If you follow the Apple News cycle on Twitter, then you are probably aware of well-known leaker @L0vetodream. He’s famous not only for his accuracy, but also his cryptic and often poetic rumor delivery. While the flurry of Apple leaks and rumors that he and several others were a part of from summer to fall has subsided, he left us with an interesting parting nugget a few weeks ago that may set him apart from the rest of the crowd.
On November 14th, L0vetodream had the following to say:
You’ll get a Christmas surprise from Apple（PS：Winter exclusive、good for winter）
— 有没有搞措 (@L0vetodream) November 14, 2020
Considering that Apple was coming off an unprecedented run of hardware releases broken up over three separate streamed events, this prediction was very unexpected and a bit hard to believe. As reliable as L0vetodream has been, he went out on his own this time. There hasn’t been much if any corroboration on this one, but he has stood firm behind it.
However, things changed two days ago. That’s when MacRumors ran a story based on a leaked internal memo from Apple that they claim they received from a reliable source:
In an internal memo this week, obtained by MacRumors from a reliable source, Apple informed service providers that it has AppleCare-related changes planned for Tuesday, December 8 at approximately 5:30 a.m. Pacific Time. Specifically, Apple has advised technicians to prepare for new product SKUs, new/updated product descriptions, and new/updated product pricing, according to the memo.
Ok, that’s interesting. But what does AppleCare have to do with a new piece of hardware arriving just before Christmas? Well, the MacRumors article goes on to say that such memos typically precede Apple’s hardware releases and are sent to technicians and authorized service providers. Maybe L0vetodream knew what he was talking about all along, as a release on Tuesday with delivery starting between Friday and early the week of December 14 is about as late into the Christmas shopping season as you can get.
So what could Apple be putting out into the world this coming Tuesday morning? Since this release isn’t going to be accompanied by an event (we would already know if one was coming), then this will likely be a single item that they don’t consider to be important enough to require announcement at an full event. Whatever this is, it will arrive via a press release.
Unless this is something out of left field that hasn’t been reported on before, the prime candidates are the leftovers from this year’s Apple event rumors. You have AirTags, which have supposedly be ready to release for a while now. This is the primary candidate, in my opinion. Even though this is a new product for Apple, these are accessories and wouldn’t have to be released at an event. Also, with all of the shopping happening at this time of year, some Apple users may be interested in picking up a reliable tracking device for a new gift.
While less likely, the AirPods Studio over the ear headphones also have to be considered. Apple supposedly had production issues that delayed their release from the predicted fall window. While it’s possible those issues have been resolved, I have to think a set of high end cans with the price tags that have been rumored from $350 all the way to $750 warrant release at an event. That’s also a very high price for a last-minute gift. Last we heard, the Studios will be announced at an event in the spring of 2021, hopefully alongside new Mini-LED iPad Pros.
Another possibility could be a refreshed Apple TV 4K. There were a couple of rumors this fall that mentioned Apple was working on a new one with an updated processor and potentially an Apple-made game controller to bolster Apple Arcade. Even if the gaming emphasis doesn’t pan out, a new model is certainly due at this point as the current Apple TV 4K is over two years old. Also, since this would just be a refresh of a current product, it wouldn’t really need the full event treatment.
That’s all I or most other Applr bloggers have come up with. I don’t think we see any new Macs or iPads this year, and the Apple Watch and iPhones are obviously out the door and done. A new HomePod isn’t due out until 2021 and would have been released alongside the new Mini. Anything else in the works, such as AR or VR products, are much further off and definitely wouldn’t be announced via a press release. These three devices are the only ones we’ve heard about that really make sense.
So what do you think? Will it be one of the AirTags, Apple TV 4K or AirPods Studio, or do you think this will be a real Apple surprise? Let me know what you are leaning towards in the Comments below or on Twitter @iPadInsightBlog.