Gurman says Apple is working on "a range of augmented and virtual-reality devices" based around a new 3D sensor system, which will arrive first on a new iPad Pro slated for release in the first half of next year, and followed by the 2020 iPhones later in the year.
A new iPad Pro for release as early as the first half of 2020 will feature a new module with two camera sensors, up from one on the current model, and a small hole for the 3-D system, letting people create three-dimensional reconstructions of rooms, objects and people. The Cupertino, California-based technology giant also plans to add the sensor to new high-end iPhones later in 2020, along with 5G networking capabilities, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing unannounced products.
Moving beyond existing devices, Apple is said to be targeting 2021 or 2022 for the release of a combination VR and AR headset focused on "gaming, watching video and virtual meetings." A lighter weight set of AR glasses could follow as soon as 2023.
The 3D sensor system to be used in the upcoming is said to be a more advanced version of the current Face ID sensor, and Apple's engineering teams are working on creating linkages to the new "rOS" operating system for these headsets that will let them work with existing iOS devices.
Apple is ramping up hiring for a team working on new HomeKit-based devices and software, having posted at least 15 openings for engineering positions on the team in the last month, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman.
The report claims the efforts are headed by Andreas Gal, the former CTO of Mozilla who joined Apple last year following the iPhone maker's acquisition of Silk Labs, an artificial intelligence startup that had created a privacy-focused security camera and smart home hub system.
Details are vague, but one possibility is said to be new smart home devices beyond the HomePod speaker. Apple is also said to have explored creating a wide range of smart home accessories, such as modules for opening and closing windows, cabinets, and doors, but those efforts were reportedly put on hold.
Apple has targeted a 2020 release for its augmented reality headset, although the timeframe could be pushed back if the product needs more development, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman.
The report claims the glasses are expected to wirelessly pair with an iPhone to display information such as messages, emails, and maps over the wearer's field of vision. It would also be possible to play games on the headset, with Apple reportedly considering having an App Store for the headset.
We're just three days away from Apple's event at Steve Jobs Theater, which kicks off Tuesday at 10 a.m. Pacific Time. Apple will be live streaming the event via its website, the Apple Events app on Apple TV, and YouTube. MacRumors will have full coverage of the announcements as they unfold — stay tuned!
The upcoming fingerprint reader would be embedded in the display, enabling users to unlock the iPhone by placing a finger almost anywhere on the screen, and it would complement rather than replace the existing Face ID system. This would give users the convenience of two biometric authentication options.
Face ID and Touch ID each have their weaknesses, such as Face ID not working well when an iPhone is laying flat on a table, or Touch ID not playing friendly with wet fingers. With both systems, users would have the best of both worlds, using the authentication option that is better in a given situation.
Several major Android smartphone makers have adopted in-screen fingerprint scanners over the past few years, including Samsung.
Apple is also working on its first low-cost iPhone since the iPhone SE, which could launch as early as the first half of 2020, according to Bloomberg. As Nikkei reported earlier this week, the device is said to look similar to the iPhone 8, including a 4.7-inch display and a Touch ID home button.
The iPhone 8 currently retails for $599 and up, while the iPhone SE started at $399, but was later discounted to $349.
Bloomberg's Mark Gurman and Debby Wu have shared expectations for Apple's fall product lineup and beyond, revealing new details plus existing rumors about upcoming iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Mac, HomePod, and AirPods models.
Starting with the iPhone, the report claims the widely rumored triple-lens rear camera system on the higher-end models will enable a larger field of view for capturing ultra-wide-angle photos and videos, in addition to improving low-light photos. New editing tools while recording video are also expected.
The high-end iPhones will look nearly identical to the current models from the front, but at least some colors on the back will have a new matte finish, according to the report. Interestingly, he adds that the new iPhones should better withstand drops due to an unspecified "new shatter-resistance technology."
The report claims a new multi-angle Face ID sensor that captures a wider field of view will enable users to unlock the next iPhones more easily, even when the devices are laying flat on a table for example.
Other features outlined for 2019 iPhones include "dramatically enhanced" water resistance and faster A13 processors with a new co-processor known internally as "AMX" or "matrix." As for the next iPhone XR, the report corroborates rumors of it gaining a dual-lens rear camera and a new green color option.
As for the iPad, the report claims both the 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro will be refreshed in 2019 with improved cameras and faster processors. The report also backs the rumor of a 10.2-inch iPad launching later this year.
The report concludes that Apple plans to launch a new 16-inch MacBook Pro with slim bezels later this year, as well as new AirPods with water resistance and noise cancelation and a cheaper HomePod with reduced tweeters as early as 2020.
Tuesday, September 10 is the widely predicted date of Apple's traditional iPhone event, just under three weeks away.
Apple's supply chain is currently aiming to produce components for up to 75 million iPhones in the second half of this year, roughly the same as in the same time period last year, according to Bloomberg. The production targets suggest Apple expects iPhone demand to stabilize this year after recent dips in unit sales largely offset by increases in average prices.
2019 iPhone dummy units
Jeff Pu at GF Securities estimates that shipments of newly released iPhones will rise to 74 million in the second half, up about 7% from his estimate of 69 million last year, while TF International analyst Ming-Chi Kuo forecast that Apple would sell 75 million to 80 million new iPhones in the second half of 2018. This year’s volumes may signal stabilization after a year of uncertainty, though that’s a far cry from the double-digit growth numbers of years past.
As Bloomberg notes, the fact that suppliers are planning for production of 75 million units doesn't mean Apple will sell that many, but suppliers are also reportedly capable of pushing output to 80 million units if demand calls for it. As always, Apple will assess demand following the launch of the new iPhones and adjust production accordingly.
Apple has also stopped publicly reporting unit sales of iPhones and other products in its quarterly earnings releases, making it more difficult for analysts and others to track those numbers over time and requiring them to calculate unit sales based on reported revenue numbers and estimated average prices.
We're expecting this year's new iPhones to look very similar to the current lineup, with three new models serving as successors to the iPhone XS, XS Max and XR at the same display sizes. The most obvious external difference will be the rear camera, which will be housed in a square bump and see the iPhone XS and XS Max successors bump up to three lenses from the current two while the iPhone XR successor moves from one lens to two.
Less than a month ahead of Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman has outlined his expectations for iOS 13, macOS 10.15, watchOS 6, and more. We've provided a summary below.
A new systemwide Sleep Mode that can be toggled in Control Center to turn on Do Not Disturb, darken the Lock Screen, and mute all notifications
A revamped Messages app with a WhatsApp-like feature that enables users to set a profile picture and display name, and choose who sees it, and a dedicated menu for Animoji and Memoji stickers
A revamped Maps app will make it easier to set frequent locations, like home or work addresses, and then navigate there. Improved grouping of frequent locations with ability to add photos.
A revamped Reminders app with four default sections laid out in a grid: tasks to be done today, all tasks, scheduled tasks, and flagged tasks
A revamped Books app with updated progress tracker and new rewards system
A revamped Health app with an improved view of daily activity, more comprehensive menstrual cycle tracking, and more
A revamped Mail app with ability to mute individual threads, block incoming email from certain contacts, and simpler folder management
New default swipe-based keyboard option like SwiftKey
New feature that will let users use their iPad as an external display for a Mac, complete with support for Apple Pencil, notifications, and more, as previously reported by 9to5Mac
A combined Find My iPhone and Find My Friends app, and possibly a Tile-like tag for tracking devices, as previously reported by 9to5Mac
User interface tweaks, including a new animation when launching the multitasking pane and closing apps and tweaks to the home screen on iPad
iPad is getting some unique features, including an updated interface for multi-tasking, tweaks to the home screen, and the ability to cycle through different versions of the same app
A more comprehensive Accessibility menu on the main page of the Settings app with improved hearing aid support and more
Performance improvements and bug fixes
Marzipan: iPhone and iPad apps can be easily ported to the Mac with new SDK that simplifies the cross-platform development process. This is said to be the first step in a plan to merge iPhone, iPad, and Mac apps into a single package that can run on any of those devices by 2021.
Apple Music, Podcasts, and merged Find My iPhone and Find My Friends apps
Last month, Apple lowered its revenue guidance for the first quarter of its 2019 fiscal year by up to $9 billion due to fewer iPhone upgrades than it anticipated, primarily due to economic weakness in the Greater China region.
Bloomberg's Mark Gurman previously reported that Apple reassigned some of its marketing staff to focus on bolstering sales of its latest iPhone lineup in late October, around the time the iPhone XR launched. The report cited an unnamed source who described the efforts as a "fire drill."
Senior retail staff were also tasked with making sure other employees were suggesting upgrades, according to Gurman:
In December, as Apple executives worried about demand, the company asked retail employees to promote the new iPhones using methods not seen before. Technicians were told to push iPhone upgrades to consumers with out-of-warranty devices. Senior sales staff had to make sure other retail workers were suggesting upgrades, and easels offering generous trade-in deals for the iPhone XR were erected in stores. Apple's online homepage was also replaced with reduced iPhone pricing that required a trade-in of older models.
We presume this refers to Genius Bar technicians at Apple Stores, but there is also a network of Apple Authorized Service Providers, some of which double as authorized resellers that offer the latest Apple products for sale.
It's unclear if the tactics had any influence on Ahrendts stepping down from her position. Unlike her short-lived predecessor John Browett, who reportedly pushed Apple retail employees to aggressively upsell products, Ahrendts focused on the experience with free Today at Apple creativity sessions and more.
Last month, Apple CEO Tim Cook admitted that "customers are holding on to their older iPhones a bit longer than in the past." In a letter to shareholders, Cook said Apple is undertaking and accelerating initiatives to improve its results, such as making it simple to trade in a phone at its stores.
Apple's reported efforts to push iPhone upgrades creates an interesting juxtaposition. On one hand, the company's environmental chief Lisa Jackson recently said customers using its devices longer "is the best thing for the planet," and on the other hand it is more aggressively encouraging customers to buy a new iPhone.
Skip to 1:23:51 mark for Lisa Jackson's comments
Whether the tactics are effective will be harder to gauge going forward, as Apple no longer discloses unit sales in its quarterly earnings report. Apple forecasted revenue between $55 billion and $59 billion in the current quarter, which would be down from $61.1 billion in the year-ago quarter.
Apple is planning its own over-ear headphones for as early as the second half of 2019, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman.
Gurman briefly mentioned the more specific timeframe in a report claiming that Sonos is also developing a high-end pair of wireless, over-the-ear headphones that could be launched by next year. He previously said the Apple headphones could debut as early as this year, so the "second half" distinction is new.
Gurman previously reported that the headphones will use Apple branding and be positioned as a higher-end alternative to the company's line of Beats headphones. He also said Apple originally intended to introduce the headphones by the end of 2018, but faced development challenges causing a delay.