumour mill
Apple’s upcoming mixed-reality headset will focus on games, media and communication, according to the latest report. It will not, repeat will not, replace any existing Apple products.
There are not one but two new iPhone SE models in development, according to the trusted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.
And the iPhone 14 might see Apple switch from the notch to a pinhole camera (on the Pro models).
The M2 isn’t even here yet, but we are seeing reports that the 3nm process will be used for the M3 and A17 chips that will be released in the first quarter of 2023, with production starting at the end of 2022. The M3 chip is likely to bring a significant increase in performance – offering up to 40 CPU cores! If you’re interested in reading more about the future Apple chips, we’ve collected everything we know about the M2 and M3.
By the end of 2022, apparently, Apple is going to show us its AR glasses, although they won’t be on sale until 2023 – this is according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo and Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman. Kuo thinks the AR glasses will be able to interpret our hand gestures. It will work in a way similar to how the true-depth camera works and how the Apple Watch is able to interpret gestures (if you have the required accessibility setting turned on).
Looking forward to tucking into a tasty new set of AirPods Pro early in 2022? Not so fast: it looks like they won’t be here until the fourth quarter of next year. Sorry.
For more information about what we might see in 2022 read our guide to what Apple will launch in 2022.
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.