Apple generates a lot of news, and it can be hard to keep up. If your mind was on other things this week, our roundup of Apple-related headlines will bring you up to date.
An explosion of new products
Demonstrating my theory that virtual announcements are best, Apple this week managed to cram a four- (in fact arguably six-) product event into a single hour. And what an hour it was.
At Spring Loaded on 20 April we learned that the new iPad Pro would come with the M1 processor that won such acclaim powering the latest Macs. (We’re not merging the iPad and Mac lines, though. The very idea!) It also features 5G, an upgraded forward-facing camera that can track you around the room, and a crazily specced XDR display on the 12.9in model.
While we’re talking about the M1, those last-minute theories turned out to be right and Apple also launched new iMacs featuring its popular processor (although not as popular as the M1X would have been) and a range of rather lovely colours. Shame the truly vibrant colours are confined to the rear, however, with the front panel more subdued; indeed our own Karen Haslam was moved to explain why she is disappointed with the new iMac design, while Michael Simon could not resist enumerating 6 ways the M1 iMac falls short.
But wait, there’s more. We also got a new Apple TV, and gods be praised, it has a new remote control that looks a lot easier to use than the shoddy effort named and shamed in our roundup of the worst Apple products of all time. (It can’t be used as a games controller, though, so keep that in mind.)
Apple wheeled out a new purple colour finish for the iPhone 12 and 12 mini, lending an air of imperial decadence to proceedings. We’re getting one of these in for a photo shoot, so stay tuned for a sneak peek in next week’s Apple Breakfast.
Paid-for podcast subscriptions will be available on Apple’s platforms from next month, enabling paying listeners to access bonus or early content and listen without adverts. The earlier move to switch the wording for free podcasts from “subscribe” to “follow” now makes a lot more retrospective sense.
And finally – in both senses of the word – Apple launched the AirTag, its long-awaited object tracker. Funnily enough the company had already laid the foundations for this product a couple of weeks ago, when it announced the expansion of its Find My ecosystem to include third-party trackers. Weird that it didn’t announce both things at the same time – and strangely generous to Apple’s partners, who got to (briefly) monopolise the market without overbearing competition from Cupertino.
What a night. Catch up with all the excitement with our in-depth recap of the evening’s announcements. And here are several important Apple event tidbits (or titbits, depending on your sensitivity to rude-sounding words) that you may have missed.
News in brief
Is the smartphone dying? Clearly a compelling question, with Simon and Karen’s article the most popular on the site in what wasn’t exactly a slow news week.
The controversial social platform Parler, which was implicated in the attack on the US Capitol in January, will soon be allowed back on the App Store. The developers have promised to moderate content and remove posts that incite violence.
Apple has claimed that dropping the charger from its iPhone boxes in 2020 saved 861,000 tons of zinc, copper and tin.
Apple Music pays artists twice as much as Spotify, according to an open letter. The Union of Musicians and Allied Workers has called on other streaming services to match Apple’s payment rate.
Microsoft’s Xbox Cloud Gaming service has launched as a limited beta for iPhone and iPad users.
Apple has announced that from now on you’ll be able to renew your Mac’s AppleCare+ coverage on a yearly basis – but only if you live in the US or China.
Like that new Hello screensaver Apple showed off in the iMac unveiling? You can get it now.
Bugs & problems
A security firm has warned of a “significant privacy leak” in AirDrop. A flaw could allow strangers to steal your personal information even if they’re locked out of the system.
There’s been a profusion of iPhone calendar spam lately. We look at ways to get rid of it.
The rumour mill
You might think there would be no rumours left after the multiple unveilings on Tuesday night. But you could not be more wrong.
Most excitingly – and least ethically – there was a big leak related to the upcoming MacBook Pro update. Leaked drawings were released following an apparent cyber-attack on Apple partner Quanta Computer, revealing the return of the MagSafe charger and HDMI and SD card ports, and the disappearance of the Touch Bar. Hacker group REvil has threatened to publish more information about future products if Quanta does not pay a ransom.
Big news on the iOS 15 front, too, with Mark Gurman of Bloomberg predicting seismic changes in the next major iPhone and iPad software updates. Notifications, auto-replies, iMessage and the lock screen will all be completely revamped, he says.
A video leak posted to Twitter purportedly shows the new Apple Pencil – but the source reckoned it would be launched at the event on 20 April, so you might want to take this one with a pinch of salt.
Oh, and Ming-Chi Kuo reckons the launch of the iPhone 13 will see far more countries get access to the faster mmWave version of 5G; at the moment it’s available only to US owners of the iPhone 12 handsets. And some new leaked images of screen protectors reveal the dimensions of the iPhone 13’s smaller notch.
And that’s it for this week. Stay Appley!