What’s next for Apple? Apple’s 2021 plans according to leaks, rumours and predictions

Image Credit: MacRumors

All the juicy gossip around Apple’s updated Macs, AirPods, iPads, iPhones, Apple Watches, Apple TVs and all new product lines.

Remember all of the below is based on speculation and not from Apple themselves.

AirTags

Apple AirTags have been rumoured for sometime now. Much like Tile trackers, they are thought to be Apple’s take on Bluetooth trackers, around the size of a bottle cap and include wireless charging to avoid battery swapping or worse, straight to landfill. As well as wireless charging, Apple’s trackers are expected to massively benefit from the sheer number of iPhone’s able to anonymously pick up on the Bluetooth signal and report the location of lost items. AirTags will likely be registered and managed in the Find My app on iPhones.

Until recently, we had only seen renders of the product. Now Apple leaker Jon Prosser has shared images of the product itself via an animation from iOS, leaked by a software engineer at Apple.

As seen by the images above, there is no built-in loop for attaching the device to keyrings for example. Apple will undoubtly be glad to sell you cases for exactly this. Third-party cases have also been spotted from manufacturers such as Nomad.

AirTags have supposedly been ready for quite a while now. Along with several other mentions to AirTags in the code of iOS betas, the iOS 14.3 beta had support for AirTags when released back in November, but 14.3 was released to the public and still no sign of an official release. According to Prosser, the delayed release is due to the pandemic. With no one out and about losing bags, wallets, keys, etc. there’s just no real need for them currently. We could see these drop around spring, however they would be more suited to debut alongside the next iPhone.


MacBook Pro 14-inch with Apple Silicon

Apple updated the MacBook 13-inch to include their own new Silicon processors in November. Unfortunately, although the internal architecture was totally revamped, the exterior design remained untouched. Later this year, we are expecting Apple to re-design the 13-inch MacBook Pro model with slimmer bezels and a 14-inch display in the same size shell.

Other features expected here are Face ID and Mini-LED. Much like OLED on iPhones, Apple are thought to bring Mini-LED to all products over the next year or so. Mini-LEDs offer better contrast and colour recreation. We should expect to see this laptop in the second half of 2021.

Image Credit: MacRumors

MacBook Pro 16-inch with Apple Silicon

The 16-inch MacBook Pro got the slimmer bezel re-design as above in 2019. Next up for MacBook Pro will be Apple’s very successful Silicon chips as they work their way up Apple’s line-up. M1 will likely be reserved for lower end Macs, while higher end Macs are thought to be treated with M1X. Apple are thought to be testing ARM processors with 12 to 16-core CPUs and 16 to 32-core GPUs for this higher end of computers.

As with the 14-inch MacBook Pro above, we are hoping for Face ID and Mini-LED. The extra space in the 16-inch model should also allow for increased battery over the 13-inch model, with around 30-hours of life.


iMac 24-inch with Apple Silicon

With Apple working their way up their product line to include M-series chips, this places iMac in line for a similar treatment. Along with the M1X chips, Fusion Drives will undoubtly be dropped in favour of SSD only.

Also present on iMacs is a very dated design. The next generation of iMacs will likely feature slimmer bezels, allowing for a larger display thought to be in the region of 23 to 24-inches in the same 21-inch iMac chassis. The new design is thought to reminiscent of the iPad Pro and Pro Display XDR. We are also hoping for Mini-LED to enter iMacs later this year too.

iMac Redesign
Image Credit: AppleDsign

Mac Pro & iMac Pro

The iMac Pro hasn’t been updated since 2017, so it’ll likely either get a similar re-design as above or as it was initially introduced as a placeholder between Mac Pros, dropped entirely. Apple are supposedly testing 16, 32, 64 and even 128-core Apple Silicon chips for Apple top-end products such as iMac Pro and Mac Pro. These products will be last ones touched in Apple’s switch to ARM processors, so don’t expect to see this update until 2022 at the earliest.


AirPods

Indicated last year, Apple are working on updating both the base AirPods and AirPods Pro at some point this year. The AirPods non-Pro will likely gain a Pro-like in-ear design with the shorter stem, while retaining no ANC. AirPods Pro will likely get a new rounded bud design much like competitors such as Samsung Galaxy Buds and Google Pixel Buds. Reports also show Apple are testing different colours for AirPods Pro, such as a black pair via a case leak. Both models should feature new wireless chips and better battery life. Later this year we may also see a cheaper sport-variant of the AirPods Max, hopefully around $300.

AirPods 3
Image Credit: 52audio.com

iPad Pro

We haven’t seen any significant performance boosts to iPad Pro since the introduction of iPad Pro 3rd generation with A12X in late 2018. As a result, we will likely see huge performance gains, but design will probably be largely unchanged. Some reports suggest the larger 12.9-inch model will be the first Apple product to feature a Mini-LED display, with an update due as early as March this year. The smaller iPad Pro may include Mini-LED later in the year or Apple may choose to go with OLED instead on this model.

Following the introduction of 5G in iPhones last year, it follows that Apple may well include mmWave 5G in cellular iPad Pros this year. There are also reports of a new Apple Pencil with a black colour option.


iPad Mini

iPad’s smaller brother may get a similar reduction in bezels as the iPad Pro and iPad Air models, boosting the display size to around 8.4-inches while keeping the physical size the same of the current 7.9-inch model. Much like iPad Air, Touch ID should be moved to the power button. As with all other products above, we are expecting iPad Mini to include a Mini-LED display.


Apple TV

Apple TV is due an update and signs are pointing towards a particular focus on gaming. Increased storage, a U1 chip, as well as an A14 or even A14X processor has the potential to bring console-level gaming to Apple’s set-top box. Apple are reportedly in talks with developers to bring higher end games to Apple Arcade.


iPhone 13

Don’t expect a new flagship iPhone until the usual September/October time frame, but there are some of whispers around potential features. Mostly brought on by features we hoped for in iPhone 12 but didn’t seen, beyond the usual speed and camera improvements, signs point towards a 120Hz display on Pro and non-Pro models, at least one port-less model (MagSafe charging only), reduced notch size and under display finger-print scanner.


Apple Series 7

Similarly to iPhones, new Apple Watches are not expected until September/October. Apple have shown interest in moving towards solid state buttons using haptic feedback rather than physically clicking. Apple reportedly have a team working on monitoring blood glucose levels, which could change the way people manage diabetes without the need to puncture the skin.


Other

Other items floating around the rumour mill include Apple Car, iPhone Fold/Flip and Apple VR/AR Glasses. These products are supportedly being testing, with Apple hiring staff to make these a reality, however don’t hold your breath. We are at least a year away from any of them coming to fruition.

It’s also worth noting regarding Macs, now Apple are developing their own Silicon processors, it should allow Apple to be more methodical around the release of new Macs. iPhone and Watches for example have always been updated every year with new processors and other features. We may see Apple take a similar annual or biennial release cycle for future Macs.

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