Top Stories: WWDC 2021 Announced, iPhone SE Rumors, 'Cheese Grater' iPhone Design?
While we're still waiting on word of a potential Apple event in April, we did get confirmation about another upcoming Apple event this week, WWDC 2021, which will return to its usual early June timeframe but remain in an all-virtual format similar to last year's edition.
Other Apple news and rumors this week included a report about future iPhone SE models, a crazy Apple patent filing that shows an iPhone with the same metal lattice design as the latest Mac Pro, and some new changes in the latest iOS 14.5 beta as we patiently await its public release. Read on for details on these stories and more from the past week!
Apple Announces Digital WWDC 2021 Event in June
Apple this week announced that its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) will take place from June 7 through June 11. For the second consecutive year, the conference will be held in an all-online format due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
One benefit of WWDC 2021 being held digitally is that admission is free for all developers, with sessions and other content to be shared on the Apple Developer website and in the revamped Apple Developer app. By comparison, Apple has historically required developers to purchase a $1,599 ticket to attend WWDC in person, and only after winning a lottery to attend.
As usual, Apple says WWDC 2021 will provide a look at the future of its software platforms, which will presumably consist of iOS 15, iPadOS 15, macOS 12, watchOS 8, and tvOS 15. There's always a chance for a hardware announcement or two at WWDC as well, such as redesigned MacBook Pro and iMac models with Apple silicon.
Now through April 18, Apple is accepting submissions for its annual Swift Student Challenge, a coding contest that tasks students with creating an interactive scene in the Swift Playgrounds app. Winners will receive exclusive WWDC 2021 outerwear, a customized pin set, and one year of membership in the Apple Developer Program.
All in all, WWDC is always one of the most exciting weeks of the year in the Apple world for both developers and users, and we'll have in-depth coverage of the conference as it unfolds!
Next iPhone SE to Feature 4.7-Inch Display, 2023 Version to Have Hole Punch Full Screen Design
The third-generation iPhone SE that's rumored to launch in the first half of 2022 will feature the same 4.7-inch display as the current version, according to display industry analyst Ross Young.
Young said he is also hearing that a 2023 model of the iPhone SE could feature a so-called "hole punch" display design like some Samsung smartphones, which would result in a nearly full-screen, notch-less design with only a small hole for the front camera. It's unclear where the Face ID sensors would be housed with such a design if Apple continues to offer Face ID, but under-display fingerprint and facial recognition systems do exist for smartphones. In fact, under-screen Touch ID is rumored for at least some iPhone 13 models.
Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo previously said the "hole punch" display will debut on at least some high-end 2022 iPhone models, so it is plausible that the design would be extended to the iPhone SE the following year.
iOS 14.5 Adds New Siri Voices, No Longer Defaults to Female
The sixth beta of iOS 14.5 released this week adds two new Siri voices for the English language, and introduces a new setup option that will let people choose their preferred voice for Siri, which currently defaults to a female voice in the United States.
"This is a continuation of Apple's long-standing commitment to diversity and inclusion, and products and services that are designed to better reflect the diversity of the world we live in," said Apple, in a statement regarding the change.
Apple has also announced that iOS 14.5 will recalibrate maximum battery capacity and peak performance capability on iPhone 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max models to address inaccurate estimates of battery health reporting for some users. Apple said the bug does not reflect an issue with actual battery health.
iOS 14.5 has been in beta testing since February 1 and is packed with new features, such as 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, new Waze-like features in Apple Maps, new emoji, AirPlay 2 streaming for Apple Fitness+ workouts, and much more. Apple previously said the software update will be released for all compatible devices in "early spring."
Apple Researching Mac Pro's 'Cheese Grater' Design for Other Devices Like iPhone
Apple is considering expanding the 2019 Mac Pro's distinctive "cheese grater" lattice design to other devices, including the iPhone and a "trash can"-style Mac Pro, according to a newly granted patent filing.
Apple introduced the innovative milled lattice pattern on the Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR in 2019, which is created by machining a spherical array into the internal and external surfaces of the aluminum. The result is a lightweight lattice pattern that maximizes airflow while creating an extremely rigid structure.
While patent filings are typically all encompassing and cannot be taken as solid evidence of Apple's plans for actual consumer hardware, they can provide an interesting view into the company's areas of research.
Bitcoin Scam App Approved by Apple Robs iPhone User of $600,000+
A scam bitcoin app that was designed to look like a genuine app was accepted by Apple's App Store review team and ended up costing an iPhone user 17.1 bitcoin, or upwards of $600,000 at the time of the theft, according to The Washington Post.
In a statement, Apple said in the "limited instances" when criminals defraud its users, the company takes "swift action" to prevent similar violations in the future.
"User trust is at the foundation of why we created the App Store, and we have only deepened that commitment in the years since," said Apple. "Study after study has shown that the App Store is the most secure app marketplace in the world, and we are constantly at work to maintain that standard and to further strengthen the App Store's protections."
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.