Apple 2020 preview: iPhone 12, Watch 6, iPad Pro 4, and more!

Fake iPhone 12 concept
Fake iPhone 12 concept (Image credit: Rene Ritchie / iMore - iPhone 12 concept)

2019 is over. Everything that would ship did ship. And now it's time to let the past die. Kill it if you have to. It's the only way for all of us to get what comes next.

Wait, no, that sounds so nihilistic. And I'm, like, so totally optimistic about what this year could bring.

So, let's go over it all.

Spring 2020

Apple used to make big announcements in January. The iPhone in 2007. The MacBook Air in 2008. And, of course, the iPad in 2010, which they may celebrate just a little bit when it hits the big 1-0 later this month. But the most we've gotten over the last few years, timed with the annual CES show in Las Vegas, are announcements about HomeKit partnerships and, most recently, AirPlay 2 and Apple TV+ partnerships. Six to five and pick'em we see more of the same this year.

Fake iPad Pro 2020 Concept

Fake iPad Pro 2020 Concept (Image credit: Rene Ritchie / iMore)

March events have varied a lot as well. Last year we got an all-services affair with Apple Card, News+, Apple Arcade, and TV+. Year before, an education event with the entry-level iPad and Everyone can Create. In 2015, though, we got everything from the original Apple Watch launch and the 12-inch MacBook introduction.

It's 2016 that stands out to me, though. Back then, we got the 9.7-inch iPad Pro and the iPhone SE.

There have been rumors of an iPad Pro update with better, iPhone 11 Pro-style cameras for a while now. I covered them in-depth in my last video. And, of course, an updated iPhone SE-style device built off the iPhone 8 platform but with iPhone 11-style internals for a low-low entry-level price. I've done a video on that before as well. Link to both in the description.

There's even an outside chance Apple might have the 16-inch MacBook Pro-style update to the current 13-inch ready by then as well, Intel willing. That would give it the much better new scissor-switch keyboard and speaker system, and hopefully other specs as well.

We might even see the long-awaited AirTags as well, so the Find My Network can start to really shine.

And, of course, updates to any of all of those services. News+ needs a second-year Apple Music-style do-over badly at this point.

Add it all up, and it would make for one hell of a spring lineup.

Summer 2020

The first week of June always brings Apple's World Wide Developer's conference, and that brings new versions of all of Apple's operating systems, which would now include macOS — please don't call it Orizaba — 10.16, as well as iOS 14, iPadOS 14, tvOS 14, and watchOS 7.

Fake iMac XDR Concept

Fake iMac XDR Concept (Image credit: Rene Ritchie / iMore)

There's so much to cover there, I'll do a whole video on it. But, suffice it to say, Apple can't afford a repeat of last year's buggy launches. They need a 2018 style refocus on performance and stability, and to make that the new every year.

While WWDC is primarily about software, it also sees more than its fair share of software. Last year gave us our first look at the new Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR. 2017 gave us two new iPads Pro, updated MacBooks Pro, updated iMacs, the first iMac Pro, and the original HomePod.

If we don't get the iPads Pro in March, June would be the next logical time. Same with the updated 13- or 14-inch MacBook Pro.

The iMac is begging for its bezel-deleting update as well but despite how long its been it might still be too early. Updated Xeon's and graphics card options for the iMac Pro would be outstanding though.

Same with the long-rumored HomePod mini.

Fall 2020

If there's one sure thing in tech for the last many years, it's been an iPhone and Apple Watch event in the second week of September. This year that means the iPhone 12 with its iPhone 4-style redesign, which I legit cannot wait for. The Braun-and-Leica inspired design language was so great and the recent iPads Pro have been such a tease for its return.

Also, the rear-facing, augmented reality TrueDepth camera that I've been waiting years to finally see. And, of course, 5G in the few markets where it will be just starting to make sense.

Apple Watch is still missing two main hardware features — sleep tracking and full independence from the iPhone. Here's hoping we get the first of these, at least, this year. And, of course, some type of new finish, though I'm not sure what that might be yet.

If Apple has next-generation AirPods — maybe even over-the-ear AirPods — they could make an appearance here as well.

So could a VR/AR headset, if that's really in the cards before sexier, sleeker Apple glasses launch sometime in the future.

Winter 2020

OK, so October isn't exactly winter, but it fits the structure I have going here so go with it.

16-inch MacBook Pro

16-inch MacBook Pro (Image credit: Rene Ritchie / iMore)

Apple doesn't always do October events. They didn't do one last year. The year before though, we got the new MacBook Air, the new Mac mini, and the redesigned iPad Pro.

If Apple doesn't get the new scissor-switch keyboard and 10th-generation chipsets into the Air earlier in the year, October would be the time to do it. Likewise, the Mac mini, which needs constant updates to stay relevant after being left fallow lo those many years before.

The big rumor, though, is a next-level MacBook Pro and iPad Pro with mini-LED displays. Which could be XDR-style displays.

Apple could bump the base 16-inch MacBook Pro to 10th-gen Intel silicon whenever it's ready, and that would give us integrated Wi-Fi 6 as well. Likewise, the base camera bump for the iPads Pro could come much earlier. But, if Apple is willing to do with them what it did with the iPhone X, and temporarily add a SKU at the very top to bring new technology to the market faster, wow howdy would this be a way to do it.

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.