Monday, January 17, 2022

Apple Breakfast: Looking Ahead To 2022

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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Looking ahead to 2022

Periodically we put together a guide to the Apple products that are likely to launch in the following month, and this week was the turn of December 2021. Which was a painful job, because the last month of the year is always a difficult call to make.

The run up to Christmas is so important for consumer tech companies that it makes very little sense to launch things in December: even if you announce on the 1st and ship on the 7th you’ve still cut a solid fortnight out of your potential festive buying period. That’s why we tend to predict things like no AirPods Max in December 2020, then have to eat our words with a side order of humble pie when Apple goes ahead and launches them anyway.

So it’s with a degree of trepidation that we again suggest that December might be a quiet month for Apple releases; maybe the company will surprise us again, but it would make more sense to wait until next year before rolling out anything major. And it’s time to start thinking about the big products that will be landing in 2022.

Such as the next version of the iPhone SE, for instance: this week we covered yet another report predicting it will launch in the spring of 2022. This much-anticipated device is shaping up to be quite the catch, offering a super-fast A15 chip and 5G support at an affordable price.

Or Apple’s AR headset, which pundits also expect to be announced in 2022 (although it may not go on sale until the following year). Knowledgeable Apple reporter Mark Gurman says this “will have a complex, expensive-to-build design, complete with interchangeable lenses”. It’s a hugely important market that Apple has been dancing around for years without releasing dedicated hardware.

That’s before we get to other exciting prospects coming in 2022, such as the next iPad Air, the MacBook Air and its M2 chip, and the upcoming (potentially 30in or even 32in) iMac. So even if it’s a quiet December, we’ve got an exciting year to look forward to afterwards.

News in brief

Apple has been fined €10m over its use of customer data. Italy’s AGCM “found that both Google and Apple failed to provide clear and immediate information on the collection and use of customer data for commercial purposes”.

In this week’s Different Think column, Samuel Nyberg mourns for the iPhone mini, the Apple handset that is most faithful to the spirit and intentions of the original iPhone from 2007.

Economists will enjoy getting their heads around this one: low supply of the iPhone 13 led to (comparatively) low demand, according to Bloomberg. Problems in producing sufficient handsets led potential customers to give up hope entirely.

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But it’s important to keep things in perspective. Once more for the people in the back: iPhone sales are just fine, yells Michael Simon.

Pour one out for the iPhone 6 Plus, which will join Apple’s Vintage list at the end of 2021. That means Apple will stop making spare parts, and could encourage some hold-outs to buy a new iPhone.

The reports of Apple’s death in China are greatly exaggerated, reckons the Macalope.

Apple made a pair of clear AirPods and we want them.

Wondering which emoji get used the most? The Unicode Consortium can help with that, having this week released their list of the most frequently used symbols of 2021. Some of the picks will make you 😮, we suspect.

Video of the week

Apple’s lawsuit against NSO Group, the tech firm behind the Pegasus spyware, seeks to hold the company accountable for alleged surveillance of select iPhone users. Digital rights activists have commended Apple for backing privacy rights, but fear the precedent it might set could affect organisations that support user privacy.

In the video embedded below, Ken Mingis and Lucas Mearian join Juliet Beauchamp to discuss what the lawsuit means.

Software, bugs & problems

Apple released the fourth beta – expected to be the final one – of iOS 15.2 on 2 December 2021. The public release is expected soon, and could arrive next week.

Wondering what’s coming in iOS 15.2? Lots of new features, including the ability to set up a Legacy Contact so that your loved ones can gain access to your devices if you die, to hide your own email address in Mail, and to scan for devices that may be tracking you.

More and more users are reporting charging problems with the M1 Max MacBook Pro. We were able to reproduce the same erratic behaviour. We’ve also had one reader complain that the keyboard in his new 14in MacBook Pro is acting up – could the old keyboard problems be reoccurring despite the demise of the butterfly keys?

Jason Snell explains why Monterey’s best feature still hasn’t arrived.

The rumour mill

Apple is still working on an AirPower-style charger, according to the latest report. The company is also said to be working on developing new technology for short- and even long-range wireless charging.

Apple’s M3 chips are reportedly on track for 2023, as the next-gen cycle begins.

You’ve probably head the rumours that Apple is working on a car. There’s masses of evidence that this is the case, from the fact that Apple has been seen testing autonomous vehicles on US roads to the revelation that the company is employing high-ranking experts it has recruited from the automotive industry. But what if it never releases a car? What if Apple actually makes a robot? This is the question Stephan Wiesend is asking in Could Apple’s Project Titan be a robot instead of a car?

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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 Watch Series 6 (44mm, Cellular)

Now: £368.35  (£140.65 off)

Save £141 on the 44mm Watch 6 with cellular connectivity this Cyber Week – in a deal that outdoes Amazon’s Black Friday discount!

2. Apple 13in MacBook Pro, M1, 8GB/256GB (2020) – Refurbished “Pristine”

From: Music Magpie

Was: £1299

Now: £859.99  (£439 off)

While you can get £150 off the MacBook Pro with M1 at Amazon, Music Magpie’s price on a refurbished model in “Pristine” condition is hard to beat.

3. Apple AirPods 3 (2021)

Now: £159  (£10 off)

4. Apple Watch SE (44mm, GPS + Cellular)

Now: £319  (£30 off)

The Apple Watch SE may not have all the bells and whistles of the Series 7, but at just £319 with a 44mm case and cellular connectivity, it’s a tempting buy. 

5. Apple iPad Air with Apple Pencil

Now: £26 per month (2GB data)

Get an Apple Pencil with the iPad Air from Virgin – a great bundle if you were already after the Apple Pencil!

6. Apple iPhone 12 with Watch SE (GPS, 40mm)

From: Mobile Phones Direct

Now: £79.99 upfront, £55 per month (60GB)

This bundle from Mobile Phones Direct includes a 40mm Watch SE (GPS) and 60GB of data. You also get free next day delivery.

7. Apple iPhone 13 mini with iPad (2021)

Now: From £40 per month, no upfront cost

Pick up the latest iPad and iPhone 13 from Virgin in this Black Friday/Cyber Week bundle.

8. 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!

9. Apple Pencil (2nd Gen)

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.

10. Apple iPad Air 4 (64GB, 2020) Wi-Fi Only – Refurbished “Pristine”

From: Music Magpie

Was: £579.99

Now: £479.99  (£99 off)

Music Magpie has nearly £100 off a refurbished iPad Air 4 (2020) in “Pristine” condition. It includes a free 12-month warranty and free delivery.

11. Apple Watch Series 6 (44mm, cellular, Stainless Steel) – Refurbished

From: Music Magpie

Was: £699

Now: £439.99  (£259 off)

The Stainless Steel, 44mm cellular Apple Watch 6 is the most premium option you can buy – but not if you buy refurbished from MusicMagpie, where it currently costs less than £500. The discount isn’t as high as what we saw over Black Friday, where it had £409 off, but it’s still a welcome saving.

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

Now: £669  (£40 off)

Amazon has £29 off the cellular iPad Air with 64GB storage. It’s nowhere near the £110 discount it had over Black Friday, but still a welcome price cut. Currys outdoes Amazon’s price by £10 and also offers free next-day delivery!

13. Apple 13in MacBook Pro, M1, 8-core CPU, 8-core GPU, 256GB (2020)

From: Amazon

Was: £1,299

Now: £1,159  (£140 off)

Amazon’s price is good, and on Black Friday it went down £10 more to make it even more competitive!


14. Apple iPad Pro 11in (2021, M1, 256GB)

Now: £799  (£50 off)

15. Apple iPhone 12 (64GB)

Now: £649  (£30 off)

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

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

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.

17. Apple MacBook Air, M1, 8-core CPU, 8-core GPU, 512GB (2020)

From: Currys

Was: £1,249

Now: £1,099.97  (£149 off)

Currys has a great deal on the 512GB MacBook Air with M1. This price means it’s only £100 more than the entry-level model would usually cost, plus you get twice as much storage and that all important extra graphics core.

18. Apple MacBook Air, M1, 8-core CPU, 7-core GPU, 256GB (2020)

Now: £889  (£110 off)

You can get the £999 MacBook Air with 8-core CPU and 7-core GPU in gold with a great discount from Currys or Amazon.

The next best deal is from KRCS who has it for £898. Get the KRCS deal here.


19. 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. John Lewis is charging £199 but offers a free 2-year guarantee.

20. Apple Watch Series 6 (40mm)

Now: £319  (£60 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 just over £300. That said, it was cheaper on Black Friday itself at just £289.


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