Welcome to our monthly Apple News Roundup. This column recaps the top 10 most significant Apple news announcements from each month, giving you a glance at all the headlines you need to know. This edition features the highlights from April 2023.
1. Find My network now helps users keep track of belongings
Thanks to the updated Find My app, third-party products can now use the private finding capabilities of Apple’s Find My network. Find My network is designed for developers who are looking to connect to a product (old or new). The Find My app makes it easy to locate missing Apple devices and keep up with friends — while protecting their privacy. New products that work with the Find My app include Belkin, Chipolo, and Vanmoof.
2. Apple Arcade expands its catalog of games
Apple Arcade Originals games introduced two new categories: Timeless Classics and App Store Greats — available with no ads or in-app purchases. More than 30 new games were added to Apple Arcade, which is included as part of Apple One for a monthly subscription of $4.99 with a one-month free trial. Some of the new game titles include “Star Trek: Legends”, “NBA 2K21 Arcade Edition”, and “The Oregon Trail”.
3. New AirPods firmware now available
Apple released firmware updates for second- and third-generation AirPods, Airpods Pro, and AirPods Max. The new firmware is version 5E133 and it brings minor tweaks to all AirPods models. To install, connect your AirPods to your iPhone via Bluetooth. Open the Settings app, navigate to the “Bluetooth menu”, find your AirPods, tap the “i” next to them, and look at the “Firmware Version” number.
4. Expansion of Restore Fund for carbon removal
Apple’s expansion of its Restore Fund doubles the company’s commitment to nature-based carbon removal projects. The fund was originally launched in 2021 to encourage global investment — to protect and restore critical ecosystems and scale carbon removal solutions. As part of the expansion, Apple will invest up to an additional $200 million in the new fund, which Climate Asset Management will manage.
5. Apple launches its Apple Card savings account
Apple Card users can now open a savings account with a 4.15% annual percentage yield. The high-yield savings account from Goldman Sachs requires no minimum deposit or balance and users can set the account from the Wallet app on their iPhones. “Savings helps our users get even more value out of their favorite Apple Card benefit — Daily Cash — while providing them with an easy way to save money every day,” said Jennifer Bailey, Apple’s vice president of Apple Pay and Apple Wallet.
6. Apple enforces a new privacy notification rule
Apple’s one-time notices will now require an app developer to ask for a user’s permission before the app tracks activities from other companies’ apps and websites. These notices will be mandatory once iOS 14.5 becomes available. Digital advertising industry experts have said that these “warnings” could cause users to decline permission; thus Apple is providing developers with alternative advertising tools.
7. Making progress toward climate goals
Prior to Earth Day on April 22, Apple announced its progress toward making every product carbon-neutral by 2030. The company released a new framework to share its efforts around renewable energy, efficiency, and materials innovation — which are already reducing the climate impact of Apple products. Apple is also partnering with World Wildlife Fund (WWF) on a new initiative called the Nature-Based Solutions (NbS) Origination Platform, which aims to showcase a new model of scaling up and mobilizing investments.
8. First Apple Store opens in New Delhi
On April 20, Apple opened its first Apple Store in New Delhi. Located in India’s capital, Apple Saket offers personalized support and unique experiences for customers. The store features an Apple Pickup station — making it easier for customers to order online and pick up their devices when convenient. Just like all other Apple facilities, Apple Saket runs on 100 percent renewable energy and is carbon neutral. Following this announcement, Apple MixC Shenzen opened in China on April 28.
9. Apple’s VR headset to run hundreds of thousands of iPad apps
Apple’s new VR headset is expected to launch at the company’s June WWDC event later this year. According to Bloomberg, the virtual reality headset will reportedly run hundreds of thousands of third-party iPad apps. Apple is said to be bringing gaming, fitness, and e-reader functionality to the VR headset, which will reportedly cost a minimum of $3,000.
10. Leading the way with recycled materials in products
Thanks to new industry-leading innovation, Apple is expanding recycled materials across its products and targeting the use of 100 percent recycled cobalt in batteries by 2025. Also, by 2025, Apple plans to use entirely recycled rare earth elements. “Every day, Apple is innovating to make technology that enriches people’s lives, while protecting the planet we all share,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “From the recycled materials in our products to the clean energy that powers our operations, our environmental work is integral to everything we make and to who we are.”