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.
Intel’s art of wooing
For years Apple and Intel enjoyed a passionate corporate bromance, but their relationship took an understandable knock when the former decided to stop using the latter’s processors in the Mac range. It’s not me, it’s you, said Apple.
Like many spurned lovers, Intel kept a dignified silence for as long as it could, then promptly ruined the effect with a few ill-advised comments.
It published some unflattering benchmarks, which former Macworld US editor Jason Snell criticised for “inconsistent test platforms, shifting arguments, omitted data, and the not-so-faint whiff of desperation” . Then it released some punchy anti-Mac adverts (starring former “I’m a Mac” guy Justin Long) which, according to the Macalope, mean Apple is winning. Neither approach went down terribly well.
But it’s all fine, because Intel isn’t mad: it’s having the time of its life. In an interview the company’s CEO has referred to the situation as “competitive fun”, and insisted he is open to future collaboration with Apple.
Perhaps Intel has been employing the pick-up artist technique known as ‘negging’ (a technique which, perhaps to their credit, none of my colleagues have heard of). But one of Macworld’s Twitter followers has a different, and rather less flattering, view of the company’s strategic thinking.
Apple’s code spills its secrets
Apple released a raft of new software betas this week, and the media immediately tore them to pieces looking for clues. They were not disappointed.
On the same morning, we reported that the new version of iPadOS 14.5 contained references to a mystery iPad; that tvOS 14.5 pointed strongly to an updated Apple TV with a new remote control; and that macOS Big Sur 11.3 mentioned two unreleased iMacs.
It’s entirely possible that all three clues will bear fruit in the form of actual products at Apple’s highly anticipated April event. And we’ll never again refer to beta releases as a boring announcement.
News in brief
In last week’s Apple Breakfast we discussed the company’s attempts to combat the leaking of product details by the (alleged) strategic use of misinformation. This week we heard about the second strand of its anti-leaking plan: tighter regulations on its supply-chain partners. Suppliers will be required to step up surveillance of employees.
In its court case with Apple, Epic Games has attempted to portray itself as the champion of the little people. Apple hit back by calling it a “self-serving Goliath”.
Talking of which, a number of top Apple executives will testify in that trial, including Tim Cook, Craig Federighi and (for a gruelling 11 hours) Phil Schiller.
Brazilian authorities have fined Apple for not including chargers with its iPhones. This is covered by local consumer law.
Apple released new versions of Pages, Numbers and Keynote this week. Karen Haslam outlines the new features worth knowing about.
macOS 11.3 Big Sur will allow Mac owners to map game controller buttons to the keys of their choice. Who says Mac gaming isn’t in a healthy state?
David Price explains why Apple shouldn’t make an iPhone 13 mini (or listen to its customers).
Experts have noticed that the HomePod mini has a secret and currently unused sensor, prompting speculation that Apple could add new features to the smart speaker via a future software update. Or use it to spy on the world as part of a diabolical scheme (possibly).
Forget the iPhone 13: the really interesting changes will happen much further into the future. Allow Samuel Nyberg to lead you on a journey through the next 20 years of the iPhone.
An iOS developer has sued Apple over the continued presence of scam apps on the App Store, and for the use of “monopoly muscle”.
Bugs & problems
The butterfly keyboard complaints continue to roll in, and a MacBook user group is now demanding compensation. They claim Apple was aware of the problems but still continued to sell Macs with defective keyboards.
Sentinel Labs has discovered a new piece of Mac malware. It’s tailored to attack iOS developers: infected Xcode projects install a backdoor in the Mac.
Serious problems have been reported with the YouTube app for Apple TV: when users try to load a video, they instead get a message that “something went wrong”. Google is investigating.
The rumour mill
With six months to go before Apple announces the iPhone 13, the main point of contention concerns the notch. Will it stay, will it go, or will it just get a bit smaller? A leaked photo this week suggests the notch will get smaller.
If you’re wondering where we got that ‘six months’ figure, an analyst has predicted the iPhone 13 will go on sale at the end of September.
Apple has officially removed two iMac configurations from its store, stoking speculation about an imminent update.
The Apple Watch Series 7 may have a new rugged option for extreme users.
Apple’s VR headset will be lighter than the competition, according to Ming-Chi Kuo. The renowned analyst says it will not weigh more than 150g.
The AirPods range is due for an update – the standard models, remember, are now a full two years old. We had been hopeful of new models in April, but sources now say we’ll have to wait until the autumn.
Patent activity suggests a future Apple Watch could have a flexible screen that wraps around the user’s wrist.
The next HomePod could have a screen and a camera.
Next month could be really big for Apple. Here are all the new Apple products we expect to launch in April 2021.
And that’s it for this week. Stay Appley!