In this week’s top stories: iOS 14.3 released to everyone, Apple vs Facebook, new features for the Apple Watch, additional AirPods Max tidbits, and more. Read on for all of this week’s top stories.
Apple’s new AirPods Max over-ear headphones are officially available. Over the last week, we’ve learned more about the headphones, including the controversial Smart Case. Nonetheless, AirPods Max are back-ordered until well into 2021, and availability at Apple Stores is starting to dry up.
For the Smart Case, Apple published a new support document that makes more details clear about the battery life ramifications of not using it. When you place AirPods Max in the Smart Case, they go into low power mode immediately and into ultra-low power mode after 18 hours. When not in the smart case, they go into low power mode after 5 minutes, then into ultra low power after 72 hours.
iOS 14.3 and watchOS 7.2
Apple this week released iOS 14.3 to the general public, bringing new features such as ProRAW support on iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max. iOS 14.3 also makes it easier to set custom app icons thanks to the ability to run shortcuts from the Home screen without launching the Shortcuts app first.
watchOS 7.2 was also released to the public, and it includes support for new Cardio Fitness notifications. You can learn more about this new feature in our full coverage right here.
Finally, iOS 14.3 and watchOS 7.2 also bring support for Apple Fitness+, Apple’s new subscription service that offers a library of on-demand workouts across 10 different categories. Here’s how to get started with the new service .
Apple Silicon rumors
This week also brought the introduction of the first developer and public betas of iOS 14.4. The update appears to focus primarily on bug fixes and performance improvements, but it also includes new features for HomePod mini.
With iOS 14.4 and a new HomePod mini beta, the $99 smart speaker now includes a much-improved Handoff experience. Check out it in our hands-on video right here.
Holiday buying guides
Finally, we continue to offer holiday gift guides and buying guides at 9to5Mac. So far we’ve offered detailed advice on Apple Watch gifts, AirPods vs AirPods Pro, and more.
- Gift Guide: Last-minute gifts for tech fans under $100
- Gift Guide: Best iPhone wallets and smart wallets
- Gift Guide: Smart health/fitness devices for beginners and fanatics
- Gift Guide: Gadget gifts for all budgets
- Gift Guide: The best HomeKit gifts in 2020 for safety and security
- Gift Guide: AirPods vs AirPods Pro buying guide and the best accessories
These and the rest of this week’s top stories below.
iOS | tvOS |
- Apple releases iOS 14.3 with ProRAW for iPhone 12 Pro, AirPods Max and Fitness+ support, more
- iOS 14.4 beta changes and features – HomePod mini gets new U1-assisted Handoff experience
- How to give your iOS 14 home screen a custom aesthetic with unique app icons
- Here’s where to find custom app icon packs you can use with iOS 14.3 and iPadOS 14.3
- Apple releasing first iOS 14.4 developer beta today
- Apple rebuffs Facebook criticism, says iOS anti-tracking features are about ’standing up for our users’
- Apple releases iOS 12.5 for older iPhones with support for COVID-19 exposure notifications
- How to check iOS app privacy details for iPhone and iPad
- iPhone 6s falls out of a plane and survives, with all the action recorded
- How to check who can access your iPhone, iPad, and Apple accounts
- How to up your photography game with ProRAW on iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max cameras
- iPhone 12 Pro Max outshines unreleased Samsung Galaxy S21+ in early camera test
- Mujjo’s leather iPhone 12 cases are a great alternative to Apple’s official cases
- iPhone 12 supercycle: analyst says ‘reality is matching the hype’
- Apple’s A13 and A14 chips beat Qualcomm’s flagship Snapdragon 888 in first benchmarks
- iPhone 12 Diary: Surprisingly, I find myself a fan of the MagSafe wallet
- Travel photographer Austin Mann says Apple’s ProRAW photo format is a ‘massive leap forward’
- 2021 iPhones could have ProMotion as well as always-on display
Apple Watch |
- Here’s how and why you should set up Cardio Fitness on iPhone and Apple Watch
- How to use Apple Fitness+: Apple Watch requirement, sign up, start workouts, more
- watchOS 7.2 now available with Apple Fitness+ and new cardio fitness notifications
- Apple Watch ‘Ring in the New Year’ Activity Challenge officially set for January 2021
- Concept: With Fitness+, Apple should expand its Apple Watch lineup with a true Fitbit killer
Mac and iPad |
- Benchmarks show how far behind Windows ARM machines are compared to M1 Macs
- Apple releases macOS Big Sur 11.1 with AirPods Max support and App Store privacy labels
- Google Chrome might be bad, but it’s not slowing down your Mac
- Microsoft updates Office apps for Mac with Apple Silicon support, iCloud accounts in Outlook, more
- Technical preview version of Parallels 16 now available for M1 Macs with support for Windows
- Apple no longer offers delta and combo macOS updates as standalone downloads
Top Apple stories, retail |
- Discover art and design around the world this holiday season with The 12 Days of Apple Stores widget
- How to shop at an Apple Store this holiday season
- COVID-19: Which Apple Stores have reopened?
- AirPods Max Smart Case makes little difference to battery life, says Apple
- iFixit shares AirPods Max teardown, says Apple’s headphones are hard to take apart
- PSA: How to switch off AirPods Max without Apple ‘bra’ case
- Apple design team talks AirPods Max creation, controversial Smart Case in new interview
- AirPods supplier backs reports of ‘AirPods Pro Lite’; $199 pricing expected
- ‘Flex Widgets’ lets you create and customize your own widgets for the iOS home screen
- Facebook now warning users about impacts on ads due to new iOS 14 privacy features
- Concept: With so many new products, Apple should replace the ‘Watch’ app with an ‘Accessories’ app
- Tested: Canvas app uses iPhone 12 Pro LiDAR to create 3D scans of your home
Top Apple stories, company |
- New Apple trade-in values: Macs worth less, iPads and Watches worth more
- Facebook attacks Apple in full-page newspaper ads over ad-tracking
- iPhone assembly suspended at Indian plant following $60M riot on Saturday [U]
- Apple Fitness+ for Apple Watch users now available on iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV
- Report: Tim Cook intervened to kill Apple TV+ original series about Gawker
- Apple Fitness+ tidbits: Apple Watch requirement details, sharing, UHC deal, more
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Hands-on with special edition Apple Watch Sport Loop Pride bands Apple Developer update to include WWDC 2022 session videos, digital lounges, more WWDC 2022 in-person attendees granted special access to tour Apple Park hills, fitness center, or Caffè Macs Latest Apple Watch Pride bands and faces shown off in early hands-on Apple giving AirPods Pro to Swift Challenge winners along with WWDC22 outerwear and pin set Apple confirms full WWDC 2022 schedule and keynote for June 6: ‘Swiftly approaching’ Dinosaur docuseries Prehistoric Planet arrives on Apple TV+ Everything we know so far about a new HomePod model Making sense of the latest rumors about Apple’s looming AR and Mixed Reality headsets iCloud Photos backups are discouraged by design, and that’s a dangerous problem for users New HomePod launching in late 2022 or early 2023, says Kuo Apple’s mixed reality headset challenges from Jony Ive to battery life, heat, cost, and lack of discipline
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- Apple AR headset tidbits, new Pride Band, WWDC approaches
- New Accessibility features, iOS 16 rumors, cheaper Apple TV
- iPod touch discontinued, USB-C iPhone 15, Services personnel shakeups
- New Jony Ive anecdotes, ‘After Steve’ book review, EU antitrust targets Apple Pay
- Apple Self Service Repair store, Studio Display firmware update and Apple Pay Cash changes
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