Even with the global chip crunch continuing to throw wrenches in largescale gadget production, Apple seems to be prepping for multiple major product launches with several events expected to be scheduled throughout the fall.
In the most recent edition of his Power On newsletter, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman posted a revamped forecast of upcoming Apple devices including some updated specs for the next iPhone, Apple Watch, and even some info about the long-awaited MacBook Pro refresh with Apple’s new M1X chip.
Last year, due to what was believed to be supply chain issues, the iPhone 12 launch was delayed slightly until October. However, for 2021, it appears the iPhone launch will be retaking its usual slot in September. And despite Gurman claiming this year’s iPhone will be an “S” model (aka no major design updates), he says Apple will likely call the next iPhone the iPhone 13 instead of the iPhone 12s, even with 13 often regarded as an unlucky number in many countries.
For the iPhone 13, new features are expected to include a new Cinematic Video mode, new AI-powered camera filters, a faster A15 processor, and perhaps most importantly, a new ProMotion screen setting with support for a 120Hz refresh rate. And like last year, the iPhone 13 line is expected to be available in two sizes for the standard model (5.4 and 6.1 inches), with the iPhone 13 Pro available in 6.1 and 6.7-inch sizes.
Alongside the iPhone 13, it seems likely that a new Apple Watch, iPad Mini, and new AirPods will also make an appearance at Apple’s September event, with the Apple Watch Series 7 set to get a slightly revamped design with flatter sides (similar to current iPhones and iPads), and an expansion of Apple’s Time to Walk service with new celebrity guides.
As for the standard AirPods, Apple is giving its cheapest non-Beats earbuds a design refresh too, with the new model said to feature shorter stems and an all-new in-ear shape similar to the AirPods Pro. However, it remains to be seen if Apple will follow Samsung’s lead and add some kind of active noise-canceling tech to its most affordable AirPods. And for anyone who has been waiting for an update to Apple’s small tablet, Gurman claims the iPad Mini is also getting a complete redesign with thinner bezels.
After September, things get a little hazy when it comes to the order in which Apple will announce its other refreshed products, though Gurman seems confident that Apple will have new 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pros with beefier M1X chips available sometime before the end of November. And separately in a new research note, longtime Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says the inclusion of new mini LED displays that offer better brightness and contrast on the upcoming MacBook Pros will begin to drive adoption of mini LED displays across the industry.
“We believe that MacBooks, not iPads, mainly drive Mini LED panel shipments,” says Kuo. “MacBook shipments have not grown much in the past few years. However, we expect MacBook shipments to grow significantly by 20% YoY, or more in 2021 and 2022, due to the adoption of mini LED panels, Apple Silicon, and all-new designs.”
Elsewhere, Apple is even expected to convert AppleCare+ for Mac into an annual subscription, allowing users to purchase extended care one year at a time instead of needing to fork out for three years of care at purchase. This change is actually already available for people purchasing AppleCare+ directly on their new laptops, but later this fall, customers will be getting similar options at Apple retail stores and even by phone. The one downside is that purchasing AppleCare+ one year at a time will cost more than purchasing three years of service in bulk.