Welcome to our weekly collection of all the Apple news you missed this week, in a handy bite-sized roundup. We call it Apple Breakfast because we think it goes great with a morning cup of coffee or tea, but it’s cool if you want to give it a read during lunch or dinner hours too.
WWDC’s profitable freebies
With WWDC just days away—the keynote presentation starts on Monday at 10 am PT—we’re eager to hear what Apple has in store for our iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches, and Macs. And for once our wallets have no need to worry. Apple is often accused of overpricing its products, but the yearly operating system updates are glorious freebies, adding a raft of new features to existing products without costing you a cent. There was a time when a new OS came with a mid-sized price tag ($20), but such practices would get short shift in today’s market.
Just look at what we got in the last batch of OS updates, or in point updates in the following months, without being asked to pay for the privilege. Thanks to iOS 15, iPhone handsets going all the way back to the 6s were able to get SharePlay, Focus, text search, and Live Text in images, and major revamps of Maps, Weather, Wallet, and FaceTime. macOS Monterey, available on even some 2013 Macs, also brought SharePlay and Focus, plus Quick Note, Universal Control (eventually), and a plethora of other handy tweaks. And even the elderly Apple Watch Series 3 made it onto the list for watchOS 8 and its new faces and health features, redesigned apps, and (limited) on-device Siri commands.
Apple, of course, is not a charity, and doesn’t give away these free upgrades out of the goodness of Craig Federighi’s heart. One way of looking at it is that a constantly evolving and improving user experience means happy users who are likely to stick with the platform for the next generation of premium hardware. Another is that increasingly complex and demanding software means you need to buy new hardware in order to keep it running smoothly.
Sometimes it feels like Apple has a tendency to add new features just for the sake of it. And it’s worth noting at this point that by no means all of the new features will be as welcoming to older hardware as I’ve suggested above. iOS 16’s always-on screen, for example, is expected to be available on the iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max only. Acting as both carrot and stick for the hardware upgrade cycle, Apple’s free OS updates are a crucial part of the company’s money-making machine.
And with that, we’re done for this week. If you’d like to get regular roundups, sign up for our newsletters. You can also follow us on Twitter for breaking news stories. See you next Saturday (and also on Monday for WWDC!), enjoy your weekend, and stay Appley.