Looking back on the iPhone 12 launch, and looking ahead to the Mac launch: all the Apple news you missed this week, in a handy bite-sized roundup
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.
5G whizz: Welcome to the world, iPhone 12
After more than a year of anticipation (more than a year, because it was fashionably late, missing Apple’s time-honoured September release slot), the iPhone 12 finally landed this week, hitting Cupertino’s virtual stage like Roger Daltrey.
The presentation was as slick and enjoyable as we’ve come to expect this year – how much nicer to get a streamlined, pre-edited video than a whooping-heavy live spectacle – but the whole thing was light on surprises. Everything had been leaked in advance.
Square-sided design? Leaked. No headphones? Leaked. Two models launching now, two next month? Leaked. Mini 5.4in model? Leaked. Support for 5G? Leaked ages ago. Accompanied by a smaller HomePod and MagSafe chargers? Leaked and leaked.
Has Apple forgotten how to keep a secret? Have the difficulties caused by lockdown and remote working added extra holes to the process? Have the leakers got better?
Or does the company simply not care about surprises any more? Because the sense of predictability didn’t seem to hurt Apple, in terms of the reader interest we were seeing on our site, the number of other sites covering the event, the column inches in broadsheet newspapers and discussion on TV news.
In fact it may have helped. Apple had to deal with a potentially unpleasant announcement this year: that it’s no longer bundling ‘free’ headphones and chargers with its phones. (Except in France.) But the louder voices in the tech punditsphere digested that piece of information months ago, and there was remarkably little fuss on launch day. Far less, certainly, that when the headphone port was ditched from the iPhone 7 in 2016.
Apple’s already held events in September and October of 2020. Will it give us a November to remember as well?
Jon Prosser – a leaker who seems to be back on track, with a raft of accurate leaks leading up the iPhone 12 launch – says it will. He reckons the launch of the Apple Silicon Mac will take place on 17 November. We may also get AirTags in that month.
But Prosser and Apple do not stop there. The AirPods Studio, Prosstradamus reckons, will be unveiled at a digital event on 16 March 2021.
At this point Tim Cook must be wondering if he should retire and let leakers announce all the company’s products from now on.
News in brief
The iPhone 12’s first 5G speed tests are in. They show that connection speeds can be really fast when conditions are right, but also that they’re extremely variable: your mileage really may vary, especially if you live somewhere that isn’t a major city. (Note too that Apple faces a challenge educating the public about 5G; a survey shortly before the launch found that half of US iPhone owners thought they already had it.)
The launch of the iPhone 12 saw prices slashed across the rest of the iPhone range.
Here are the best places to pre-order the new iPad Air, which suddenly went on sale at the end of this week.
Almost lost in the huge shadow of the iPhone 12 (and the more petite shadow of the HomePod mini), a new set of Beats headphones were announced this week. So much for the theory that Apple is phasing out the brand… which was given fresh fuel when Apple took down the Beats web page this week.
Analyst figures suggest Apple slightly outperformed the desktop PC market this quarter with exceptional Mac sales. In fact, the unprecedentedly high number of people working from home (and requiring functional IT equipment) means all the major players have been doing well.
Apple has added an additional three months to the TV+ free trial, so you can now watch for 15 months without paying. It’s hard to see this as a good sign for the service, whose struggles we’ve written about in the past.
The iPhone 5C is now vintage.
The rumour mill
New Macs incoming! Eight unknown models have been spotted in the Eurasian Economic Commission database.
Peter Müller suspects that the comparatively affordable price tags on the iPhone 12 range hint at lower prices on upcoming Macs.
And that’s it for this week. Stay Appley!
Author: David Price, Editor
David has loved the iPhone since covering the original 2007 launch; later his obsession expanded to include iPad and Apple Watch. He offers advice to owners (and prospective owners) of these devices.