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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Notch my problem

Last week we looked at the two violently opposed schools of thought regarding the notch on the new MacBook Pro:

  1. It's fine.
  2. It's awful.

You'll be surprised to hear that Apple wants to convince us that theory number 1 is correct, and this week product line manager Shruti Haldea appeared on a podcast to defend the notch's merits and argue that it's a "really smart way to give you more space for your content".

It's a bit of a softball interview - the hosts suggest unprompted that it was "unused space" anyway, and offer no follow-up questions about visual distractions and the lack of Face ID - but it's still good to see Apple fronting up and talking through its design decisions with the media. You can watch the whole conversation below.

The discussion above is fairly gentle, but a less forgiving take was provided later in the week by Quinn Nelson, who runs the Snazzy Labs YouTube channel. Nelson discovered a bug in the way certain menu bar items interact with the notch, sometimes avoiding it - as they are presumably supposed to - but sometimes hiding inconveniently behind it.

"A lot of people have been asking, with the notch in the way now, what happens if your app menus go too far to the right, or your status menus go too far to the left?" says Nelson. "Do they get smaller, or do they jump to the other side, or are they scrollable?

"The answer is, fricking nothing! Look at that: there is stuff behind the [notch] that I can't see!"

It's perhaps inevitable that some bugs would sneak through when such a major hardware change is made to the environment in which software runs - even if I'd agree with Nelson that this is a surprisingly big gaffe. But the timing is unfortunate: with so many people complaining about the notch's very existence, the last thing Apple needs is a high-profile bug to go with it.

News in brief

Apple has posted earnings figures for the final quarter of its fiscal 2021, and inevitably shattered a load more records. Profit was up 62% year on year, while revenue was up 29%. And it could have been even better if it wasn't for supply constraints, which could yet ruin the next quarter with Christmas shortages; Jason Snell can be relied upon to look on the dark side.

A teardown has revealed the inner workings of the new MacBook Pro. There are lots of revelations, but one of the most striking is that the M1 Max processor is huge.

As expensive as it is, the new MacBook Pro could actually be viewed as a bargain. Andy Sommerfeld, chief developer at Affinity Photo, calls the M1 Max "the fastest GPU we have ever measured" and says it beats the £6k graphics card in the Mac Pro.

"It has an awful lot to recommend it; but the things that put people off last year remain the case, and I can't see this changing many minds." The iPhone 13 mini is the last of a dying breed, reckons David Price.

Sorry Apple fans, the M1 Max is already doomed, says the Macalope.

We've reviewed the new AirPods. They are a little prone to falling out of your ears, which is a shame, but in other respects this is a massively impressive upgrade with major improvements to battery life and audio quality.

Is the MacBook Pro overkill, asks Jason Snell.

The Touch Bar was always doomed, says David Price in this week's Different Think column, which doubles as an apology for an overenthusiastic review back in 2016.

Michael Simon, however, reckons he's found a way for the Touch Bar to become the killer feature Apple wanted it to be.

Lewis Painter explains how to use Live Text, one of the handiest features in iOS 15.

Video of the week

Intel introduced its 12th-gen Alder Lake CPUs this week, with leaked benchmarks suggesting the Core i9-12900HK outperforms Apple's new M1 Max. Google's new Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro phones (powered by the Tensor chip) also arrived. And the chip shortage rolls on.

In the video embedded below, Michael Simon, Ken Mingis and Juliet Beauchamp discuss chip innovation. It's the hot topic on everyone's lips!

Software, bugs & problems

Apple has rolled out the macOS Big Sur 11.6.1 update, which addresses 21 security vulnerabilities, ranging from Bluetooth ("a malicious application may be able to execute arbitrary code with kernel privileges") to SoftwareUpdate ("an unprivileged application may be able to edit NVRAM variables"). We recommend you update at your earliest convenience.

Apple Music is now available on the PlayStation 5. But they'll all be too busy twerking their Fortnites, won't they? (Apple Breakfast is not up to date with popular culture.)

The rumour mill

Patent activity suggests that the rumoured Apple Glass product could beam images directly on to your retinas. That's right: no screens!

A new version of the iPhone SE, based on the chassis of the iPhone XR but souped up with an A15 processor, will launch in spring 2022, according to the latest report.

Hoping for Apple to make it three in three by announcing a November event to go with the September and October ones? Think again, buster: Bloomberg reckons Apple is done for the year, which means the wait will go on for a new MacBook Air, iMac, AirPods Pro and the rest.

We've whaled on the MacBook Pro's notch pretty hard this week, so instead of sticking the boot in even more we will present the latest MacBook Air rumour without comment: here is What a MacBook Air could look like with a notch.

MacBook Air render

Image courtesy of Jon Prosser and Ian Zelbo.

Did Apple once plan to release an Apple Watch Pro? Leaked documents released this week suggest it did.

And finally, we round up all the new products Apple could conceivably launch in November, together with the chances of the company doing so. We're feeling quite pessimistic, on the whole, although the Mac mini and iPod touch could happen.

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 Shopping Event

From: Apple

Now: Get a free gift card worth up to £160

Apple's Black Friday Shopping Event means you'll get a gift card worth £20, £40, £60, £80 or £160 when you buy selected products including iPhones, iPads, Macs, Apple Watches and AirPods over Cyber Weekend. Apple's newest products aren't included, but if you're after an older model this deal might be for you.

2. Apple iPad Air (64GB, 4th Gen, Wi-Fi + Cellular)

From: Amazon

Was: £709

Now: £599  (£110 off)

Amazon has £110 off the cellular iPad Air with 64GB storage, bringing it down to a particularly tempting price.  

3. Apple Watch Series 7

From: Amazon

Was: From £369

Now: From £349  (£20 off)

The Apple Watch Series 7 offers a larger, brighter display, slimmer bezels and more. Right now you can save £20 from Amazon, John Lewis, Currys and Very!

4. Apple Watch Series 6 (40mm)

From: Amazon

Was: £379

Now: £289  (£90 off)

Following its official discontinuation in September 2021, retailers have continued to sell the Apple Watch Series 6 at a discount.

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, this is a decent option at less than £300!

5. Apple iPhone 12 (64GB)

From: Amazon

Was: £679

Now: £649  (£30 off)

Pick up the 64GB iPhone 12 in any colour on Amazon for £30 cheaper than going to Apple directly. The price is also £150 cheaper than the handset's launch price.

6. 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.

7. Apple iPad Air with Apple Pencil

From: Virgin

Now: £24.50 per month (2GB data)

Get an Apple Pencil with the iPad Air for just £2 more per month compared to Virgin's price for the iPad Air alone.

8. Apple iPad Pro (2021, M1, 11in)

From: Currys

Was: £749

Now: £699  (£50 off)

Apple's exceptionally powerful M1-equipped iPad Pro for 2021 has a chunky price tag to match. But it's less chunky if you go to Currys - or Amazon, which is matching the deal.

9. Apple 16in MacBook Pro, M1 Pro, 10-Core CPU/16-Core GPU, 2021

From: LaptopsDirect

Was: £2,399

Now: £2,199.97  (£199.03 off)

Laptops Direct has almost £200 off the 16in MacBook Pro with M1 Pro chip, it's not as big a saving as KRCS, but it's an option if KRCS runs out of stock again (as it did earlier in the week!)

10. pCloud Cloud Storage - Lifetime 2TB

From: pCloud

Was: £850

Now: £209.30  (75% off)

pCloud's Black Friday offer slashes 75% off Lifetime Access with 2TB cloud storage. The service is one of the best cloud storage platforms around.

11. Apple 14in MacBook Pro, M1 Pro, 8-Core CPU/14-Core GPU, 2021

From: John Lewis

Was: £1,899

Now: £1,799  (£100 off)

John Lewis has £100 off the 14in MacBook Pro and it's in stock, you also get a free 2-year guarantee.

Also offering a discount and having the model in stock are: Amazon and Currys.

UK reseller KRCS is discounting the 14in MacBook Pro more than anyone else right now, but they often run out of stock. They say to order now to secure your stock as soon as it becomes available.

12. MacPaw CleanMyMac X (1 Year) - 30% off

From: MacPaw

Was: From £34.95

Now: From £20.97  (Up to £125.79 off)

Get 30% off CleanMyMac X from MacPaw this Black Friday. You can also get up to £47.45 off MacPaw's ClearVPN which launched earlier this month.

13. Apple AirPods Pro with MagSafe charging case

From: John Lewis

Was: £239

Now: £185  (£54 off)

A solid saving on the AirPods Pro, Apple's excellent true-wireless earphones with ANC. Amazon is matching the deal, but we'd go with John Lewis because of the firm's longer guarantee.

14. Apple Watch Series 6 (40mm, Cellular)

From: Amazon

Was: £479

Now: £369  (£110 off)

Save £110 on the 40mm Apple Watch 6 with GPS + Cellular connectivity. There's also £110 off the 44mm option.

15. Apple AirPods 3 (2021)

From: Laptops Direct

Was: £169

Now: £159  (£10 off)

Laptops Direct is doing some mathematical acrobatics here - how this can be a £25 saving when the RRP is quite clearly £169 is a mystery - but this remains a good price on the new AirPods.

In fact, barring some distinctly dodgy-looking websites we wouldn't recommend you use, this is the only site we can find offering a discount at all.

16. Apple Pencil (2nd Gen)

From: Amazon

Was: £119

Now: £99  (£20 off)

The second generation Apple Pencil for iPad has £20 off for Black Friday on Amazon, in a price that beats the retailer's Prime Day offer.

17. Apple 27in iMac, 3.1GHz six-core, 10th-gen Intel, 256GB SSD (2020)

From: LaptopsDirect

Was: £1,799

Now: £1,569.97  (£229.03 off)

You can get a decent amount of money off the entry-level 27in iMac introduced in August 2020 from LaptopsDirect (although we have seen it for less in the past).


18. Apple Mac mini, 3.6GHz quad-core, i3, 256GB (2018)

From: Currys

Was: £799

Now: £579  (£220 off)

This is the Mac mini that Apple used to sell for £799 before it introduced the M1 Mac mini. for £579. Just remember that the M1 Mac mini starts at £699 now, which isn't that much more.

Apple sells this model in the refurbished store for £589, but it's out of stock right now.

19. Apple Mac mini, M1, 8-Core CPU / 8-Core GPU, 256GB

From: KRCS

Was: £699

Now: £629  (£70 off)

This Black Friday deal will save you £70 on the price of the M1 Mac mini.

And that's not all. The £899 Mac mini model is £809.10 at KRCS. Get that KRCS deal here.

20. Parallels Desktop 16 for Mac

From: Parallels

Was: £69.99

Now: £55.99  (20% off)

Parallels Desktop 17 for Mac is available at a discount of 20% as a part of the Black Friday Sale. If you're upgrading to version 15 the price drops from £39.99 to £31.99.

For more information read our Parallels Desktop 16 for Mac review, in which the software was awarded 4.5 stars out of 5.