Apple generates a lot of news, and it can be hard to keep up. If your mind was on other things this week, our Saturday-morning roundup of Apple-related headlines will bring you up to date.

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App Store under siege

The iOS App Store has consistently sat among Apple's biggest earners, but it's debatable to what degree this success can be ascribed to the company's own strategic brilliance: after all, the store's popularity depends on the ingenuity of the third-party app developers who create the vast majority of its huge library of software.

There are questions, too, over whether Apple's governance of the App Store(s) is ethically sound, with numerous developers and political figures within recent years questioning the firm's allegedly monopolistic behaviour. And the complaints are starting to make a difference.

Hoping to appease unhappy developers and create a more positive image, Apple first allowed devs to appeal against App Store rulings, and then made it easier for them to do so. It also lowered fees in some cases.

But in the past couple of weeks it has made two more concessions, letting developers tell users about alternative payment methods and letting 'reader' apps such as Spotify and Netflix direct users to external websites where they can sign up for subscriptions and manage their accounts. In both cases it feels slightly weird that the rules were ever that strict, although tight control of payments is one of the ways Apple safeguards its revenue stream.

(For balance, or perspective, let's also link to the Macalope's argument that Apple's App Store changes are spin-deep.)

Each time it makes a concession Apple will hope it's won back popular support, but the signs are not good. It got more bad news this week, with the announcement that South Korea's National Assembly has passed a bill prohibiting app store owners from banning developers from using alternative payment systems in their apps (a law that will affect Google too, of course). And new figures suggest that developers are losing interest in the Mac App Store, even if the iOS version remains popular.

That's the problem with giving ground: it signals to your opponents that you're willing to make concessions. And it's unlikely that this will be the last time we talk about pressure on the App Store.

App Store

News in brief

Apple published an advisory this week detailing ways to ensure that your MacBook screen doesn't crack. You'd be forgiven for thinking that such a document would be unnecessary, but it seems that it might have been in response to reports that M1 MacBook Pro and Air screens are breaking rather too easily. As we reported at the beginning of August here: Users reporting that cracks are inexplicably appearing on M1 MacBook screens.

Tim Cook has been Apple's CEO for ten years, and has spoken publicly about the limits he has placed on his tenure: he won't be here in another ten years, Cook says, triggering feverish speculation about the likely timing and circumstances of his departure. This week we learned that the feeling within Apple is that he wants to announce one more major category launch - in other words, an entirely new product for the company, rather than another phone or watch - before resigning. Could the much-anticipated AR glasses, or the mysterious Apple Car, be just the ticket?

Apple has decided to delay its controversial iCloud Photo CSAM scanning, following widespread criticism of the plan.

In Different Think, our regular Tuesday column for unusual and awkward opinions, Simon Lohmann curses Apple for trapping him with its ingenious marketing.

We also ask the question Is the M1 MacBook Pro any good for gaming? - and you may be surprised at the answer.

Jason Snell offers some simple advice for Apple and app developers: it's not about you.

The future of Apple isn't the iPhone, reckons Dan Moren.

Video of the week

Google's latest addition to the Pixel lineup, the Pixel 5a, started shipping this week. Computerworld Executive Editor Ken Mingis and Macworld Executive Editor Michael Simon join Juliet Beauchamp to discuss how it compares to Apple's own low-cost phone, the iPhone SE.

Software, bugs & problems

Is your iPhone 12 or iPhone 12 Pro experiencing sound issues? It may qualify for a free Apple repair programme.

Apple has rolled out another firmware update for the AirTag, and we're not sure why.

The rumour mill

Lots of last-minute rumours about the iPhone 13, which is expected to launch within a couple of weeks. We heard this week that it will feature satellite calling capabilities, although later reports suggested this would only be offered for emergencies, and might not make it into this year's models at all.

The Apple Watch Series 7 has always been slated for launch alongside the iPhone 13, but production problems at Apple's suppliers mean it may yet be delayed. The new watch should be worth the wait, however: among other upgrades, it will offer screens that are 14% bigger.

David Price rounds up all the exciting products Apple will launch in September.

Apple deals of the week

I've embedded a list of the best current Apple deals below, but other than that, we're done for this week. See you next Saturday, and stay Appley!

1. Apple iPhone 13 with free AirPods

From: Virgin

Now: From £34 per month

Grab the brand new iPhone 13 and bag a free pair of Apple AirPods while you're at it! We're separately looking at where to buy the iPhone 13 and the best pre-order offers.

2. Apple iPhone 13

From: KRCS

Was: £779

Now: £771.21  (£7.79 off)

The brand new iPhone 13 already has near £8 off. Here are all the places to buy the iPhone 13 right now.

3. Apple 10.2in iPad (9th gen, 2021) - 64GB

From: KRCS

Was: £319

Now: £312.62  (£6.38 off)

It's not a big discount, but considering the 9th gen iPad only released this month, it's a welcome discount from KRCS.

4. Apple iPad mini (2021, 6th gen) - 64GB

From: KRCS

Was: £479

Now: £469.42  (£9.58 off)

KRCS already has nearly £10 off the iPad mini 6. You'll find a similar price from Laptops Direct as well

5. Apple iPad Pro 10.5in (256GB, Wi-Fi only)

From: Apple Refurbished Store

Was: £679

Now: £489  (£190 off)

The 10.5in iPad Pro with 256GB storage has £190 off from the Apple Refurbished Store, which means its exactly like buying new. If you prefer greater storage, there's also £230 off the Wi-Fi + Cellular model with 512GB.

6. Apple iPhone 13, 13 Pro/Pro Max & 13 mini

From: Macworld UK

Now: Where to Buy & Best Deals

The latest iPhone is now available to buy as of 24 September. Here are all the places you can buy one today and at the best price.

7. Apple iPad 10.2 (9th gen): Out Now!

From: Macworld UK

Now: Where to Buy & Best Prices

The 10.2in Apple iPad just got upgraded with a new A13 Bionic chip and double the storage. Here's where you can buy one.

8. Apple iPad mini (6th generation):Out Now!

From: Macworld UK

Now: Where to Buy & Best Prices

The iPad mini just had a mighty upgrade with a larger display, 5G connectivity, and a robust A15 Bionic chip. And you can buy one today.

9. Apple Watch Series 7: Where to Pre-Order

From: Macworld UK

Now: Tracking the best pre-order deals

The Apple Watch Series 7 offers a larger, brighter display, slimmer bezels and more, and it's out soon.

10. Apple iPad (2021, 9th gen)

From: KRCS

Was: £319

Now: £312.62  (£6.38 off)

KRCS already has money off the brand new iPad! You can save nearly £12 on the top spec version with cellular.

11. Apple iPad 10.2in (2020, 32GB)

From: AO

Was: £329

Now: £299  (£30 off)

Last year's iPad (8th gen) now has an incredible £30 off from AO and Very.

12. Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max (256GB)

From: Amazon

Was: £1,199

Now: £999  (£200 off)

This is the biggest discount we've ever seen on the iPhone 12 Pro Max. You can thank the launch of the iPhone 13 range for that.

13. Apple iPhone 11 Pro (64GB)

From: Amazon

Was: £999

Now: £899  (£100 off)

Now that the iPhone 13 has launched, you can save £100 on the 64GB iPhone 11 Pro.

14. Apple 13in MacBook Pro, M1, 8-core CPU, 8-core GPU, 256GB (2020)

From: Apple Refurbished Store

Was: £1,299

Now: £1,099  (£200 off)

Save £200 on a refurbished M1 MacBook Pro with 256GB storage. As an Apple Certified Refurbished MacBook you can be certain that it will indistinguishable from new! See our full guide on where to buy a refurbished MacBook or Mac.

15. Apple Watch Series 6 (44mm, Cellular)

From: Amazon

Was: £509

Now: £409  (£100 off)

Save £100 on the 44mm Watch 6 with cellular connectivity!

16. Apple iPhone 12 mini (64GB)

From: Amazon

Was: £699

Now: £579  (£130 off)

Amazon and Laptops Direct both have £130 off 64GB iPhone 12 mini.

17. Apple AirPods Max

From: Laptops Direct

Was: £549

Now: £449  (£100 off)

This £100 saving on the AirPods Max is the biggest we've seen to date.

18. Apple Apple TV 4K 2021

From: Currys/PC World

Was: £169

Now: £159  (£10 off)

Right now Currys/PCWorld, and John Lewis have £10 off the 32GB 4K Apple TV (2021). You can also get £10 off the 64GB model at Currys/PCWorld, KRCS and John Lewis.

19. Apple iPad Pro (2021, M1, 11in)

From: Amazon

Was: £749

Now: £718.98  (£30 off)

A handy saving on Apple's exceptionally powerful M1-equipped iPad Pro for 2021. If this drops out of stock at Amazon, or you want the Space Grey finish, you can get £15 off from KRCS.

20. Apple iPhone 11 (64GB) - Refurbished

From: 4Gadgets

Was: £599

Now: £399.99  (£199 off)

Save nearly £200 on the iPhone 11 from 4Gadgets. This handset is marked in "Excellent" condition.