In this week’s top stories: iOS 14.4 beta testing continues, rumors of a “higher-end” MacBook Air emerge, Apple VR headset coming in 2022, and much more. Read on for all of this week’s top Apple Stories.
Apple Watch Challenge
Apple’s next Apple Watch Activity Challenge has officially been scheduled. The first-ever “Unity Challenge” will be held from February 1 through February 28, and it encourages Apple Watch users to celebrate Black History Month by closing their Move ring seven days in a row.
As such, Apple has also added a new “Unity” watch face to the Apple Watch. The new watch face is currently available to beta testers as part of watchOS 7.3, and will be released to everyone soon.
Apple VR headset
Bloomberg reported this week that Apple’s first headset will primarily be a VR device, with limited AR capabilities. The headset will reportedly be a pricey, niche precursor to a more ambitious augmented reality product that will take longer to develop.
As a mostly virtual reality device, it will display an all-encompassing 3D digital environment for gaming, watching video and communicating. With premium features and performance, Apple’s first headset will be far more expensive than those from rivals, which cost about $300 to $900.
Apple has planned to launch the product as soon as 2022, but development delays have plagued the work on the headset so far, and more delays are not of the question.
AirPods Max debuted in December, marking Apple’s premium entry into the over-ear headphones industry. The AirPods Max that were ultimately released, however, were different from what was rumored, and ultimately less customizable.
The expectations were that Apple would let users customize their headphones with a modular design. For example, you could attach the mesh headband for exercising, then switch to the leather material for added comfort design while indoors.
9to5Mac has discovered that iOS devices can see what “headband type” AirPods Max are using. That could be used to do things like correctly display AirPods Max in the UI. For example, iOS 14 would be able to tell if you were using the mesh headband with your AirPods Pro or if you were using the leather headband, and display the proper graphics.
iFixit also found that the AirPods Max headband can be easily removed with a paper clip.
Ultimately, while Apple hasn’t acknowledged this or launched any alternate headbands, it’s possible they could arrive in the future. It could also be that Apple has officially abandoned its plans to launch alternative headbands completely, and that these are just left over remnants of the initial idea.
New MacBook Air
Finally, Apple is reportedly preparing a “higher end” MacBook Air. The machine will reportedly be even thinner and lighter than the current MacBook Air, and include next-generation Apple Silicon inside.
In terms of design, Apple is reportedly shrinking the bezels around the screen to make it even smaller while still retaining 13-inches of screen real estate.
What’s important to note as well is that this new MacBook Air would be a higher-end option, complementing the existing entry-level MacBook Air. So it essentially sounds like we’d have a MacBook Air and a MacBook Air Pro. The new model will launch during second half of this year at the earliest or in 2022.
These and the rest of this week’s top stories below.
- Apple’s first headset will be the Mac Pro of VR devices – Bloomberg
- iOS 14.4 RC now available to developers, here are the full release notes
- Reviews pit Samsung’s new Galaxy S21 Ultra flagship against the iPhone 12 with mixed results
- Second report says iOS 15 to drop support for iPhone 6s, original iPhone SE, more
- Apple reportedly switched 2M units of production from iPhone 12 mini to Pro
- Apple shares shot on iPhone 12 photos – from portraits to pie
- Another supply-chain report says iPhone 12 mini production cut
- Another report of smaller notch in this year’s iPhones; sensor-shift OIS, too
Apple Watch |
- Apple sets first Apple Watch ‘Unity’ Activity Challenge for February in honor of Black History Month
- Gallery: Here’s a first look at the new watchOS 7.3 ‘Unity’ watch face
- Apple Watch credited with helping police locate kidnapped Texas woman
- watchOS 7.3 RC released to developers with new unity watch face, Time to Walk feature, ECG in more countries
- Concept Part 1: watchOS 8 could introduce new apps, new faces, and widgets
Mac and iPad |
- Opinion: The problem with Apple reportedly killing the MacBook Pro Touch Bar
- Video: Microsoft takes shots at Apple’s MacBook Pro in new ad for Surface Pro 7
- What to expect from the Mac in 2021: Redesigned iMac, all-new MacBook Pro, and much more
- macOS Big Sur 11.2 RC now available with Bluetooth improvements, M1 Mac fixes, more
- Tim Cook gave Trump a 2019 Mac Pro unit assembled in the US as a gift
- M1 Macs can now run full version of Linux thanks to new Corellium port
- Best USB-C and Thunderbolt displays for Mac
- Bloomberg: Apple to launch ‘higher end’ MacBook Air with thinner bezels as soon as later this year, brings back MagSafe charging
- Apple extends free repair of 13-inch MacBook Pro with display backlight issues
- Opinion: After a rocky few years, the future of the Mac is now brighter than ever
Top Apple stories, retail |
- Apple Pioneer Place mural donated to nonprofit Don’t Shoot PDX
- COVID-19: Which Apple Stores have reopened?
- Microsoft Lists now available to download from the App Store
- Facebook says a ‘configuration change’ mistakenly logged iPhone users out of their accounts
- VLC media player for macOS updated with full support for M1 Macs
- These are the best applications for sleep tracking with Apple Watch
Apple TV |
- Concept: The Apple TV remote solution was right in front of us
- Apple TV+ Guide: Here are all the Apple TV shows and movies available now
- Servant’s season two premiere registered more than twice the audience on Apple TV+
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This week’s top videos |
9to5Mac Daily |
Listen to a recap of the top stories of the day from 9to5Mac. 9to5Mac Daily is available on iTunes and Apple’s Podcasts app, Stitcher, TuneIn, Google Play, or through our dedicated RSS feed for Overcast and other podcast players.
- Sponsored by Crypto Pro: Track Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies on your Apple Watch.
Reality Pro delays (yes, again), MacBook Air rumors – 9to5Mac Daily
9to5Mac Watch Time |
Jeff Benjamin joins Zac Hall to give Apple Watch Series 3 and Series 5 an exit interview before new models are announced. 9to5Mac Watch Time is a podcast series hosted by Zac Hall. In this series, we talk to real people about how Apple Watch is affecting their lives.
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Week 6 – 9to5Mac Watch Time
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iPhone 15 action button, WWDC 2023 announced, Apple Music Classical launches – 9to5Mac Happy Hour
- iPhone 15 action button, WWDC 2023 announced, Apple Music Classical launches
- iOS 16.4 features, SiriGPT, Apple TV+ theatrical ambitions
- HomePod with screen rumored, Apple exec turnover, AR/VR headset market fit
- Apple Music Classical announced, iPhone 15 mute switch, M3 Mac schedule
- iOS 16.4 beta 2, 2018 iPad Pro in hindsight, MLS Season Pass experience
Stacktrace Podcast |
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Stacktrace has moved! – Stacktrace
Apple @ Work Podcast |
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Healthcare challenges with Apple devices – Apple @ Work
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