Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks during Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose, California, U.S. June 3, 2019. REUTERS/Mason Trinca
REUTERS

This article is based on an article from the Japanese edition of Engadget and was created using the translation tool Deepl.


This year, the fourth-generation iPad Air and Apple Watch Series 6 were announced in September and the iPhone launch event in October. And there is a strong possibility that the Apple Silicon Mac event will be held in November. We're also wondering when the macOS Big Sur will be officially released, which was announced as "this fall".

From the new 16-inch MacBook Pro arriving by the end of the year to the over-selling iPhone 12 Pro, we've got all the latest Apple rumors for you.

AirPods sales are rumored to be accelerated by the removal of the iPhone 12's earbuds from the bundle

Apple is reportedly working on a new, more compact, stemless AirPods Pro

AirPods
Engadget Japan

As expected, the iPhone 12 series (as well as the iPhone XR/11, which was reduced in price at the same time) is no longer shipped with earphones. Apple claims it's for environmental reasons, but rumor has it that whatever the reason, it's leading to increased sales of the company's wireless earbuds, including the AirPods series.

According to DigiTimes, a media source familiar with Taiwan's supply chain, sales of the low-priced Beats Flex, which was released shortly after the iPhone 12 announcement, are accelerating fast. The EarPods, which are sold separately from the iPhone, are priced at 2,000 yen, while the Beats FLex is priced at 5,400 yen. It's no wonder that many people would rather spend a few thousand yen extra to go wireless.

And where in previous years, shipments of TWS (True Wireless Stereo) products would peak in the third quarter and drop off in the fourth quarter, this year, demand is still high as people who work from home avoid interfering with their families. Although it was thought that TWS products were facing headwinds under the new coronavirus disaster's restrictions on going out, the need for TWS seems to have arisen because they don't disturb family members and make it easier to talk to colleagues in the office when they are nearby.

It is speculated that the removal of the earphones included in the package of iPhone 12 is not only to promote TWS products, but also to offset the increased cost of 5G support and to reduce the shipping cost by reducing the size of the package, in addition to being carbon neutral (total zero greenhouse gas emission). It's all good for smartphone makers (who also sell TWS). Samsung, which poked fun at Apple's decision to no longer include a charger, may follow suit.

In addition, rumors have surfaced that a third-generation AirPods with shorter stems (the part of the shaft that hangs from the ear) and replaceable ear tips will be available in the first half of 2021, and a new AirPods Pro with no stem part is in development. These are likely to boost the popularity of TWS in general, but we're also curious about the whereabouts of Apple's over-ear headphones, known as the AirPods Studio, which are rumored to be close to being announced.

New 16-inch MacBook Pro coming by the end of the year? A clue in the BootCamp release notes

Three unreleased Mac-related files found in macOS Big Sur beta

16MBP

Nearly a year after the 16-inch MacBook Pro with an improved Magic Keyboard made headlines, we've finally found a clue that a successor may be on the way.

Within the updated BootCamp release notes, there was a reference to the MacBook Pro (2020). The top-of-the-line graphics option version added in June of this year is also one of the MacBook Pro (2019), and at the time of writing, there is no official Apple MacBook Pro (2020).

A few more days later, followed by the discovery of three unreleased Mac-related files from macOS Big Sur 11.01 beta 1. It's safe to say that this is official Apple clues, as the macOS /System/Library/ folder contains bundled files that identify the various Macs.

Two files were also found there, "MacHardwareTypes-2019f.bundle" and "MacHardwareTypes-2020d.bundle", which refers to the 16-inch MacBook Pro, and we also speculate that they have some connection to the unannounced 2020 model.

Will there be three Apple Silicon Macs in one fell swoop at the rumored November 17 event to announce the Macs with Apple's proprietary "Apple Silicon" design chip? Or will the last of the new Macs with the traditional Intel chip be unveiled? We'll have to wait and see what happens next.

Apple's wireless charger, AirPower, is rumored to be cancelled again

AirPower

Once canceled, Apple's original AirPower wireless charging pad was rumored to have a revival project in the works, but it has been reported that it may be in the pipeline again.

Jon Prosser, a famous leaker (a leading source of information about a high-profile unannounced product), tweeted that "All AirPower prototyping/testing has been removed from the schedule for 2021" and that "Seems like once again, AirPower is dead."

Prosser has repeatedly reported signs of AirPower's resurgence and released images of a prototype that appears to be in the hands of an engineer who probably works from home, so there's a sense that he's watching a real-life situation that is about to be resurrected in secret and is about to die a second death unnoticed.

Earlier this year, renowned analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said that "Apple is developing a small wireless charging mat", but in retrospect, it seems more likely that he was referring to the MagSafe charger, not the AirPower.

The AirPower features the ability to charge three products - an iPhone, AirPods wireless charging case, and Apple Watch - "anywhere" on the mat. It's unlikely to work well with the MagSafe specification, which is held in place by magnets in specific locations, and MagSafe, which can also be deployed for third-party licensing through MFi certification, may have been a priority within Apple.

Apple ramps up development of its own search engine, perhaps in connection with the antitrust investigation in its deal with Google

searchEngine

There have been several rumors that Apple is developing its own search engine, but that effort has recently been "enhanced", Finacial Times reported. This time around, there are no internal sources within the company, but rather observations and analysis from industry sources.

The existence of the web crawler Applebot was officially acknowledged by Apple in 2015, but its use has been suggested to be to make Siri and Spotlight search candidates, i.e. its own apps, smarter. It was also speculated in August this year that Apple was planning to develop a full-fledged search engine of its own, due to the surge in its activity.

The resurfacing of the theory comes just after the US Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against Google for allegedly violating antitrust laws. The default search engine for Safari for iOS is set to Google, which pays $10 billion a year to Apple in return. The UK regulator has launched an investigation into the deal, alleging that it poses a "significant barrier to entry and expansion" for competitors. Apple's development of its own search engine is believed to be linked to that. So it's possible that this is one of the options after its contract with Google was forced to be terminated.

Of the three reasons the FT cites for "developing Apple's own search engine," one is that the company has a strong privacy policy and has not hidden its critical stance on ad-serving services like Google, which are heavily involved in tracking user behavior. Other reinforcements include Apple's hiring of John Giannandrea, formerly of Google's search and AI, as head of AI.

However, since Applebot was originally intended to enhance Siri, and Giannandrea has also emphasized edge computing, or a policy of "completing machine learning in the device to protect privacy," it seems that this awareness could be interpreted as being more geared toward enhancing AI than its own search engine, which breaks off its delicious relationship with Google. Another AI startup acquisition has been revealed, and Siri may one day become dramatically smarter.

Apple is reportedly ordering more LiDAR chips as iPhone 12 Pro sells too well than expected

LiDAR
Apple

At first glance, the iPhone 12 Pro may look like "the only difference between it and the iPhone 12 is the camera" (actually, the chassis material, the internal memory, and the maximum brightness of the OLED panel are all different), but when it was actually released, demand was stronger than expected. As a result, Apple has also reportedly ordered more chips for the LiDAR scanner in a hurry. Indeed, at the time of writing, the iPhone 12 Pro will be delivered on or after November 7, while the iPhone 12 Pro will be delivered on or after the 16th, which is a testament to its popularity.

At first, it is believed that Apple estimated that iPhone 12 Pro was about 20% of the entire iPhone 12 series, and it seems that Apple thought that it could not reach the popularity of the low-cost, high-performance iPhone 12. Since the iPhone 11, which was positioned similarly to the iPhone 12, had become a best-seller, and iPhone 12 had an OLED LCD panel, it seems unavoidable that demand was expected to be concentrated on that model.

If the camera performance and the special features of the LiDAR scanner (such as the ability to measure height) are gaining popularity, then getting the iPhone 12 Pro Max early, which will be available for pre-order on the 6th, could be a race. By the way, if you select various options for the iPhone 12 mini/12 Pro Max in advance in the Apple Store app for iOS/iPadOS and then add it to your Favorites list, you'll be able to easily place an order right after the pre-order starts, so you'll want to take advantage of it.


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.