The ongoing pandemic will forever define 2020. And yet, it will also be remembered as one of the best for Apple products. During the past 12 months, the company released the surprising macOS Big Sur update and the first Apple silicon products. The expansive iPhone 12 lineup, highlighted by the best iPhone of the year, also debuted, along with the AirPods Max and more.
Cupertino's plans for 2021 are probably already in place, yet that won't keep these types of wishlists from making the rounds. Here are 10 things I hope we see from Apple in 2021 — and two things we can live without.
iPhone 13 series
Apple released a record-breaking five new iPhones during the past year, including the four handsets that make up the iPhone 12 series. The upcoming iPhone 13 series will probably also include four handsets. However, unlike the one before it, this series is likely to be a mostly incremental update, at least when it comes to hardware. Surface changes will exist, however.
The iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max will probably include 120Hz ProMotion displays, which were long-rumored for this year's model. The iPad Pro has offered this type of display for two cycles now, so it makes sense it will finally arrive on the iPhone.
Apple's decision not to include charging pucks with this year's iPhones (coupled with the surprise relaunch of Mag Safe) could mean the 2021 iPhones will be the first not to include a charging port, Lightning or otherwise. The no charging port decision will anger some early adopters. And yet, in the end, it won't matter. Full wireless charging for the iPhone is coming sooner, not later.
Apple Watch Series 7
Cupertino last made a design change for Apple Watch with the Series 4 in 2018. It was the first change since the inaugural Apple Watch arrived in 2015. History and the calendar suggest the Apple Watch Series 7 will get a design refresh, although that's probably not going to mean the first circular Apple Watch. Instead, expect to see a tweaked rectangular design.
Touch ID could also make its debut on the wearable device. Like the iPad Air 4, the Touch ID mechanism here could be implanted in the power button.
2021 will be another huge year for Mac as Intel-based machines continue to get replaced with ones with Apple SoC. The first 23-inch iMac is likely to arrive early next year and feature a successor to the Apple M1 SoC. Though a second-generation 16-inch MacBook Pro is nearly certain to arrive in 2021, I'm also hoping to see a third MacBook Pro join the lineup.
A 14-inch MacBook Pro would fit very nicely between the 13-inch MacBook Pro and the 16-inch model.
I rushed out and purchased the second-generation 11-inch iPad Pro when it launched in March. Had the iPad Air 4 arrived at the same time, I might have made a different choice. Feature-by-feature, the iPad Pro is superior to the iPad Air 4. And yet, for many, the iPad Air 4 is a better and less expensive choice. The reason? Only the iPad Air 4 comes in rule-breaking colors like green and sky blue.
If there's a 2021 iPad Pro, I hope it too is offered in multiple colors that move beyond the traditional silver and space gray. After the dreary 2020 that kept many of us at home to work, bright colors on Apple's professional tablets make sense.
I would also like to see a third iPad Pro somewhere in size between the 7.9-inch iPad mini and 11-inch iPad Pro. A souped-up yet smaller professional iPad could find broad appeal and help Apple grow the iPad Pro market share, thereby expanding its bottom line.
It took Apple nearly the entire year before it introduced a new pair of AirPods. However, no one will mistake the AirPods Max headphones with the second-generation AirPods and AirPods Pro, both released in 2019.
In 2021, I expect we'll be seeing new AirPods earbuds across the board, starting with a third-generation AirPods. New AirPods Pro earbuds should follow later in the year.
We're likely three years away from the first Apple Car. In the meantime, it's likely Apple's first set of AR glasses could arrive in 2021. The new product should be a big deal when it finally launches. How big will depend on its features.
Over Black Friday weekend, I purchased new batteries for my many Tile trackers. For weeks, I had held out for Apple's long-rumored AirTags system to make its debut. That didn't happen. Instead, AirTags have replaced the AirPower as the hottest new Apple product that Cupertino never released.
AirTags could launch in 2021. Until then, I'm over the speculation. Trackers like those from Tile, Chipolo, and others work great; buy them now and enjoy!
There's one final thing I don't want or expect to see in 2021, and that's another monthly service from Apple. In 2020, the company revealed Apple One, which combines Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, Apple News+, iCloud backup, and the all-new Apple Fitness+.
Bundling these services and allowing us to pay less each month was a great idea. And yet, I hope Apple from springing another monthly service on us in the new year. Instead, Apple should concentrate on the services it already offers and make them better (I'm looking at you, Apple News+).
What say you? What do you want to see from Apple in 2021?
As 2021 begins, what would you like to see from Apple in the coming months? Let us know in the comments below.
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Bryan M. Wolfe has written about technology for over a decade on various websites, including TechRadar, AppAdvice, and many more. Before this, he worked in the technology field across different industries, including healthcare and education. He’s currently iMore’s lead on all things Mac and macOS, although he also loves covering iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. Bryan enjoys watching his favorite sports teams, traveling, and driving around his teenage daughter to her latest stage show, audition, or school event in his spare time. He also keeps busy walking his black and white cocker spaniel, Izzy, and trying new coffees and liquid grapes.
I would love to see a M1 iPad Pro. It's time to upgrade and the A12z just wasn't enough. If it would have been an A13x I would have made the jump.
Apple's been on a 2 year schedule since the A10X for the iPad Pro SoC's. So I'm sure we'll see an A14X this Spring, along side a new M1-variant (maybe 2 variants?) for another round of Mac updates.
The only thing I want is an iPad Pro Mini. I love the 7.9" form factor as my handwritten notes tablet, ebook reader and general browsing. I can't see a compelling reason to upgrade any other Apple devices I have. Still love my XS, AirPod Pro's are perfect for what I use them for, PowerBeats Pro's work great in the gym, I can't think of a single reason to upgrade my Watch 5 and the iCan's look ridiculous so I'll keep my Studio's for weed whacking, leaf blowing & mowing the lawn.
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