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.
"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:
- 4.7-inch iPhone: Apple is widely rumored to be planning to release a new low-cost iPhone with a similar design as the iPhone 8, including a 4.7-inch LCD display and a Touch ID home button, but with a faster A13 chip and 3GB of RAM. The device is expected to launch by the end of March, with pricing predicted to start at around $399 in the United States.
- iPad Pro refresh: New models with a triple-lens rear camera system that supports 3D sensing for augmented reality are expected to be unveiled as early as March.
- MacBook Pro/Air refresh: It is unclear if Kuo is referring to the possibility of either a new MacBook Pro or MacBook Air or both, but previous rumors suggest that a 13-inch MacBook Pro with a scissor switch-based Magic Keyboard will launch in the first half of 2020, following in the footsteps of the 16-inch MacBook Pro last October. Apple last refreshed the MacBook Air in July 2019 with a True Tone display and a lower $1,099 starting price.
- Ultra Wideband tags: Last year, MacRumors uncovered evidence of Apple working on Tile-like item tracking tags in iOS 13 code, including a potential "AirTags" name. As with iPhone 11 models, Kuo believes the tags will support Ultra Wideband, which would likely make it possible to locate the tags with much greater accuracy than Bluetooth LE and Wi-Fi.
- High-end headphones: Kuo did not provide any details about these headphones beyond claiming that they will support Bluetooth. Bloomberg's Mark Gurman previously reported that Apple-branded over-ear headphones were under development, but it is unclear if they were canceled, became the Beats Solo Pro, or otherwise. MacRumors has also uncovered evidence of Apple developing new Powerbeats4 headphones, but the existing Powerbeats3 are not considered high end.
- Small wireless charging mat: No further details were shared. Apple canceled its much-anticipated AirPower charging mat last year due to quality concerns. That mat would have been able to charge an iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods case simultaneously, regardless of where each device was positioned on the mat and with deep iOS integration.
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.