Top Stories: 'Thinner and Lighter' MacBook Air, Smaller iPhone 13 Notch, iOS 14.4 Incoming
We continued to hear a lot more about Apple's plans for its Mac lineup this week, including word of a high-end redesigned MacBook Air and the return of an SD card slot as part of the upcoming MacBook Pro redesign. It also sounds like Apple has been working on Face ID for Mac, but it won't be appearing in a redesigned iMac this year as originally planned.
This week also saw rumors about the iPhone 13 getting a smaller notch, and Apple is just about ready to unleash a set of operating system updates including iOS 14.4 and macOS 11.2, as Release Candidate versions of all of the updates were pushed out to developers and other testers this week. Read on for details on all of these stories from the past week!
Apple Working on 'Thinner and Lighter' High-End MacBook Air With MagSafe, Could Launch in Second Half of 2021
Following up on last Friday's batch of rumors, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman came out with a new report this week sharing a few more details on Apple's product plans. Most notably, Gurman says that Apple is working on a thinner and lighter MacBook Air that could launch later this year or sometime next year. The new MacBook Air will include an updated Apple silicon chip, MagSafe charging, and perhaps a smaller body enabled by shrinking the display bezels.
The redesigned MacBook Air is said to be a high-end model that will be sold alongside cheaper models that continue to use the current design. Apple reportedly considered making a 15-inch version of the MacBook Air to go along with the popular 13-inch size, but has opted not to move forward with the model, at least for the next generation.
iPhone 13 Rumored to Feature Smaller Notch, Sensor-Shift Camera Stabilization on All Models
Apple plans to combine various Face ID components into one module to allow for at least a slightly smaller notch on iPhone 13 models, according to DigiTimes.
The same report claims that Apple plans to extend sensor-shift optical image stabilization to the entire iPhone 13 lineup, compared to only the iPhone 12 Pro Max among current models. The technology stabilizes the camera's sensor instead of individual lenses for even greater image stabilization. Coupled with a larger sensor, users can expect even better photo quality.
Earlier this month, DigiTimes reported that the LiDAR Scanner will also be expanded to the entire iPhone 13 lineup, while mmWave 5G is expected to become available on iPhone 13 models sold outside of the United States.
Face ID for iMac Likely Pushed Back to Second Iteration of Upcoming Redesign
Gurman also shared that while Apple has been working on developing Face ID technology for its Mac lineup and was planning to introduce it in the upcoming redesigned iMac he discussed last week, Apple has decided not to include it in the initial version.
In addition, he says that Apple has tested offering cellular connectivity for its Mac lineup, but it sounds like that's not coming soon either.
Next MacBook Pro to Feature SD Card Reader
Redesigned MacBook Pro models are also in the works, as reported by Bloomberg last week, and one of the tidbits from that initial report was that the new designs will include more ports than the current models.
This week's report expounds upon that claim a bit, specifically claiming that the new MacBook Pro models will include the return of an SD card slot, making it easier for photographers and other users of the popular removable storage standard to directly use the cards in their Macs without the need for a separate card reader.
iOS 14.4 Release Candidate Now Available
Apple this week seeded the Release Candidate version of iOS 14.4 and iPadOS 14.4 to developers and public beta testers. This version should mirror the final release of the software updates coming soon.
iOS 14.4 and iPadOS 14.4 are relatively minor updates. Apple's release notes confirm that iOS 14.4 introduces a notification for when the camera is unable to be verified as a new, genuine Apple camera on the iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max, and there are several other bug fixes. The update also enhances Handoff functionality with the HomePod mini.
Apple has also seeded Release Candidate versions of macOS 11.2, watchOS 7.3, and tvOS 14.4 for testing. All of the software updates should be released to the public in the near future.
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.