This article is based on an article from the Japanese edition of Engadget and was created using the translation tool Deepl.
As MacBook shipments have been strong on the back of a remote workforce tailwind, there are more and more rumors that the supply chain has begun to prepare for Apple Silicon's launch by the end of the year.
We've got a roundup of the latest Apple rumors, including a report that the 10.8-inch iPad Air will be high-performance and affordable and the possibility of Apple's new Windows app coming.
Samsung announced in its guidance for the second quarter of 2020 that its operating profit includes a "one-time gain on its display business". That's the payment from Apple and the amount was $950 million ($100 billion), according to anonymous industry sources news.
It is a widely known open secret that Apple has an agreement with suppliers to buy parts from them at a low price in exchange for a minimum quantity of parts, and to pay a penalty if the quantity is not met. The truth of the matter is that Samsung is the almost exclusive supplier of OLED panels, and the amount of money was raised because it involves the flagship iPhone, which is one of Apple's most prolific products.
The first half of the year was expected to be a "record quarter", but COVID-19 disaster that fell and sprang up constrained both supply and demand for iPhones, putting "downward pressure on demand", as Apple admits.
As far back as 2019, there were rumors that Apple paid Samsung a penalty of $82.5 billion for the product. There was speculation that instead of paying it, they were proposing to "adopt OLED panels in tablets and notebooks (and more deals)," but a year later, there's still no sign of OLED being used in MacBooks and iPads.
This much penalty payment is a sign of the danger of relying on Samsung. The fact that Apple is preparing several mini-LED products and is believed to be investing in a Taiwanese factory could be an indication of a structural review, including the "OLED panel = Samsung's near monopoly".
It's been almost a year since iTunes for macOS was split into three apps: Music, Podcasts, and TV. No changes have come to iTunes for Windows since then, but there are rumors that a new genuine Apple app is coming to the Microsoft Store soon (i.e. an app for Windows 10 will be released).
Apple is expanding its services business while also expanding the channels that can be enjoyed outside of its own products. Apple Music has already been compatible with Amazon Echo for over a year and a half. Even on Windows devices, Apple Music is available on iTunes and Apple TV+ is available in a browser, but it's not as easy as the dedicated "launch and watch" app.
At the end of 2019, Apple was looking for an engineer to "develop next generation media apps for Windows" and had UWP experience as a qualification requirement. UWP can also be made Xbox One compatible, so maybe the new Music app and other apps will be announced in conjunction with the Xbox Series X launch.
The spread of the new coronavirus in the U.S. continues to gain momentum, with 90 out of 271 Apple-owned stores are closing again. Some stores in the U.K. and Australia have also been forced to re-close, and Bloomberg reports that employees have been told that they will not be able to fully resume office work by the end of the year.
A video message from the company's executives recommended working remotely and sent employees Covid-19 test kits, according to the report. The expectation that some countries and regions will be able to make a full recovery "in the coming months" may suggest that the impact will be lingering even where infections are minor.
The new coronavirus scourge is also stimulating demand for remote work and home study, which is a tailwind of revenue growth for many tech companies. But unlike Zoom and other companies that are solely based on software, Apple, a hardware company, has a sore spot that comes with the difficulty of supporting its customers. The dilemma is illustrated by what Senior Vice President Deirdre O’Brien called the "significant wait times" for some consumers.
The first Apple Silicon Macs, which are expected to ship at the end of the year, are just uncharted territory for everyone, so there will probably be a huge increase in demand for support over the traditional Intel chip version of the Mac. Hopefully, by then, we'll be back to the nostalgic days of "bring in a repair product to the store and the user and staff will meet face-to-face".
Predictions that neither the charger nor the wired earphones will be included in this year's flagship iPhone 12 (tentative) series are becoming more credible. Apparently, only the charging cable is likely to remain, but rumor has it that it might be an improved braided covering.
The rumor started with an article and image of a braided cable by Chinese website Chongdiantou. The tweet quoting it attracted attention when a famous, accomplished leaker L0vetodream RT'd it with the comment "New Lightning Cable".
This means that the flagship iPhone will not have a USB-C connector again this year, increasing the likelihood that Lightning will continue to be used. Not surprisingly, famous leakers Jon Prosser and @choco_bit also predicted that Lightning will continue to be used for another year, and that USB-C will not be used, and that it will quickly move to a portless device without a charging terminal.
The 2019 entry-level iPhone 11 included a Lightning to USB-A cable, but if this is replaced by a USB-C Lightning cable with fast charging support, it should look like an upgrade. Not only that, but it's also been noted that the braided specification, which is supposedly more durable (new materials and technology are inferred from the photos), could distract from the charger being shaved off.
However, all models in the iPhone 12 series will be 5G-enabled and have OLED displays, which will be costly, and some have observed that the price of the iPhone 12 series will increase by $50, which will not be absorbed by reducing the number of items included in the package. We'll have to wait and see what the actual price will be and how the consumers will react
Amidst a flurry of rumors about the new iPad, a well-known Taiwanese industry media, DigiTimes gave clues about the "new 10.8-inch iPad".
The media outlet, which is strong on supply chain information, reported that components related to the 10.8-inch iPad will ship in the third quarter of 2020.
It hasn't been specified which model the "10.8-inch iPad". However, DigiTimes also mentioned the possibility of including a "10.8-inch iPad Air" in the future Apple product lineup in June, which could be interpreted as referring to the same device (it's common for the media to change the name of an unreleased product from article to article).
There are a number of theories as to what the specifications of this unannounced iPad Air will be. First, famous leaker L0vetodream tweeted, "Mini LED display, full screen without a notch, display embedded ID". In contrast, Taiwan's Industrial and Commercial Times stepped in and said, "The new product with mini-LED backlighting, affected by the spread of the new coronavirus infection, may not be mass-produced until 2021. If we were to reconcile the two without contradiction, there are two models in the pipeline: a "conventional LCD display plus Touch ID with a built-in home button" model and a "redesigned form factor and mini-LED" model, of which the former may be the first to be released.
Another rumor reported by DigiTimes is that the Apple Silicon-powered 13-inch MacBook Pro and MacBook Air will be released before the end of the year. Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who is known for his insider information on Apple-related matters, also predicts that the entry price of the MacBook Air will be further reduced as costs are reduced due to the transition from Intel CPUs to Apple Silicon, which is expected to be more cost-effective.
This article is based on an article from the Japanese edition of Engadget and was created using the translation tool Deepl. The Japanese edition of Engadget does not guarantee the accuracy or reliability of this article.