Top Stories: 5G iPhone and iPad Rumors, AirPods Pro Lite?, HomePod Turns Two
It was a fairly interesting week for rumors this week, with reports claiming new 5G iPad models will be coming around the same time as 5G iPhones, likely in the September–October timeframe, while a mysterious "AirPod Pro Lite" has been mentioned as being in the works.
The HomePod turned two years old this week, and Apple is still dealing with the fallout of the Wuhan coronavirus epidemic, which aside from the human toll has impacted both Apple's retail sales and product manufacturing. Read on for details on these stories and more that topped the news this week.
5G iPad Pro Models With A14 Series Chip Said to Launch in Fall 2020
A report this week claims that Apple plans to release its first iPhone and iPad models with 5G connectivity in the second half of 2020. An announcement in September or October is possible.
The new iPhone and iPad models are expected to be equipped with 5nm-based A14 chips — likely A14X for the iPad Pro — and support a combination of mmWave and sub-6GHz variants of 5G. Qualcomm is expected to supply its Snapdragon X55 modem for the iPhones, but the report does not specify which modem the iPads will use. Apple is also said to be hoping to use an in-house antenna design for its upcoming 5G iPhones, having been unhappy with the designs offered by Qualcomm.
Upcoming Low-Cost iPhone Again Rumored to Start at $399
Apple is widely rumored to be planning a new lower-cost iPhone model, tentatively referred to as the iPhone SE 2 or iPhone 9, and a new report this week claims the device will start at $399 in the United States.
The device is expected to resemble the iPhone 8 with a 4.7-inch display and a Touch ID home button, but with a faster A13 chip and 3GB of RAM. It will be available with 64GB or 128GB of storage in Space Gray, Silver, and (PRODUCT)RED, according to oft-reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.
Rumors have suggested the new lower-cost iPhone will be unveiled around March, and ahead of time, suppliers are reportedly gearing up for production of the device. With manufacturing delays stemming from the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak in China, however, there is some uncertainty about launch timing.
Apple Reportedly Working on 'AirPod Pro Lite' Earphones
A questionable report this week claims that Apple is working with supply chain partners in Taiwan on several upcoming products, including so-called "AirPod Pro Lite" wireless earphones.
"AirPod Pro Lite" is a bit of an oxymoron, as "Pro Lite" sounds like the regular AirPods that Apple sells for $159. Without any further details provided, it is unclear if the report is referring to third-generation AirPods or something else.
Hands-On With Samsung's New S20 and Galaxy Z Flip Smartphones
It's not Apple news, but one of Apple's biggest competitors launched several new products this week, with Samsung taking the wraps off of the foldable Galaxy Z Flip phone, a new Galaxy S20 phone lineup, and new Galaxy Buds+ wireless earphones.
We went hands-on with all of the new products, so make sure to check out our video coverage and stay tuned because there is more to come!
New References to AMD Processors Discovered in Recent macOS Catalina Betas
Over the last few months, an increasing number of references to AMD processors have been uncovered in macOS Catalina code.
Given that Macs currently use Intel processors, the references are naturally prompting speculation that perhaps Apple plans to release Macs with AMD processors, but this is unconfirmed as of yet.
AMD does supply dedicated graphics in select MacBook Pro, iMac, iMac Pro, and Mac Pro models.
HomePod Turns Two, Lower-Priced Model Might Launch Later This Year
This week marks two years since Apple released the HomePod, with deliveries to customers and in-store availability having begun February 9, 2018 in the U.S., Australia, and the U.K.
At launch, the HomePod cost $349, but Apple reduced its price to $299 in April 2019. Apple has never disclosed HomePod sales, instead grouping the speaker under its "Wearables, Home, and Accessories" category, which set a quarterly record of $10 billion in revenue over the final three months of 2019.
A lower-priced HomePod with fewer tweeters may launch as early as this year.
Many Mac Models Facing Lengthy Delivery Estimates Amid Coronavirus Outbreak
Apple continues to be impacted by the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak in China, where many of its retail stores remain closed as a precaution. Apple has reopened its five stores in the Beijing area as of Friday, but with limited hours and temperature screening of customers until further notice.
Last week, we reported that many custom iMac, iMac Pro, and MacBook Pro configurations are facing longer-than-usual delivery estimates on Apple's online store, and this now extends to orders of the new Mac Pro in many countries. This is likely the result of many Apple suppliers suspending production in China due to the coronavirus outbreak, and supplies should improve as operations begin to resume.
Each week, we publish an email newsletter like this highlighting the top Apple stories, making it a great way to get a bite-sized recap of the week hitting all of the major topics we've covered and tying together related stories for a big-picture view.