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.

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The iPhone feature everyone was waiting for

On Monday 26 April Apple issued updates to iOS, iPadOS, watchOS, TVOS and macOS. These point updates were the result of months of work and bring a raft of new features to Apple's products.

iOS 14.5 includes a multitude of new features including one that every mask wearer will appreciate: a simple way to unlock an iPhone while you are wearing a mask. Read: How to use Face ID to unlock iPhone while wearing a face mask for more information.

Highlights in Big Sur 11.3 include: a new Autoplay feature in the Apple Music app, more information about your Mac warranty in About This Mac, more support for games controllers, and better compatibility with iOS apps on M1 Macs. Big Sur 11.3 also fixes a dangerous security hole that was being exploited by malware authors so it's important that you update. We run through all the new features in our guide to macOS 11.3.

Both macOS, iOS and iPadOS gained more than 200 new emoji, as well as updates to Music, Maps, Reminders and other apps, and a number of security and privacy enhancements. Read about all the new features in iOS 14.5 in our round up.

Pre-orders kick off

Pre-orders began for the new 24in iMac, iPad Pro and the 4K Apple TV on 30 April. Just note that the global component shortages may mean you are waiting a little longer for your new product to ship. Read: Component shortages delay new iMac, iPad Pro for more information. 

If you are considering buying a new 24in iMac be sure to read our comparison of the iMac vs MacBook Pro to make an informed decision. We also compare the new 24in iMac with its 21.5in predecessor. There's just as much going on inside the new iMac as there is outside - and based on the M1 benchmarks think we will see a huge generational leap. The question is whether this will be enough for the traditional iMac market?

Anders Lundberg asks the same question when he explains why he's disappointed by the new iMac.

We also compare the new and old Apple TV 4K, which share a name but have four years between them. Find out just how different the new Apple TV is in our new vs old Apple TV comparison.

The great news about these new products Apple introduced at the April Spring Loaded event is that the UK prices have declined while US pricing has remained the same. So for once Apple's not ripping off Britain. We hope to see more price drops across Apple's product range.

Apple breaks records

Apple presented its report for the second quarter of the financial year on 28 April and the results were truly astounding.

As a taster: Revenue for the quarter was $89.6bn - an increase of 54% compared to the same period in the previous year, net profit was $23.6bn - more than double the profit Apple reported in Q2 2020, and revenue from the iPhone and Mac increased by 65% and 70% respectively.

Astonishing results given the pandemic and the global component shortages. Read more here: Another record-breaking quarter from Apple.

News in brief

Microsoft has released the first beta of Office 2021 for Mac. Among other changes, the software has been optimised for both Intel and M1 chipsets. We have a complete guide to what's coming in Office for Mac 2021 if you're interested.

Demand for the AirPods is plummeting. I'm no retail expert but it could be something to do with the lack of a new model - other than the mega-priced AirPods Max - since October 2019. Launch the AirPods 3, please!

Following Apple's announcement at the 20 April event that it will soon allow creators to charge for ad-free listening and additional content directly in the Podcasts app, Spotify has revealed similar plans. Although, interestingly enough, Spotify does not plan to take a cut of subscription payments.

Apple is going to vaccinate its employees at Apple Park.

Bugs & problems

We mentioned the serious security flaw addressed by Big Sur 11.3 above, but that's not the only security issue to be highlighted this week. Security researchers have also warned of what they describe as a severe privacy leak in AirDrop. A hacker who is close enough when AirDrop is being used can relatively easily access both email addresses and phone numbers, they claim.

Among the exciting new features in the 2021 iPad Pro is tiny change that could be a big deal if you are thinking of buying a 12.9in iPad Pro. The new model is a fraction thicker than the old models, which means it won't work with the 2020 Magic Keyboard and many iPad Pro 12.9in cases may not be compatible too. Check compatibility before buying any accessories.

The rumour mill

A report from Asian newspaper Nikkei claims that Apple’s chip manufacturing partner TSMC has already started work on the M2 Chip and that it could appear in new Mac by July.  We have a separate article that discusses whether you might want to wait for the M1X or M2 chip here: Should I wait for the M1X or M2 Mac?

We've been waiting a long time for Apple's AR or mixed-reality headset, but following analysis of the state of the supply chain Ming-Chi Kuo reckons it'll finally launch in 2022.

Further to rumours that Apple will be updating Messages in iOS 15 there is some speculation that iMessage will become more like Whatsapp, an idea that a lot of people seem to like.

And that's it for this week. See you next Saturday, and stay Appley!