Welcome to our monthly Apple News Roundup. This column recaps the top 10 biggest Apple news announcements from each month. This edition features the highlights from November of 2021.
1. HomePod mini becomes available in bold new colors
Apple’s HomePod mini speaker is now available in three bold new colors—orange, yellow, and blue—in addition to white and space gray. The 3.3-inch tall speaker works in conjunction with the iPhone and Siri to deliver rich 360-degree audio. The speaker is designed to work with Apple Music, Apple Podcasts, thousands of radio stations, and popular music services like Pandora, and Deezer. The HomePod mini is available for $99 from apple.com/store.
2. Apple introduces Apple Business Essentials
This new service brings device management, dedicated support, and secure data storage and backup into one subscription—and is designed for small businesses with up to 500 employees. Apple Business Essentials helps small businesses save time as they grow. Currently available in beta, the service also provides employee onboarding. “Small businesses are at the core of our economy, and we’re proud that Apple products play a role in helping these companies grow,” said Susan Prescott, Apple’s vice president of Enterprise and Education Marketing.
3. Apple hires former Tesla engineer
On November 5, Apple hired former Tesla Autopilot software engineer, Christopher Moore to boost its car-development efforts. Moore will be reporting to Stuart Bowers, another Tesla ex-pat and previous vice president of engineering. Reuters reported that Apple was moving forward with its self-driving car technology—and targeting a 2025 release of a passenger vehicle (see more in the story below.) According to The Verge: “Apple’s electric car project, codenamed ‘Project Titan,’ remains shrouded in secrecy.”
4. Apple announces Self Service Repair
Apple parts, tools, and manuals are now available to consumers comfortable with completing their own repairs starting with the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13. The initial phase of the program will focus on the most commonly serviced modules, such as the iPhone display, battery, and camera. “Creating greater access to Apple genuine parts gives our customers even more choice if a repair is needed,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer.
5. Alex Gorsky joins Apple’s Board of Directors
On November 9, Apple announced Alex Gorsky, former chairman and CEO of Johnson & Johnson, to their board of directors. Gorsky is an experienced leader in healthcare and business, and he directed a global team of more than 130,000 while at J&J. “I’ve long shared Apple’s belief that technology has the potential to improve lives and create healthier communities,” said Gorsky. “It’s an honor to join Apple’s board of directors, and to be part of a values-led company that’s constantly innovating to both enable and enhance the way we live.”
6. Apple releases iOS 15.1.1 with fixes for dropped calls
According to Apple, this new release improves call drop performance on iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 models. You can update your iPhone to iOS 15.1.1 from the Settings app choosing General then choosing Software Update. This was the only fix mentioned in this update, however, Apple is currently beta testing iOS 15.2 which is reportedly set for a late November or December release.
7. Apple honors and celebrates American veterans
On Veterans Day and throughout the year, Apple recognizes those who serve and their families for their courage, dedication, and sacrifices. In honor of veterans throughout the United States, Apple celebrated veterans’ stories with special activations across Apple.com and its products and services. Apple Books ran a dedicated eBook and audiobook collections to help readers discover stories and uncover histories about the experience of war. Apple Podcasts also featured a collection of shows with inspiring and informative stories, produced and covered by veterans.
8. Apple updates Dark Sky weather app
In March of 2020, Apple acquired the weather app Dark Sky, which was scheduled to be shut down at the end of 2022. But, on November 15, Apple rolled out version 6.8.7 of Dark Sky for iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch—making it the app’s second update in 2021, and the fourth in total. This update includes a fix for an issue that could cause weather information to appear blank and also addresses an Apple Watch bug. Dark Sky is available on the App Store as a $3.99 download.
9. Apple’s electric car rumored to debut in 2025
According to Reuters, Apple is pushing to launch its electric car as early as 2025, with a focus on full self-driving capabilities. The report said that the ideal Apple car would have no steering wheel and pedals, and the interiors will be designed around “hands-free driving.” The automotive efforts have been known as “Project Titan” since design started in 2014, and the demand for electric vehicles has since surged around the world. “It’s a matter of when, not if,” Wedbush analyst Dan Ives said, adding that chances of Apple unveiling its own standalone car by 2025 as 60% to 65%.
10. Apple headset to be announced in 2022
According to a Bloomberg report, Apple is rumored to be introducing a new category of product in 2022: “Apple’s first headset will have a complex, expensive-to-build design, complete with interchangeable lenses.” The interest in Apple’s new headset has recently grown, and there are talks of the company’s new AR headset (augmented reality) launching in Q4 of 2022. The state-of-the-art headset is said to have ‘Mac-level’ computing power.