Are You Ready for Some New Apple Hardware?

Share This:

Despite the fact that we just got brand new hardware from Apple just yesterday in the HomePod, let’s be honest. It isn’t for everyone. However, thanks to Apple’s wide ranging product lineup, there’s always something else coming just around the corner. In this case, it may be sooner than you think. According to a few different reports over the last week or so, we have a pretty good idea about as many as eight new Apple products that will be released over the course of this year.

Look Ma. No Wires!

The Apple Post reports that a BestBuy employee has spilled the beans and revealed the first of Apple’s coming new releases. The AirPower charging mat, which was originally announced during the 2017 WWDC Keynote, will arrive in March. The employee said that the store will stock and sell the AirPower both online and in store on launch day. The rumored retail price, which was revealed by Polish retailer X-Kom late last year, is around $200.

The same BestBuy employee also said that another minor Apple hardware release will come at the same time. The new charging case for the very popular AirPod wireless earbuds will also land along with AirPower. While BestBuy will immediately stock a refreshed version of the AirPods with the new wireless charging case, the case alone will not be made available as a separate part for purchase. This indicates that the separate part for existing AirPod owners may be an Apple Store exclusive.

The Modern Apple

Last year, the iPhone X appeared in beta firmware for the HomePod as the “Modern iPhone.” When that firmware was left unsecured and leaked online, an embedded icon that was discovered in it confirmed the shape of the new iPhone, and most importantly, the existence of “The Notch.” Now we have reports that the iOS 11.3 beta firmware contains references to the “Modern iPad.” The consistency of this leak with last year’s likely indicates that a new iPad Pro design with Face ID is very likely more than just a rumor, and that we should see the device this year.

The only mysteries left here are whether Apple will refresh both the 10.5″ and 12.9″ versions of the iPad Pro, and when the release will fall. Even though the 10.5″ model is only a year old and the 12.9″ was refreshed at the same time after the original was on the market for close to two years, I think it is likely that Apple will release redesigns of both at the same time, rather than staggering them. As for release timeframe, for the same reasons I wouldn’t be surprised to see Apple push this release back a little further into the year than the early Summer iPad Pro window from last year.

However, when you consider that iOS 12 is now reportedly going to be less ambitious than originally planned, Apple may be looking for more meat to add to this year’s WWDC Keynote. I’m sure that watchOS 5 will be interesting, and we may even see the new Apple Watch demoed, and there is always macOS and possible Mac hardware refreshes. However, beyond that, this year’s feature lineup may come in a lot lighter than last year’s jam-packed event. The iPad Pro hardware refresh and the enhanced features for it that were included in iOS 11 were a big hit at WWDC last year, so these new slimmer iPad Pros with Face ID could fill much the same role this year. As interesting as Face ID coming to a new platform is, getting a smaller, slimmer iPad Pro with the same screen size and even more power is what I find compelling.

The iPhones are Coming

There have already been multiple reports over the last few months that Apple will release three new iPhones with Face ID and the same basic design as the iPhone X later this year. While some of the early iPhone X rumors last year seemed completely outlandish and came from less than reliable sources, Ming-Chi Kuo’s reports of coming iPhone hardware have been consistent and he is a well-known source.

Kuo projected back in October that the three new models would expand Face ID and the X’s design across a more diverse lineup. There would be a direct upgrade to the X at the same screen size, a larger 6.4″ version with the same design and components, and most intriguing of all, a new 6.1″ model with an LCD screen and slightly lower specs. This last model would be significantly less expensive, which could make it the biggest seller of the group.

This week we have some corroboration of Ming-Chi Kuo’s reports on new iPhones and Face ID from ETNews and The Korea Herald. According to both, Apple has selected two Chinese companies to help bolster Face ID component production. One is described as a “growing smartphone company,” while the other is said to be “a popular semiconductor packaging firm.” Face ID hardware was the biggest bottleneck in the rollout of the iPhone X, so if the lineup is to be expanded, production obviously has to be expanded to match, so none of this is surprising, but it does lend credibility to Kuo’s earlier predictions.

The reports say that LG Innotek will continue to be the biggest supplier of these Face ID components, as they were for the iPhone X. They look to be expanding, as they have an announced an $800 million investment into camera modules that are rumored to be for the coming iPhone. However, Sharp has evidently decided to bow out and didn’t renew their deal to be a secondary supplier of these parts.

Anything Else?

So far, we don’t have much in the way of solid rumors on anything else. We do know there is a redesigned Mac Pro on the was, and that it might be available late this year, but that is all we have on it for now. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see new MacBooks and MacBook Pros with updated processors, but there likely won’t be anything groundbreaking there. The iMac may get a spec bump, as well. What about the Mac Mini? Who knows what’s going on with it anymore?

As for other iOS-based devices, there isn’t anything solid on an Apple Watch Series 4 coming this year at this time. As well as it is selling and as little market pressure as Apple has in smartwatches now, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a new model pushed out to early 2019. The Apple TV just got a bump to 4K at the end of 2017, and still doesn’t have a compelling reason for existence, so I can’t believe anything will happen with it this year. All that are left are the iPhone SE, which wouldn’t be anything more than a spec bump, and the lower-cost iPad, There have been some rumblings about it, but because of its place in Apple’s tablet lineup, I don’t see anything happening with it until next year. It certainly won’t be getting Face ID for a while to keep that entry price low.

Based on the massive popularity of the AirPods and the Apple Watch, I would look out for a new wearables product sometime in 2018. I would bet on a high-profile announcement at WWDC if I had to bet on when. It may not be anything fancy or super-expensive, but this is such a fast-growing area for Apple with so much room for various small accessories and devices, expansion just seems like a foregone conclusion.

A recent patent application again revealed that Apple’s interest in AR glasses is ongoing, but those are still well off in the distance. Until Apple can bring them to market, I expect a few small, focused, affordably priced devices to keep the company’s wearables lineup growing and expanding. There haven’t been any rumors to this effect, but we didn’t see any on the AirPods until close to their release, and there was little to no information on the AirPower before it was announced last year at WWDC.

What Apple hardware are you looking forward to this year? Let me know in the Comments section below, on Flipboard, on our Facebook page, or on Twitter @iPadInsightBlog.

Share This:

3 thoughts on “Are You Ready for Some New Apple Hardware?”

  1. You had me until you said the appletv doesn’t have a compelling reason for existing.
    Me: begging to differ.
    Still haven’t cut the cord then?
    The interface is amazing and it’s better than anything else I’ve tried. Chrome cast,amazon fire, Roku.
    It’s just better. AND it links to all my Apple stuff perfectly AND it plays 4K.

    1. Well, I can tell you that there is more depth behind that comment than you might think. I think that the current Apple TV is an overpriced, underdelivering disappointment and massive missed opportunity for Apple. I say this as someone who has owned every Apple TV up until the 4K and was happy with the first three generation products. However, Apple lost me with the fourth gen, and I don’t see this one as anything more than a spec bump to it.

      If you look back, as with Siri, Apple was ahead of the market with a good product for the time. As with Siri, Apple sat on its collective ass and didn’t do a damn thing until it was too late, and it wasn’t enough. Maybe you can tell I’m sore about this, because I am. Most Apple fans have a bone or two to pick with Apple, and this one is mine. I saw the potential that the Apple TV had for gaming back in 2012 and just knew they were going to bring the App Store to the TV and do some real damage. And they waited. And waited. And waited too late. And when they did follow through, it was a complete mess. The App Store on the TV was DOA, and I doubt there is any reviving it now.

      I can understand that you like this device. I have never been a huge fan of the icon vomit interface, but I’ve seen worse. However, unless you have a bunch of purchased movies living in the iTunes cloud, then there IS no unique compelling purpose for the Apple TV. It is a more expensive “me too” device other than that one feature. It does not offer anything more compelling than an Amazon Fire Stick at a much higher price. I do not have any movies purchased through iTunes, so I have no reason to upgrade.

      The fact is, I have not used the fourth gen Apple TV that I own in many months. My Apple Remote died over a year ago, which was easy enough to work around for a while. Unfortunately, when my WiFi Router died, I no longer had a way to switch networks, because the iOS Remote app is based on network connectivity. The thing is, up until I got my HomePod yesterday, I really haven’t cared to part with any money and fool with it. Netflix and YouTube came to Comcast Xfinity last year, and there are several other devices we can stream through, as well. My wife and I use a Fire Stick in our bedroom, and while I don’t just love it, there is no way I would pay more for an Apple TV for the exact same purpose.

      If Apple comes through with some dynamite streaming video content out of all the deals and purchases that they have been making over the last six months, then we may have a different story. The Apple TV might finally have a real purpose beyond being an overpriced Netflix box and crappy App Store experience then. Until then, I will probably go ahead and grudgingly cough up $70 to get a new crappy Remote so that I can use my HomePod to watch movies. The sound quality is good enough that I am finally willing to bother with getting it to work again, but I will be the first to admit that this is an edge case. I can tell you that, as a big Apple fan and one-time proponent of this device, I would not recommend the Apple TV to anyone who didn’t have a large purchased iTunes video content library. Right now, they would be wasting money.

    2. As for your cord-cutting comment, you are correct, and I have absolutely no plans to do that until forced. As a sports fan, none of the current options is that appealing. And even when that changes at some point, all you end up doing is paying more money to multiple outlets for less content, and you are still beholden to the same cable and phone companies for Internet access. By bundling the two together, I actually get more for my money.

      People don’t seem to understand that about 75% of the channels that exist today do so because of cable subsidies and won’t be able to survive stand-alone. I’m talking about channels like History, HGTV, and Food Network that draw respectable ratings and have decent shows. We will ultimately be left with less content and paying more for it because without the pooled buying power of mass cable and satellite subscriptions, each outlet that can make it on its own will have to charge more to its subscribers to survive. Strength in numbers and that buying power will be gone. I think a lot of people are going to end up unhappy with where the cord cutting road ultimately leads when the current system finally becomes unsustainable.

Comments are closed.