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.

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An Apple a day

Following the launch of the Apple Watch back in 2015, and in response to customer interest in the device's potential as a health and fitness accessory, Apple got into health in a big way. This much is well known - but what you may not know is that the company very nearly pivoted to offering private healthcare.

The Wall Street Journal this week reported that the company went so far as to acquire a number of healthcare centres in Cupertino, tested an app called HealthHabit internally, and hired the Stanford professor of medicine Sumbul Ahmad Desai to head up its efforts in the health space.

The whole thing fell through after internal criticisms of the app and, presumably, the gravitational pull of other interests. But it remains a fascinating might-have-been for a company whose founder once said that innovation is saying no to a thousand things.

Deals, deals, deals!

It's Amazon Prime Day - which lasts, annoyingly, for precisely two days - on Monday and Tuesday of next week (21-22 June). You can keep an eye out for the best savings on Apple products in our Prime Day sale page.

But Amazon isn't the only tech giant throwing around savings like confetti. Apple has announced its own Back To School sale, which includes discounts on a range of products and free AirPods for students. For now the offers are available in the US but not the UK; on this side of the pond we will have to be patient.

But not too patient, because the deals don't stop there. Karen Haslam has put together a guide to the best deals for Apple Pencil, Magic Keyboard, Magic Mouse and more. Apple has dropped the price of AppleCare+ on its M1 Macs. And our general guide to the best Apple deals is always worth a look.

Basically, if you're paying full price for anything right now, something's gone wrong.

News in brief

US Congress has announced a raft of antitrust bills that will, if passed, impose numerous restrictions on tech giants such as Apple. The headline plank of the proposed legislation would oblige the company to let users delete any apps they wish from their iPhones and iPads - although it could be pointed out that with only a few exceptions we can already do that. The regulations would have been welcome before Apple released iOS 10 in 2016 but right now they feel a bit... late.

After a series of (presumably deliberate?) leaks, where famous people were photographed wearing the things, Apple finally announced the new Beats Studio Buds this week. They're currently available to buy in the US; the rest of us will have to wait a while longer. That's something of a theme this week.

Beats Studio Buds

Apple loves a good acquisition, and there's always a lot of interest when it buys someone big. But there's less attention paid to the happily ever after: what becomes of acquisition targets after they enter the Apple family? Halyna Kubiv goes in-depth on what Apple does with acquired companies, taking Shazam as a case study.

Here's a small but significant update in iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 you may have missed amid the furore of new features last week: Apple is making it much easier to get refunds on in-app purchases. Instead of going to a special site you'll be able to ask for a refund inside the app, merely ticking the box that applies to your grounds for complaint.

Michael Simon outlines, rather controversially, three ways iOS 15 speeds up the inevitable death of the iPhone.

The iPhone gets all the attention but the Apple Watch is Apple's most important product, according to the company's own vice president of technology in a fascinating half-hour interview.

Talking of fascinating half hours, check out this interview with Tim Cook. He discusses everything from COVID-19 and data protection to failure and the environment.

Jason Cross explains Apple's new iCloud+ Private Relay. Just don't call it a VPN.

This week all 511 Apple Stores around the world opened at once, for the first time since January 2020.

Apple's generous and long-running TV+ subscription offer - which let you sub for an entire year for free, provided you'd bought one of its devices - is about to end. As of 1 July, the offer will be reduced to three months, so get in there while you still can.

Jason Snell outlines how iOS 15 transforms the way we think of iPhone updates.

The 12-series iPhones are dominating the 5G smartphones market, according to analysts, but rival devices are catching up fast.

Apple's paid-for Podcasts Subscriptions service is now available. Why would I pay for something that's always been free, you may be asking. Because you'll get extra content and no ads, we answer.

David Price continues his Sisyphean quest to play and review every game on Apple Arcade. Macworld's updated chart now includes 172 out of 188 games.

Apple's M1-based 24in iMac has sold out pretty much everywhere. Great news for Tim Cook, but not such good news for people who want to buy a smart new all-in-one. Although the next item may give you second thoughts about that.

Bugs & problems

There was a crooked Mac, and he had a crooked screen... allegedly. A bunch of people have complained (on Reddit, and YouTube, and on Apple's own discussion forum) that their beautiful new iMac 24in machines have displays that are slightly tilted over towards one side. In some cases the difference between left and right is as little as a millimetre, and in others it's a far more noticeable half a centimetre.

We reviewed the iMac 24in and didn't notice a problem in that respect, although we also didn't whip out a ruler and check it to the millimetre. If the reports are correct this is a baffling and deeply un-Apple production defect, but one suspects that in many of these cases the user wouldn't have noticed the issue if other people hadn't pointed it out first.

The rumour mill

We'd already heard that the Apple Watch Series 7 would get a chassis redesign (with iPhone 12-like squared-off sides) and a new green colour finish, but this week Mark Gurman added an almost edge-to-edge screen and a new lamination tech to the pile of changes coming this autumn. This looks like being the biggest revamp since the original Apple Watch.

The iPhone 13 exists. Apple has officially registered seven new smartphone models in the EEC database, a reliable sign of an imminent launch. (By imminent, we still mean September, so don't get your hopes up too much.)

Wondering if Apple will ever again release an iPad mini? You're not alone, and March 2019 does indeed feel a long time ago. But Jon Prosser reckons Apple is fully committed to a new mini, and has published renders of the device's updated design.

iPad mini 2021 render by Front Page Tech

Image courtesy of Front Page Tech.

And that's it for this week. See you next Saturday, and stay Appley!