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.
WWDC is on! And also virtual
At time of writing the thoughts of the Apple press are firmly on the long-rumoured spring event, which everyone thought would be in March but wasn’t, and now everyone thinks will be in April but might not.
We won’t pretend not to be excited about the prospect of updated iPads, a powerful new Apple TV and the near-mythical AirTags. But it’s possible we’re missing the bigger picture, which is WWDC 2021. WWDC will see the launch of important free updates to the software on your iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch and Apple TV, and may well include new hardware as a bonus.
This week Apple announced that WWDC will be taking place from 7-11 June 2021, restoring it to the traditional early-June slot after last year’s moderately delayed event. What isn’t going back to normal, however, is the format: as in 2020, it will be online-only. Nobody will attend in person.
WWDC is about far more than just the opening keynote presentation – developers learn and network at a week of workshops and parties, and this will be difficult to replicate. But there are advantages of this format too, and I’ve tried to explain why I think all Apple announcements should be virtual.
Good Apple, bad Apple
One of the projects Macworld has been working on this week – conceived partially in celebration of Apple’s 45th birthday – has been to put together lists of the best and worst products the company has ever launched. This process proved controversial.
Here on Macworld UK we host the final and official list of the 10 best Apple products of all time. There have been some stone-cold classics over the years, and competitive was fierce: you’ll notice, for example, that not a single iPad made the cut. Now that I’ve given you that spoiler, see how many of the 10 you can guess before you click.
Over on Macworld US, meanwhile, you’ll find the 10 worst Apple products of all time – and again, see how many you can guess. Being negative is a lot of fun, but we took this task just as seriously as the list of winners.
Well, mostly: my original contribution included a joke about the AirPods Max “Fart Case” which was removed in the edit. But I stand by it.
News in brief
A research project claims to have found that Android collects 20 times more data than iOS – but both Google and Apple dispute the findings.
Swatch has won the right to continue using the marketing slogan “One more thing”, despite Apple’s claims to ownership of the phrase (claims which do have at least some basis). The Swiss watch firm is also allowed to use “Tick different”.
In a submission to the Australian competition authority, Apple has argued strenuously against the idea that the App Store is a monopoly. “Apple’s strong view,” the company said, “is that no market failure arises from the Apple App Store or Apple’s conduct.”
The Opera browser has been updated to support M1 Macs, and this means it’s now twice as fast.
Apple’s next financial report has been set for 28 April. This will give us a clearer sense of how well the company has navigated the pandemic, although previous indications are that it’s done all right.
Bugs & problems
Is there anything iOS 14.5 can’t do? We’re now hearing that it will fix a serious battery-health problem with the 11-series iPhones, where the system would give false-positive warnings. For a full tally of the updates coming in what must easily qualify as the iPhone’s biggest ever point update, read What’s in iOS 14.5?
Following concerns that owners of older iPhones and iPads were missing out on an important security fix in iOS 14.4.2, Apple has released iOS 12.5.2, which fixes the same vulnerability for the iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, original iPad Air, iPad mini 2, iPad mini 3 and sixth-gen iPod Touch.
The rumour mill
The iPhone 13 could be sold in orange and matt-black finishes, according to the well-known technology leaker Max Weinbach, but he concedes that the second one is a lot more likely than the first.
Supply-chain sources report that Apple has already ordered processor chips for the next generation of Macs. These will be based on 4nm technology, we are told, an upgrade from the 5nm tech in the current M1 chip.
Bloomberg reckons a robust and radically redesigned Apple Watch Sport is in development, and could target customers who enjoy contact sports.
The first references to iOS 15 and macOS 12 have been spotted in WebKit code. The former was predictable, but nobody knew which way Apple would go with macOS, after sticking with various 10.x versions for so long and suddenly switching to 11.0 last year.
The unloved Siri Remote’s days appear to be numbered. Yet more clues point to the Apple TV getting a new remote.
Apple’s mixed-reality (AR/VR) headset will be unveiled in 2021, according to Mark Gurman. That’s earlier than previously expected – but the device still won’t go on sale until 2022. Separately, we’ve done a deep dive into what the headset will and won’t be able to do.
The AirTag object tracker will cost $39 in the US, Max Weinbach says. We’ve no idea what it will cost in the UK, but expect to be mildly ripped off as per.
And that’s it for this week. Stay Appley!