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.
OS teething troubles
It’s been an interesting period, shall we say, since Apple rolled out the final public versions of iOS 14.0 and watchOS 7.0 at very little notice to developers. At the time we thought the biggest problem would be that third-party apps wouldn’t be ready in time, which is why we advised readers not to update straightaway; but it turns out the operating systems themselves had more than enough bugs to be going on with.
watchOS 7 is probably the more cursed of the two releases, with three widely reported issues: an inability to save workout route data (sometimes causing even older data to vanish); excessive battery drain (something for which I can personally vouch, having repeatedly fallen short of a day’s use on my Series 4); and poor performance and additional bugs on the Apple Watch Series 3.
This week Apple came up with a solution to some of these issues, but it was rather drastic.
All of this is troubling, and we hope Apple continues to patch the bugs and advise customers on how to proceed. But we will end this section with a public service announcement about a bug that you do not need to worry about: contrary to the viral Facebook conspiracy theory, iOS 14 widgets are not spying on your iPhone.
iPad review time!
I spent much of this week playing with the new, eighth-gen iPad and trying to decide if it’s any good. This is a harder question than it might sound, because it’s a model almost tailor-made to be disliked by a tech journalist, used to higher-end models with laminated screens, newer designs and larger storage allocations – but I think in the end you have to acknowledge that for the average consumer this is an excellent deal.
That’s not to say I have no reservations about recommending the new iPad: I suspect that anyone who’s used an iPad with a laminated screen will find the slight ‘give’ when you press down disconcerting, and you need to give serious thought to whether 32GB – the entry-level storage allocation – is enough for your needs.
Read the full glorious 3,000 words I somehow managed to spin out of a straightforward consumer buying decision in our iPad 10.2in (2020) review.
iPhone 12 mini special
We’ll be positively wallowing in iPhone 12 gossip next weekend, and very likely actual iPhone 12 news the one after, so we’ll try to keep this reasonably brief. But rumours about Apple’s next portable telephone really are too numerous right now to confine to the rumour mill section.
So what have we got?
Prices have leaked for the entire range, strongly pointing to the iPhone 12 Pro starting at $999 (and probably slightly more than that in pounds sterling) and suggesting that the 12 mini could start as low as $649.
It looks like Apple will launch the 12 in more countries simultaneously than ever before. We’ve also heard about the devices’ storage allocations (the 64GB baseline is going to be removed, but only for the Pro models) and there’s more reason to believe they won’t include any headphones.
Yet more evidence has emerged supporting the theory that Apple will call its smallest new phone the iPhone 12 mini. A slightly blurry photo of stickers on silicone cases for the new handsets gives the game away.
Picture courtesy of MacRumors
Finally, Apple has applied for a patent governing anti-glare screens. We’re fairly sure this won’t bear fruit in time for the iPhone 12, but could make an impact on 2021’s device launches.
News in brief
Epic Games came off badly this week in a bruising preliminary hearing over its dispute with Apple. The judge poured scorn on the company’s arguments and said: “You lied about it by omission, by not being forthcoming. That’s the security issue.”
Amazon Prime Day has been announced for 13-14 October. This is significant for Apple fans because the event is a rare opportunity to grab Apple products at a discount; it may also clash with the iPhone 12 launch.
Facebook Messenger’s boss has criticised Apple for not allowing alternative messaging apps to be the default on iPhone, conveniently ignoring the technical obstacles preventing this.
Talking of Facebook and its recent fascination with all things Cupertino, Apple has announced a temporary waiver of App Store fees on online events. This follows Facebook claiming Apple was making life harder for small businesses by demanding a cut of revenues on events organised via iOS apps.
A pulmonologist assesses Apple Watch blood oxygen measurement.
Chinese authorities appear to have expressed dissatisfaction with a number of RSS apps available on the Chinese App Store; whatever the reason, Apple has removed them.
Apple has acquired the podcast app Scout FM. This app too was promptly removed from the App Store.
The iPod nano is an ex-parrot.
New emojis alert!
The rumour mill
Rapid movement on the beta front suggests macOS Big Sur will launch soon.
Retailers are starting to receive marketing materials for the new iPad Air, so expect it to go on sale within around a fortnight.
A new 12.9in iPad Pro featuring a mini-LED screen could be with us as soon as spring 2021.
And that’s it for this week. Stay Appley!