Top Stories: Apple Sports App, iMessage Security Upgrade, and More

This week saw the surprise release of a new Apple Sports app for tracking sports scores across a number of leagues, while we learned more about features coming soon in iOS 17.4.

top stories 24feb2024
We also saw more rumors about AirPods updates coming later this year, and Apple's latest MacBook Pro models have hit Apple's refurbished products store at a nice discount, so read on for all the details on these stories and more!

'Apple Sports' App Announced With Personalized Scoreboards and More

Apple this week released a new Apple Sports app for the iPhone that shows scores, stats, standings, upcoming games, betting odds, and more for a variety of leagues, such as the MLB, MLS, NBA, NHL, Premier League, and the NFL when its next season begins. For ongoing games, the app also displays real-time play-by-play information.

Apple Sports App Preview Feature
We went hands-on with the app, which has a very basic interface with scoreboards you can personalize by following your favorite teams and leagues. In an interview, Apple's services chief and noted sports enthusiast Eddy Cue said the app's simple design is intentional.

Apple Sports is available for free on the App Store in the U.S., the U.K., and Canada, and is compatible with iOS 17.2 and later.

Apple Announces 'Groundbreaking' New Security Protocol for iMessage

Apple this week announced a new post-quantum cryptographic protocol for iMessage called PQ3. Apple says this "groundbreaking" and "state-of-the-art" protocol provides "extensive defenses against even highly sophisticated quantum attacks."

General Apps Messages
PQ3 will be gradually rolling out for supported iMessage conversations starting with iOS 17.4, iPadOS 17.4, macOS 14.4, and watchOS 10.4. Apple believes this new protocol's protections "surpass those in all other widely deployed messaging apps."

iOS 17.4 Lets You See Your iPhone 15 Battery Health at a Glance

The fourth beta of iOS 17.4 seeded to developers and public beta testers this week includes some changes to the battery menu in the Settings app.

ios 17 4 battery health optimization iphone 15
The menu now shows you whether your iPhone's battery health is "normal" at a glance, and shows the battery's cycle count. This information was already accessible elsewhere in iOS, but now it is in one convenient place starting with iOS 17.4, which will be released in March.

Apple also increased the advertised battery lifespans of all iPhone 15 models.

10 Hidden Messages Features in iOS 17

iOS 17 was released around five months ago, but there are some hidden features and functions in the Messages app that you still might not be familiar with.

iOS 17 Messages Feature
We recently shared a list of 10 hidden Messages app features on iOS 17. For example, did you know that you can hold the plus sign next to the typing field to quickly access your iPhone's photo library?

Apple Now Selling Refurbished M3 Pro and M3 Max MacBook Pro Models

Apple this week began selling certified refurbished models of the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro with M3 Pro and M3 Max chips for the first time since the laptops launched in November.

m3 macbook pro 14 16
As usual for Apple's refurbished products, prices are discounted by approximately 15% compared to the equivalent brand new models. In our view, Apple's refurbished products are virtually indistinguishable from its brand new products, providing a good opportunity for savings.

Check out our Apple Deals roundup for more discounts on Macs and other devices.

AirPods 4 and AirPods Max With USB-C Still Expected Later This Year

Apple plans to release fourth-generation AirPods and updated AirPods Max later this year, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman.

Airpods Max Feature Red Triad
Gurman said there will be two types of fourth-generation AirPods, with the higher-end ones to feature active noise cancellation and a speaker built into the USB-C charging case for Find My sounds.

As for the AirPods Max, the only notable change expected is a USB-C charging port.

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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.

So if you want to have top stories like the above recap delivered to your email inbox each week, subscribe to our newsletter!

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