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.
Unlucky iPhone 13
In our experience nearly everyone is superstitious in the right context; we imagine that England and Italy fans will be ironing their lucky underpants ahead of this weekend's Euro 2020 final. But do you believe in unlucky numbers?
It would appear that quite a few of you do, based on the results of a recent survey, in which 74% of respondents advised Apple to pick a name other than "iPhone 13" this year, and 18.3% said they would simply refuse to buy a device with that name because of the unlucky associations. (Interestingly, male respondents were significantly more superstitious than their female counterparts.)
But this week a source popped up to insist that Apple would go ahead with the iPhone 13 branding after all, and hang the consequences. Here at Macworld we do not approve of this course of action, and will not be held responsible if Craig Federighi treads in dog muck, falls in stinging nettles, has a grand piano land on his head etc. You don't mess with fate.
More seriously, some pundits do think the iPhone 13 is cursed - not to disaster, but to boredom. Our own Simon Lohmann explains the concern in iPhone 13 event: Why disappointment threatens.
Finally, we should briefly mention the discussion in the rumoursphere this week of the iPhone 13's charging setup. Sources have claimed it will have a larger coil than the iPhone 12, which could necessitate stronger MagSafe magnets; more intriguingly it could also see the arrival of reverse charging, the popular Android feature that lets smartphones charge smaller devices such as wireless earbuds.
To be fair, that wouldn't be boring. But imagine how wrong it could go with a small amount of bad luck.
In every dream HomePod a heartache
It's been a tough week for the HomePod range. Particularly the full-size HomePod, which you might think had suffered enough, having been discontinued in March.
First came reports that devices running the beta of HomePod Software 15.0 were overheating, in some cases so seriously that their logic boards were fried.
But beta software is a known risk. Anyone running the official public software should be fine, right? Sadly not: more owners came forward with complaints that their "OG" HomePods were getting bricked by the 14.6 update.
It's a sad state of affairs for a product that could have been great, and for which we retain a great well of affection (despite the myriad headaches of AirPlay). Hopefully Apple will respond with curative software updates, and the HomePod mini at least can look forward to a happy future.
Yet another antitrust investigation
Apple and Amazon are rivals in some senses, but they have nevertheless managed to form a cosy working relationship - too cosy, in the opinion of some third-party retailers.
In 2018, they signed an agreement creating an official storefront for Apple on Amazon's website. As part of the arrangement, unauthorised retailers were prohibited from selling Apple products on Amazon Marketplace - and this clause proved highly controversial. This week Spain's competition authority announced a preliminary investigation into possible anti-competitive practices.
That clause is already the subject of antitrust investigations in both the US and Italy. And its relationship with Amazon is only the tip of Apple's antitrust iceberg, with regulatory agencies around the world looking into the power it exerts over digital markets.
Only this week the EU competition czar, Margrethe Vestager, responded to Apple's comments on the Digital Markets Act by saying that privacy is no excuse for anti-competitive behaviour.
News in brief
Qualcomm's CEO has declared that he intends to take on and surpass Apple's M1 chip. The company is doing this by recruiting former Apple employees.
An unofficial - and comparatively small-scale - survey of Apple employees found that an overwhelming 90% strongly agree with the statement "location-flexible working options are a very important issue to me". It's unclear if the findings will affect Apple's thinking on the matter: so far CEO Tim Cook has stood by the plan to have employees return to the office three days a week, despite internal resistance.
It's been revealed that 175,000 factory workers in Vietnam - working on numerous tech products for companies around the world, including AirPods and iPhones for Apple - are now living and sleeping at work to combat the spread of COVID-19.
Apple's stock has reached its highest-ever value. Again.
Dan Moren discusses three apps that Apple should have updated instead of Safari.
Apple has added the 2015 MacBook to its vintage Mac list, meaning the company will only repair the machine if it has parts in stock; in a couple of years it will be declared obsolete. Farewell, old friend.
We explain how to get your Apple Watch to warn you if you forget your iPhone. This is an appealing new feature in iOS 15.
Apple's App Tracking Transparency is so good, it's driving advertisers to Android.
Apple has reportedly selected its iPhone 13 supplier partners. It's the usual crowd, although the interesting part is that production is starting to shift to India; this would give Apple more wiggle room to withdraw its business from Chinese suppliers in the event of human-rights concerns.
Deal of the week
In an exclusive deal for Macworld readers, KRCS is offering an extra £60 discount on the iPad Pro (2020) and iMac 21.5in, on top of the site's large existing savings. You can save up to £310!
Bugs & problems
The hacking group REvil, which blackmailed Apple with the release of stolen drawings back in April, is believed to be behind a major ransom attack last weekend. The victim of the attack was the Miami-based IT management firm Kaseya, whose software is used by a large number of businesses: up to 200 companies could be affected.
Video of the week
Juliet Beauchamp, Michael Simon and Ken Mingis discuss Windows 11, what users can expect, and what it means for the Mac.
The rumour mill
After a total lack of hardware at WWDC 2021, Apple fans are keen to know when they can expect new MacBooks. The focus is on the MacBook Pro, which should arrive in the autumn, complete with a shiny new (and very fast) M1X processor. What it might not have, based on information released this week, is a Touch Bar.
If you're wondering whether to wait, read Karen Haslam's guide: Should you buy now, or wait for the 16in MacBook Pro?
And what of the MacBook Air? This could actually be the more significant launch, given that the Air is expected to get a complete redesign - including a bunch of new colours - and a next-gen M2 chip. But this exciting machine won't arrive until 2022, we heard this week.
The highly anticipated OLED-based iPad Air won't be with us until 2023, meanwhile, according to the latest report. In the long term, however, it looks like Apple is going to pursue a three-tier system for its iPad screens, with the standard iPad on LCD, the Air on OLED and the Pro on mini-LED.
And that's it for this week. See you next Saturday, and stay Appley!