Top Stories: iOS 14.5 Beta, macOS 11.2 Released, VR Headset and Apple Car Rumors
It was a big week for software this week, with Apple kicking off a new round of betas for its operating systems with plenty of tweaks and changes in iOS 14.5 and related updates. We also saw the public release of macOS 11.2, which trailed last week's release of iOS 14.4.
In other news, we got some significant new rumors about Apple's VR headset project and the Apple Car, while over on our YouTube channel we put the iPhone 12 Pro Max and the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra head-to-head in a blind camera test. Read on for details on these stories and more below!
iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5 Betas Released With Many New Features
Apple this week seeded the first betas of iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5 to developers and public beta testers. These updates are packed with new features for iPhone and iPad users, including the ability to unlock an iPhone with an Apple Watch while wearing a mask, support for 5G in Dual-SIM mode on iPhone 12 models, support for the latest PS5 and Xbox Series X controllers, AirPlay 2 streaming for Apple Fitness+, and more.
We've shared a hands-on video of unlocking an iPhone with the Apple Watch, which is a welcomed solution to Face ID not working properly with masks. We've also rounded up everything new in the first iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5 betas, including hidden code-level changes.
Starting with iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5, Apple is also enforcing its App Tracking Transparency privacy measure, requiring app developers to get consent from users to track their activity across other apps and websites for targeted advertising purposes.
Apple later pushed out a revised version of the first iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5 betas with minor fixes.
macOS Big Sur 11.2 Released With Bug Fixes for Bluetooth, External Displays, iCloud Drive, and More
This week saw the public release of macOS 11.2, which improves Bluetooth reliability and addresses several bugs, including an issue where external displays might show a black screen when connected to an M1-based Mac mini using an HDMI to DVI converter.
Note that some users are still experiencing other external display issues on macOS 11.2.
The release of macOS 11.2 was quickly followed by the first beta of macOS 11.3, which introduces more customization options in Safari, adds improved sorting options in the Reminders app, enhances the Support tab for warranty coverage in the About This Mac menu, allows stereo-paired HomePods to be set as the default sound output for a Mac, and more.
Blind Camera Comparison Video: iPhone 12 Pro Max vs. Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
Samsung in January debuted its latest flagship smartphone lineup, which includes the Galaxy S21 Ultra, a direct competitor to the iPhone 12 Pro Max that Apple introduced in October. In our latest YouTube video, we pitted the two smartphones against one another for a blind camera comparison.
The idea is to look at the images and decide which aesthetic you prefer — "A" or "B" — before we unveil which camera is which at the end of the video. Share your choices in the comments section.
Apple's Mixed Reality Headset Said to Feature 8K Displays, $3,000 Price Tag, and More
Apple is widely rumored to be working on a virtual reality headset, and a report this week from The Information's Alex Heath and Wayne Ma outlined several potential features and other details.
The report claimed that the headset will be equipped with more than a dozen cameras for tracking hand movements, along with two ultra-high-resolution 8K displays and advanced eye-tracking technology. The cameras would be able to pass video of the real world through the visor and display it to the user, providing a "mixed-reality effect" that is a step beyond virtual reality.
The report also claimed that the headset will have interchangeable headbands, with one featuring spatial audio technology like the AirPods Pro for a surround sound-like experience, and another providing additional battery life on the go. Similar to AirPods Max replacement ear cushions, it is possible that the headbands will be offered in a variety of colors as well.
Apple has internally discussed pricing the headset around $3,000, according to the report. This price would certainly make Apple's headset a high-end, niche product, with the company apparently setting an internal goal of shipping only 250,000 units of the headset in the first year of its release. Multiple reports have said the headset will be released in 2022 at the earliest.
Apple Reportedly Plans to Invest $3.6 Billion in Kia for Apple Car Production
There continues to be a lot of rumors surrounding the so-called Apple Car, with a partnership between Apple and Korean automaker Hyundai looking increasingly likely based on a pair of reports this week.
The first report came from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who said that Apple's electric vehicle chassis will be based on Hyundai's E-GMP battery electric vehicle (BEV) platform, which could allow for a range of over 300 miles, acceleration from 0-60 miles per hour in as little as 3.5 seconds, a top speed of 160 miles per hour, up to an 80% charge within 18 minutes, and more.
A second report out of Korea claimed that Apple is planning to invest the equivalent of $3.6 billion in Hyundai subsidiary Kia as part of a planned manufacturing partnership between the two companies that would see Kia build Apple Cars at its U.S. facility located in Georgia.
It's believed that the Apple Car is still years away from being released, with projections ranging from 2024 all the way to 2028.
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.