Kuo: iPad Pro With Rear 3D Sensing and ‘iPhone SE 2’ on Track to Launch in First Half of 2020

Apple plans to release new iPad Pro models with rear 3D sensing in the first half of 2020, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.


In a research note with TF International Securities, seen by MacRumors, Kuo said the iPad Pro models will gain 3D sensing through the rear-facing camera system. Apple is expected to use a time-of-flight system, which measures the time that it takes for light to bounce off of objects in a room to generate a 3D map.

The timeframe lines up with a recent report from Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, who also said Apple plans to release iPad Pro models with rear 3D sensing as early as the first half of 2020. Gurman expects the iPad Pro models to feature dual rear cameras, up from a single lens, along with a new augmented reality sensor.

Kuo also reiterated that Apple plans to release a so-called "iPhone SE 2" in the first half of 2020 too. He has previously said the device will be released by the end of the first quarter with similar features as the iPhone 8, including a 4.7-inch display and Touch ID, but with a faster A13 chip and 3GB of RAM.

The low-cost iPhone will likely start around $399 with 64GB of storage, and come in Space Gray, Silver, and Red, according to Kuo.

Kuo has made both the iPad Pro and low-cost iPhone predictions in the past, so this really only serves as an update that the plans are still on track for early next year. Apple often holds a media event in March, and it is certainly possible the new iPad Pro and low-cost iPhone could be announced then.

It is worth noting that Kuo is likely just referring to the device as the "iPhone SE 2" as an easy way to refer to Apple working on a new low-cost iPhone. With its rumored 4.7-inch display, the device would certainly not resemble the original iPhone SE in terms of size, so it could end up having a different name.

Related Roundups: iPad Pro, iPhone SE 2

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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 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: iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max Have Accounted for Combined 55% of Pre-Orders

Yesterday, noted Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said that iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max pre-orders have been better than expected so far, noting that demand for the higher-end iPhone 11 Pro models is particularly strong in the United States due to trade-in and financing options.


In a follow-up research note with TF International Securities today, seen by MacRumors, Kuo now specifies that the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max models have accounted for 55 percent of pre-orders to date. By extension, that would mean the lower-priced iPhone 11 has comprised 45 percent of pre-orders.

Kuo notes that shipment volumes of the higher-end OLED display models are "better than last year." A year ago, he estimated the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max would account for a combined 40-45 percent of 2018 iPhone lineup shipments.

While the iPhone 11 should be the best-selling iPhone of the 2019 lineup, Apple's push towards monthly installments like the iPhone Upgrade Program may be convincing more customers to opt for the higher-priced models, as the $999-plus price tags are less steep when they are spread out over two years.

Apple no longer shares iPhone pre-order figures, nor has it ever disclosed iPhone sales on a model-by-model basis, so it is unclear how Kuo's "survey" results are determined, but Apple's online shipping estimates are one factor.

In today's note, Kuo also reiterated that 2020 iPhones will feature 3D sensing time-of-flight rear cameras with 7P lenses.

Related Roundups: iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro

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Kuo: ‘Apple Tags’ to Feature Ultra-Wideband Technology, Likely Far More Precise Than Tile’s Trackers

Last week, MacRumors revealed new details about Apple's upcoming Tile competitor, with internal iOS 13 code suggesting that Apple plans to release small, circular "tags" that can be attached to electronic devices, backpacks, keys, and other personal belongings to keep track of their locations.

Apple Tags concept by MacRumors

Now, noted Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has thrown his weight behind this rumor. In a Chinese-language research note with TF International Securities today, Kuo said he expects Apple's tags to feature ultra-wideband or "UWB" technology. As he has said previously, Kuo also expects all three 2019 iPhones to support UWB.

Ultra-wideband is a short-range, low-power radio technology that is able to provide more precise indoor positioning than Bluetooth LE and Wi-Fi, suggesting that Apple's tags will be more accurate at pinpointing the location of lost items than Tile's current item trackers, which rely on Bluetooth LE.

The distance between two UWB devices — such as an upcoming iPhone and Apple Tag — can be measured precisely by calculating the time that it takes for a radio wave to pass between the two devices, according to Electronic Design, which notes that UWB is up to 100× more accurate than Bluetooth LE and Wi-Fi:
In practice, UWB signals are able to effectively measure distance between two devicesNo with 5- to 10-cm accuracy, compared to roughly 5-m accuracy for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. When implemented in a system of fixed beacons tracking tag locations, the locations can be calculated to within 10-cm accuracy.
It is unclear if Apple's tags will rely solely on UWB, which would seemingly limit their compatibility to 2019 and newer iPhones, or if they will also incorporate Bluetooth LE for use with older devices.

Last week, MacRumors revealed that Apple's tags will be closely integrated with the new "Find My" app in iOS 13, which merged the Find My iPhone and Find My Friends apps into one package. Specifically, Apple has been working on an "Items" tab in the app for tracking the location of Apple-tagged items.


iPhone users will receive a notification when they are separated from a tagged item, according to an internal version of the "Find My" app obtained by MacRumors. If necessary, users can then tap a button in the app that will cause Apple's tag to chime to help them locate the lost item.

"Safe Locations" can be set where the user will not be notified if this item is left in those locations, and users will also be able to share the location of items with friends and family members, based on internal iOS 13 code.

If users are unable to find an item, they can place the attached tag into a "Lost Mode." Then, if another iPhone user comes across the lost item, the owner will be instantly notified. The stranger will also be presented with the owner's contact information, possibly via push notification or in the Find My app.

Like the Pixie Tracker, the Find My app will likely incorporate functionality from Apple's ARKit platform. An internal build of iOS 13 includes an asset for a 3D red balloon that could help a user pinpoint a lost item after scanning a room with their iPhone. There's also an image of a 2D orange balloon.


"Walk around several feet and move your iPhone up and down until a balloon comes into view," a string in the internal Find My app bundle reads.

Apple is hosting an event at Steve Jobs Theater next Tuesday, where it is widely expected to unveil new iPhone and Apple Watch models. It certainly seems like development of Apple's tags has reached an advanced stage, but it is unclear if the product will be introduced at the keynote or later.


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Kuo: Apple Watch Series 5 Lineup to Launch in Fall With OLED Displays Supplied by Japan Display

Japan Display will supply OLED displays for new Apple Watch Series 5 models slated to launch in the second half of 2019, according to the latest prediction from well-known analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.


In a research note with TF International Securities shared with Chinese media outlets today, Kuo forecasted that Japan Display will gradually increase its proportion of OLED display orders for the Apple Watch, starting with 15-20 percent of orders in 2019 and reaching 70-80 percent in 2021.

Kuo believes that Apple will also gradually increase the proportion of LG's supply of OLED displays for iPhones, and tap Chinese manufacturer BOE as an additional supplier, in a bid to diversify its supply chain.

Apple Watch Series 5 models will likely be unveiled next month alongside a trio of new iPhones. This would hardly be a surprise, as Series 1 through Series 4 models all launched in September, but specific rumors about Series 5 models have actually been relatively quiet, so this is nice reassurance.

For example, Kuo previously said a "new ceramic casing design" would be "added" to the Apple Watch lineup, but he did not explicitly mention Series 5 models. Reuters also reported that Japan Display would begin supplying OLED displays for the Apple Watch, but likewise did not specify Series 5 models.

Looking farther ahead, rumors suggest that Apple Watch Series 6 models will adopt MicroLED displays in 2020.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 5, watchOS 6
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Caution)

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Kuo on 2020 iPhones: 5.4-Inch and 6.7-Inch Models With 5G, 6.1-Inch Model With LTE, All With OLED Displays

Apple plans to release three new iPhones in the second half of 2020, including high-end 5.4-inch and 6.7-inch models with OLED displays and a lower-end 6.1-inch model with an OLED display, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Those display sizes line up with a DigiTimes report from a few months ago.


In a research note shared with Taiwanese media outlets today, Kuo said the 5.4-inch and 6.7-inch models will support 5G, while the 6.1-inch model will support up to LTE. Qualcomm is still expected to be Apple's primary supplier of 5G modems, complemented by Samsung, with RF power amplifiers supplied by Broadcom.


Kuo believes that all new iPhones will support 5G starting in 2021. He also believes that Apple will have its own 5G modem ready by 2022 to 2023, which should reduce its dependance on Qualcomm and Samsung.

The new 5.4-inch and 6.7-inch sizes suggest that Apple may be planning to shrink the size of the current 5.8-inch iPhone XS, a move that fans of smaller phones would certainly appreciate, while increasing the size of the current 6.5-inch iPhone XS Max. The iPhone XR would remain a 6.1-inch device.

Kuo usually provides English translations of his research notes after a short period. We'll update if there are any additional details to add.


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Kuo: 2019 iPhones and New iPad Pro Models in Late 2019 to Early 2020 to Adopt New Antenna Technology

Apple plans to use modified-PI (MPI) material for most antennas in 2019 iPhones, rather than the liquid crystal polymer (LCP) material used for the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR antennas, according to the latest research note from reputable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, obtained by MacRumors.


Kuo believes that LCP limits the RF performance of the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR antennas due to current technology limitations and production issues. This puts the RF performance of MPI material at least on par with LCP, despite MPI being easier and cheaper to produce.

While switching to MPI material for 2019 iPhone antennas appears to be a no-brainer decision for Apple, Kuo expects that LCP will still be the primary material for 5G antennas in 2020 iPhones, as he believes that the production issues limiting the RF performance of LCP will be resolved by then.

In today's note, Kuo also said he expects Apple to use LCP material in future iPad models, starting from the late fourth quarter of 2019.


In a separate research note last month, which has only been seen by Taiwanese media so far, Kuo said two new iPad Pro models with the same 11-inch and 12.9-inch screen sizes as the current models will enter mass production between the fourth quarter of 2019 and the first quarter of 2020.

Kuo said those new iPad Pro models will feature flexible circuit boards using LCP, but we've yet to receive that research note in English, so we cannot confirm any further details at this time.

Related Roundups: iPad Pro, 2019 iPhones

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Kuo: Two New AirPods Models Likely in Late 2019 to Early 2020, Including One With ‘All-New Design’

Apple will likely launch two new AirPods models as early as the fourth quarter of 2019, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.


In his latest research note, obtained by MacRumors, Kuo forecasts that two new AirPods models will likely go into mass production between the fourth quarter of 2019 and the first quarter of 2020, with Luxshare, Goertek, and Amkor expected to be Apple's primary suppliers of the new earphones.

Kuo believes one of the new AirPods models will feature an "all-new form factor design" and a "higher price" than the second-generation AirPods, which cost $159 with a standard charging case and $199 with a wireless charging case. The other model is expected to be a more iterative update with the same pricing.

Both new AirPods models are said to adopt a new system-in-package design internally, which can improve assembly yield rates, save space internally, and reduce costs, but Kuo does not elaborate on outward-facing design changes.

The lead excerpt from Kuo's research note:
We expect Apple will likely launch two new AirPods models in 4Q19 at the earliest. One is the all-new form factor design at a higher price. The other's outlook and price will be the same as the current model's. A common internal design factor of these two new AirPods will be to abandon the current "SMT+RFPCB" design and change to adopt the SiP design instead for improving assembly yield rates, saving internal space and reducing cost.
Kuo is "positive on the demand for AirPods" and Apple's wireless headphones market share, as he believes the "all-new design" of one of the new models "could boost the replacement demand and attract new users." He estimates AirPods shipments will reach 52 million units in 2019 and 75-85 million units in 2020.

Last month, Apple launched second-generation AirPods powered by an Apple-designed H1 chip, enabling hands-free "Hey Siri" functionality and up to 50 percent more talk time compared to the original AirPods. The second-generation AirPods feature the same outward design as the original.

Bloomberg's Mark Gurman was first to reveal Apple's roadmap for AirPods, including the second-generation pair with "Hey Siri" support, while DigiTimes also expects third-generation AirPods to launch by the end of the year.

Related Roundup: AirPods 2
Buyer's Guide: AirPods (Buy Now)

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