What to Expect From Apple in 2019: New iPhones, Modular Mac Pro, iPad mini 5, Updated AirPods and More
2019 promises to be a major year for Apple, with a number of exciting products on the horizon. Apple's promised modular Mac Pro for its professional user base is expected to come out in 2019, and there's a new TV service under development that's going to come out during the first half of the year.
Apple is working on a new iPad mini, a new lower-cost HomePod, over-the-ear headphones to go along with revamped AirPods, and, as always, there are new iPhones coming in 2019.
Below, we've rounded up all of the products we're expecting to see from Apple in 2019 based on both current rumors that we've heard so far and past release information.
Apple announced the AirPower, designed to charge the iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods all at once, in September 2017. At the time the AirPower debuted, Apple said it would launch sometime in 2018. Since then, we've heard little about the device, and no sign of it has materialized.
In fact, Apple has scrubbed most of the mentions of the AirPower from its website, but because the device was mentioned in the user guides for the latest iPhones, it appears it hasn't been scrapped and is still in development, with Apple perhaps aiming to launch it in 2019.
So what's the reason for the delay? Rumors suggest Apple was overly ambitious with the AirPower and has been having trouble with overheating, multi-device charging circuitry, and software bugs, all of which has led to a pushed back launch date.
We don't know when the AirPower might be coming, but it doesn't look like the product has been abandoned just yet, and it's possible we'll be hearing an update in the near future.
Apple is going to continue with its three iPhone lineup in 2019, offering three iPhones that will be similar in size and design to the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR.
It sounds like Apple will continue to use an LCD/OLED split for the displays, and all of the iPhones are likely to feature A13 chips from Apple supplier TSMC. Chip upgrades typically bring improved performance and efficiency, and the A13 will be no different.
At least some of the iPhones expected in 2019 could use a triple-lens rear-facing camera setup for improved images, and a revamped TrueDepth camera system with a smaller notch is a possibility.
Apple Pencil support could finally come to the iPhone in 2019, and we've heard some mixed rumors suggesting the entire 2019 iPhone lineup will do away with 3D Touch, with all iPhones instead adopting the Haptic Touch feature of the XR.
We'll hear a lot more about the 2019 iPhones as the year progresses, but it's sounding like the upcoming devices will have some exciting improvements to look forward to.
For more on the 2019 iPhone lineup, make sure to check out our 2019 iPhone roundup.
There's no new set-top box coming in 2019 that we know of, but Apple is said to be "considering" a smaller Apple TV device that would be an Apple TV dongle similar to the Amazon Fire Stick or the Google Chromecast.
Such a device would make the Apple TV interface and any Apple content available at a lower price point. Right now, Apple charges $179 for the Apple TV 4K and $149 for the non-4K version.
Competing dongle-style devices from Amazon and Google are priced at $25 to $35, so an entry-level Apple TV dongle could allow Apple to significantly expand its audience and it could provide more people with access to Apple's rumored streaming TV service.
For more info on the Apple TV, make sure to check out our Apple TV roundup.
Streaming TV Service
Apple has more than a dozen original television shows and movies in development after starting to work on creating original TV content in earnest in 2017 and 2018.
Many of the TV shows Apple is working on feature high-profile directors, producers, and actors, with rumors suggesting the first TV shows will debut in 2019 as part of an upcoming TV streaming service.
Apple could bundle its service with an Apple Music subscription and an upcoming digital magazine and news subscription, offering all-in-one access to paid news, magazines, original TV shows, movies, and Apple Music content, but standalone subscriptions are also likely to be available.
Apple is said to be planning to launch the TV service in more than 100 countries in 2019, starting with the United States in early 2019 and then expanding to additional locations.
At least some of Apple's original television content could be made available for free through the TV app, and Apple's own original offerings may be offered alongside subscription channels from companies like HBO and Starz.
For more info on Apple's streaming TV plans, including a list of all of the TV shows Apple is working on, make sure to check out the original content section of our Apple TV roundup.
We expected to get an AirPods update with "Hey Siri" hands-free Siri support and a new wireless charging case, but that case was meant to come out alongside the AirPower, and with no AirPower, we saw no AirPods update in 2018.
For that reason, if the AirPower comes out in 2019, we could get the aforementioned wireless charging case and the "Hey Siri" update for the AirPods at some point during the year.
With a "Hey Siri" feature, AirPods users will be able to activate Siri without needing to double tap on the AirPods with a finger.
While second-generation AirPods with these minor updates could come in 2019, Apple is also said to be working on a set of third-generation AirPods with a new design, improved water resistance, better Bluetooth signal, and noise cancellation features.
There's been some disagreement on when these higher-end AirPods might come out. Reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says not to expect redesigned, upgraded AirPods until 2020, while Bloomberg has said some of these features could come in 2019.
Given the delay of the AirPower, it's not quite clear what Apple's plans are, and whether we're still getting distinct second-generation and third-generation AirPods with different features. We can count on seeing some kind of AirPods upgrade in 2019, but whether it's a minor update or a more significant redesign remains to be seen.
For more on the AirPods, check out our AirPods roundup.
Rumors have suggested the HomePod isn't selling well due to its high price tag, which has prompted Apple to start development on a lower-cost version that would be more affordable.
Little has been said about a second-generation HomePod, but Bloomberg has said a new model being developed and could come as early as 2019.
For more on the HomePod, check out our HomePod roundup.
To accompany the AirPods and the HomePod, Apple is rumored to be developing a set of high-end over-ear headphones that will be Apple branded rather than Beats branded.
The headphones are said to be "as convenient as AirPods" but with superior sound quality, and active noise cancellation features could be included. Apple's new headphones are rumored to be coming in 2019, so we could see them alongside a HomePod or AirPods refresh at some point during the year.
Though the Mac Pro hasn't been updated since 2013, Apple is working on an entirely revamped high-end high-throughput modular version that will facilitate regular upgrades to meet the needs of Apple's pro user base.
Apple announced the revamp in 2017, but said that it wouldn't be finished until 2019. Apple is committed to making the upcoming Mac Pro the highest-end Apple desktop system available, allowing it to accommodate VR and high-end cinema production.
A "Pro Workflow Team" has been established to tailor the new Mac Pro and other Apple products to the professional user base.
Apple plans to design the new Mac Pro to allow for future upgrades and higher-end hardware. According to Apple execs, the current Mac Pro restricted the company's ability to upgrade it because it was designed for dual GPUs rather than larger single GPUs.
The Mac Pro will be accompanied by an Apple-branded pro display, which is likely to be at least 27 inches with a 5K resolution. We don't know much about the display or specific details on the new Mac Pro, but we will hear more in 2019.
For more on the Mac Pro, make sure to check out our Mac Pro roundup.
iMac and iMac Pro
Neither the iMac nor the iMac Pro got updated in 2018, which means 2019 updates could happen. We've heard few rumors on what to expect in updated iMac and iMac Pro machines, but faster processors are always a guarantee and there's been some vague detail on display improvements.
The MacBook didn't get a 2018 update, and now that it's so similar in design and specs to the MacBook Air, which now has a Retina Display and a slimmer body, it's not clear what Apple has planned for the MacBook.
It could get a 2019 update with new processors and there has been some speculation that the MacBook will be the first of Apple's Macs to get an Apple-designed ARM processor in the future, but we'll have to wait and see.
Right now, the MacBook is slower and more expensive than the MacBook Air, but it still has the benefit of being Apple's most compact machine.
Check out our MacBook roundup for more details on the MacBook.
There are no rumors, but we could see refreshed and upgraded MacBook Pro and MacBook Air models in 2019, and perhaps a new Mac mini if Apple is going to adopt a more regular upgrade cycle for that machine.
iPad Pro models were just updated in October so there are no real rumors on features that might come to a refreshed version in 2019 if a refresh is planned, but rumors have suggested Apple's next-generation version of iOS, iOS 13, will include some iPad-centric features that could improve the overall iPad experience not just on the iPad Pro, but on all iPads.
As for other iPads, Apple is said to be working on a refreshed version of the 7.9-inch iPad mini, which has gone so long without a refresh that before a few recent rumors, we were sure it had been abandoned.
An alleged iPad mini 5 case leak suggests the upcoming tablet could perhaps feature some iPad Pro-style elements, like four speakers, a Smart Connector, Apple Pencil support, and more, while rumors have said we can expect an improved processor and a lower-cost display, which indicates a lower overall price tag.
Apple is supposedly planning to boost flagging iPad sales with the smaller model, and the company is also rumored to be working on an upgraded version of the low-cost 9.7-inch iPad. The new affordable replacement could be somewhat bigger in size -- 10 inches instead of 9.7-inches -- and a redesign with slimmer bezels and perhaps Face ID is a possibility.
There are no rumors about a refreshed Apple Watch just yet, but because the Apple Watch is updated on a yearly basis right alongside the iPhone, we can expect an Apple Watch Series 5 in 2019.
What might be included in the update is anyone's guess at this point, but there have been rumors of additional health sensors for years, and Apple has proven its willingness to get involved with the FDA with the launch of the ECG feature in the Apple Watch Series 4.
For that reason, more advanced health tracking features could be coming, but we'll need to wait until later in the year to get an idea of what's coming.
To keep up with Apple Watch rumors in 2019, check out our Apple Watch roundup.
Each year in June, Apple debuts new versions of iOS, watchOS, macOS, and tvOS, so we're expected to see new software again this year. We've already heard a bit of detail on what we can expect from iOS 13 and macOS 10.15.
Apple last year pushed several features planned for iOS 12 to iOS 13 in order to focus on under-the-hood performance improvements and bug fixes, so we can expect features rumored for iOS 12 to show up in iOS 13.
The iOS 13 update is said to include several new features aimed at iPad owners, such as a revamped Files app, in-app tabs for opening multiple windows of the same app, support for using the same app side-by-side in Split View multitasking mode, Apple Pencil improvements, and new features for business users.
Features pushed back from iOS 12 include a revamped Home screen app grid for the iPhone and iPad, expanded photo management features, and more.
We don't know a lot about what to expect in the next-generation version of macOS, but we do know that it will feature an extension of Apple's project to bring iOS apps to the Mac.
With macOS Mojave, Apple ported several iOS apps like Home, Stocks, Apple News, and Voice Memos over to the Mac, and in macOS 10.15, this functionality will be extended to third-party developers, making it easier for developers to create apps that are functional on both macOS and iOS.
This is an initiative that will include tweaks to both macOS 10.15 and iOS 13 to further introduce common frameworks between the two operating systems. Expect to see more iOS-style apps made available for the Mac following the launch of macOS 10.15.
What's Not Likely in 2019
iPhone users who prefer smaller devices have been hoping for an updated version of the 4-inch iPhone SE, but it doesn't look like Apple is working on a new 4-inch iPhone.
In 2018, there were some leaks and hints of a 4-inch iPhone under development, but a lot of this information was a combination of wishful thinking and leaked iPhone XR details.
We've heard no further word of a 4-inch iPhone, and with Apple's iPhone lineup now featuring devices ranging in starting price from $449 (iPhone 7) to $1099 (iPhone XS Max), there's not a lot of room for a smaller iPhone.
The 4.7-inch iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 are currently the smallest iPhones that Apple offers for sale, and the original iPhone SE has been discontinued altogether.
AR Smart Glasses
We've heard multiple rumors suggesting Apple is prototyping augmented reality smart glasses and virtual reality headsets, but while these products are in development, a release is not expected just yet.
According to rumors, Apple is working on an augmented reality headset with a dedicated display, built-in processor, and a new "rOS" operating system based on iOS, with the "r" standing for reality. Apple is said to be aiming to finish work on an augmented reality headset by 2019 ahead of a launch it hopes will come in 2020.
For more on Apple's AR/VR work, check out our AR/VR roundup.
There are some exciting products in the works from Apple in 2019, and we'll certainly see some unexpected surprises as well, as we do every year. Make sure to follow MacRumors.com and the MacRumors roundups over the course of 2019 to keep up with all of the rumors about the upcoming products that Apple has in development.