This article is based on an article from the Japanese edition of Engadget and was created using the translation tool Deepl.
The first three Apple silicon-powered Macs have also been announced, and we're finally getting to see Apple's main products for the year. However, the rumored accessories such as genuine over-ear headphones and location tracker tags haven't made an appearance. We're hoping that we'll be able to see at least one more announcement in the little time we have left in 2020.
From the upcoming iPad mini, which will use USB-C, to the foldable iPhone coming in 2022, we've got a roundup of the latest Apple rumors.
Images of what is purported to be the third-generation AirPods have been released. Is the product called "AirPods Small"?
Analysts predict mini-LED-equipped iPads and third-generation AirPods to launch in the first half of 2021
It's often reported that the third generation of non-pro AirPods has been rumored to be in the pipeline, but for the first time, photos of what is purported to be the actual product (part of the product) have been posted.
The photos, which were obtained by the Chinese website 52audio from a supply chain source, are titled "AirPods Small". The image only shows the top of the wireless earbuds and part of the charging case, but the X-ray perspective view posted at the same time shows that it is indeed a "smaller AirPods Pro". However, it has been suggested that active noise cancellation (ACN) may not be included to differentiate it from the Pro.
Rumors of the third-generation AirPods have been heard since earlier this year. Initially, only the tentative name "AirPods Lite" was touted by itself, then in April, it took shape as a "Pro design without ACN". It was then reported that it was originally scheduled to be released in May but may be delayed until later this year or even 2021 due to the spread of the new coronavirus.
That was followed by a research note from Apple-informed analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who wrote it's similar in design to the Pro with a shorter stem (stem extending from the handle) at an affordable price, without the ACN, but with improved battery life.
With the removal of the wired earphone bundle in the iPhone 12 series and the reduced price iPhone 11/XR, some have observed that Apple's wireless earphone sales are accelerating. There were rumors that sales of the low-cost Beats Flex were already gaining momentum, but it seems likely that affordable wireless earbuds will follow suit.
Apple has been silent as competitors such as Samsung and Huawei have introduced a series of foldable devices, but rumor has it that a foldable iPhone/iPad hybrid will arrive in 2022.
According to the Israeli website The Verifier, the iPhone 13(tentative) series is not expected to change much in 2021, but in 2022, the innovative device mentioned above will appear in November. The basic model will have 8GB of on-board RAM and 256GB of internal storage, but is reportedly priced at $1,499. By the way, this year's iPhone 12 series has only 6GB of RAM in the Pro models as well, and if you opt for 256GB of storage, the price is $1099.
It has also been suggested that the iPad mini series will be exited in exchange for its introduction. It has also been stated that development may come to an end after the year when the hybrid device is released.
Foldable devices generally tend to be more expensive and the added value of the Apple brand makes it unlikely that they will be in such a price range. On the other hand, the iPad mini series is less expensive than the Pro and Air, so there's also the question of whether the rumored foldable hybrid device could be a viable successor since it's too pricey to replace it.
Nevertheless, leading brokerage firm UBS also once predicted that Apple is "steadily working" on the folding category and may introduce a foldable iPad in 2021. The report was accompanied by a study that found that Apple product users were more interested in folding devices and were willing to pay $600 more than non-folding devices.
While Apple has been an early adopter of fingerprint and facial recognition on its own initiative, it has also tended to be the last to go with technologies that other companies have been ahead of (LTE, 5G, etc.). The company may aim to introduce a more complete and definitive version of its foldable devices once the foldable Android devices have steadily penetrated and secured sufficient market size.
The iPhone SE (2020), with its high performance for the price, is a "bright spot" with strong sales amid a global slump in smartphone sales due to the spread of the new coronavirus infection, according to the analysis. Its next model is unlikely to be out in the first half of next year, analysts predicted.
Ming-Chi Kuo, a knowledgeable source inside Apple, told suppliers and investors not to expect a "new iPhone SE" announcement in the first half of 2021. Even before the new iPhone SE was announced, Kuo had been predicting the iPhone SE2 Plus (tentative), which has a larger screen, and this is a change in trajectory for what he said would be an early 2021 launch.
It seems that the popularity of the "one-handed iPhone" has already shifted from the new iPhone SE to the iPhone 12 mini, but it's worth noting that Kuo predicts that the Phone SE2 Plus will have Touch ID integrated into the power button on the side (like the fourth-generation iPad Air).
This means that the home button will be gone from the front of the device, the screen size will be wider, the notch (at the top of the screen) that housed the necessary components will be gone due to the lack of Face ID, and Touch ID will be easier to unlock even when wearing a mask. With the spread of the infection still not showing any signs of abating, this device has the potential to become very popular.
Rumor has it that a prototype of the next Pad mini, which will be a "smaller fourth-generation iPad Air" with USB-C, is in development
The iPad mini series is unlikely to be updated before the end of the year (it took about four years from the fourth generation to the fifth generation launch), but rumors have been reported that the sixth-generation prototype is in development. However, the source, 000leaker (the person who spreads the word about hot unannounced products), rates the rumor as 60% credible, so don't take it as too certain.
According to 000leaker, the prototype has an 8.5-inch Liquid Retina display, A14 Bionic, and 4GB of RAM, and it also supports the second-generation Apple Pencil and has a USB Type-C port instead of a Lightning port.
So it's a "little iPad Air 4" with almost the same specs as the fourth-generation iPad Air, but with the caveat that it has issues with the two-cell battery. There's also no mention of whether or not there will be Touch ID with side power button integration (with or without a home button), but it may be a decision to make the bezels too thin at 8.5 inches in size, which makes it harder to hold.
As mentioned above, there are rumors that "development of the iPad mini series will be discontinued in favor of a foldable iPhone/iPad hybrid", but we hope that the category of easy-to-buy, portable, and great for e-book and media consumption will also survive.
The genuine Apple over-ear headphones, tentatively named AirPods Studio, and the AirTags tracking tags for lost items were expected to be announced at one of the special events between September and November, but they have yet to show up.
In the meantime, these clues have been found from the iOS 14.3 beta 1 for developers. A new icon for AirPods Studio has been added to the internal system, and videos and images to guide users through the setup of AirTags have reportedly been found.
The AirPods Studio is rumored to feature a system that automatically pauses or plays music when worn on or off your head or neck and automatically switches between left and right sides of the sound by detecting the left and right sides of your ears, as well as active noise cancellation and external sound capture features like the AirPods Pro, with equalizer settings for professional use.
Bloomberg says this is "ready to be announced as early as this month" along with the HomePod mini, and since the HomePod mini is already on sale, it could be announced in some form soon.
As for AirTags, a hidden section "Hawkey" was discovered within the iOS 14.3 beta, confirming that not only the company's products but also third-party products can be tracked offline in the iOS "Find" app. It has already been officially announced by Apple that the "Find" app will be open to competitor products such as Tile, but some testified that the conditions are too strict.
Both products were expected to appear as "one more thing" at the recent Apple Silicon Mac launch event, but this was the one who actually showed up. We wanted a punchline to track his partner "Mr. Mac" with AirTags.
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.