Apple's AirTags may still be nowhere to be seen nearly two years after signs of them were first discovered, but Apple this week launched its Find My network accessory program that will let third-party devices integrate with the Find My app on Apple's platforms to make it easy to keep track of your items.
This week also saw fresh rumors about the upcoming "iPhone 13" and new iMacs, while Microsoft and Samsung continue to take aim at Apple with their marketing. Read on for details on these stories and more!
Apple Announces Find My Network With Support for Third-Party Devices
Apple this week announced the launch of its Find My network accessory program, allowing the location of compatible third-party accessories to be tracked in the Find My app right alongside Apple devices. The first products that work with the Find My app will include a new Chipolo item tracker, Belkin earbuds, and select VanMoof e-bikes.
The updated Find My app with a new Items tab is available now on devices running iOS 14.3 and later, iPadOS 14.3 and later, and macOS Big Sur 11.1 or later, following a server-side change.
Apple also announced that third-party device makers will be able to take advantage of Ultra Wideband technology in U1-equipped Apple devices, like iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 models. According to Apple, third-party accessories that offer Ultra Wideband support will be able to offer a "more precise, directionally aware experience when nearby," which should make it easier to pinpoint the specific location of these items when lost.
It has long been rumored that Apple is planning its own item trackers called AirTags, but at this point, it's unclear if and when they will be released. It is possible that Apple is giving competitors like Chipolo a head start over AirTags to avoid potential antitrust complaints.
iPhone 13 Pro Mockup Shows Smaller Notch, Repositioned Earpiece and Front Camera
While we are still several months away from the launch of iPhone 13 models, accessory makers are already preparing for the upcoming devices by creating dummy versions based on rumors and leaked specifications from Apple's supply chain.
This week saw Japanese blog Mac Otakara share an alleged dummy model of the 6.1-inch iPhone 13 Pro, providing a closer look at the device's rumored smaller notch with a relocated earpiece and front camera. While the dummy model is quite rudimentary, it supposedly has accurate dimensions, allowing accessory makers to get a head start on iPhone 13 cases and accessories.
iPhone 13 models are expected to be announced in September, with mass production of A15 chips for the devices reportedly set to begin in late May, which is apparently slightly ahead of schedule.
New iMac Expected to Feature 'Really Big' Display Larger Than Current 27-inch Model
Apple is widely rumored to be planning a redesigned iMac with an Apple silicon chip for release later this year, and a credible leaker known as "l0vetodream" this week claimed that at least one of the new models will feature a larger display than the current 27-inch iMac.
A larger display on the next-generation iMac would not be too surprising, as rumors suggest that the computer will feature a similar design as Apple's high-end Pro Display XDR monitor, including slimmer bezels around the screen and a flat back. The new iMac is also rumored to come in a variety of new iPad Air-like colors.
In June 2020, Apple said that its transition away from Intel processors in Macs would take around two years to be completed. In addition to the iMac, Apple is rumored to be working on redesigned 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models with Apple silicon for release in the second half of this year.
Microsoft Says Surface Pro 7 is 'Better Choice' Than iPad Pro
A few months ago, Microsoft said the Surface Pro 7 is the "better choice" compared to the MacBook Pro. In a continuation of this ad campaign, Microsoft has now shared a video claiming that the Surface Pro 7 is "still the better choice" when compared to the iPad Pro.
The ad highlights how the Surface Pro 7 has a kickstand, unlike the iPad Pro, and it calls the iPad Pro's keyboard folio "a lot heavier" than the Surface option.
Microsoft also points out that the iPad Pro only has a single USB-C port while the Surface Pro 7 has several available ports. "You wanna be this guy?" says the actor in the ad, while holding up an iPad with a dongle attached.
"iPad Pro's just a tablet," adds the actor. "Surface is a whole computer and a tablet."
Samsung's 'iTest' Lets You Try a Galaxy Device on Your iPhone
Samsung has launched "iTest," an interactive website experience that's designed to allow iPhone users to test out a simulated version of Android on a Galaxy device, or "sample the other side," as Samsung puts it.
Visiting the iTest website on an iPhone prompts users to install a web app to the Home screen. From there, tapping the app launches into a simulated Galaxy smartphone home screen complete with a range of apps and settings options. You can open the Galaxy Store, apply themes, and even access the messages and phone apps, complete with a simulated phone call and messages.
Samsung's interactive experience is neat, and if you are looking to kill some time, it is worth playing around with it for a few minutes.
Hands-On With the New Sonos Roam Speaker
Sonos in March introduced a new portable smart speaker called the Sonos Roam, which is priced at $169, making it the most affordable Sonos speaker to date. We were able to check out the Sonos Roam to see if it's worth the asking price and how it compares to other portable speakers on the market.
We were impressed with the sound quality that the Sonos Roam delivers relative to its size, and with AirPlay 2 support, it is an ideal choice for wirelessly streaming audio from an iPhone, iPad, or Mac.
Sonos said the Roam will be released on April 20, and it is available for pre-order for $169 ahead of that date.
Each week, we publish an email newsletter like this highlighting the top Apple stories, making it a great way to get a bite-sized recap of the week hitting all of the major topics we've covered and tying together related stories for a big-picture view.