Top Apple Stories of the Week: Apple Announces 2021 App Store Winners, Mac Upgrade Program, More

BY Chandraveer Mathur

Published 4 Dec 2021

In case you missed events and exciting news from the world of Apple this week, check out this roundup of top stories, so you’re all caught up with everything Apple.

This week, we saw Apple hand out the App Store Awards to the top apps of the year. The iPhone maker also released the list of most-downloaded paid and free apps on iPhone and iPad platforms. The company also announced a new Upgrade Program for Macs aimed at small businesses. Meanwhile, an Italian collector snagged a rare translucent AirPods prototype and posted cool pictures to Twitter. This week, a supply chain rumor suggested that Apple’s M3 chip could be based on TSMC’s 3nm process.

Apple Reveals Best and Most Downloaded iPhone and iPad Apps for the Year

With the year coming to a close this week, Apple revealed the winners of its 2021 App Store Awards. Toca Life World was the iPhone App of the Year. The title of iPad App of the Year went to LumaFusion, a video editor. A note editor app called Craft was declared Mac App of the Year. Check out our post for the complete list of winners. Continuing the tradition from last year, winners will receive a recycled aluminum plaque.

Accompanying that, Apple shared the list of the most downloaded free and paid iPhone and iPad apps in the United States. TikTok was the most downloaded free iPhone app, followed by YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, and Messenger, in that order. Procreate Pocket was the most downloaded paid iPhone app, and Procreate was the most downloaded in the same category for iPad. Check out the list of top 10 apps for every category here.

Apple Collector Shares Pictures of Rare Translucent AirPods

Connoisseur of rare Apple devices, Giulio Zompetti, tweeted photos of a rare AirPods prototype and a 29W Apple charger this week. The photos showed off a development stage prototype of the AirPods 1 or AirPods 2 featuring a blue transparent plastic body for the stem and outer side of the earbud. The inner side of the earbuds was still made of white plastic.

The collector also showed off a 29W charging brick prototype encased in transparent plastic. The brick used to ship with the 12-inch MacBook but was discontinued in 2018 along with the notebook. Translucent casings help development engineers see the internals of products without dismantling them, and Zompetti collects several such incredible prototypes.

Transparent AirPods prototype

Apple Announces MacBook Upgrade Program for Small Businesses

This week, Apple also announced a new Mac Upgrade Program so small businesses can outfit their employees with Macs for as little as $30 per month. Companies can deploy the 13-inch MacBook Pro/Air and the 14/16-inch MacBook Pro to employees with the program. The program has been launched in association with CIT as a financing partner.

This is somewhat similar to the iPhone Upgrade Program. Businesses can join the program subject to Apple’s approval and even upgrade to a new mac if one is launched within three months. For now, the Upgrade Program is only available in the US. Details about the program’s availability in other markets remain uncertain for now.

MacBook half shut

Rumors Suggest Apple’s M3 Chip Production Testing Has Begun; Intel Hopes to Avoid Clash

This week, a supply chain rumor claimed that Taiwanese chip manufacturer TSMC has started test production of Apple’s M3 chip that would be released in 2023. The rumor suggested that the chips could be based on the 3nm process node, allowing for up to 40-core CPUs to be designed. For context, Apple’s latest and greatest M1 Max and M1 Pro chips based on the 5nm process have 10-core CPUs.

A separate report claimed that Intel executives are preparing to visit TSMC’s plant to finalize orders for 3nm chips to be utilized in GPUs and data centers. Intel could use the 3nm chips for its Meteor Lake processors and keep up with Apple. Presently, the Intel chips barely keep up with Apple’s M1 chips, that too at the great cost of power efficiency. Apple is expected to get preference for the 3nm chips, Former TSMC engineers reportedly said.

Apple M3 chip

Other Top Apple Stories This Week:

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