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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Looking ahead to 2022

Periodically we put together a guide to the Apple products that are likely to launch in the following month, and this week was the turn of December 2021. Which was a painful job, because the last month of the year is always a difficult call to make.

The run up to Christmas is so important for consumer tech companies that it makes very little sense to launch things in December: even if you announce on the 1st and ship on the 7th you've still cut a solid fortnight out of your potential festive buying period. That's why we tend to predict things like no AirPods Max in December 2020, then have to eat our words with a side order of humble pie when Apple goes ahead and launches them anyway.

So it's with a degree of trepidation that we again suggest that December might be a quiet month for Apple releases; maybe the company will surprise us again, but it would make more sense to wait until next year before rolling out anything major. And it's time to start thinking about the big products that will be landing in 2022.

Such as the next version of the iPhone SE, for instance: this week we covered yet another report predicting it will launch in the spring of 2022. This much-anticipated device is shaping up to be quite the catch, offering a super-fast A15 chip and 5G support at an affordable price.

Or Apple's AR headset, which pundits also expect to be announced in 2022 (although it may not go on sale until the following year). Knowledgeable Apple reporter Mark Gurman says this "will have a complex, expensive-to-build design, complete with interchangeable lenses". It's a hugely important market that Apple has been dancing around for years without releasing dedicated hardware.

That's before we get to other exciting prospects coming in 2022, such as the next iPad Air, the MacBook Air and its M2 chip, and the upcoming (potentially 30in or even 32in) iMac. So even if it's a quiet December, we've got an exciting year to look forward to afterwards.

News in brief

Apple has been fined €10m over its use of customer data. Italy's AGCM "found that both Google and Apple failed to provide clear and immediate information on the collection and use of customer data for commercial purposes".

In this week's Different Think column, Samuel Nyberg mourns for the iPhone mini, the Apple handset that is most faithful to the spirit and intentions of the original iPhone from 2007.

Economists will enjoy getting their heads around this one: low supply of the iPhone 13 led to (comparatively) low demand, according to Bloomberg. Problems in producing sufficient handsets led potential customers to give up hope entirely.

But it's important to keep things in perspective. Once more for the people in the back: iPhone sales are just fine, yells Michael Simon.

Pour one out for the iPhone 6 Plus, which will join Apple's Vintage list at the end of 2021. That means Apple will stop making spare parts, and could encourage some hold-outs to buy a new iPhone.

The reports of Apple's death in China are greatly exaggerated, reckons the Macalope.

Apple made a pair of clear AirPods and we want them.

Wondering which emoji get used the most? The Unicode Consortium can help with that, having this week released their list of the most frequently used symbols of 2021. Some of the picks will make you 😮, we suspect.

Video of the week

Apple's lawsuit against NSO Group, the tech firm behind the Pegasus spyware, seeks to hold the company accountable for alleged surveillance of select iPhone users. Digital rights activists have commended Apple for backing privacy rights, but fear the precedent it might set could affect organisations that support user privacy.

In the video embedded below, Ken Mingis and Lucas Mearian join Juliet Beauchamp to discuss what the lawsuit means.

Software, bugs & problems

Apple released the fourth beta - expected to be the final one - of iOS 15.2 on 2 December 2021. The public release is expected soon, and could arrive next week.

Wondering what's coming in iOS 15.2? Lots of new features, including the ability to set up a Legacy Contact so that your loved ones can gain access to your devices if you die, to hide your own email address in Mail, and to scan for devices that may be tracking you.

More and more users are reporting charging problems with the M1 Max MacBook Pro. We were able to reproduce the same erratic behaviour. We've also had one reader complain that the keyboard in his new 14in MacBook Pro is acting up - could the old keyboard problems be reoccurring despite the demise of the butterfly keys?

Jason Snell explains why Monterey's best feature still hasn't arrived.

The rumour mill

Apple is still working on an AirPower-style charger, according to the latest report. The company is also said to be working on developing new technology for short- and even long-range wireless charging.

Apple's M3 chips are reportedly on track for 2023, as the next-gen cycle begins.

You've probably head the rumours that Apple is working on a car. There's masses of evidence that this is the case, from the fact that Apple has been seen testing autonomous vehicles on US roads to the revelation that the company is employing high-ranking experts it has recruited from the automotive industry. But what if it never releases a car? What if Apple actually makes a robot? This is the question Stephan Wiesend is asking in Could Apple's Project Titan be a robot instead of a car?

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. 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.