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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Apple attacked over 'government spyware'

Last week Apple announced that it will soon begin scanning photos uploaded to iCloud for child sexual abuse material. Cybersecurity and privacy experts met the announcement with scepticism, with many warning of potential abuse of this system: specifically, they say it could encourage oppressive governments to ask Apple to police other types of illegal content.

Apple says it will refuse such requests. Still, this change, which will arrive in iOS 15, marks a shift in the company's privacy policy, and triggered numerous (mostly negative) follow-up stories this week.

At the start of the week the CEO of Epic Games - who has some history with Apple - attacked the company for installing what he described as "government spyware", and this set the tone for the coverage that was to follow. Fortunately the Macalope is here to talk you through the facts, fiction, and fantasy of the situation - be concerned, not histrionic, advises our horned columnist - and Michael Simon offers detailed FAQs.

Video of the week

In response to the stories above, Macworld executive editor Michael Simon and Computerworld executive editor Ken Mingis join Juliet Beauchamp to discuss Apple's privacy rules and why security experts are concerned about potential misuse of the firm's new surveillance tool.

News in brief

Apple's lawyers celebrated a victory this week that saved the company a cool $308.5m. That was the size of the damages levied in March this year for patent infringement, but District Judge Rodney Gilstrap disagreed, ruling that plaintiff Personalized Media Communications deliberately delayed its patent applications in order to milk technology companies for more money.

Fans of Apple's legal department shouldn't celebrate too much, however, because the firm was forced to accept a settlement this week after its claims of copyright infringement against Corellium were struck down on grounds of "fair use". The firms thus avoid a trial, which would have begun next week.

Following recent criticisms of its demand that employees return to the office, Apple has again come under the spotlight over its HR practices. The firm's "people department" has repeatedly blocked internal pay surveys intended to determine if claims of equal pay for equal work hold up, an approach that critics say may violate US worker protections.

David Price argues that iPhone numbering needs to stop, in Different Think, our regular Tuesday column.

A survey has found that 44% of iPhone owners plan to upgrade to the iPhone 13, which is a small increase on the equivalent figure for the iPhone 12 last year. We have a slight quibble with the methodology, which is explained in the linked article.

Eddy Cue's got a new job title, and it offers a hint about Apple's new priorities as a company.

Apple's TV+ streaming service has reportedly made its first series cancellation. Songwriting drama Little Voice has not been renewed for a second season.

There's a crack in the iPhone foundation and it could get a lot worse, warns Jason Snell.

Software, bugs & problems

Frustrated that you've not been able to run Windows 11 on your Mac? Cheer up: the newly announced version 17.0 of Parallels Desktop is up to the challenge.

This was a very rough week for the makers of 1Password, the (previously) popular password-management Mac app. Version 7 of the software, which has gone into Early Access testing, sees a switch to Electron, and users are not happy about this decision.

A bug in iOS 14 has been spotted: it prevents the Full Page Screenshot function from working if Safari is launched from a folder.

iOS 15 will fix lens flare automatically, it's emerged.

The rumour mill

A colourful, completely redesigned MacBook Air is on the way, says the respected pundit Ming-Chi Kuo. This machine will be launched in mid-2022, he reckons.

The iPhone 13 will cost the same as the iPhone 12, and feature a new Portrait Mode for video.

More developments in the slow-burn drama that is Apple's Project Titan, also known as the Apple Car. The company has spoken to several Korean components manufacturers, says a source, who adds that "without partnerships with Korean vendors, Apple won't be able to complete its electric vehicle business plan".

New MacBook Pro models in both 14in and 16in screen sizes have now entered mass production, according to sources in the supply chain. Apple is reportedly aiming to reach production of 800,000 units a month by the end of November.

Samsung is preparing OLED screens for a new iPad Air, but don't get too excited: it won't launch until next year.

Video of the week (part II)

The semiconductor shortage has wreaked havoc on manufacturers, and Apple will soon feel the pinch. In the company's Q3 earnings call, chief executive Tim Cook said supply constraints around "legacy nodes" - including chips for the display, ports and audio, not the A- and M-series processors that Apple designs for its devices - will affect iPhone sales.

In the video embedded below, Macworld executive editor Michael Simon and Computerworld executive editor Ken Mingis discuss how the chip shortage will affect Apple, why Apple is considering using its own chips in monitors and other revelations from the earnings call.

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 AirPods Max

From: Laptops Direct

Was: £549

Now: £399  (£150 off)

This £150 saving on the AirPods Max is the best around. It only applies to the models in pink and green, but you can find discounts across the other colour finishes too, with £120 off the silver version and £49 off the blue version.

2. Apple Magic Mouse 2

From: Smartfone Store

Was: £79

Now: £59.99  (£19.01 off)

Apple may have discontinued the Magic Mouse 2, but you can pick it up from the Smartfone Store with £20 off. Very has the second-best price at £64.99.

3. Apple AirPods 3 (2021)

From: John Lewis

Was: £169

Now: £159  (£10 off)

Considering how new they are, this £10 discount on the new AirPods is well worth having. AO and Amazon are both matching the deal.

4. Apple Watch SE (44mm, GPS + Cellular)

From: Amazon

Was: £349

Now: £301.37  (£47 off)

The Apple Watch SE may not have all the bells and whistles of the Series 7, but at £301 with a 44mm case and cellular connectivity, it's a tempting buy. 

5. Apple Watch Series 6 (44mm, cellular)

From: Amazon

Was: £509

Now: £329  (£180 off)

Save £180 on the 44mm Watch 6 with cellular connectivity from Amazon. It's the lowest price we've seen for this variant.

6. Apple AirPods Pro with MagSafe charging case

From: Laptops Direct

Was: £239

Now: £179  (£60 off)

This is an excellent saving on the AirPods Pro, Apple's excellent true-wireless earphones with ANC, but look out for the delivery fee. John Lewis is charging £189 but charges less for delivery and includes a 2-year guarantee.

7. Apple iPhone SE with iPad 10.2in (2021)

From: Virgin

Now: From £29 per month (2GB)

If you were looking to buy the new iPad along with a new iPhone ahead of Christmas, why not pick this offer from Virgin where both come bundled together.

See our dedicated articles on the best iPhone SE deals along with the best iPad (2021) deals.

8. Apple iPad Air 4 (64GB, 2020) Wi-Fi Only - Refurbished "Good"

From: Music Magpie

Was: £579.99

Now: £509.99  (£70 off)

Music Magpie has £70 off a Space Grey refurbished iPad Air 4 (2020) in "Good" condition. It's not the best price it has ever been, but it includes a free 12-month warranty for peace of mind and free delivery too. 

9. Apple iPad Pro (2021, M1, 12.9in)

From: Amazon

Was: £999

Now: £956.92  (£42.08 off)

Apple's super-powerful flagship tablet is a bit less expensive if you buy from Amazon, but note that this has gone up since the turn of the year. The same retailer had it for £899 before Christmas.

10. Apple Watch Series 7 (41mm, GPS + Cellular)

From: Amazon

Was: £469

Now: £440.86  (£28.14 off)

The Apple Watch Series 7 offers a larger, brighter display, slimmer bezels and more. Right now you can nearly £30 from Amazon on the 41mm cellular option.

11. Apple MacBook Air, M1, 8-core CPU, 8-core GPU, 512GB (2020)

From: Amazon

Was: £1,249

Now: £1,099.97  (£149 off)

Amazon has a great deal on the 512GB MacBook Air with M1. This price means it's only £100 more than the entry-level model would usually cost, plus you get twice as much storage and that all important extra graphics core.

When we checked it was out of stock, but it's worth checking in case Amazon gets more in.

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

From: Amazon

Was: £1,299

Now: £1,159  (£140 off)

This is a decent saving on the entry-level 13in MacBook Pro with M1.


13. Apple Mac mini, M1, 8-Core CPU / 8-Core GPU, 256GB

From: Amazon

Was: £699

Now: £648.97  (£50.03 off)

Amazon has a decent discount on the M1 Mac mini. If it sells out, you can also find it for £657.66 from the BT Shop.

14. Apple iPad Air with Apple Pencil

From: Virgin

Now: £26 per month (2GB data)

Get an Apple Pencil with the cellular iPad Air from Virgin – a great bundle if you were already after the Apple Pencil! It's a £19 upfront cost and £26 per month with 2GB of data to play with.  

15. Apple iPhone 12 with Watch SE (GPS, 40mm)

From: Mobile Phones Direct

Now: £79.99 upfront, £55 per month (60GB)

This bundle from Mobile Phones Direct includes a 40mm Watch SE (GPS) and 60GB of data. You also get free next day delivery.

16. Apple iPhone 13 mini with iPad (2021)

From: Virgin

Now: From £40 per month, no upfront cost

Pick up the latest iPad and iPhone 13 from Virgin in this Black Friday bundle, which is still available in December 2021.

17. Apple Watch Series 6 (44mm, cellular, Stainless Steel) - Refurbished

From: Music Magpie

Was: £699

Now: £389.99  (£309 off)

The Stainless Steel, 44mm cellular Apple Watch 6 is the most premium option you can buy - but not if you buy refurbished from MusicMagpie, where it currently costs less than £400. 

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

From: Amazon

Was: £749

Now: £717.45  (£31.55 off)

Apple's exceptionally powerful M1-equipped iPad Pro for 2021 has a chunky price tag to match. But it's a little less chunky if you go to Amazon - and note that it's dropped by another couple of quid since before Christmas.

19. Apple MacBook Air, M1, 8-core CPU, 7-core GPU, 256GB (2020)

From: Currys

Was: £999

Now: £889  (£110 off)

Everyone seems to have this deal right now! You can get the £999 MacBook Air with 8-core CPU and 7-core GPU in gold for £889 from Currys or Amazon, AO and John Lewis.


20. Apple Watch Series 6 (40mm)

From: John Lewis

Was: £379

Now: £279  (£100 off)

It cost £379 when new, so this is a generous saving; bearing in mind that the Series 7 does not represent a huge step forward, making this an excellent at under £300. It's a better deal than the Black Friday price of £289.