Editor's Desk: Future products, litigation, and inside Apple's design studio

iPhone SE 2020 Back
iPhone SE 2020 Back (Image credit: iMore)

You may have noticed there hasn't been an Editor's Desk column for the last couple of weeks. With a wealth of deals on Apple products to let you know about, and a dearth of actual Apple news to share, most of our team's time was occupied with the madness that Black Friday and Cyber Monday bring.

It's a busy time of year for the majority of online media publishers but don't think we're ready to wind down for the holidays just yet. In fact, you'll want to buckle in for a long one; there's been plenty to keep us occupied since then.

New devices on the horizon

Iphone Se 2020 Hero

Iphone Se 2020 Hero (Image credit: iMore)

With a fall 2021 calendar stacked full of product releases, you might not be ready to think about Apple's slate of 2022 products just yet, but Ming-Chi Kuo is. The prolific analyst is one of the premiere sources of information on Apple's plans, and, in research notes seen by iMore, he revealed a whole host of information on future iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods models, as well as more on the oft-rumored AR/VR headset.

We have already heard rumors of an updated iPhone SE coming in 2022, likely with an updated processor and 5G hardware, though Kuo's latest note suggests a subsequent "larger" iPhone SE will follow in 2023. It will apparently have a bigger display than the current and rumored 2022 model's 4.7 inches and feature additional RAM.

For the Apple Watch, Kuo expects the Apple Watch Series 8 to debut in fall 2022 alongside a new Apple Watch SE and extreme sports edition model. This corroborates a previous report from Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, who suggests the Apple Watch SE will get its first refresh next year and that Apple plans to release a "rugged" version of its smartwatch. Kuo also tipped AirPods Pro 2 to launch late next year.

Though exciting, most of those updates are fairly predictable without any insider knowledge, but Kuo didn't stop there. He also offered yet more information on the as-yet-unannounced Apple VR headset, sharing that the company has already begun planning the second-generation product with a late 2024 launch timeframe.

Apple Vr

Apple Vr (Image credit: The Information)

It's not all hardware news though, as rumors swirl around next macOS name. Apple has apparently renewed its Mammoth trademark, which could indicate it has decided on it as the new macOS name. Perhaps, with a name like that, it will be a huge upgrade?

Meanwhile, one rumored future Apple project, the Apple Car, continues to lose engineers as it keeps cruising along on its apparently tumultuous journey.

All of this stuff is exciting, but just remember that a lot of what Apple works on never sees the light of day and there's a rumor for just about everything. Just make sure your expectations are properly kept in check.

Apple's big business problems

Tim Cook

Tim Cook (Image credit: Apple)

Apple is no longer the scrappy underdog it once was — quite the opposite in fact — which means it now faces its fair share of legal challenges, regulatory issues, and demands from governments.

In the past week, we've seen more from the Epic vs Apple case, the #AppleToo movement, as well as a new lawsuit from Apple customers over faulty Apple Watches.

More surprising, however, was this week's news that Apple CEO Tim Cook signed a secret $275 billion deal with China to stem the tide of regulatory action against Apple in the region. Cook reportedly personally brokered the deal with Chinese authorities in 2016, and, as part of the agreement, Apple committed "to strictly abide by Chinese laws and regulations" with China offering "necessary support and assistance" in exchange.

These types of deals aren't uncommon but the secret nature of Apple's is. It led our Bryan M. Wolfe to argue that it's time Apple says no to China, even if it means more expensive products.

Cool stuff and weekend reads

Apple Park Wallpaper

Apple Park Wallpaper (Image credit: Wallpaper*)

Alright, that's enough of the heavy news! Let's take a look at some of this week's lighter, more fun topics.

iMore news writer Joe Wituschek celebrated Spotify Wrapped season by explaining exactly why he prefers Spotify to Apple Music. There are some compelling arguments here, so give it a read.

Design magazine Wallpaper* got an inside look at Apple's super secretive design studio. The entire article is worth a read for the insight offered by Apple's VP of industrial design Evans Hankey and VP of human interface design Alan Dye, but we won't judge you if you just go there to look at the glorious Apple Park photos.

Once you've done that, be sure to check out these awesome X-ray Apple Watch Series 7 wallpapers from iFixit. They're ways to make the best Apple Watch even better.

The iMore team also put a bunch of products through their paces in the last couple of weeks including the Nothing ear (1) earbuds, the highly premium Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin speaker, Anker's MagGo 633 MagSafe stand, as well as a colossal Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl review from our gaming editor Rebecca Spear.

Here's to another great week and, as always, thanks for reading.

— Adam

Adam Oram

Adam Oram is a Senior Writer at iMore. He studied Media at Newcastle University and has been writing about technology since 2013. He previously worked as an Apple Genius and as a Deals Editor at Thrifter. His spare time is spent watching football (both kinds), playing Pokémon games, and eating vegan food. Follow him on Twitter at @adamoram.