This week’s top stories: AAPL earnings, Apple Watch Series 7 rumors, iOS 14.4, and more

In this week’s top stories: iOS 14.4 released, Apple Watch Series 7 rumors, ‘Time to Walk’ feature now available, AAPL’s record-breaking Q1 earnings, and much more. Read on for all of this week’s top Apple Stories.

Time to Walk

Apple this week officially launched its new Time to Walk feature for Apple Watch and Fitness+ subscribers. . Time to Walk offers “an inspiring new audio walking experience on Apple Watch for Fitness+ subscribers,” Apple announced.

Time to Walk is launching with four episodes with guests including Country music star Dolly Parton, NBA player Draymond Green, Musician Shawn Mendes, and Emmy Award winner Uzo Aduba. New episodes will be released with a different guest each Monday through the end of April.

iOS 14.4

After beta testing with developers and public beta users, Apple this week officially released iOS 14.4 to the public.

Apple says that iOS 14.4 includes support for recognizing smaller QR codes in the Camera app, as well as the option to classify Bluetooth device types in Settings. Notably, the update also adds new notifications for when your iPhone can’t verify if you’re using a “genuine Apple camera.”

iOS 14.4 also includes a handful of bug fixes related to HDR photography, the Messages app, and more. There is a fix for keyboard lag, which is an issue that has been plaguing many iPhone users since iOS 14 was first released.

In addition to the new features, iOS 14.4 also brings a trio of notable security improvements. In a new Support document, Apple said that iOS 14.4 fixes a kernel vulnerability and two WebKit vulnerabilities, all three of which “may have been actively exploited.”

iOS 14.4 is available to users via an over-the-air update in the Settings app. Simply open the Settings app, choose General, then choose Software Update. With these major security improvements included, we highly recommend updating as soon as possible.

HomePod Software 14.4

Alongside iOS 14.4, Apple also released HomePod Software 14.4 with new features for HomePod mini users this week.

The leading change with HomePod Software Version 14.4 is an all-new Handoff experience powered by the Ultra Wideband, or U1 chip, in the iPhone. Now, when you bring an iPhone near the HomePod mini to use Handoff, you’ll feel physical feedback from the iPhone’s Taptic Engine, as well as a card on the iPhone’s display and a visual indicator on the top of the HomePod mini.

You can learn more in our full coverage right here.

Limited-edition Apple Watch

Apple published a new press release this week detailing the multiple ways it will be celebrating Black History Month in February. The company is launching new editorial collections, Apple Maps Guides, limited-edition Apple Watch hardware, and more.

Apple is introducing the Black Unity Collection for the Apple Watch. This collection includes a limited-edition Apple Watch Series 6 as well as a Black Unity Sport Band. Through this collection, Apple is supporting global organizations to help advance their missions in promoting and achieving equality and civil rights.

The Black Unity Sport Band uses colors inspired by the Pan-African flag with the words “Truth. Power. Solidarity.” laser-engraved onto the closure. Meanwhile, the limited-edition Apple Watch Series 6 features “Black Unity” laser-etched onto the back crystal.

Apple Watch Series 6 Black Unity and the Black Unity Sport Band will be available starting February 1. The Watch starts at $399 for the GPS and the cellular model starts at $499. The Black Unity Sport Band is $49.

AAPL Earnings

Apple (AAPL) has officially reported its earnings for Q1 2021, covering the lucrative holiday shopping season. For the first fiscal quarter of 2021, Apple reported a record-breaking $111.44 billion in revenue and profit of $28.76 billion.

For comparison’s sake, Apple reported revenue of $91.8 billion and profit of $22.2 billion during Q1 2020 last year. This time around, there are a handful of different factors. For instance, the Mac and iPad businesses have seen major growth because of the work-from-home trend driven by the pandemic.

Learn more in our full coverage

These and the rest of this week’s top stories below.

iPhone |

Apple Watch |

Mac and iPad |

Top Apple stories, retail |

AirPods |

Apps |

AAPL Company |

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This week’s top videos |

9to5Mac Daily |

Listen to a recap of the top stories of the day from 9to5Mac. 9to5Mac Daily is available on iTunes and Apple’s Podcasts app, Stitcher, TuneIn, Google Play, or through our dedicated RSS feed for Overcast and other podcast players.

9to5Mac Watch Time |

Jeff Benjamin joins Zac Hall to give Apple Watch Series 3 and Series 5 an exit interview before new models are announced. 9to5Mac Watch Time is a podcast series hosted by Zac Hall. In this series, we talk to real people about how Apple Watch is affecting their lives.

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Stacktrace Podcast |

Stacktrace by 9to5Mac is available on iTunes and Apple’s Podcasts app or through our dedicated RSS feed for Overcast and other podcast players.

Apple @ Work Podcast |

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