Apple May Release Smart Keyboard With Scissor Switches Alongside 2020 iPads

Apple may release a Smart Keyboard with a scissor switch design for its next-generation iPad or iPad Pro models, suggests Taiwanese industry publication DigiTimes, although full details are not available yet.

A paywalled preview of the report vaguely claims that "Apple's next-generation iPad series reportedly will feature a scissor switch keyboard," which is presumably referring to an accessory rather than a built-in hardware keyboard. The full report should be released tomorrow with more details.


In July 2019, reputable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claimed that iPad keyboards would stick with a rubber dome design rather than scissor switches in 2020-21, adding further uncertainty to this report.

Apple switched to a butterfly mechanism for its MacBook Pro keyboard in 2016, and after years of issues with sticky or unresponsive keys, it finally returned to a scissor switch design with the new 16-inch MacBook Pro last October. Kuo expects the 13-inch MacBook Pro and the MacBook Air to follow suit in 2020.

We'll update this post when the full report is released.

Related Roundups: iPad Pro, iPad Air

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Apple Rumored to Be Developing 5G iPad Pro With mmWave Support

Apple is developing a 5G-enabled iPad with mmWave support, according to sources cited by industry publication DigiTimes.


A paywalled preview of the report claims Taiwan's Advanced Semiconductor Engineering will supply antenna-in-package technology for the 5G iPad, in addition to 5G iPhones. While not specified, it is almost certain that this model would be an iPad Pro given 5G is a high-end feature with higher production costs.

While the first 5G iPhones are expected in fall 2020, the report does not indicate when the 5G iPad would be released. Major new features often come to the iPhone before the iPad, but a notable exception was the third-generation iPad receiving LTE support in March 2012, prior to the iPhone 5 in September 2012.

mmWave or millimeter wave is a set of 5G frequencies that promise ultra-fast speeds at short distances, making it best suited for dense urban areas. By comparison, sub-6GHz 5G is generally slower than mmWave, but the signals travel further, better serving suburban and rural areas.

The complete report should be published by tomorrow, and we will update this post if there are any additional details to share.

Related Roundup: iPad Pro

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DigiTimes: Apple Could Launch Two ‘iPhone SE 2’ Models in 2020

Apple could launch a second version of the so-called iPhone SE 2 before the end of the year, according to DigiTimes. The latest prediction from the hit-and-miss industry publication is said to come from sources in Taiwan's supply chain.

The latest news coming from the supply chain is that Apple is likely to add yet another LCD-based model to its iPhone lineup for 2020. This new member will be an upgraded version of the widely speculated ‌iPhone‌ SE2 featuring a 5.5- or 6.1-inch LCD display and available at the end of 2020 or in earlier 2021, said the sources.
Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo expects Apple to release five new ‌iPhone‌ models in 2020 – a so-called ‌iPhone SE 2‌ with a 4.7-inch LCD display in the first half of 2020, followed by a higher-end all-OLED lineup consisting of 5.4-inch, two 6.1-inch, and 6.7-inch models in the second half of the year.

However, some supply chain makers at ‌iPhone‌'s assembly partners claim to have received roadmaps showing production of "six items" of iPhones, claims DigiTimes. According to the report, Taiwan-based driver-IC backend firm Chipbond Technology is said to have landed COF packaging orders from Apple for both LCD devices.

The initial model of the so-called ‌iPhone SE 2‌ is expected to resemble the iPhone 8, including a 4.7-inch display with bezels and a Touch ID home button, but with a faster A13 chip and 3GB of RAM. The device will continue to have a single-lens rear camera, according to Kuo, like the original ‌iPhone‌ SE and the ‌iPhone 8‌.

Related Roundup: iPhone SE 2

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Sensor-Shift Technology Could Bring Image Stabilization to Ultra-Wide Lens on 2020 iPhones

Apple's high-end 6.1-inch and 6.7-inch iPhones in 2020 will adopt sensor-shift image stabilization technology, according to a paywalled report today from hit-or-miss Taiwanese industry publication DigiTimes.


While details are slim, sensor-shift technology could bring image stabilization to the ultra-wide lens on high-end 2020 iPhones.

iPhone 11 Pro models feature optical image stabilization for both photo and video, but only when using the wide-angle or telephoto lenses. Sensor-shift technology could change this, as the stabilization would apply to the camera sensor itself and not be dependant on any specific lens.

Sensor-shifting image stabilization could also result in better shots with attachable lens accessories like the OlloClip.

The report backs rumors that the high-end 6.1-inch and 6.7-inch iPhones will each sport a triple-lens rear camera system with time-of-flight 3D sensing. Largan Precision is said to be the primary supplier of the lenses, fulfilling 80 percent of orders, with Genius Electric Optical picking up the remaining 20 percent.

Taiwan-based ALPS will supply motors for the sensor-shifting stabilization, and Sony will offer CMOS image sensors, the report adds.

Related Roundup: iPhone 12

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GIS and Epistar to Supply Display Components for Mini-LED 12.9-inch iPad Pro

Following on from yesterday, DigiTimes has provided additional details on several Taiwan-based supply chain makers said to be "poised" to receive orders for components that will be used in a 12.9-inch iPad Pro with mini-LED display that Apple plans to launch in 2020.


Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claimed earlier in the week that Apple plans to release four to six products with mini-LED displays over the next two to three years, including a high-end 12.9-inch ‌iPad Pro‌.

Kuo has said the mini-LED displays will "significantly improve productivity and the entertainment experience," and has previously said that mini-LED displays will allow for thinner and lighter product designs, while offering many of the same benefits of OLED displays used on the latest iPhones, including higher contrast ratio, higher brightness, and deeper blacks.

According to DigiTimes, the supply chain makers ready to receive orders for the components include Epistar, General Interface Solution (GIS), Taiwan Surface Mounting Technology (TSMT), Zhen Ding Technology, and Flexium Interconnect.
LED wafer and chip maker Epistar will compete for orders for mini LED chips from Apple through Te Opto, its joint venture with Japan-based Toyoda Gosei, the sources noted. Epistar will supply mini LED chips sized 200-micron x 200-micron and estimates that such an ‌iPad Pro‌ will use up to 10,000 mini LED chips, the sources indicated.

For mini LED backlight units (BLUs), Apple originally chose Radiant Opto-Electronics but the company was conservative about investment in expanding production capacity, the sources said. Consequently, CIS and LG Display are most likely to obtain BLU orders, the sources noted.
Kuo has previously said that future iPad and MacBook mini-LED displays will each use approximately 10,000 LEDs, compared to 576 in Apple's upcoming Pro Display XDR. The TF International Securities analyst has said he also expects each LED will be below 200 microns in size.

GIS is an existing supplier of touch modules and LCD modules used in Apple's iPads. Today's supply chain analysis corroborates a recent Economic Daily News report that GIS will also make the new ‌iPad Pro‌'s mini LED backlight units (BLUs).

Meanwhile, TSMT is expected to be responsible for the surface-mounted technology, and Zhen Ding and Flexium stand a good chance of supplying flexible PCBs, according to DigiTimes' sources.

Kuo expects the new mini-LED ‌iPad Pro‌ to launch in the third quarter of 2020; Apple is widely rumored to refresh the ‌iPad Pro‌ in spring 2020. If it does, another new 12.9-inch model in fall 2020 would certainly be an early addition to the range.

Related Roundup: iPad Pro

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Supply Chain Reports Back Rumors of MacBook Pro and iPad Pro With Mini-LED Displays in 2020

Yesterday, in a research note shared with MacRumors, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said that Apple is planning four to six products with mini-LED displays over the next two to three years, including a 12.9-inch iPad Pro with an A14X chip in the third quarter of 2020 and a refreshed 16-inch MacBook Pro in the fourth quarter of 2020.

Kuo said LG Display and Taiwanese manufacturer GIS will be the most significant benefactors of these mini-LED products starting next year.


Now, those mini-LED plans have been backed by two Taiwanese publications in DigiTimes and the Economic Daily News, with both outlets also reporting that GIS will be a key supplier of mini-LED-related components.

"Apple will introduce a 12.9-inch iPad Pro series featuring mini-LED backlit displays in 2020, with related suppliers set to kick off shipments in the third quarter, according to industry sources," reports DigiTimes, which in a separate report added that Apple also plans to release a new MacBook with a mini-LED display next year.

Likewise, the Economic Daily News reported that Apple will tap GIS for mini-LED display module assembly for an upcoming iPad.

Kuo has previously said that Mini-LED displays will allow for thinner and lighter product designs, while offering many of the same benefits of OLED displays used on the latest iPhones, including good wide color gamut performance, high contrast and dynamic range, and local dimming for truer blacks.

iPads and MacBooks currently use LCDs.

Related Roundups: iPad Pro, MacBook Pro

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DigiTimes: Apple Considering Bundling AirPods With 2020 iPhones

Apple is considering bundling AirPods with new iPhone models in 2020, according to hit-or-miss Taiwanese publication DigiTimes.


The report claims "smartphone vendors including Apple, Samsung, and Xiaomi are looking to bundle their new models with TWS earbuds next year," citing unnamed industry sources. "TWS" or "truly wireless stereo" earphones include the likes of AirPods and Samsung's Galaxy Buds.

We're pretty skeptical about this report due to the price of AirPods, which start at $159. It's hard to imagine Apple including such a costly accessory in the box with new iPhones next year without raising the price of the iPhones overall… not to mention that DigiTimes doesn't have a stellar track record with Apple rumors either.

AirPods are also tremendously popular by all indications, so it is hard to see why Apple would give them away for free when millions of customers are clearly happy to fork over a few hundred dollars for them already. In fact, the new AirPods Pro are in such high demand that Apple is reportedly doubling production.

Apple has included basic, wired EarPods with a Lightning connector in the box with iPhones for several years. Those earphones likely cost Apple very little to manufacture, retailing for just $29 on its website.

While this rumor seems questionable for now, it is certainly possible that Apple simply feels it is time to include something more modern than EarPods with its iPhones. AirPods are already said to be the world's best selling truly wireless earphones, and bundling them with iPhones would only extend that lead.

If it were to happen, we would imagine AirPods would only be bundled with higher-end iPhone 12 Pro models. We're still a little under ten months away from those devices, so we'll see if this rumor gains any traction as time goes on.

Related Roundups: AirPods 2, iPhone 12
Buyer's Guide: AirPods (Buy Now)

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13-Inch MacBook Pro With Scissor Keyboard Expected in First Half of 2020

Following the 16-inch MacBook Pro, Apple plans to release a new 13-inch MacBook Pro with a scissor switch keyboard in the first half of 2020, according to industry sources cited by hit-or-miss Taiwanese publication DigiTimes. A preview of the report was shared with paying subscribers.

16-inch MacBook Pro's new scissor switch keyboard via iFixit

The report claims the display size will remain 13.3 inches, although given the source is DigiTimes, we would not completely rule out hopes of a larger 14-inch display. Wistron and Global Lighting Technologies are said to be among the suppliers of the keyboards for the smaller notebook.

The new 16-inch MacBook Pro features a redesigned scissor switch keyboard, largely based on the standalone Magic Keyboard for the iMac. Given the tried-and-tested design, the keyboard should prove far more reliable than the troublesome butterfly keyboards used across the MacBook lineup in recent years.

The 16-inch MacBook Pro also features a physical Esc key and an inverted-T arrow key layout. It is unclear if the 13-inch MacBook Pro will follow suit.

Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has previously predicted that Apple will transition its entire notebook lineup to scissor switch keyboards in 2020, including all MacBook Pro and MacBook Air models.

It would be hardly surprising if Apple completely moves past its butterfly keyboards, which have suffered from issues with sticky, repeating, or nonfunctional keys since their inception in 2016. Apple continues to offer free repairs to affected customers as part of its worldwide service program.

The entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pro was last updated in July, while higher-end 13-inch models were refreshed in May.

Related Roundup: MacBook Pro
Buyer's Guide: MacBook Pro (Buy Now)

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DigiTimes: Apple Partnering With Valve to Develop AR Headset

DigiTimes is reporting this morning that Apple has partnered with U.S. game developer Valve to develop its rumored AR headset, which is expected to launch next year.


Apple reportedly has partnered with US game developer Valve to develop AR head-mounted display devices, which may be released in the second half of 2020 at the earliest, with Taiwan's ODMs Quanta Computer and Pegatron said to handle the assembly job, according to industry sources.
Creator of the popular Steam digital storefront and delivery platform, Valve launched Steam machine consoles in 2015 and released its first VR headset, Valve Index, in April 2019.

Notably, Valve worked with Apple in 2017 to bring native VR headset support to macOS High Sierra, leveraging the operating system's then-new eGPU support with a Mac version of Valve's SteamVR software. However, Apple's latest partnership with the company is said to be focused on AR, not VR.
Apple will cooperate with Valve on AR headsets rather than VR devices, as its CEO Tim Cook believes that AR can make digital content become part of the user's world and will be as popular as smartphones with consumers. This has also promoted Apple to step up the development of AR software by recruiting more engineers for graphic design, system interface and system architecture segments.
Back in July, DigiTimes reported that Apple had temporarily stopped developing AR/VR headsets and that the team working on them was disbanded in May and reassigned to other product developments.

However, according to the latest information from the Taiwan website's sources, Apple was actually in the process of shifting from in-house development to collaborative development with Valve.

Just last month, respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said Apple was cooperating with third-party brands to launch its first head-mounted AR product. Kuo believes Apple's AR headset is rumored to enter mass production as soon as the fourth quarter of this year in time for an early 2020 launch.

Code found in Xcode 11 and iOS 13 as recently as September has confirmed that Apple is still working on an augmented reality headset of some kind. In addition, there is an icon within the internal Find My app bundlede picting what appears to be an AR or VR headset that looks similar to the Google Cardboard.

MacRumors concept of Apple Glasses

Kuo has said Apple's glasses would be marketed as an iPhone accessory and primarily take a display role while wirelessly offloading computing, networking, and positioning to the iPhone.

As early as November 2017, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman reported that Apple's headset would run a custom iOS-based operating system dubbed "rOS" for "reality operating system." At the time, Gurman said Apple had not finalized how users would control the headset, but possibilities included touchscreens, Siri voice activation, and head gestures.

Apple originally aimed to have its AR product ready by 2019, but the company is said to have been relaxed about not shipping a product until 2020.

Quanta Computer and Pegatron are said to be handling the manufacturing and assembly job for Apple's headset. Quanta can reportedly produce AR headsets at a lower cost by leveraging camera lens technology licensed by Lumus, according to today's report.

DigiTimes' sources often provide reliable information, but the site has a mixed track record when it comes to interpreting that information and accurately deciphering Apple's plans, so treat this report with the necessary degree of skepticism for now until we can corroborate it from other sources.

Related Roundup: Apple Glasses

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Apple Said to Receive 16-Inch MacBook Pro Shipments This Quarter, Launch Timing Remains Unclear

While it is unclear if the widely rumored 16-inch MacBook Pro will launch in 2019 or 2020, the latest report from DigiTimes claims that Apple will begin receiving volume shipments of the notebook in the fourth quarter of this year. Taiwan-based manufacturer Quanta Computer is said to be the key supplier.

The report reiterates that the 16-inch MacBook Pro will have an ultra-thin-bezel design, suggesting the overall size of the notebook might be similar to the existing 15-inch MacBook Pro despite having a larger display.

16-inch MacBook Pro concept by MacRumors

Apple receiving volume shipments of the 16-inch MacBook Pro in the fourth quarter does not necessarily mean the notebook will launch in the fourth quarter. Apple may simply be planning to stockpile the 16-inch MacBook Pro ahead of the U.S. government's proposed 15 percent import tariff on an additional round of Chinese goods, including notebooks, slated to take effect December 15.

Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo originally said the 16-inch MacBook Pro would launch in the fourth quarter of 2019 with an all-new design, including a scissor switch keyboard. As of late, however, Kuo has more vaguely stated that a "new MacBook model" with a scissor keyboard will launch in mid 2020. It's unclear if the "new MacBook model" that Kuo has referred to more recently is the 16-inch MacBook Pro.

Multiple images corresponding to a 16-inch MacBook Pro have been found in macOS Catalina in recent weeks, including one that reveals that Touch ID will likely be separated from the Touch Bar on the notebook.


The leaked Touch Bar design lends credence to the Esc key also being a separate, physical key again, as can be seen when zooming in to the previously leaked 16-inch MacBook Pro icon.


MacRumors has confirmed the location of the Touch Bar image in macOS Catalina. The filename includes "Device16."


DigiTimes previously said the 16-inch MacBook Pro would launch by the end of October, and today is the final day of the month. The site does not have the best track record when it comes to the timing of new Apple products, but its connections within Apple's supply chain are occasionally accurate.

Related Roundup: MacBook Pro
Buyer's Guide: MacBook Pro (Caution)

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