Apple Quietly Confirms New MacBook, iPad, iPhone Upgrade Shock | #macos | #macsecurity


06/10 Update below. This post was originally published on June 8

Apple iOS 15, iPadOS 15 and macOS 12 ‘Monterey’ were the highlights of WWDC 2021, packed with some great (and surprising) upgrades for iPhone, iPad and Mac/MacBook users. But now Apple has quietly warned users not to expect everything they announced to be ready at launch, while a surprising number of basic features will not be coming at all to millions of users.

Spotted by AppleInsider, Apple used the small print on its website to warn that almost 20 major new features will be missing from iOS 15, iPadOS 15 and macOS 12 at release. More importantly, many will never come to some relatively new iPhone and iPad models as well as (more shockingly) ultra-premium Mac and Macbooks which Apple still sells.

06/09 Update: Apple has now confirmed some more promising news regarding iOS 15. The company revealed that the software will be available to all iOS 14-compatible iPhones, meaning even the six year iPhone 6S and first generation iPhone SE (2016) will be supported. This is blows away the competition with only Samsung coming close with its recent promise to support four generations security updates for Galaxy smartphones. Even that, however, is a far cry from the full platform upgrades Apple is delivering here. Crucially, this should also mean second hand iPhones retain their value significantly longer. Impressive stuff, Apple.

Apple iPhone Owners: iOS 15, iPadOS 15 Missing Features

At launch Apple has confirmed these features will not be ready:

  • ID in Wallet
  • App Privacy Report
  • Home keys, Hotel key, Office key, car keys and remote car key entry
  • Announce Messages in CarPlay
  • Hide My Email

Furthermore, you’ll need an iPhone XS or newer to receive support for 3D spacial sound and Portrait Mode in FaceTime, Interactive glove in Maps, immersive pedestrian routes, Text recognition for objectes, digital key support in Wallet, shared health data with your doctor, Offline dication, dictation for more than 60 seconds and more. Some of these made sense, like digital key support tied to existing hardware but others are clear ‘time to upgrade’ signals from Apple.

Apple iPad Owners: iPadOS 15 Missing Features

At launche the following will not ready:

  • Hide My Email
  • Music: Spatial Audio with dynamic head tracking
  • Music: Shared with You
  • Music: Photo Memories
  • Music: SharePlay

Hide My Email’s delay is shared with iOS 15, but the rest of the omissions center on Apple Music, despite all these features being ready for iPhone users when iOS 15 launches. There is currently no clear timeframe for when iPad owners will get feature parity with their iPhone owning counterparts. 

At with iOS 15, however, many iPadOS features will never come to older iPads – some inexplicably so – and it’s a similar tail to iOS 15. On the iPadOS 15 preview page, Apple quietly confirms you will need an iPad with A12 Bionic or later to use [deep breath] spatial audio, Portait Mode in Facetime, Interactive glove in Maps, immersive pedestrian routes, Text recognition for objectes, shared health data with your doctor, Offline dication and dictation for more than 60 seconds and more.

Apple Mac/MacBook Owners: macOS Monteray Features Missing At Launch 

  • Hide My Email
  • Photos: Memory mixes
  • Photos: Memories: Fresh new look
  • Photos: Memories: Memory looks
  • Photos: Memories: Interactive Interface
  • Photos: Memories: Browse view
  • Photos: Memories: New memory types
  • Photos: Memories: Watch next
  • Photos: Memories: Shared with You

Hide My Email is again a common theme but elsewhere everything is Photo-based. One interesting caveat is that Universal Control, while excluded from the first macOS Monteray beta, is not included in this list which means it should still arrive in time for launch. That said, these lists can get longer the closer we get to release. 

06/10 Update: More bad news for MacBook and Mac owners, specifically the large majority of the userbase which still uses Intel-based chipsets. Spotted by MacRumors, Apple has used the finest of fine print on the official macOS Monteray features page to reveal that no fewer than six significant upgrades will be limited to M1-based Macs. These are:

  • Portrait Mode in FaceTime
  • Live Text copying within photos
  • 3D city mapping in Apple Maps and its new Interactive globe
  • Text-to-speech in more languages
  • On-device keyboard dictation
  • Unlimited keyboard dictation (removing previous 60 second limit)

YouTuber Rene Ritchie claims the decision is “because Intel Macs don’t have the neural engine these features require,” but – correct or not – that’s apologist reasoning. The fact a $53,000 Mac Pro can’t handle keyboard dictation for more than 60 seconds is not because it lacks a neural engine, it’s because Apple only coded it to work with the M1 chip’s neural engine.

Consequently, the real takeaway for Intel-based Mac owners is that Apple is already moving on. Prioritzing features for what amounts to a small and relatively low budget slice of the current Mac usersbase means Apple has Intel firmly in the rear view mirror. Officially, support for Intel-based Macs will last many more years but this is the beginning of the end.

For iPhone and MacBook Pro fans, hopes are high both platforms will launch with the next-generation hardware. An M1X chip inside the new MacBook Pro is the highlight, though it is also expected to have an overhauled design, thinner bezels, new color options and mark the death of the Touch Bar. 

For iPhone fans, there have been even more extensive leaks for the new iPhone 13 range. These include supersized rear cameras, Beamforming microphones, significantly larger batteries, up to 1TB of storage, 120Hz ProMotion displays (Pro models only) and – at long last – a smaller notch. 

Ultimately, if Apple can deliver on the hardware front, I suspect most users will not mind waiting a little longer for all their software features to catch up. 

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