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.
Maybe it's a coincidence, but availability hijinks on Apple websites around the world this week hinted strongly at the imminent launch of new iMac models.
Our Macwelt colleagues noticed that the German site was reporting "Currently unavailable" (or, to be exact, "Derzeit nicht verfügbar") for the 512GB and 1TB SSD configurations of the 21.5in iMac 4K. We checked and found the same thing in the UK. And in the US.
If Apple is starting to wind up production on the 21.5in iMac, it doesn't take a genius to guess at the next step. Which is a new iMac with an M1 processor, coming soon to an Apple website near you.
The future of the iPhone
Thinking of buying an iPhone 12? Not so fast! Here are 9 reasons to wait for the iPhone 13.
And plenty more details of the iPhone 13 emerged this week to persuade would-be upgraders to keep their wallets shut for another six months.
The respected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicts higher-capacity batteries, a smaller notch, improved ultra-wide cameras and 120Hz screens; and other experts reckon the 13-series handsets will offer an unprecedented 1TB storage option.
Intriguingly, a site named Appleosophy reckons there is a "portless variant" of the iPhone 13, although it's not clear if this is a serious contender for this year's design (surely not?) or a prototype being used for testing.
Looking further ahead - and bearing in mind that most of us upgrade our phones every two or three years, rather than annually - perhaps you might even like to wait until the new iPhone in 2022 or beyond. Top features for the next three generations of iPhone have been revealed, including a punch-hole camera (with no notch) and an autofocusing front camera in 2022, and a foldable iPhone with support for the Apple Pencil in 2023.
But then again, if you think like that, you'll never buy anything.
The big event(s)
Disappointing noises from Los Angeles, where multiple large conventions planned for the late spring and early summer - including E3 and Anime Expo - have been cancelled or pushed online as COVID continues to disrupt daily life. Organisers don't expect live events to return until September.
It's a cautious approach that is wholly understandable, but there is one obvious takeaway: WWDC 2021 will surely, once again, be a virtual event.
For the press and the general public, that's probably not such a terrifying prospect: the virtual events Apple held in 2020 were breezy, well-edited, and refreshingly free of over-enthusiastic whooping, not to mention cheaper and more environmentally friendly than their on-site equivalents.
But app developers - the people that WWDC is actually about - will be more concerned, since they would ordinarily spend most of the week in networking and training workshops. It's hard to imagine such events being quite the same through a computer screen.
WWDC 2021 is expected to happen, as usual, in June. Long before then we expect Apple to hold a spring event (most likely in March or April), and that will be virtual too. It's a system we're all getting rather used to.
News in brief
Competition authorities in the UK are investigating Apple for alleged monopolistic behaviour on the App Store.
Apple has finally reopened all its US stores, for the first time in almost a year.
Samuel Nyberg looks back on 4 times Apple learned from its mistakes.
Over on our sister site in the US, Roman Loyola has come up with a novel solution to the disappearance of apps from the third-gen Apple TV: buy a Chromecast for a fraction of the price of a new Apple TV.
...and fellow Macworld US writer Michael Simon argues that the iPad Pro doesn't need an M1 processor... or does it?
Finally, Simon Lohmann explains why he switched from Apple Music to Spotify.
Bugs & problems
The last instalment of Apple Breakfast rounded up a pretty disastrous week for the M1 Mac. Turns out there was a sting in the tail: a mysterious bug, reported at the start of this week, that prevents M1 users installing iOS apps.
And for all your other issues, Karen Haslam outlines everything you need to know about getting Apple products fixed.
The rumour mill
Apple's rumoured mini-LED MacBook Pro came a step closer this week, as production details leaked.
A leaked image offers a glimpse of a new Apple Pencil with a glossy finish (a strange backwards step after the matt majesty of the Apple Pencil 2) and a larger pen tip - which could incorporate a sensor for copying colours.
New Apple Pencil pic.twitter.com/CWGQrkU2Yn— Mr·White (@laobaiTD) March 3, 2021
The third beta update of iOS 14.5 contains a strong hint that the AirTags are finally about to launch (although yes, we've been saying that for ages). It adds a giveaway new option to the Find My app.
It's been believed for some time that Apple is working on a MagSafe-compatible power bank for the iPhone 12. A well-known leaker now predicts that a premium version of this device will let you 'reverse-charge' your AirPods and Apple Watch.
And for a wider look at the next few weeks' launches, David Price (that's me) discusses the new Apple products coming in March 2021.
And that's it for this week. Stay Appley!