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Apple's June 2021 in review: WWDC, legal battles, and no 14-inch MacBook Pro - yet

Beats Studio Buds, WWDC, and the House Judiciary in June 2021

It lacked all the hardware launches we expected, but June 2021 had everything else from WWDC launches to controversies to new macOS and iOS, and more.

Moving the launch of Podcast Subscriptions from May 2021 into June, did mean that the service was then bound to be overshadowed by WWDC.

WWDC was again an online-only event but, unfortunately, it was subject to the usual nonsense either side of the event. There was no hardware announced at WWDC, but afterwards just about everyone who had insisted that there would be, was now saying, of course, there wasn't.

Come on, they said, WWDC is a software event. They were quite right about that. They were less right about the definition of the word "confirmed," used ahead of WWDC.

Apple did wait until after WWDC to waggle a finger at leakers, though.

Still, if you watched the keynote with your fingers crossed as you incanted the words "14-inch MacBook Pro" over and over, you may have missed out. It did seem to be front-loaded with the iPhone, and the Mac section initially appeared to be mostly "what they just said about iOS."

Yet the more you listened and the more you learned after the keynote, the more there was to be excited by. Each to their own — whether you are focused on the iPhone or the Mac, you have some different features and some overlapping ones to look forward to.

Credit: Apple
Credit: Apple

September suddenly seemed a very long way away. There were already developer betas of all Apple's updated operating systems, and there will be public betas of them from July, but you know what's coming next. A warning.

Whether it was back in June 2021, or any other time at all, you should never update to a beta release of anything unless you have to. And even then, nobody should ever update to one on their only or primary device.

Also, this is a bit specific but important — if you wrote last year about updating to developer betas and forgot you were still on the program, don't click on the Update Now button in System Preferences.

September wasn't really that long away, especially not if you were a developer who just got Sherlocked by Apple.

And in the meantime, we did see many Apple launches right here in June, where we could use them.

Launches in June 2021

After being spotted in the ears of sports stars, the Beats Studio Buds launched in mid-June, and made it more complicated than ever to pick the wireless headphones that are right for you.

What you use to listen leads to what you choose to listen to. And after having been mentioned during WWDC, Apple Music spatial audio and lossless audio content went live. It wasn't the simplest feature to grasp, but Apple's Eddy Cue says it's a game changer for music, so.

It will come to all Apple Music content, and so it will be available to all Apple Music subscribers without them having to pay more per month. Although possibly with them having to buy new headphones.

Apple also revamped and relaunched its Apple Music artists webpage to bring new tools for musicians on the service. And for all listeners, it launched a new Pride music page celebrating LGBTQ artists.

Compared to that potential reach of Apple Music, Apple's other June launches were more limited. There was Apple Tower Theater, the latest Apple Store which is great for you if you're in downtown Los Angeles. Tim Cook and Deirdre O'Brien were.

Then there was the Apple TV app appearing on Nvidia Shield with 4K. Though speaking of Apple TV apps, it was in late June that HBO Max decided to go its own way and ditch using Apple's developer APIs in favor of their own vastly superior ones.

And it was also in late June, probably more than an hour later but not much more, that HBO Max upgraded its app to go back to using Apple's APIs. Think of how Windows Vista users upgraded down to Windows Apply to this. It was that kind of thing.

Although speaking of Windows, both Apple and Microsoft made steps forward with this in June 2021. The most noticeable was Microsoft launching Windows 11 just days after Windows 11 was leaked everywhere.

Windows 11 is compatible with certain newer Intel processors
Windows 11 is compatible with certain newer Intel processors

It's six years since Windows 10 came out, but Apple can beat that for speed. A mere eight years after Windows added Precision Touchpad software to make up for how poor PC trackpads are, Apple added the feature to Boot Camp.

That would be Boot Camp that lets Intel Macs boot into Windows 10, but not Windows 11 — without this workaround.

What didn't launch in June 2021

Perhaps you noticed there were no new MacBook Pro models. But there also wasn't a homeOS, as spotted in an Apple job ad. Apple rewrote the ad when it was spotted, and almost convincingly claimed it was a typo for HomePod.

But there also wasn't an Apple primary health care service launched this month, or in any of the months going back to around 2017. We learned now, though, that Apple had been seriously pursuing this idea for that long, although it seems to have stalled now.

Saddest of all, though, was what you might call an anti-launch. As of June 2021, it is no longer possible to buy the Apple Magic Trackpad, Keyboard, or Mouse, in Space Gray.

If there's one thing there's no shortage of, it's legal problems for Apple. For one thing, the European Union isn't a fan, and is pressing for Apple to allow alternative App Stores.

There are also ongoing investigations, or announcements of investigations, in the UK, Japan and more.

But as of June, it might have been the US that Apple is most concerned about. As a package of bills aimed at limiting Big Tech companies worked its way through the House of Judiciary, Apple got to work.

Credit: J. Scott Applewhite/AP
Credit: J. Scott Applewhite/AP

It published a document about the importance of privacy and the App Store curation that ostensibly for the public, but was really for politicians. Apple executives went on the interview circuit about it.

And Tim Cook phoned Nancy Pelosi. Bet you haven't got her number in your iPhone.

Chip shortage starts to bite

If there were no lack of legal issues, there was an increasing lack of processors in the world. June began with Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger saying the chip shortage was worse than we thought, and the month ended with him saying it again to make sure we heard.

The shortage will get better at some point, though, and Apple's main processor manufacturer TSMC is thinking to the future. It's begun construction of a 5nm chip plant in Arizona.

TSMC is also looking to the present, though, and sources say that this will benefit Apple. The processor company is reported to be prioritizing the car industry and Apple ahead of other PC manufacturers.

Maybe then we'll see the 14-inch MacBook Pro that we wanted in June — and will probably continue to want in July 2021, too.