It is safe to say that Apple managed to drive every industry by surprise in 2020. And 2021 seems to be no different with an exciting lineup from iPhone 13 to AirPods 3rd generation and beyond. Grapevine has it; this year is going to get bigger with the Apple releases. Let’s look at the upcoming Apple products in 2021.
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What to expect from Apple in 2021: iPhone 13, SE Plus, AirTags, & more
iPhone 13 series
TF International Securities Analyst and our favorite Apple rumor monger, Ming-Chi-Kuo, released a research note about the tentative iPhone 13 series. Here is what it reads.
- iPhone 13 series will release in similar sizes as the previous release.
- The upper two variants might receive a camera upgrade to 6-element lenses with ultra focus. Don’t get upset if camera hardware updates are not seen in the coming future.
- A speculated wireless variant in the discussions.
- iOS 15 update is rumored to get enhanced Siri, flexibility with widgets, and a lot more.
However, Kuo predicts that iPhone 13 will not have mass-production issues, unlike the iPhone 12 series affected by the pandemic. I am counting on the September release for the new iPhones, with enhanced performance and continued Apple satisfaction.
iPhone SE Plus
Rumored to release in April 2021 with the new AirPods Pro, Apple has remained tight-lipped about this release in particular. Japanese Blog ‘Mac Otakara’ claims this third-generation variant to have a bigger screen with a 5.5-inch or a 6.1-inch display, which is predicted to launch in September again.
This means Apple might have a second-generation launch with the OG 4.7 inch display in April and come up with the bigger screen under the $500 model by September.
Apple Watch Series 7
Predicting Apple Watch Series launch is a fun game at work for two reasons. Apple has released a watch every year since 2015; two last year, thus I expect a release for sure.
While the release is far, far away in the future, the species are a little harder to find. Patently Apple, however, found Apple researching on improving battery life of the wearables without increasing the size. Apple indeed is pushing its limits hard by working on the battery capacity; I mean, aren’t we happy with the 18-24 hours capacity already?
If you’ve closely observed the releases, Apple makes sure to launch a health upgrade every year. Staying true to the traditions, don’t get too surprised to see a blood pressure monitoring upgrade with the new releases.
We saw significant awareness about mental health due to the ongoing pandemic. Wouldn’t it be good if Apple comes up with updates in that saga as well? A couple of trustworthy Apple leakers have confirmed the presence of a tracker that will warn you against panic attacks. Way to go, Apple!
Remember how YouTuber and a popular rumor monger Jon Prosser, accidentally leaked a 3D animation of AirTags. Apple also accidentally referred to AirTags in a YouTube video last April, confirming the release of AirTags sooner. So what are these trackers, and why do we need them?
AirTags are tiny devices that will help you track your personal belongings, such as wallet, car keys, backpacks, etc., and would notify via a push notification when separated from a tagged item. There is no ambiguity in the release date yet, so I am hoping for a September release.
After launching two variants in 2019, Apple did not have a new AirPods release in 2020, making 2021 an inevitable release year. However, Apple did have a surprise debut in the over-ear headphones industry, which kept the trillion-dollar company connected to the audio business.
AirPods 3 are predicted to have a spring release this year, and March seems the right time as the brand won’t possibly wait till December.
AirPods 3 will have an amalgamation of AirPods 2 and AirPods Pro; this means AirPods 3 is speculated to have reduced stem size to fit the ears better. A Chinese website, 52audio, posted leaked X-ray images of the anticipated model, which shows Apple’s plan to squeeze the device in the compact case to reduce these earbuds’ cost.
However, AirPods 3 may not have active noise cancellation at all. I am hoping for more color options, though. (who wouldn’t want black AirPods?)
To support Apple’s two-year transition to M1 chips from Intel chips, Apple plans to release MacBooks’ redesigned models towards the second half of 2021, as claimed by the analyst Ming-Chi-Kuo. Apple plans to release two MacBook Pro models in 2021 and possibly another MacBook Air model in 2022. Here is what we should expect from these models.
MacBook Pro is getting redesigned just like the new iMacs and might ship in two variants; 14-inch and 16-inch. The mini LED panels will be improved in the coming models because M1 chips cost much lower than Intel chips, and thus better-LED variants can be expected.
Apart from the improved LED displays and better designs, these MacBooks are envisioned to be cost-efficient considering the reduced chip prices. With two new variants in the market by the second half of 2021, Apple will now be selling three MacBook Pro variants: 13 inches, 14 inches, and 16 inches.
Apple is not planning to release any MacBook Air variants this year. Hopefully, we will have more details about the device in the coming months with the new launches.
I was hoping that Apple does something with the Touch Bar in MacBook Pro this year. Turns out the brand might have heard me after all!
In a research note with TF International Securities, Kuo said that the physical function keys would replace the Touch Bar. Furthermore, Gurman claimed that Apple had tested new MacBook Pro models without a Touch Bar in a Bloomberg report. Here’s his recent tweet;
iPad Pro 12.9″
Apple had majorly updated all the iPads in 2020, but the iPad mini hasn’t received any updates. Coming to think of it, the iPad Mini has not received any updates after March 2019. Does this mean Apple is redesigning the iPad Mini?
If they are, I am counting on bigger screen size and creative approach to the Home button, maybe not having it to enhance the design appeal.
Another rumor is that we might have new iPads coming this March; let’s call them iPad Pro. The all-new iPad Pro is expected to be thinner, lighter, and faster. This model will have a whopping 12.9-inch screen and will get the highly anticipated display upgrade, such as LED screens, for instance. Japanese people have strong rumors of iPad Pro going official this March.
AirPods Max in 2021
Labeled as AirPods Studio before the launch, AirPods Max were a surprise reveal for Apple lovers last December. According to the rumor monger Jon Prosser, AirPods Max were supposed to be launched as two variants, a plastic ‘sporty’ variant around $350 and a luxury variant under $599.
Well, he wasn’t much far away from the $549 tag that these headphones came out with, so we might expect a sporty version soon.
There were a lot of rumors that went unanswered or predicted incorrectly after the launch of AirPods Max. This gives me a ray of hope that the coming variants this year might have many features.
Either way, a sporty version or a version with neck detection would be a great deal. Don’t be too ambitious, though, for Apple may go against releasing any updates in 2021 and wait for another year before the grand reveal. However, it wouldn’t be a bad release if they come up with case alternatives this year, considering the negative reviews that the company has received about them.
Apple TV Set-Top Box
A report by Nikkei Asia fuels the rumor about Apple TV Set-Top box. A new Apple TV is all we have been hearing about since its forecast in iOS 13.4 in January. It was speculated to have an A12 chip back then and 64GB and 128GB storage options.
However, another rumor claims an A12X Bionic chip with an updated remote in iOS 14 code. Another rumor also claims the use of the A14 chip with the iPhone 12 lineup. “T1125”, the codename for Apple TV, is all we know for now. I sincerely hope all these rumors to be accurate and have multiple Set-Top variants launching this year. Apple is yet to launch an upgrade to the 4K Apple TV after its last update in September 2017.
With MacBooks getting upgraded in 2020 with Apple’s silicon chip this year, iMacs are expected to receive more significant updates. And the upgrades will bring in a lot of add-on design updates, starting from the display, of course. Rumor has it; the new iMac will either have an iPad look-alike screen or a bigger screen with the existing design.
We might see a 23-inch variant other than the OG 21.5 inches and 27 inches in the market. The 23-inch variant will be similar to the 21.5-inch variant, but the bigger screen size is possible due to the reduced bezels.
Apple Ecosystem beyond 2021
“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”
Steve Jobs has rightly said the above line. Staying loyal to his ideology, Apple manages to think a step ahead and works on products ahead of time. These are a few products that have been in the pipeline for a couple of years now and are expected to launch in the coming years.
Bloomberg first reported in 2017 that Apple plans to launch its AR headset in 2020 sometime. The same year, Financial Times suggested that Apple plans on launching its AR Glasses with 3D cameras. Apple confirmed in 2019 that it is working on ‘some’ kind of Augmented Reality device, adding fire to the rumors.
Kuo believes that AR glasses will be heavily dependent on iPhones, just like the first generation of Apple Watches. Probably, Apple is working on reducing the weight of the glasses because they need not weigh heavier than standard glasses but has to manage the hardware with the same weight.
Apple has filed many patents in the previous years claiming new technologies that will provide 3D virtual views of a user’s environment with virtual content. While I am relying on Augmented Reality Glasses’ generic idea as their upcoming device, but considering Apple’s innovation heights, it can be a new device as a whole.
Apple had announced autonomous cars in 2015. Since then, we have heard a lot of rumors regarding the same. These autonomous cars are expected to be electric cars operating on battery sources, might even go solar in their energy consumption.
Apple is most likely to have a tie-up with Hyundai to begin producing these cars by 2024 and get them in the market by 2030. However, Apple did seek permission to test 200 cars in 2017 in California under the name Project Titan.
Apple Cars look promising and support Apple’s vision of going Carbon Neutral by 2030. I admire one rumor in particular, which is the use of Apple ID as car keys. The car also claims to feature the infamous LiDAR scanners.
Apple has been planning to launch foldable iPhones in the coming two years, which will be two screens connected with a hinge. Despite the hinge, the iPhone looks flawless and doesn’t seem to look like two screens connected. A Taiwanese website, Economic Daily News, has also claimed that two of these models passed durability tests earlier, completed at the Foxconn factory in Shenzhen, China.
Under this category, the prototype resembles a lot of the YouTuber Jon Prosser prototype in June this year. However, not many rumors have been circulated about these models’ development so far and the features that these phones may have, setting them apart.
More products coming up?
Apple events are a different vibe. Be it the surprise releases or WWDC, Apple events are appreciated for their execution, their line of products, and whatnot. I am looking forward to the new MacBook Pro variants and AirPods Pro. Meanwhile, what is that one product that you cannot wait to release this year? Let me know in the comment section below.
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