In this week’s top stories: iOS 14.4 released, Apple Watch Series 7 rumors, ‘Time to Walk’ feature now available, AAPL’s record-breaking Q1 earnings, and much more. Read on for all of this week’s top Apple Stories.
Time to Walk
Apple this week officially launched its new Time to Walk feature for Apple Watch and Fitness+ subscribers. . Time to Walk offers “an inspiring new audio walking experience on Apple Watch for Fitness+ subscribers,” Apple announced.
Time to Walk is launching with four episodes with guests including Country music star Dolly Parton, NBA player Draymond Green, Musician Shawn Mendes, and Emmy Award winner Uzo Aduba. New episodes will be released with a different guest each Monday through the end of April.
After beta testing with developers and public beta users, Apple this week officially released iOS 14.4 to the public.
Apple says that iOS 14.4 includes support for recognizing smaller QR codes in the Camera app, as well as the option to classify Bluetooth device types in Settings. Notably, the update also adds new notifications for when your iPhone can’t verify if you’re using a “genuine Apple camera.”
iOS 14.4 also includes a handful of bug fixes related to HDR photography, the Messages app, and more. There is a fix for keyboard lag, which is an issue that has been plaguing many iPhone users since iOS 14 was first released.
In addition to the new features, iOS 14.4 also brings a trio of notable security improvements. In a new Support document, Apple said that iOS 14.4 fixes a kernel vulnerability and two WebKit vulnerabilities, all three of which “may have been actively exploited.”
iOS 14.4 is available to users via an over-the-air update in the Settings app. Simply open the Settings app, choose General, then choose Software Update. With these major security improvements included, we highly recommend updating as soon as possible.
HomePod Software 14.4
Alongside iOS 14.4, Apple also released HomePod Software 14.4 with new features for HomePod mini users this week.
The leading change with HomePod Software Version 14.4 is an all-new Handoff experience powered by the Ultra Wideband, or U1 chip, in the iPhone. Now, when you bring an iPhone near the HomePod mini to use Handoff, you’ll feel physical feedback from the iPhone’s Taptic Engine, as well as a card on the iPhone’s display and a visual indicator on the top of the HomePod mini.
You can learn more in our full coverage right here.
Limited-edition Apple Watch
Apple published a new press release this week detailing the multiple ways it will be celebrating Black History Month in February. The company is launching new editorial collections, Apple Maps Guides, limited-edition Apple Watch hardware, and more.
Apple is introducing the Black Unity Collection for the Apple Watch. This collection includes a limited-edition Apple Watch Series 6 as well as a Black Unity Sport Band. Through this collection, Apple is supporting global organizations to help advance their missions in promoting and achieving equality and civil rights.
The Black Unity Sport Band uses colors inspired by the Pan-African flag with the words “Truth. Power. Solidarity.” laser-engraved onto the closure. Meanwhile, the limited-edition Apple Watch Series 6 features “Black Unity” laser-etched onto the back crystal.
Apple Watch Series 6 Black Unity and the Black Unity Sport Band will be available starting February 1. The Watch starts at $399 for the GPS and the cellular model starts at $499. The Black Unity Sport Band is $49.
Apple (AAPL) has officially reported its earnings for Q1 2021, covering the lucrative holiday shopping season. For the first fiscal quarter of 2021, Apple reported a record-breaking $111.44 billion in revenue and profit of $28.76 billion.
For comparison’s sake, Apple reported revenue of $91.8 billion and profit of $22.2 billion during Q1 2020 last year. This time around, there are a handful of different factors. For instance, the Mac and iPad businesses have seen major growth because of the work-from-home trend driven by the pandemic.
Learn more in our full coverage
These and the rest of this week’s top stories below.
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Stories discussed in this episode:
Apple (AAPL) reports record-breaking Q1 2021 earnings with $111.4 billion in revenue
Apple crosses 1 billion active iPhone users for the first time as install base reaches new milestone
Apple says App Tracking Transparency feature will launch in ‘early spring’ with iOS 14 update
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- Miles Somerville on YouTube, drumming, and closing rings
- Arthur Ware on overcoming obstacles and becoming a Spartan athlete
- Anastasia Folorunso on Apple Watch Series 6, watchOS 7, and Fitness+
- Jeff Benjamin on Apple Watch Series 3 and Series 5 ahead of new models
- What’s new in watchOS 7? Sleep tracking, face sharing, hand washing, and more
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Bloomberg: Apple to launch ‘higher end’ MacBook Air with thinner bezels as soon as later this year, brings back MagSafe charging
Face ID for Mac ‘developed’ by Apple but not coming soon; 5G same
iOS 14.4 now available with Apple Watch Unity face support, bug fixes, and more
iOS 14.4: How to label Bluetooth devices as a speaker, headphones, hearing aids, more
Apple says iOS 14.4 patches 3 security flaws that ‘may have been actively exploited’
watchOS 7.3 now available with new Unity watch faces, ECG in more countries, more
Apple officially launches new ‘Time to Walk’ feature for Apple Watch and Fitness+
Apple unveils limited-edition Apple Watch Series 6 and more for Black History Month
Apple releases HomePod Software Version 14.4 with new Handoff experience, more
macOS Big Sur 11.2 RC now available with Bluetooth improvements, M1 Mac fixes, more
macOS Big Sur 11.2 RC 2 now available as a public release nears
Apple engineering SVP Dan Riccio transitioning to oversee ‘new project,’ John Ternus takes lead of hardware team
- Premium MacBook Air, iOS 14.4 release, AAPL earnings
- Apple’s first AR device, iPhone 13 notch, Unity Apple Watch face
- MagSafe and more coming in 2021 MacBook Pro, redesigned iMac and Apple external display rumors
- Apple Car shifts to reverse, 2021 product rumors, Fitness+ audio workouts
- Apple’s 2020 in review
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Building modern collection views
How SwiftUI can now be used to build entire iOS apps
Mark Gurman’s latest report on new Macs
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