Apple saw both successes and failures in 2019. Whether it was the highs of the iPhone 11 Pro, seeing more and more AirPods in people’s ears, or the lows of MacBook Pro keyboard recalls or having to ditch AirPower for good, it was certainly an eventful year.
But that was 2019. A new year, means a new release cycle, but what can we expect from the Cupertino-based company? Will the iPhone boost back to its former sales glory with the introduction of a 5G model, what will happen to the HomePod, and can the success of the AirPods be replicated for yet another year?
Here we predict what we expect will happen with your favourite Apple products and services in 2020.
In 2019 Apple spilt the iPhone range into the standard iPhone and the Pro range. That new formula is likely to remain when Apple presumably launches the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro in September.
Those models are likely to continue to focus on improving the camera, while there is talk that the Pro range will move away from featuring a Lightning connection to USB-C to fit in with the iPad Pro line. There is also talk that the iPhone 12 will come in three sizes (5.4-, 6.1-, and 6.7-inch).
Perhaps the biggest advancement however is the expectation that the iPhone 12 Pro will feature 5G. The move, which is all but confirmed, follows the publicly announced partnership with Qualcomm in 2019 and will have given time for carriers around the world to roll out their 5G networks beyond the first wave of major cities.
Outside of the iPhone 12 release schedule, there are also rumours that Apple will launch an update to the iPhone SE. Although we’ve seen no real confirmation of this, it’s a rumour that keeps coming up year on year, and suspect that if Apple does opt to launch an iPhone SE 2 model it will be earlier in the year rather than alongside the iPhone 12 models.
A new iPad Pro
Apple skipped an update to the iPad Pro range in October of 2019 suggesting that it could move to a Spring iPad Pro 2020 instead.
Expectations here would be improved an improved processor and an improved camera with 3D depth sensing to benefit from the learnings of the iPhone XS or iPhone 11 range.
The iPad Air could also get a mid-year spec bump too, although with the design fairly locked in and popular, we suspect that we’re unlikely to see many changes, or much of a fanfare.
MacBook Pro 14-inch
With Apple announcing a new screen size and keyboard for the 15-inch model we very much expect Apple to continue this approach to its current 13-inch model. That means a 14-inch MacBook Pro with the new scissor-mechanism keyboard.
While rumours wishfully want Apple to ditch the intel processor and use an Apple internally built processor instead, we suspect it is still too early in the process for this to happen and that’s more a 2021 or 2022 move.
As for the MacBook Air we would also expect this model to get a speed boost, as most of the MacBook ranges do each year, and a move to the new keyboard design as well, especially if sales of the MacBook Pro 16-inch model are fruitful.
Apple Watch Series 6
Apple Watch only got a small update in 2019 suggesting that Apple was holding back something for 2020 with the Apple Watch Series 6.
That could mean a fingerprint sensor under the screen to save you having to type your pin each time, or it could mean sleep tracking, something that could only be possible if Apple can work out how to improve the battery.
That second feature is going to be harder to achieve considering Apple seemingly went backwards with battery performance after introducing that always-on display.
New Apple AirPods and on-ear headphones
The AirPods and AirPods Pro have been huge runaway successes in 2019 and we expect that trend to continue as more people opt for the company’s in-ear offering.
That could lead Apple to want to expand the range even further, and following rumours in 2019 already, launch a pair of on-ear headphones to offer those that want an even more immerse sound.
After all it’s now had plenty of experience with the Beats line in understanding how headphones work, and that could lead to giving consumers a choice between Apple and the more bass-heavy Beats line.
Will there be a HomePod 2?
Apple’s premium speaker has struggled to gain any ground on the smart speaker market leaving Apple in an interesting predicament as to what it does next. That could mean opting for a smaller and therefore cheaper HomePod 2 experience, or a form factor that would be better suited to sit in the soundbar category to better compliment the Apple TV experience. Approaching two years since the original February launch, so we expect something to happen here, but also for it not really to make an impact in the same way Google and Amazon have with their echo and Assistant ranges.
How will Apple TV+ get on?
With the first wave of TV shows now being watched on Apple TV+, Apple is likely to continue to invest billions in making sure more customers on a variety of platforms have reasons to sign up. That’s especially going to be relevant when the new iPhones launch in Q3 as the first cohort of customers will have run out of their free 12-month subscription.
In terms of hardware, we suspect that Apple will continue to try and get the Apple TV app on as many TVs as possible with announcements as early as CES in January.
As for Apple TV, it missed out on a processor update ahead of the launch of the TV+ service, which was surprising, and with Apple’s new Apple Arcade service also looking to add subscribers, we expect Apple to announce an upgraded Apple TV box in 2020.
Apple AR glasses, Apple Tag, and longshots
Apple introduced a number of new products and services in 2019, and we expect that to continue in 2020. The biggest “new” release, we believe, is Apple’s answer to Tile.
Currently rumoured to be called Apple Tag, the Tile alternative that allows you to find your keys or other important things in your life makes a lot of sense and it continues Apple’s iPhone accessories approach (Watch, Headphones) nicely allowing it to continue to build the iPhone accessory eco-system and make it harder for people to leave the Apple platform.
Another rumoured suggestion, which might be mentioned but are unlikely to make it to market, is a pair of Apple AR glasses. Apple has invested a lot of money and time, supposedly, into pushing the functionality of augmented reality through various apps in very public demos. That’s lead commentators to believe that the company is planning on releasing a pair of AR glasses – however we don’t believe that will be in 2020, but more likely 2021 or 2022.
Other products rumoured in the past include the Apple Car (codenamed Project Titan). Again we believe 2020 isn’t going to be the year this is announced, but we do expect rumours and hearsay to continue to bubble along on the undercurrent keeping up the interest.