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.
Apple vs the leakers
It's been a tough week for leakers, and especially for YouTube personality Jon Prosser, who lost some credibility and will soon lose his eyebrows too.
It's all to do with Apple's highly anticipated spring event, which usually falls in March but has occasionally fallen in April (remember that, it's important). Nobody outside Apple knows the exact date of the event - or even, technically, if it's definitely going to happen. But pundits have been queueing up to make predictions.
Back in October Prosser said it would happen on 16 March, and be headlined by the AirPods Studio (sic), the latter claim subsequently proved wrong on two counts when the AirPods Max launched in December. Early in March of this year he revised his prediction and tweeted that it would actually happen on 23 March, and in a video the next day he said he was so sure that he would shave off his eyebrows if he was wrong.
Which brings us to this week, when the invites would be expected to go out if the prediction was correct. They did not (although Prosser posted a fake invite which got some people going for a moment), and he was forced to admit that he got it wrong, and that the event would actually happen in April.
Will it now happen in April? Probably, and even a broken clock is right if you wait long enough and let it keep changing the position of its arms. Then again, if Tim Cook is messing with Prosser as much as he clearly thinks he is, we wouldn't be surprised if Apple squeezes it into the end of March just to make him look silly.
Schadenfreude is fun (the eyebrows will be coming off on 23 March and the proceeds given to charity), but I'd like to end this section by saying that tech leaking is a tough game and life in the media would be a lot duller without those brave souls risking embarrassment and corporate vengeance to make their sometimes-wonky predictions. Prosstradamus will bounce back, we're sure, and we wish him and his eyebrows well.
Salvation for the AirPods Max
When it launched back in December, three problems were identified with the AirPods Max:
- The case is stupid.
- They're really expensive.
- You can't manually activate ultra-low-power mode, which means battery power drains away during the night.
Points one and two still stand, but number three got (mostly) sorted this week thanks to a firmware update. There still isn't a power button, but the automated triggering of the energy-saving mode now happens much sooner. In testing we found that only a few percentage points were lost during the average night of idleness.
All of this came at the ideal time for a certain somebody to finally post his AirPods Max review, which probably gained a half-star from this firmware update alone. It's still not a whole-hearted recommendation - the case's ugliness and lack of protection will always be a thorn in my heart - but at least you don't have to worry about the headphones dying while you're not paying attention.
The HomePod is a lovely device in many ways - its compact, chunky look and superb audio quality, mainly - but always felt too expensive for the mostly far more affordable smart speaker market. This became impossible to ignore when the HomePod mini came along and offered almost the same sound for a third of the price and a seventh of the weight.
It won't match the bass of the larger model, but our recommendation (assuming you can't pick up a full-size HomePod before stock runs out) would be to grab a pair of HomePod minis. That way you've got a stereo setup for special occasions and multi-room the rest of the time.
Macworld.com has had a make-over!
Our US colleagues on Macworld.com have completely redesigned their site, with new layout, navigation and fonts, and improved performance: you'll notice that stories now load a lot faster.
You can check out what's changed in Michael Simon's welcome note. It's a tremendous achievement - just make sure you remember your old friends here on Macworld UK.
News in brief
Chip shortages have hit car makers and smartphone manufacturers around the world - with the exception of Apple, for now. Here's why.
You might not think it to look at them, but Samsung fans love Apple... sort of. A survey of Samsung users who were looking to switch found that the majority planned to get an iPhone next.
As well as leakers, Apple has declared war on counterfeit products. This week we learned that the company removed a million such products from internet sites and social media in the past year.
Bugs & problems
There's been a wave of unwanted FaceTime calls lately. Karen Haslam explains how to stop nuisance FaceTime calls.
Don't want to update to the next version of iOS, but need the security updates? You're in luck. In the future, it appears, iOS and iPadOS will receive separate system and security updates.
The rumour mill
The new iPad Pro is expected to land in April, and we're starting to get a good idea of what to expect. According to Bloomberg it will offer a processor that's "on par with the fastest M1 chip" and a Thunderbolt connector.
Apple has patented a MacBook with no trackpad.
Bit of a rollercoaster this week for those waiting for new AirPods. First we got a series of indications - three separate clues, in fact - that they would launch within days; but then we heard they were actually delayed until autumn.
A new Mini-LED MacBook Air is on the way, according to Ming-Chi Kuo - but it won't arrive until 2022.
And that's it for this week. Stay Appley!