Kuo: Apple to Launch Several Macs With Arm-Based Processors in 2021, USB4 Support Coming to Macs in 2022

Apple plans to launch several Mac notebooks and desktop computers with its own custom designed Arm-based processors in 2021, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said today in a research note obtained by MacRumors.

Kuo believes that Arm-based processors will significantly enhance the competitive advantage of the Mac lineup, allow Apple to refresh its Mac models without relying on Intel's processor roadmap, reduce processor costs by 40 to 60 percent, and provide Macs with more hardware differentiation from Windows PCs.


Earlier this month, Kuo said Apple's first Mac notebooks with Arm-based processors will launch in the fourth quarter of 2020 or the first quarter of 2021.

Kuo expects ASMedia Technology to become the exclusive supplier of USB controllers for Arm-based Macs, adding that the Taiwanese integrated circuit designer will benefit from Macs gaining support for USB4 in 2022.

USB4 converges the Thunderbolt and USB protocols as part of Intel's goal to make Thunderbolt available on a royalty-free basis, which should result in wider and cheaper availability of Thunderbolt accessories like docks and eGPUs.

As USB4 is based on Thunderbolt 3, it offers data transfer speeds up to 40 Gbps, which is twice as fast as the bandwidth of the latest USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 specification. USB4's underlying Thunderbolt 3 protocol also means the specification supports up to two 4K displays or one 5K display over a single cable.

The simplest way to view USB4 is as Thunderbolt 3, but royalty free for manufacturers. Intel will continue to offer Thunderbolt 3 on a standalone basis with a few advantages over USB4, including more support with reference designs and technical issues for manufacturers.

The new USB4 specification was published in September 2019, giving Apple plenty of time to implement it in time for 2022 Macs.
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Kuo: Sensor-Shift Image Stabilization Coming to 6.7-Inch iPhone in 2020, Periscope Lens to Follow in 2022

Apple is rumored to be planning a high-end 6.7-inch iPhone model for release in 2020, and multiple reports have indicated that the device will feature multiple rear camera improvements, including larger sensors that capture more light for better image quality.

The latest word comes from noted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who today said that the 6.7-inch iPhone will also feature sensor-shift image stabilization. In a research note with TF International Securities, obtained by MacRumors, Kuo predicted that the technology will expand to two to three new iPhone models in 2021.


While details are slim, sensor-shift technology could bring image stabilization to the Ultra Wide lens on future iPhones, starting with the 6.7-inch model. iPhone 11 Pro models feature optical image stabilization for both photo and video, but only when using the Wide or Telephoto lenses. Sensor-shift technology would provide a solution for 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.

Taiwanese industry publication DigiTimes also claimed that sensor-shift image stabilization technology is coming to the 6.7-inch iPhone this year, so there are now multiple sources backing this rumor. The report claimed the technology would also be available on a higher-end model of two 6.1-inch iPhones that are rumored for 2020, but as mentioned above, Kuo expects the feature to be limited to the 6.7-inch iPhone until next year.

The rumored 6.7-inch iPhone would have the largest display of any iPhone ever. The device is rumored to be slightly taller than the iPhone 11 Pro Max.

Kuo today also predicted that at least one 2022 iPhone model will feature a periscope lens, which could allow for 5x optical zoom like Huawei's P30 Pro or even 10x optical zoom as is rumored for the device's P40 Pro successor. iPhones currently max out at 2x optical zoom and 10x digital zoom. Optical zoom preserves the quality of a shot when zooming in, while digital zoom results in some blurriness.


Kuo claims the periscope lens will be designed by Apple in partnership with Taiwanese supplier Genius Electronic Optical.
Related Roundup: iPhone 12

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Kuo: MacBooks With Apple-Designed Processors Coming Late 2020 or Early 2021, All-New Design to Follow in Mid 2021

In addition to forecasting the launch of new MacBook Pro and MacBook Air models with scissor keyboards in the second quarter of 2020, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes that Apple has bigger ambitions for its notebook lineup.

In a research note today, obtained by MacRumors, Kuo said Apple plans to launch MacBook models with its own custom processors in the fourth quarter of 2020 or the first quarter of 2021. Kuo did not indicate whether these will be MacBook Pro or MacBook Air models, or both, nor did he share any further details.


Rumors have suggested that Apple is working on custom Arm-based processors that would allow it to transition away from its current MacBook processor supplier Intel, which has occasionally experienced delays with its chips.

Kuo also believes that Apple will introduce MacBook models with an all-new design in the second or third quarter of 2021, but again, he did not indicate whether these will be Pro or Air models. The last significant redesign of the MacBook Pro occurred in October 2016, while the MacBook Air received a major redesign in October 2018.
Related Roundups: MacBook Air, MacBook Pro

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Kuo: New MacBook Pro and MacBook Air Models With Scissor Keyboards to Launch in Second Quarter

Apple plans to release new MacBook Pro and MacBook Air models with scissor keyboards in the second quarter of 2020, according to a new research note today from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, obtained by MacRumors.

Kuo did not comment on the size of the new MacBook Pro, but he is presumably referring to the 14-inch model that he has previously mentioned given that the 16-inch MacBook Pro was only released four months ago. The new 14-inch model would likely replace the 13-inch MacBook Pro, which would be discontinued.


Kuo expects the new MacBook Pro and MacBook Air models to have various cost optimizations, but he said users will not notice any difference.

The current 13-inch MacBook Pro and MacBook Air are still equipped with butterfly keyboards that can suffer from issues such as sticky or unresponsive keys after prolonged use, which prompted Apple to initiate a free repair program worldwide in 2018. Apple finally solved this problem by reverting back to a scissor mechanism with the new Magic Keyboard on the 16-inch MacBook Pro, which has proven far more reliable.

Kuo himself offered praise for the 16-inch MacBook Pro, noting that customer response to the notebook has been better than expected.

As for the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, Kuo believes that operations at MacBook-related suppliers will improve significantly starting in late March, paving the way for mass production of the new MacBook Pro and MacBook Air models.

If this information proves to be accurate, then Apple's entire notebook lineup should feature scissor keyboards by the end of 2020.
Related Roundups: MacBook Air, MacBook Pro

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Kuo: Supply Chain to Ramp Up for Apple’s Ultra Wideband Tags in Second to Third Quarter of 2020

Shanghai-based manufacturing company Universal Scientific Industrial will begin supplying the system-in-package for Apple's upcoming Ultra Wideband item tracking tags in the second to third quarter of 2020, with shipments to reach tens of millions of units by the end of the year, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

In a research note with TF International Securities, obtained by MacRumors, Kuo said Universal Scientific Industrial will be the primary supplier of the system-in-package for the tags, fulfilling around 60 percent of orders. Similar to the one inside AirPods, the system-in-package would be a densely packed circuit board, and it would likely include the Apple-designed U1 chip for Ultra Wideband support.

Apple's tag image asset in iOS 13 code

Last month, Kuo said the Ultra Wideband tag would be one of Apple's major new hardware products in the first half of 2020, but he has yet to provide a more specific release date for the accessory.

Multiple reports this week have indicated that a new lower-cost iPhone model and refreshed iPad Pro models with 3D sensing could debut as early as next month, possibly at an as-yet unannounced Apple event on Tuesday, March 31. It is certainly possible that the Ultra Wideband tags could also be unveiled at the March event, if one transpires, but the second to third quarter timeframe for system-in-package shipments leaves room for an announcement at WWDC 2020 in June as well.

It is worth noting that Apple has introduced many of its first-generation hardware products several months in advance of their release, including the original iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, AirPods, and HomePod, so whether the Ultra Wideband tags are announced in March or June, they might not ship until later in the year.


MacRumors uncovered evidence of Apple working on Tile-like item trackers in iOS 13 code last year, including an unreleased "Items" tab in the Find My app and a potential "AirTag" name for the small, circular tags.

Users would receive a notification when they are separated from a tagged item and, if necessary, they would be able to tap a button in the Find My app that would result in Apple's tag chiming. It would also be possible to disable notifications for "safe locations" such as a home or workplace.

Apple's internal "Items" tab in the Find My app for its Ultra Wideband tags

Apple's tags will likely incorporate augmented reality. Last year, for example, MacRumors discovered that a 3D red balloon could help a user pinpoint a lost item after scanning a room with their iPhone. In his research note today, Kuo echoes that the Ultra Wideband tags will benefit augmented reality applications.

iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro models are also equipped with an Apple-designed U1 chip with Ultra Wideband, which Apple's website says will lead to "amazing new capabilities," and AirTags will likely be one of them.


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Ming-Chi Kuo Says Coronavirus Outbreak Impacting iPhone Supply, Lowers Shipment Forecast

Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has lowered his iPhone shipment forecast by 10 percent to 36-40 million units in the first quarter of 2020, noting that the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak is affecting iPhone supply in China.

For example, multiple reports have indicated that assembly of the rumored "iPhone 9" or "iPhone SE 2" could be disrupted. The lower-cost device, expected to be a revamped version of the iPhone 8, was rumored to enter mass production in February ahead of a March release. Apple could still announce the device in March, but initial supply could be limited until production can ramp up.


In his research note with TF International Securities, seen by MacRumors, Kuo added that smartphone shipments in the Chinese market declined by 50-60 percent year-over-year during the Chinese New Year holiday period, possibly due to declining consumer confidence in the country stemming from the coronavirus outbreak.

Out of an abundance of caution, Apple said it has closed all of its corporate offices, stores, and contact centers in mainland China through at least February 9 due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Earlier this week, the World Health Organization declared the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak a global public health emergency. More information about the virus and how to protect yourself is available on its website.

Related Roundup: iPhone SE 2

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Kuo: 2021 iPhone With Touch ID Power Button to Feature LCD Display

Apple plans to release an iPhone with a Touch ID power button on the side of the device in the first half of 2021, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

In a research note with TF International Securities, obtained by MacRumors, Kuo has now revealed that the iPhone will feature an LCD display, further suggesting that it will be a lower-cost model. Last month, Kuo claimed the device will lack Face ID, allowing it to have a nearly edge-to-edge design with a smaller notch.


Kuo said the fingerprint solution will be capacitive and sport a "new design" for an improved user experience, but he did not elaborate.

Last month, Kuo claimed that the so-called "iPhone SE 2 Plus" will feature a 5.5-inch or 6.1-inch display, suggesting that its size will fall somewhere between the iPhone 8 Plus and the iPhone 11. The device could complement higher-end iPhones with both Face ID and under-display Touch ID in Apple's 2021 lineup.


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Kuo: Apple to Launch AirTags, Small Charging Mat, New iPads and Macs, High-End Headphones, and More in First Half of 2020

Apple plans to release several new products in the first half of 2020, including Ultra Wideband tags, high-end wireless headphones, a 4.7-inch iPhone, refreshed iPad Pro models, and refreshed MacBook Pro and/or MacBook Air models, according to the latest forecast from well-known Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

MacRumors uncovered evidence of a hidden "Items" tab in iOS 13 for "AirTags"

"We forecast that Apple's major new hardware products in 1H20 include the 4.7-inch LCD iPhone, iPad Pro, MacBook Pro/Air, smaller wireless charging mat, UWB tag, and a high-end Bluetooth headphone," wrote Kuo in a research note with TF International Securities, a copy of which was seen by MacRumors.

Our insight on these products:Farther out, Kuo said the worst scenario for Apple related to the new coronavirus outbreak would be postponing the qualification and mass production schedules for new products in the second half of the year.

"If there are no significant improvements regarding the coronavirus epidemic in the foreseeable future, we predict that Apple may delay new material adoptions or lower test requirements for components to shorten qualification processes and launch new products in 2H20 on schedule, and the lower spec will likely hurt the ASP of materials or components," wrote Kuo.


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Kuo: All 5G iPhones on Track to Launch in Fall 2020, Including Both Sub-6GHz and mmWave Models

Last month, reputable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said he expected four 5G-enabled iPhones to launch in the second half of 2020, including models with both sub-6GHz and mmWave support depending on the region.


Kuo said iPhone models with mmWave would be available in five markets, including the United States, Canada, Japan, Korea, and the United Kingdom, adding that Apple may disable sub-6GHz functionality in countries that do not offer 5G service or have a shallow 5G penetration rate to reduce production costs.

Kuo has now doubled down on his prediction. In a follow-up research note today, viewed by MacRumors, he said Apple is still on track to release both sub-6GHz and sub-6GHz-plus-mmWave iPhone models simultaneously in the second half of 2020, with shipments beginning in the late third quarter or early fourth quarter.

Last week, analyst Mehdi Hosseini had disagreed with Kuo's timeframe, claiming that sub-6GHz models would launch in September 2020 and mmWave models would follow in December 2020 or January 2021.

Kuo says development of 5G iPhones with both sub-6GHz and mmWave support is progressing as scheduled, however, and he has the more reputable track record as it relates to forecasting Apple's roadmap. So, as of now, it looks like the entire 5G iPhone lineup will be announced in September as usual.

Related Roundup: iPhone 12

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Kuo: AirPods Pro, Apple Watch Series 6, and iPod Touch Getting New Suppliers in 2020

Apple will be making several changes to the suppliers of its products in 2020, according to reputable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.


For starters, Kuo expects Chinese company Goertek to begin assembly of AirPods Pro in the first half of the year. The addition of a second supplier alongside Luxshare Precision should help improve supply of the popular earphones, which continue to face multi-week shipping estimates on Apple.com.

Luxshare itself will replace Quanta Computer as the exclusive manufacturer and supplier of S-series chips for the new Apple Watch in 2020, aka Series 6 models if Apple sticks with its naming trend, Kuo added.

And last, Kuo expects Chinese manufacturer BYD Electronic to replace Quanta Computer the sole assembler of the iPod touch in 2020, as well as obtain at least 10-20 percent of non-cellular iPad orders. Naturally, if this goes well, the company is expected to receive an even larger percentage of orders in 2021 and beyond.

Kuo outlined these details in a research note with investment firm TF International Securities, seen by MacRumors.


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