The rumor mill is off to a strong start this week. Let’s round ’em up and see how likely they are to happen.
An anonymous Twitter account — as noted by MacRumors — says that Apple is planning, among other things, a HomePod Lite” (a less expensive version of the smart speaker), new iPad Air with under-the-screen Touch ID, an ARM-based 12-inch MacBook, a new iMac, a new Apple TV, a new charging pad, and an Apple game controller by 2021. Let’s look at each and see what the Sellers Research Group (that’s me) thinks about them
HomePod Lite: This makes sense, as Apple needs to spur sales of the speaker. I’d also love to see a “HomePro Pro” released for a home theater set-up, but there’s been no talk of such a device. I’d expect to see this released this spring or early summer.
iPad Air with under-the-screen Touch ID. This also seems likely. And it also seems like a good candidate for a spring/summer rollout.
ARM-based 12-inch MacBook. This is practically a given, but I don’t expect to see it released until next year.
A new iMac. Apple’s best-selling all-in-one is due for an overhaul. Look for it to be unveiled at June’s (online) Worldwide Developer Conference and available in July.
New Apple TV (the set-top box). Look for it this spring with HomePod integration, AirPod Siri support, a new remote, and increased storage for the same price.
Apple game controllers. As said before, with the Apple Arcade game service here, Apple should consider making its own brand of game controllers that work with the Apple TV (and Mac, iPad, and iPhone). I think it will, and that they’ll be on sale in time for the 20202 holidays.
New charging pad. Apple may have ditched plans for its AirPower — which was supposed to be able to charge a Qi-compatible iPhone, an Apple Watch, and a pair of AirPods (in a special wireless charging case) at the same time regardless of where they were placed on the pad. However, I think we’ll see a less ambitious version for one or two devices in late spring or early summer.
Another rumor says that new AirPods are ready to launch alongside an updated 13-inch MacBook Pro, according to tweeter/Apple prognosticator Jon Prosser.
I think there’s a 99% probability that we’ll see a 13-inch MacBook Pro with a Magic Keyboard that the 16-inch MacBook Pro and new MacBook Air sport. I’m less convinced that Apple is going to offer less expensive AirPods since the current model and the AirPods Pro are selling like gangbusters. Still, Prosser has an excellent track record, so he may well be correct.
He also says that Xcode, Apple’s development environment, is coming to the iPhone and iPad. To me it makes sense to bring it to the iPad, at least the iPad Pro since Apple pushes it as your “next computer.” The iPhone, not so much.