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.
(Apple) Watch this space
Apple is usually quite good about announcing things when they're ready. Rather than promising the earth and then quietly removing all references to the earth from its website a year and a half later - the Peter Molyneux approach, I call this - Tim Cook likes to leap on stage, demo a new product and then smugly reveal that pre-orders will begin when he finishes his sentence. Or maybe a few days later.
(Okay, there was AirPower, which was very much a Molyneux-style project. But that was out of character.)
Last month's September extravaganza mostly fit the template, with pre-orders for the iPhone 13 handsets and for both the iPad mini 6 and ninth-gen iPad beginning promptly. But the announcement of the Apple Watch Series 7 was weirdly vague, saying only that the new wearables would become available "later this autumn". Come on Apple, be specific.
With Apple's next event looming this month, it's faintly embarrassing that it hasn't yet cleared the decks from the last one - but this week we heard rumours that the Series 7 is almost with us. The leaker Jon Prosser reckons pre-orders will begin on 8 October, with deliveries arriving a week after that. This fits with our observation that the Series 6 is largely sold out, suggesting that Apple is winding up ahead of the next device's launch.
To which we can only say: about time.
News in brief
Apple has decided to let users review and rate its own preinstalled iOS apps - and those users haven't held back. Translate and Podcasts have both come in for punishing feedback.
It's time for Apple to wave the white flag and switch from Lightning to USB-C, argues Anders Lundberg in our weekly Different Think column. This follows last week's news that the EU has proposed legislation to standardise phone chargers.
Apple should stop taking itself - and the iPhone - so seriously, says Jason Snell.
There's been lots of speculation about when Tim Cook will retire, ever since he revealed in an interview that he doesn't intend to be at Apple in ten years' time; a month ago we covered the claim that he simply wants one more major category launch before quitting the day job. The rumour mill roused itself again this week when it was reported that Cook had bought a new $10m house eight hours' drive from Apple HQ. Is he preparing to wrap things up?
Macs are cheaper to own than PCs, according to researchers. Now that's a counterintuitive conclusion - until you hear that the study was commissioned by Apple.
I love Safari in iOS 15, says Michael Simon, and he reckons you will too.
Apple recently appeared to let slip that it has fewer than 20 million paying subscribers for its TV+ service across the US and Canada, compared to more than 35 million for Disney+ and more than 70 million for Netflix. A trade union charges different fees for streaming services with below and above 20 million; Apple indicated that it qualified for the lower fee.
The Macalope analyses Google's airtight legal defence: that Apple is better.
Video of the week
Despite app-tracking transparency, iPhone apps continue to track users, according to the Washington Post. It found that the type of data gathered about a user's device could be used to ID individual iPhones - even after users explicitly asked apps not to do so. Meanwhile, in Android 11, app permissions automatically reset for unused, older apps.
In the video embedded below, Ken Mingis and Michael Simon join Juliet Beauchamp to discuss iPhone versus Android privacy measures and the way that fingerprinting affects users.
Software, bugs & problems
Only a week after hitting the shops, the new iPad mini has been hit with a widely reported screen problem. Known as 'jelly scrolling', the issue causes one side of the display to refresh more quickly than the other, resulting in a wobbly effect when scrolling through text-heavy screens in portrait orientation. Apple has since claimed such behaviour is normal, which suggests a recall is unlikely.
Bad news for those who jumped straight into iOS 15: bugs continue to be identified, including a concerning one where photos saved to the Photos library from iMessage could be automatically deleted if certain conditions are met - one condition being the original message's deletion.
Speaking of iOS 15 and its associated bugs, on 29 September Apple issued the second version of the iOS 15.1 beta to developers. This beta version addresses a problem with masked unlocking of the iPhone with the Apple Watch, among other things.
The new version of Safari - Safari 15 - can be installed on Macs running Big Sur or Catalina. Unfortunately some Mac users are reporting serious problems with Safari 15, including difficulties loading some sites.
An angry developer has released details of four vulnerabilities that he says Apple was aware of (because he flagged them) but never acknowledged - and only one of them was ever closed.
Another security concern emerged this week, this time related to Apple Pay. A video demonstration showed that it is possible to make a £1,000 Visa payment from a locked iPhone. It's only possible if a user has set up a Visa card for Apple's Express Travel feature, but researchers were able to trick a locked iPhone into believing it was near a ticket barrier and fooled it into making a payment. All a bit concerning...
And that's not all. There was one more warning issued this week: apparently AirTags can be manipulated in such a way that they can lure unsuspecting finders to phishing websites.
iFixit, a repair site famous for its tear-downs - in which it completely and wantonly dismantles a device to reveal its innermost secrets - has torn apart the iPhone 13 Pro and discovered something alarming. The screen and the rest of the phone are linked by matching serial numbers, which means Face ID stops working if you replace the screen. Following last month's video leak exposing Apple's anti-repair persuasion tactics, it's becoming increasingly clear that the company has little regard for the right to repair.
The rumour mill
The iPhone 13 has barely launched, but rumours are already swirling around the iPhone update coming next year - which may be a little more dramatic. The latest report claims the iPhone 14 will offer a completely new design and no mini model.
Talking of new MacBooks, hopes are high for the next version of the MacBook Air, which is expected to receive a design overhaul in 2022. The respected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo this week published an investor note predicting that the new Air would go into production next summer.
Is Pro Mode about to make a comeback? The optional battery-busting, high-performance feature appeared in beta versions of macOS 10.15.3 last year, then vanished before the public launch; now something apparently similar called High Power Mode has been spotted in a Monterey beta.
David Price rounds up all the new Apple products we expect to launch in October 2021.
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.