Kuo: Apple Watch Series 6 Models to Feature Faster Performance and Improved Water Resistance

While the Apple Watch Series 5 lineup was released less than two months ago, rumors are already looking ahead to next year.


In a research note with investor firm TF International Securities, seen by MacRumors, noted Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has predicted that 2020 Apple Watch models will feature faster performance, improved water resistance, and improved wireless transmission for potentially faster Wi-Fi and cellular speeds.

Kuo believes all of these advancements will be made possible by Apple's switch to liquid crystal polymer or LCP material for the flexible circuit boards in next year's Apple Watch models, expected to launch in the second half of the year as usual. Series 5 models and earlier use a material known as polyimide or PI.

Dongshan Precision, Avary Holding, and Flexium Interconnect will be the primary LCP suppliers, according to Kuo.

It would not be surprising if so-called Apple Watch Series 6 models feature a faster Apple-designed S chip, as the only known differences with the S5 chip in Series 5 models compared to the S4 chip in Series 4 models is a built-in compass and a new always-on display driver, so a performance bump will be due next year.

As for water resistance, Apple Watch Series 2 models are already suitable for swimming or showering and can be submerged to a depth of up to 50 meters. With further improvements, perhaps Series 6 models could be certified for some high-velocity water activities such as scuba diving or water skiing.

Previous reports have suggested that 2020 Apple Watch models may also feature sleep tracking and MicroLED displays.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 6
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Buy Now)

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Kuo: Apple Expected to Sell at Least 20 Million ‘iPhone SE 2’ Models in 2020

Apple is rumored to be working on an updated lower-cost "iPhone SE 2," which is set to be released in 2020. In a new research note to investors highlighting supplier expectations for the new device that was seen by MacRumors, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has shared some sales predictions.

Kuo believes Apple will ship at least 20 million ‌iPhone SE 2‌ units in 2020, following the device's launch in the first half of the year. An optimistic situation, says Kuo, is 30 million units.

iPhone SE and iPhone 8

According to Kuo, the ‌iPhone SE 2‌ will use a 10-layer Substrate-like PCB (SLP) for its motherboard, which will benefit some iPhone suppliers like Pending Holdings, Xinxing, and AT&S despite the fact that it's expected to be a less expensive component than the SLP used in the iPhone 11 series.

In prior research notes, Kuo has shared quite a lot of detail on the "‌iPhone SE 2‌," which, despite the somewhat misleading name, is actually closer in design and specification to an ‌iPhone 8‌.

The device will feature a 4.7-inch display, a single-lens rear camera, and a Touch ID fingerprint sensor. It will ship with the same A13 chip that's in the ‌iPhone 11‌ and 11 Pro, and it will have 3GB RAM.

The only thing that's "‌iPhone SE 2‌" about the upcoming iPhone is its price, which is expected to be $399. At that price point, it will replace the ‌iPhone 8‌, which Apple currently sells for $449.

Apple's upcoming low-cost iPhone is expected to be a very popular upgrade option for iPhone users who are still holding on to an older model like an iPhone 6 or 6s and are looking for an affordable upgrade option that offers the same speeds and many of the same features as Apple's flagship devices.

It's also expected to be popular in countries where lower-cost devices sell well, such as India and China.

The new iPhone is expected to come out in the spring of 2020, which would see Apple launching it months ahead of when the new 2020 flagship iPhones come out in September.

Related Roundup: iPhone SE 2

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Kuo: ‘iPhone SE 2’ Entering Mass Production in January and Launching at the End of March

Apple's "iPhone SE 2" is scheduled to go into mass production in January 2020 and will launch at the end of March, according to the latest information from reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.


The timing basically tallies with Kuo's previous reports on the so-called "‌iPhone SE 2‌," in which he predicted a Q1 2020 release for the device, which is expected to start at $399.

Relying on historical patterns in Apple's product release schedule to predict future launches is not without risk, but March has traditionally been the launch month of Apple's more affordable iPhone.

The original iPhone SE was announced on March 21, 2016, pre-orders began on March 24 and the device was officially released on March 31, 2016. It was re-released almost a year later on March 24, 2017 with larger storage capacities. Apple has also held special launch events in the last week of March for the last two years.

Specs for the new low-end iPhone are said to include:
  • 4.7-inch display
  • A13 CPU (same as iPhone 11)
  • 3GB LPDDR4X RAM
  • 64GB and 128GB options
  • Space Gray, Silver and Red colors
  • Home button
  • No 3D Touch
Kuo expects the device to look similar to the iPhone 8 and believes it will be a popular upgrade option for existing iPhone 6 and iPhone 6S owners, serving as a "key growth driver" for Apple in 2020. He believes these customers have low desire for new features like Face ID and multiple cameras, suggesting the "‌iPhone SE 2‌" will stick with Touch ID and a single-lens rear camera.

In terms of shipments, Kuo estimates that monthly shipments of the ‌iPhone SE 2‌ will be between 2 million and 4 million. Kuo also expects the ‌iPhone SE 2‌ will use a liquid crystal polymer LCP (Liquid Crystal Polymer) antenna design to facilitate transmission efficiency.

According to other industry sources, LG is in talks with Apple to supply LCD displays for the successor to the iPhone SE, with the panels currently undergoing last-minute quality checks.

Of course, "‌iPhone SE 2‌" might not be the final name of the device, with iPhone 8s and iPhone 9 speculated as other possibilities. With a larger 4.7-inch display, the device won't be as portable as the original iPhone SE, which will surely disappoint fans of that model.

Related Roundup: iPhone SE 2

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Kuo: iPhone SE 2 Launching in Q1 2020 with A13 at $399 Price

Apple is planning on releasing an iPhone SE 2 in the first quarter of 2020 and starting at a $399 price point, according to the latest research report from reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

iPhone SE vs iPhone 8
Kuo goes into more detail about the expected specs of the so called "‌iPhone SE‌ 2" in the latest research note obtained by MacRumors. Specs for the new low-end iPhone are said to include:
  • A13 CPU (same as iPhone 11)
  • 3GB LPDDR4X
  • 64GB and 128GB options
  • Space Gray, Silver and Red colors
  • No 3D Touch
Kuo expects the new ‌iPhone SE‌ 2 will be a popular upgrade option for existing iPhone 6 and iPhone 6S owners.

Despite being referred to as a "‌iPhone SE‌ 2" by Kuo, the analyst expects the form factor of Apple's new budget iPhone to be similar to the iPhone 8.

Related Roundup: iPhone SE

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Kuo: iPad Pro With Rear 3D ToF Camera and Scissor Mechanism MacBooks to Launch in First Half of 2020

Apple will launch a new iPad Pro with a rear-facing 3D Time of Flight camera in the second quarter of 2020, according to a new report out today from Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo and seen by MacRumors.


We've previously heard multiple rumors suggesting a time-of-flight camera system for Apple's 2020 iPhones and iPad Pros, including info from Kuo himself, but this is the first time that he's specified the 3D sensing camera system will be available in new iPad Pro models to be released early next year.

A time-of-flight camera system measures the time that it takes for a laser or LED to bounce off of objects in a room, providing an accurate 3D map of the surroundings. A rear time-of-flight camera would also bolster photo quality and offer new and improved AR applications.

Two of the iPhones set to be released in 2020 will also feature 3D sensing rear camera setups with time-of-flight (ToF) camera lenses, according to a previous note from Kuo in July.

The Apple analyst has also revealed his predicted schedule for Apple's MacBook lineup refresh. We've already learned that Apple is planning to use a scissor mechanism rather than a butterfly mechanism for its upcoming 16-inch MacBook Pro, which is expected to be announced as soon as this month.

However, Kuo has said that after the 16-inch MacBook Pro launches, future Macs coming in 2020 will also swap over to a scissor mechanism rather than a butterfly mechanism, resulting in more durable keyboards that are not as prone to failure from heat, dust and other small particulates.


Kuo now predicts that Apple's refreshed MacBook models will arrive in the second quarter of 2020, suggesting they will feature the much-anticipated scissor mechanism keyboards that the company is adopting wholesale.

Kuo also believes that the first quarter of 2020 will see Apple launch its previously rumored "iPhone SE 2," which Kuo mentioned in a previous research note earlier in the week.

Today's report from the respected Apple analyst also covered Apple's AR headset launch plans, which we've covered in a separate article.

Related Roundups: iPad Pro, MacBook Pro

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Kuo: Apple’s AR Headset to Launch in Second Quarter of 2020

Apple's augmented reality headset will enter mass production as soon as the fourth quarter of this year in time for an early 2020 launch, according to a new report out today from Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo and seen by MacRumors.

An Apple Glasses mockup

In his latest research note with TF International Securities, the analyst says Apple will cooperate with third-party brands to launch its first head-mounted AR product in 2020, with Changying Precision tipped to be the main chassis supplier.

A Kuo report in March claimed Apple would launch an AR product in 2020 that could be ready by the middle of next year. However, Kuo has brought forward his predicted time of release and the analyst now believes the launch window for the product will fall in the second quarter of 2020.

Back in July, a DigiTimes report claimed Apple had suspended its AR headset project, but just last month, code found in Xcode 11 and iOS 13 confirmed that Apple is still working on an augmented reality headset of some kind.

Within the internal Find My app bundle that MacRumors exclusively shared, there is also an icon depicting what appears to be an AR or VR headset that looks similar to the Google Cardboard.


Kuo understands that Apple's AR glasses will be marketed as an iPhone accessory and primarily take a display role while wirelessly offloading computing, networking, and positioning to the iPhone.

Designing the AR glasses to work as an iPhone accessory is also expected to allow Apple to keep the glasses slim and lightweight, rather than trying to pack in all the processing hardware into the one device.

As early as November 2017, Bloomberg reported that Apple was developing an AR headset. Apple originally aimed to have it ready by 2019, but the company was relaxed about not shipping a product until 2020. The report said the headset would run on a new custom operating system, based on iOS, and dubbed "rOS" for "reality operating system."

In addition, today's report underlines Kuo's previous prediction that the most important change to the Apple chassis industry chain in 2020 will be the upgrade of the 5G iPhone's metal mid-frame/chassis.

For Apple's 2020 iPhones, Kuo believes the company will adopt a new metal frame structure reminiscent of the iPhone 4, which will significantly increase the unit cost due to the increase in processing procedures and the integration of composite materials.

Today's report from the respected Apple analyst also covered Apple iPad Pro and MacBook plans for 2020, which we've covered in a separate article.

Related Roundup: Apple Glasses

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Kuo: iPhone 11 Demand and Upcoming Launch of ‘iPhone SE 2’ to Boost Overall iPhone Sales Growth in Q1 2020

Apple will sell around 10 percent more iPhones in the first quarter of 2020, thanks to strong replacement demand for its iPhone 11 series devices and next year's launch of the "iPhone SE 2," claims Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo in his latest research note, seen by MacRumors.

We expect that combined iPhone shipments in 1Q20 will grow around 10% YoY thanks to the iPhone 11's replacement demand boosted by more affordable prices and iPhone SE2's shipments starting in 1Q20. We estimate that iPhone shipment in 1Q20 will be 45–50mn units (iPhone 11 Pro series and iPhone 11 to be 13–15 and 22–24mn units, respectively), which is better than around 42mn units of iPhone shipments in 1Q19 (iPhone XS series and iPhone XR to be around 12 and 14mn units, respectively).
The TFI Securities analyst estimates that iPhone 11 series shipments will reach between 70 and 75 million units in 2019, and he believes that figure may have been higher but for supply constraints. Kuo has previously indicated Apple may have upped orders from suppliers after stronger-than-expected demand for its latest flagship phones.

Specifically, Kuo estimates that shipments of the iPhone 11 Pro in 2019 will be around 37-40 million units, and shipments of the iPhone 11 will be around 36 to 40 million units.

If those figures are accurate, Kuo says Pro series shipments will be lower than last year's equivalent iPhone XS shipments, but only because of a tighter supply caused by "increased production difficulties" of specific iPhone 11 Pro components. Meanwhile, shipments of iPhone 11 will be higher than 2018's iPhone XR, mainly because the iPhone XR didn't start shipping until the middle of the fourth quarter.

Kuo says Apple has increased some suppliers' shipment forecasts or capacity requirements in the fourth quarter to ensure that shipments going into next year meet demand. Boosted by more affordable prices, the high replacement demand for the iPhone 11 could run into the first quarter of 2020, the analyst believes. As a result, Kuo estimates that "iPhone 11 shipments in 1Q20 (22–24mn units) will be better than those of iPhone XR in 1Q19 (14mn units) significantly."

Kuo has previously claimed that Apple plans to release a lower-priced "iPhone SE 2" in the first quarter of 2020. Earlier this month, he said the device will feature a similar form factor design and specifications as the iPhone 8, with a faster A13 chip and 3GB of RAM.

Related Roundups: iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro

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Kuo: Apple to Launch ‘iPhone SE 2’ in Early 2020 With Similar Design as iPhone 8, A13 Chip, and 3GB RAM

Apple plans to release a lower-priced "iPhone SE 2" in the first quarter of 2020, according to noted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.


In a research note with TF International Securities, obtained by MacRumors, Kuo said the device will feature a similar form factor design and specifications as the iPhone 8, with a faster A13 chip and 3GB of RAM:
We forecast that Apple will launch the more affordable iPhone SE2 in 1Q20. For the most part, the form factor design and hardware spec are similar to iPhone 8's. The most significant hardware spec upgrade will be the adoption of the A13 processor and 3GB LPDDR4X. iPhone SE2 will likely increase iPhone's market share and benefit Apple's promotions for service and content. We expect that the iPhone SE2 shipment will reach 30–40mn units in 2020.
Kuo believes the "iPhone SE 2" will be the "best upgrade choice" for an estimated 100 million iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus users, serving as a "key growth driver" for Apple in 2020. He believes these customers have low desire for new features like Face ID, suggesting the "iPhone SE 2" will stick with Touch ID.

More details to follow…



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Kuo: High-End iPad and MacBook With Mini-LED Displays to Launch Between Late 2020 and Mid 2021

Reiterating a prediction he shared in April, noted Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo today said Apple plans to release high-end iPad and MacBook models with Mini-LED displays between late 2020 and mid 2021.


In a research note for TF International Securities, seen by MacRumors, Kuo added that the iPad and MacBook displays will each use approximately 10,000 LEDs, compared to 576 in Apple's upcoming Pro Display XDR. Each LED is said to be below 200 microns in size, significantly smaller than those in the Pro Display XDR.

Kuo previously said the iPad and MacBook models will have 10-12 inch and 15-17 inch display sizes respectively, and he also expects them to be high-end devices due to costly Mini-LED display components. Altogether, that means these will likely be iPad Pro and MacBook Pro models, but Kuo has not specified.

Although mass production of medium-sized OLED displays has gradually improved, and the wide color gamut performance of OLED is comparable to that of Mini-LED, Kuo believes Mini-LED is Apple's first choice to avoid burn-in issues and to reduce its dependance on Samsung for supply of OLED displays.

LG Display will supply the Mini-LED display panels, while other Mini-LED component suppliers will include Epistar, Zhen Ding, Radiant Opto-Electronics, Nichia, Avary Holding, and TSMT, according to Kuo.

Kuo believes the Mini-LED displays will allow for thinner and lighter product designs, while also offering good wide color gamut performance, high contrast and HDR, and local dimming, which dims the backlight behind areas of the screen that are displaying black while keeping the bright parts of the screen bright.

Apple plans to release the iPad between the fourth quarter of 2020 and the first quarter of 2021, followed by the MacBook between the first quarter and second quarter of 2021, according to Kuo.

Related Roundups: iPad Pro, MacBook Pro

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Kuo: 2020 iPhones to Boast Redesigned Metal Frame Similar to iPhone 4

Apple will unveil redesigned iPhones next year that boast a new metal frame structure reminiscent of the iPhone 4, according to a research note by Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo and seen by MacRumors.


In his research note with TF International Securities, Kuo says Apple will change its flagship iPhone design "significantly" next year. Specifically, the new devices will feature a new metal frame with "a more complex segmentation design, new trenching and injection molding procedures, and sapphire or glass cover assembly to protect the trench injection molding structure."
We predict that the new 2H20 iPhone design will change significantly [...] The metal frame and the front and rear 2/2.5D glass are still used, but the metal frame surface will be changed to a similar design to the iPhone 4, replacing the current surface design.
Jony Ive's design for the iPhone 4 was the first smartphone to introduce the concept of an exposed squared-edged aluminum frame sandwiched between two panes of strengthened glass – a design that has been variously copied in the smartphone industry.

Apple's iPhone has undergone several changes since, with the latest iPhone 11 using an aluminum frame that wraps around the rounded corners of a display housed in an all-glass enclosure, and the iPhone 11 Pro devices sharing a matte glass material encased in a durable stainless steel frame. Notably, Apple has adopted a different design for the iPad Pro, which features a more industrial band around the sides that's also reminiscent of the iPhone 4.

Kuo believes the grooving and injecting of the metal in next year's iPhone frame will reduce the negative impact of metal shielding on the high-frequency transmission efficiency of the internal antenna, while the use of sapphire or tempered glass on the groove will serve to protect the injection molded structure.

The iPhone 4, released in 2010

As a result of the design change coming in next year's iPhones, Kuo believes the cost of the metal frame and glass case will rise significantly, with a maximum increase of 50-60 percent and 40 to 50 percent, respectively. If the grooved cover is made of tempered glass, Kuo sees the cost of the metal middle frame and chassis increasing by about 25–35 percent and 20–30 percent, respectively.

The report predicts that the new design will be a major selling point that will contribute to supplier revenue and profitability, and combined with 5G support, will increase Apple's smartphone shipments to 85 million units in 2020, compared to 75 million new iPhone shipments in 2019.

In a previous note, Kuo said the 2020 iPhones will be available in new sizes. He believes Apple is going to release 5.4 and 6.7-inch high-end iPhones with OLED displays, along with a 6.1-inch model with an OLED display. Two of the phones will also feature a rear-facing time-of-flight 3D camera that will support augmented reality and improve the camera experience.

Kuo also said all three of next year's iPhones will support 5G networks, for which Apple will use Qualcomm's 5G modem. Despite its acquisition of Intel's smartphone modem chip business, Apple will not use its own baseband until the launch of 2022 iPhone. Instead, Kuo believes Apple will first test its own baseband products in a new Apple Watch and other future devices.


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