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.
The big news of the week - at least for iPhone owners - happened on Monday, in the form of iOS 15's public release. We've been pretty excited about this specific update since it was first demoed in June, and iOS updates in general are underrated events. They give you a bunch of new features, security patches and interface tweaks for free, like somebody just handing you a new iPhone. Yes please!
At least, that's the idea. In fact, if you haven't installed iOS 15 yet you might want to hold off doing so, as early updaters have been complaining about a number of annoying iOS 15 bugs, running the gamut from reduced battery life to incorrect 'storage almost full' alerts. In general, keeping iOS up to date is a sensible strategy, but for major updates it's wise to wait at least a few days for precisely this reason, as David Price explains in this week's Different Think column.
We run through all the problems with the latest iOS version in a separate article. Apple has already released betas of iOS 15.1 and iPadOS 15.1, so the company is hopefully addressing some of the issues already.
And there are other potential downsides to consider too. You may be feeling particularly concerned, for example, if your handset is a few generations old. Will iOS 15 slow down your iPhone? We've run exhaustive tests. Older devices may also miss out on some of the new stuff; for advice, read Does your iPhone get all the iOS 15 features?
Finally, it's worth bearing in mind that change is not always comfortable: those who are used to the way iOS 14 works may have difficulty adapting to iOS 15's eccentricities. You aren't alone, for example, if you're wondering where Safari's address bar has gone - luckily we've got a tutorial explaining how to move the address bar back to the top - and it may take some time before you're used to the fact you can now go on FaceTime and blur your background.
Deciding whether to update to iOS 15, then, is a more difficult decision than you might think. Just spare a thought for those poor tech journalists who have no choice. Truly, we are the most wretched of all.
News in brief
Never again call the EU a slow-moving bureaucratic gravy train. This week, after years of hinting that it would outlaw Apple's Lightning chargers because they contribute to e-waste, it leapt into action and finally presented a bill calling for the unification of charging cables. If the legislation passes into law Apple will probably get two years to switch from Lightning to USB-C - or to iPhones that are completely portless.
Tim Cook has been grilled by Apple employees over pay inequality, harassment complaints and the company's political influence. But the affable CEO proved disappointingly reluctant to engage with the more challenging questions, and one leader of the #AppleToo activist group said they did not feel heard.
Cook also made the news this week when he raged against leaks in an internal memo. Hilariously, this internal memo was itself leaked.
Apple has banned Fortnite indefinitely.
Simon Lohmann explores a fascinating conspiracy theory about why the Apple Watch Series 7 didn't match the leaks. Jon Prosser - one of several leakers to get this one badly wrong - theorises that something went "catastrophically wrong" during mass production, leading to a last-minute change of direction.
A leaked series of videos expose Apple's strategy for persuading customers to get authorised product repairs, instead of saving money by going elsewhere. Employees are instructed to sow doubt concerning the reliability of parts used by other repair firms.
The new A15 processor is plenty fast, but its true power is versatility, writes Jason Snell.
Perhaps in tune with the ups and downs we discuss above, iPhone users haven't exactly been falling over themselves to install iOS 15. An analyst firm says just 8.6% of iPhone owners had updated 48 hours after the roll-out, compared with a figure of 14.7% for iOS 14 last year.
Dan Moren explains why the old products that Apple keeps around are crucial to its success.
Do iPhone 12 cases fit the iPhone 13? Halyna Kubiv offers a warning.
Video of the week
Bootcut jeans, butterfly clips and... flip phones? Y2K trends are back, and that even includes nostalgia for the Motorola Razr.
Of course in 2021, old technology has received a big makeover. Microsoft's recently announced Surface Duo 2 is the latest folding smartphone; it joins a handful of other foldable from the likes of Samsung, Huawei and, yes, even Motorola. They may be cool and gimmicky, but are they here to stay?
Macworld Executive Editor Michael Simon and Computerworld Executive Editor Ken Mingis join Juliet Beauchamp to discuss how folding phones like the Surface Duo 2 might shape the future of mobile. For more on Apple's plans in this direction, read our guide to the latest foldable iPhone rumours.
Those new products that Apple launched on 14 September - what a glorious, action-packed night that was - are starting to ship now, which means we are finding out a lot more about them.
For example, it turns out that as great as the new iPhones' macro mode sounds, it might cause some problems if you're particularly attached to the way you've framed the shot.
We've also started to publish detailed reviews of the new products. You might like to read the following:
If you've seen the new Apple Watch straps, meanwhile, you may be wondering if they will fit your current watch. In which case, read: Do the new Apple Watch straps fit old models?
Software, bugs & problems
We've written before about reports of inexplicable screen damage on M1 MacBooks - reports to which Apple responded with the not entirely convincing advice that users stop putting foreign objects between the keyboard and display. Matters have now stepped up a level, with the news that two groups filed lawsuits against Apple on the same day.
iOS 15 got most of the headlines this week, but Apple quietly updated one of its less well-known operating systems at the same time. We round up all the new features in HomePod OS 15. The HomePod didn't get support for Lossless Audio in that update, but we've got good news there too - it does (for now) in the first beta of HomePod OS 15.1.
Speaking of obscure operating systems, remember iOS 12? Apple's updated the years-old iPhone operating system to protect older iPhones from a serious security flaw that made devices vulnerable to the Pegasus spyware. This is a key update for anyone on iPhone 6 and older.
Want to run Windows on an M1 Mac? VMware has finally released an update that should mean Fusion can run on M1 Macs, but there's a catch.
The rumour mill
2021 isn't over yet, but the knowledgeable Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman has pretty much written off the rest of the year. Apple will, he predicts, offer a "stronger showing" in 2022, after incremental launches this year.
One product that could launch in 2022 is Apple's much-anticipated AR headset. The latest report, based on sources in the supply chain, says production will begin in the second quarter of 2022, with the completed device going on sale in autumn of that year.
The next big thing comes to those who wait, writes the Macalope. Whether it flips, folds or rolls, Apple isn't going to rush its next innovation.
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, enjoy your weekend, and stay Appley!
1. Pre-order MacBook Pro 14in (2021) with M1 Pro
Now: Up to £119 off
The brand new 14in MacBook Pro with the M1 Pro and M1 Max chips has up to £119 off at KRCS!
2. Apple AirPods 3 (Pre-Order)
The brand-new AirPods 3 offer better battery performance, an updated design, and support for Spatial Audio and Adaptive EQ.
3. Pre-order MacBook Pro 16in (2021) with M1 Pro
Now: Up to £119 off
The brand new 16in MacBook Pro with the M1 Pro and M1 Max chips already have a fabulous discount over at KRCS!
4. Apple AirPods Pro (Amazon Renewed)
Now: £174.99 (£44 off)
You can save £44 on a refurbished pair of AirPods Pro on Amazon right now. As an Amazon Renewed device, it'll be just as good as new!
5. Apple iPhone 12 mini (64GB) - Renewed
Now: £479 (£100 off)
You can save £100 on a refurbished iPhone 12 mini from Amazon. It's backed by the 1-year Amazon Renewed Guarantee and should look and work just like new.
6. Apple 11in iPad Pro (M1, Wi-Fi + Cellular, 256GB) - Refurbished
From: Laptops Direct
Now: £759.97 (£239 off)
Laptops Direct has an incredible £239 discount on the brand new iPad Pro with M1 (Wi-Fi + Cellular).
7. Apple Watch Series 7: Where to Buy
From: Macworld UK
Now: On sale now!
The Apple Watch Series 7 offers a larger, brighter display, slimmer bezels and more. Sales began on 15 October.
8. Apple TV+ (3 months) with Currys Perks
Was: £4.99 per month
Now: Free with membership (Free to sign up to Perks)
Currys' new membership loyalty program, Currys Perks, includes three months of Apple TV+ for free. Sign up to Perks for free.
9. Apple iPhone 12 mini (64GB) - Refurbished
Now: £469.99 (£230 off with SPOOKY10)
Over at MusicMagpie you can save £230 on a refurbished iPhone 12 mini graded in a "Good" condition.
10. Apple iPad Air (2020, 64GB, Wi-Fi + Cellular) - Refurbished
Now: £479 (£230 off)
Amazon's price on a refurbished iPad Air (4th gen) with 4G connectivity is now £479 – that's £230 off!
11. Adobe Creative Cloud - 1 Year Subscription to All Apps
Now: £476.98 (£120 off)
Adobe has £120 off a year of Adobe's Creative Cloud All Apps – but only until 19 October!
12. Apple Back to School Sale
From: Apple Education Discount
Now: Up to £280 off Mac, £80 off iPad (with free AirPods)
Apple's education pricing is available all year round. To be eligible, you just need to prove your status as a current or newly accepted university student, parent buying on behalf of a university student or member of teaching staff at any level. You'll then get up to £280 off a new Mac or up to £80 off a new iPad along with a free pair of AirPods. Here's what you need to know.
13. Apple iPad Air 2020 (256GB, Wi-Fi only)
From: John Lewis
Now: £689 (£40 off)
It's the same price over at Amazon for this 256GB Wi-Fi only model, but the benefit of John Lewis's offer is that it also comes with a free 2-year guarantee.
14. Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max (128GB)
Now: £949 (£150 off)
Now that the iPhone 13 range is out, you can find excellent discounts on the iPhone 12 Pro Max, which Apple has now discontinued.
15. Apple MacBook Air, M1, 8-core CPU, 7-core GPU, 256GB (2020)
From: BT Shop
Now: £899 (£100 off)
16. Apple iPad Air (2020, 64GB, cellular)
Now: £575.73 (£133.27 off)
This isn't the cheapest the Air has ever been – Amazon offered a £230-off deal for Prime Day, earlier this year – but this is still a very solid discount on the latest iPad Air model, with cellular connectivity.
Note that this price applies to the silver model only; the other four colour finishes are considerably more expensive.
17. Apple MacBook Air, M1, 8-core CPU, 8-core GPU, 512GB (2020)
Now: £1,117 (£132 off)
An excellent deal, this. Save money on the MacBook Air with 8-core CPU and 8-core GPU from Amazon. The discount applies to the Space Grey version, but the gold and silver models are only slightly more expensive.
18. Apple Watch Series 6 (44mm, GPS + Cellular) - Refurbished
From: BT Shop
Now: £399 (£110 off)
This refurbished Apple Watch 6 with cellular connectivity has over £110 off as a part of the BT Shop's Big Tech Sale. BT has listed it as returned stock that's still sealed in the box making it an even more appealing deal. See our full coverage.
19. Apple Mac mini, M1, 8-Core CPU / 8-Core GPU, 256GB
Now: £635 (£64 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.
20. Apple MagSafe Charger
Now: £27.59 (£11.41 off)
Scan's price for the MagSafe charger saves you £11 - roughly 29% off the original price. This is currently the cheapest you'll find this item.