With this year's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) now history, things are about to heat up on the new hardware front. Through six months, we've seen little movement here, suggesting the final months of the year could prove significant. Here are the top new products we expect Apple to launch between now and December and why we're excited about each one.
1. iPhone 12
Since 2010, Apple's second half of the year has always focused on the next iPhone, which remains the company's top-selling product. This year's lineup is expected to include four new handsets led by a massive 6.7-inch model for the first time. In recent days, rumors suggest at least two of the handsets will include a maximum 120Hz refresh rate with at least one supporting 4K video recording at up to 240fps.
2. Apple Audio
Back in March, I suggested Apple's next regular AirPods should look more like the AirPods Pro. Three months later, it seems like that's probably going to be the case, although it might not be until early 2021 until the new earbuds are released. Regardless, the end of 2020 could still be a big one for Apple audio.
In the coming months, Cupertino's expected to release at least one new set of premium headphones with Apple in the name, not Beats Audio. We could also see a new HomePod and second-generation AirPods Pro.
3. ARM Macs
This fall, Apple begins a two-year transition that will see the end of Intel-based Macs. With Apple silicone, new Macs will act much more like the company's mobile devices and even run many of the same programs. The first ARM Mac(s) will be announced later this year and almost certainly take the form of a new MacBook Air or MacBook Pro. At WWDC, Apple said there are still a few Intel-based Macs in the pipeline, however.
The most likely candidates for 2020 refreshes are the 16-inch MacBook Air, Mac mini, Mac Pro, iMac, and iMac Pro.
4. What about the iPad?
Apple's iPhone release schedule has been relatively consistent over the years. The iPad has always been a different beast.
Last year, Apple surprised everyone by introducing its first new iPad Air in five years and the first new iPad mini in four years. A few months later, it revealed a seventh-generation regular iPad. Earlier this year, Apple released a new iPad Pro lineup that featured LiDAR for the first time. Soon after, the rumor mill suggested another iPad Pro would get the green light this year, this one featuring 5G.
COVID-19 might have delayed the iPad Pro launch until 2021, but everything else is on the table.
Apple's almost certainly going to release at least one new iPad this year. It's less certain what becomes of the iPad Air and iPad mini. Under one scenario, Apple could update all three models in 2020. In another, only the regular iPad gets a refresh. Perhaps, Apple merges the iPad Air and iPad and comes up with something new.
Last week's iPadOS 14 section of the WWDC keynote was somewhat muted compared to iOS 14. Perhaps Apple's holding some things back for new iPads this fall.
5. Apple Watch Series 6
The next Apple Watch should look like the previous two models unless it doesn't. Cupertino rarely leaks information on upcoming Apple Watches, and this year has been more of the same, at least so far. While it's not likely we'll see a design change for the popular wearable this year (the first Apple Watch design lasted for three full versions), it's possible we'll see a hardware tweak, small or otherwise.
Could this be the year of a circular Apple Watch? Might Apple consider releasing a scaled-down version of the Apple Watch that's more in line with a Fitbit wearable? Questions, questions!
New Macs and iPads could get announced throughout the summer through carefully scripted press releases. However, it's almost certain the most significant new products (hi, iPhone 12) won't be announced until early September. Like WWDC, a special event focused on the latest products might be online-only due to the coronavirus. The release dates for products announced then could extend into November, depending on the supply chain.
Which new Apple products to you want to see in 2020? Let us know below.
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