The biggest surprise at Apple’s spring event might be the timing

Welcome to the new home for Apple Breakfast! If you’re a reader of Macworld’s UK site, you’ll recognize this column that will now appear on Macworld.com every Saturday. If you’re new, this is our weekly collection of all the Apple news you missed this week, in a handy bite-sized roundup. We call it Apple Breakfast because we think it goes great with a morning cup of coffee or tea, but it’s cool if you want to give it a read during lunch or dinner hours too.

Spring’s (maybe) coming early

We thought we had until late March at least, but a Bloomberg report now points to Apple holding its spring event on March 8. Which isn’t technically spring, and could cause all sorts of problems for the plants and migratory birds that depend on Tim Cook’s keynotes to regulate their seasonal patterns.

It would be an exaggeration to say that the Macworld team are all running around in blind panic. On the contrary, we will be ready and raring to provide expert analysis of the announcements as they happen. But the hint of an early kick-off has prompted some rapid assessments of what we’re likely to hear about.

Hot favorites for (presumably still virtual) stage time are the iPad Air and the new souped-up Mac mini, both of which represent the best of what a colleague refers to as Apple’s inbetweener tendency: a Goldilocks-style product range with a cheap option at the bottom, and an overpowered option at the top, and by far the best option in the middle. The iPad Air was our pick of the tablet market when it launched in 2020, and needs only a straightforward update to regain that crown. The Mac mini could do with a little more punch, and rumors suggest it’s about to get exactly that.

Most eyes, however, will be on a device that sits closer to the bottom of the range: the expected (and long-requested) 2022 update of the iPhone SE. The SE shows that Apple can make a superb budget(ish) product when it sets its mind to the task, while the device’s commercial success indicates how much price still drives smartphone sales, even in the aspirational world of Apple.

There could well be more spring surprises in store, given that 2022 looks set to be packed with Apple launches, and we’ll discuss some of those in due course. But for now, we will only advise you to lightly pencil in the date in your diary and get ready for the start of a huge year.

Week in brief

Talking of this spring’s likely releases, this week’s Different Think column looks at the iPhone SE 3, which is more exciting than it seems.

Apple and Samsung have run out of smartphone ideas, writes Michael Simon.

Autocorrect on the iPhone isn’t any better than it was 10 years ago and we want to know why.

Following high-profile reports of AirTag stalking, Apple has acknowledged the problem and promised to do better. David Price, however, worries that the AirTag can beat theft or stalking, but not both.

The real reason Apple isn’t bringing Face ID to the Mac isn’t about size, it’s about stubbornness.

An appeals court has thrown out the “legally insupportable” damages of $1.1bn that Apple was told to pay for infringing two patents – but has upheld the infringements themselves.

The Macalope thinks you should reach out to help Facebook in its time of need. (He’s also very sarcastic.)

Apple has bought AI Music for an undisclosed sum. The firm creates tech to adapt music to user behavior, which could be a perfect fit for Fitness+.

Jason Snell laments Apple’s unwillingness to make App Store changes in the face of booming profits.

Apple Music free trials have been cut from three months to just one, in a move that may be linked to a royalties dispute from 2015. But cheer up, because Karen Haslam has discovered that you can still get a two-month trial with Shazam.

Caldigit has an 18-port Thunderbolt dock that’s tailor-made for Mac users.

If you buy your next iPhone from Verizon, you’re going to be paying for it for three years.

Software, bugs & other issues

IDG

A Bluetooth issue that caused an alarming drop in MacBooks’ battery levels has been fixed in macOS Monterey 12.2.1.

Apple has warned of a surprising heat problem affecting two of its most high-end products. If you’ve got a Pro Display XDR or a MacBook Pro with a Liquid Retina XDR display, you’ll need to be careful of rooms above 77 degrees Fahrenheit.

The second beta of 15.4 has arrived with the framework for Tap to Pay. macOS Monterey 12.3 Beta 2 is also available.

The new features in iOS 15.4 could set us on the road to eliminating password hell, writes Dan Moren.

This week Apple rolled out an urgent security update for Mac, iPhone, and iPad. The updates close a vulnerability that could lead to “the execution of arbitrary code.”

Apple says it’s fixed an error in iOS 15 that meant some Siri conversations were evaluated without permission. Here’s what went wrong.

Adobe has released patches for 17 security gaps – including several identified as critical – in five programs, including Photoshop and Illustrator.

The rumor mill

IDG

Apple is planning a product blitz in 2022, with four new M2 Macs and a full slate of new devices all throughout the year.

Is Apple getting ready to launch its mixed-reality headset? Something’s in the works because references to ‘realityOS’ were spotted in Apple code this week.

Prolific rumor-peddler Mark Gurman has spilled the beans on the M2 MacBook Pro expected to launch this year. It won’t have Pro Motion or a Touch Bar, he says, while the base M2 chip won’t be able to match the performance of the M1 Pro and Max. Sounds like someone’s turning into a Negative Nancy!

Mind you, other sources reckon the new MacBook Pro could be here in early March… which brings us back to the ‘pre-spring spring event’ rumors with which we began this article.

And with that, we’re done for this week. If you’d like to get regular roundups, sign up for our newsletters. You can also follow us on Twitter for breaking news stories. See you next Saturday, enjoy your weekend, and stay Appley!

Source : Macworld