Apple may be the richest company in the world but for a while, there has been a feeling that a malaise has started to creep in. Its products don’t wow and awe-inspiring the way they used to. Partially this is because of the deluge of leaks, partially this is because the smartphone space is now commoditised. Since the iPhone, Apple went on the launch the iPad and then the Apple Watch, but still, the Cupertino stable is mostly known for the iPhone, like once it was known for the iPod, and before that the Macintosh.
Now, 2020 is just around the corner and we’re already seeing reports about Apple’s new products. Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is highly trusted and a solid record of anticipating the giants next move. According to him, Apple is set to release the iPhone SE 2, a new iPad Pro, MacBook with a scissor-switch keyboard, and the long-rumoured AR smart glasses, all in the first half of 2020. This easily makes it Apple’s biggest product launch year in a decade since the launch of the first iPad.
- Reports suggest Apple is all geared up to launch the iPhone SE 2 in the first quarter of 2020. There’s no doubt there’s a tremendous demand for lower-cost iPhones in the developing markets of India and south-east Asia. This phone is said to have the A13 and Touch ID and a smaller 4.7-inch 720p screen like the iPhone 8, this will be the fastest iPhone around and the cheapest one with the latest silicon. It will indirectly please those who’ve been wishing for a smaller device. This single product can help Apple gain back its lost turf from OnePlus as well as Samsung. And, with local assembly ramping up in India, there’s a fair chance it’ll have a bigger edge due to waiver of import duties. Apple could also use its India facilities to produce this phone for the world from India.
- Next up, we have an iPad Pro with a new rear camera array. While the iPad has been a single-camera device since its inception, leaked images have shown an iPad Pro with a similar square triple- camera array as the iPhone 11 Pro. It’ll also get a time of flight sensor on the rear for 3D mapping and improvise AR applications as well as games. This will be a significant update because the iPad Pro has received incremental upgrades since its initial launch in 2017. You can also bet that there will be an “X” version of the A13 bionic which will push the iPad Pro’s already insane performance towards a desktop PC.
- Coming to the MacBook Pro, Kuo suggests Apple could finally unveil a new scissor-switch keyboard. He added that after the 16-inch MacBook Pro launches, future Macs coming in 2020 will also swap over to a scissor mechanism rather than a butterfly mechanism. As of now, it seems unlikely that Apple will launch new MacBook Pro models this year as they just updated the model with Intel’s new processors. This will also allow Apple to update the product with a bolder upgrade in terms of both the GPU and CPU for 2020 and perhaps integrate its own ARM-based silicon for some offloading high power tasks.
- AirPods “3” is also expected to launch next year and Kuo estimates the launch of two new options. He said that we could be getting two more headphones before 2020 — an updated version of the original Apple AirPods and the brand new AirPods 3.We’ve heard rumours about noise-cancelling and even waterproof Apple earbuds for nearly a year at this point, and now some analysts are saying that they’ll arrive by the end of the year or, at the very latest, early on in 2020. Apple is said to also be working on some premium headphones.
- Bloomberg reports, Apple is getting ready to introduce a cheaper version of its HomePod smart-speaker. The new option is said to use just 2 tweeters, down from the 7 used for omnidirectional sound in the current model. The existing top-end offering hasn’t received any major upgrades since its initial announcement of 2017.
- This year’s Apple Watch Series 5 was under-whelming at the best. It didn’t get any major hardware upgrades like 2018 and only brought in incremental software features. An all-screen display barely qualifies as a new feature when gesture-based detection got the job done anyways. It’s obvious Apple will have to amp up its game next year and we hope there’s some improvement in battery life with Series 6. Likely, it will be one of the bigger updates for what has increasingly become one of Apple’s biggest golden goose.
- Apple Music has been climbing the ladder and is now a perfectly positioned service that can be used across pretty much all Apple devices. New subscription services like News+, Apple TV+, and Arcade should start reflecting on its financial statements soon. Apple is also trying to create a bundle for all its services which could launch next year it can the music publishers onboard which will create a super bundle combining Apple Music, Apple TV+ and Apple Arcade.
- The obvious, iPhone “12” series will be launching in the second half of 2020. It will mark a huge redesign of the iPhone which hasn’t happened since the iPhone X. It is said to double down on performance, design, cameras and more importantly for western markets will be the catalyst for the adoption of 5G as it is highly rumoured to be integrating Qualcomm’s modems for this device. The iPhone 12 will be able to complement the lower-cost iPhone SE 2 in terms of value. It is also said to be the first iPhone to integrate USB Type C.
- The most anticipated launch. Apple has put a lot of investment into augmented reality (AR), which already works on most iPhones and iPads launched in the last few years. Kuo suggests that Apple’s AR glasses could arrive as early as the first half of 2020. Apple will be working with a number of third-party suppliers including Changying Precision, to ship the main chassis of the AR headset. It would most likely use the new U1 chip in the iPhone 11 to create a low-band connection.
- Lastly is a product that Apple hasn’t updated for a while. That’s the Apple TV 4K. It is overdue for an upgrade considering it has launched services like Apple Arcade and Apple TV+. This gadget could become a great gaming product if Apple packs in its A13 processor as now tvOS even supports third-party controllers like the DualShock 4 and the Xbox One controller. Hell, Apple has even started selling the Xbox One controllers at its stores.
All this also colludes with the fact that in 2020 Apple is said to be opening its first Apple Stores in India, it’s manufacturing in India is also ramping up which will mean that it should be in a position to compete better in the one market it needs to do wildly better and reduce its dependence on China.
With all its lineups gearing up to get a major upgrade, 2020 will be the most exciting year in the last decade. And this time, a single product won’t be hogging the limelight. 2010 was the last time Apple actually wowed us with the first iPad. Next year, it’ll happen again, but this will be an inspiration by a 1000 cuts!