Apple’s engineers manage expectations about the next iPhone, more Mac redesign rumours emerge, and Apple gets sued a couple more times: 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.
Unlucky number 13
This week’s big rumour – don’t worry, we have plenty more later in this article – was the claim that Apple’s own engineers have been privately referring to the next iPhone as the iPhone 12s rather than the iPhone 13. Maybe they’re just superstitious.
But most pundits are interpreting this as confirmation of not just the name of the next handset but also a planned return to the tick-tock strategy Apple followed from 2009 to 2015, and briefly revived in 2018. In those periods the company would alternate between full-number iPhone updates (iPhone 4, 5, 6) and S-branded updates (iPhone 4s, 5s, 6s) whose names felt like an acknowledgement that they weren’t such a big deal.
It’s an oddly self-deprecating strategy, for sure, but sometimes it’s wise to manage people’s expectations. And perhaps we’d better start preparing ourselves for the late-2021 iPhone update not being the blockbuster we’d all like it to be.
Mac redesigns on the way
Everyone’s talking about Mac redesigns at the moment – indeed we led last week’s Apple Breakfast on an expected revamp of the MacBook Pro. And the rumours just keep coming.
Bloomberg sources, for example, reckon Apple is currently working on new designs for the iMac and Mac Pro. The iMac will have slimmer bezels, a flat back and no chin at all, they say; the Mac Pro, meanwhile, will be reminiscent of Apple’s G4 Cube from 2000.
As if that wasn’t enough, a separate Bloomberg report claims a thinner and lighter MacBook Air could launch later this year.
By our reckoning that leaves the Mac mini as the only Mac not set for a radical new look. But then, who would mess with aesthetic perfection?
Apple getting sued (again)
Apple is subject to more lawsuits, both serious and trivial, than your average corporate entity. But it’s quite unusual to hear of two high-profile suits in the same week.
You’ll recall that Apple banned the social-networking app Parler from the App Store recently, following allegations that it was used to organise the attack on the US Capitol. And of course the company received considerable criticism for the decision. What was less predictable was that an organisation named the Coalition for a Safer Web would sue Apple for not going far enough – and specifically for failing to ban Telegram at the same time.
Then later in the week news broke that Apple was being sued by the makers of Coronavirus Reporter, which was denied access to the App Store. The company accuses Apple of monopolistic behaviour, and of “denying millions of citizens the benefit of communicating in a pandemic emergency using an app designed by a world-renowned physician”; Apple says it doesn’t allow COVID apps unless they’re made by recognised government or health bodies.
News in brief
US analysts reckon next Wednesday’s quarterly report will be the best in Apple history. No pressure.
Tim Cook has issued a statement welcoming President Biden’s immigration policies. He appears to have far more in common with the 46th president than he had with the 45th – although it did emerge this week that Cook once presented Trump with a complimentary Mac Pro.
WhatsApp’s hugely unpopular forced update has been pushed back to May. The app’s makers continue to insist that the update does not compromise users’ privacy, but acknowledge “confusion” and “concern”.
The iPhone 12 mini didn’t sell as well as expected so Apple has shifted production towards the popular 12 Pro instead.
Last summer we wrote about the struggles faced by Apple’s TV+ streaming services in building an audience of paying subscribers. Those struggles have if anything got worse – which may explain why Apple has extended the free trial offer.
A study has found that the Apple Watch can detect COVID-19 before you start showing symptoms.
You ask anyone in the street what they think of iCloud, and they’ll probably look at you and say it’s a load of old rubbish. Yet an “all-star hiring spree” suggests Apple has serious ambitions in this area. We look at how the company is secretly improving iCloud.
A working version of Linux is now available for Apple’s M1 Macs.
Bugs & problems
Some owners of latest-gen M1 Macs have encountered an unexpected difficulty: the screensaver spontaneously takes over the screen and locks them out. It’s hoped Apple will fix the issue in macOS Big Sur 11.2.
If you’ve got a 13in MacBook Pro purchased between Oct 2016 and Feb 2018, and it’s suffering from a display problem, you could be in luck. Apple has extended the programme offering free repairs.
If you’d just spent £549 on a pair of AirPods Max you’d probably be quite annoyed to discover they have battery problems, right? Some users have reported that the battery goes from 100 to 0 or 1% in just a few hours.
Apple’s long-rumoured VR headset may finally drop… next year. Bloomberg sources say the device will support both VR and AR applications and is capable of working independently of a Mac or PC.
Sources say Apple will equip all of the late-2021 iPhones with sensor-shift optical image stabilisation. (At the moment this feature is confined to the iPhone 12 Pro Max.) Other sources say they will have under-screen Touch ID and no Lightning port.
There won’t be a foldable iPhone this year, though. Apple is way behind the market in this area.
As Apple stops selling LG monitors in some of its stores, we examine claims that Apple is working on a cheaper version of the Pro Display XDR.
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.