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.
Revelations continue to emerge as the Apple vs Epic Games lawsuit plods on.
This week we learned of a potentially embarrassing email conversation between two Apple employees in 2016, in which one claimed Matt Fischer, the App Store manager, “feels extremely strong [sic] about not featuring our competitors on the App Store store [sic]”. Fischer claims the employee was misinformed.
We were also told of a conversation involving Apple marketing boss Phil Schiller, who found – and was horrified by – a clone app on the App Store back in 2012. “Is no one reviewing these apps?” he wrote. “Is no one minding the store?”
Look forward to more insights into the day-to-day running of a billion-dollar software store as the case continues.
News in brief
Battling against antitrust accusations on multiple fronts, Apple also spent part of the week responding to accusations from Spotify, Match and Tile. In a detailed submission to the US Senate Justice Committee, the company defends its App Store cut, denies the existence of a prohibition on developers telling customers about special offers, and even finds time to give Tile some serious shade over its sales figures.
And to make things even more congested on that front, Apple now faces a £1.5bn class-action lawsuit here in the UK over alleged overcharging on the App Store. “This is the behaviour of a monopolist and is unacceptable,” says lead claimant Rachael Kent.
So. Farewell then, Antonio García Martínez. You were hired by Apple despite being widely accused of misogyny, then more than 2,000 of your fellow employees signed a petition calling for your removal. “Most women in the Bay Area are soft and weak, cosseted and naive despite their claims of worldliness, and generally full of shit.” That was what you wrote.
The laptop market has had an excellent year, and it doesn’t take a genius to guess why. Apple, however, has outperformed a thriving market, with its MacBooks selling 94% more in the last quarter than they did over the same period in 2020.
Bugs & problems
Security researcher Thomas Roth from Germany, known as stacksmashing on Twitter, has succeeded in hacking the AirTag and overwriting its firmware so that it gives an alternative address to NFC devices, rather than sending them to found.apple.com. The concern is that if such manipulation is possible there could be security risks.
Another security researcher, meanwhile, has found a way to hack the AirTag’s Find My network itself. Fabian Bränlein got the system to send secret messages rather than locational coordinates – and because of built-in security measures Apple is unable to peer inside and spot the subterfuge.
Now that the new iPad Pro and 24in iMac are starting to arrive with customers and reviewers, we’re seeing the first benchmarking results coming in. And they’re fairly stunning.
Geekbench 5 speed scores show that the new 24in iMac is 50% faster than the ultimate, build-to-order 21.5in iMac, while the M1 iPad Pro is faster than any Intel MacBook: beating the i9 16in MacBook Pro!
The rumour mill
It comes from an unproven source, but it makes a lot of sense: the rumour mill reckons we’re finally getting new AirPods next Tuesday, 18 May. Apple will also take the opportunity to announce its new high-res Apple Music tier, the source claims.
Just in time for last week’s Apple Breakfast infamous leaker Jon Prosser claimed Apple was planning to make colourful MacBooks. Now Prosser has elaborated on these rumours with renders.
The images show that the next MacBook Air will have a new, even thinner, flat design, and be available in similar colours to the 24in iMac. To find out more, read: First look at colourful MacBook Air.
An intriguing concept illustration from Antonio De Rosa offers a radical way for Apple to reimagine the position of the notch on its phones. But surely this is going too far?
The less thrilling truth is that Apple will probably stick with rough the same notch design on the iPhone 13, but make it a bit smaller. While making the whole device (but particularly its rear camera module) thicker.
The Apple Watch Series 7 is heavily tipped to offer built-in blood-sugar monitoring, and a new customer survey – which quizzes watch owners about their use of apps for health and wellbeing – appears at first glance to back this up. Yet any findings will surely arrive too late to make significant changes in time for an autumn 2021 launch. What other flagship feature could Apple have up its sleeve for the next Apple Watch launch?
There been talk for some time now that Apple is planning to evolve the Apple TV into something that could take on Nintendo’s Switch and other top-notch games consoles. We were disappointed that the new Apple TV didn’t deliver on these rumours. But it seems that Apple is still planning a games console to challenge the Switch. For an in-depth look at this topic, read our roundup of Apple games console rumours.
And that’s it for this week. See you next Saturday, and stay Appley!