Top Stories: New iPhone SE and Magic Keyboard Orders Begin, Mini-LED iPad Pro in 2021?
The long-awaited return of the iPhone SE is finally here! It's not as small as the original version, but it packs modern internals into an iPhone 8 design and comes at a very competitive starting price of $399.
That certainly wasn't the only news from this week, as Apple also began taking orders for the new iPad Pro Magic Keyboard several weeks ahead of its previously announced May launch date, and we saw a number of rumors about Apple's upcoming product pipeline. Apple also began testing a new battery health management feature for its recent notebook models, which will ship as part of macOS 10.15.5.
Read on for those stories and more from a very busy week in Apple news and rumors!
Apple Launches New iPhone SE With a 4.7-Inch Display, A13 Chip, and Touch ID, Starts at $399
Following nearly a year of rumors, Apple this week finally introduced its second-generation iPhone SE this week with pre-orders available now ahead of an April 24 launch. The device looks similar to the iPhone 8, with a 4.7-inch display and a Touch ID home button, but it has the latest A13 Bionic chip like iPhone 11 models.
Other key features include a 12MP Wide rear camera, up to 256GB of storage, wireless charging, and Wi-Fi 6. Pricing starts at $399 in the United States, with black, white, and (RED) color options, but some carriers and retailers are offering discounts and bonuses.
Following the introduction of the new iPhone SE, Apple has stopped selling the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus.
New Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro Now Available to Order, Deliveries Begin Next Week
Surprise! Apple's new Magic Keyboard for the iPad Pro is now available to order on Apple.com and begins arriving to customers next week.
Apple previously said the keyboard would launch in May, so this early availability was unexpected.
The Magic Keyboard attaches magnetically to iPad Pro with a floating cantilevered design. Like on the 16-inch MacBook Pro, the full-size keyboard has backlit scissor-switch keys with 1mm of key travel. There's also a built-in trackpad to take advantage of trackpad support in iPadOS 13.4.
5G iPhones With Flat Edges and Slimmer Notch, Smaller HomePod, AirTags, and High-End Apple Headphones Also Expected This Year
Rumors continue to suggest that at least two high-end iPhone 12 models will have flat stainless steel edges instead of the current curved design, as well as more sharply rounded corners like those on 2018 iPad Pro models. This could result in iPhone 12 models looking similar to the iPhone 5.
iPhone 12 models are still expected to feature a notch for the front camera and Face ID sensors, but it will likely be reduced in size. Apple's end goal is to remove the notch entirely.
Apple traditionally launches its flagship iPhone lineup in September each year, but there is some uncertainty given the current economic situation, and some analysts have been predicting a staggered launch that could see some models not launch until as late as January 2021.
Apple is also expected to release a smaller HomePod, AirTags item trackers, and high-end, over-ear headphones later this year.
macOS Catalina 10.15.5 Beta Includes Battery Health Management Feature for Macs
Apple has seeded the second beta of macOS Catalina 10.15.5 to developers for testing. The update introduces a new "Battery Health Management" feature for all Mac notebooks with Thunderbolt 3 ports.
Battery Health Management is designed to extend the overall lifespan of a Mac notebook by reducing chemical aging. The feature will analyze the health of a Mac's battery and, in some cases, will preserve battery health by not charging a MacBook to full capacity.
When a Mac is used plugged in and the battery is kept full for the most part, the Battery Health Management feature will kick in and it will stop short of a full charge, although battery life may still be listed as 100%.
Leaked iPhone 12 Pro Max Schematics Show Thinner Design, Smaller Bezels, LiDAR Camera, and More
YouTube channel EverythingApplePro and Max Weinbach have shared what they're claiming is a sneak peek of Apple's hitherto unreleased "iPhone 12 Pro Max," based on alleged leaked CAD designs.
The key thing about the CADs is they line up with rumors suggesting that Apple's new iPhone will take many design cues from the iPad Pro. The schematics show a square-edged stainless steel frame between two pieces of glass, replacing the rounded stainless steel frame of the iPhone 11 series.
12.9-Inch iPad Pro With Mini-LED Display Possibly 'Delayed' Until Early 2021
The launch of a new high-end 12.9-inch iPad Pro with a Mini-LED display may be "delayed" until early 2021 due to the device's "complex panel design," analyst Jeff Pu said in a research note this week.
Back in December, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said Apple was developing up to six Mini-LED products, including a 12.9-inch iPad Pro with an A14X chip for release in the third quarter of 2020. This was before the global health crisis began, however, so it would be understandable if the timeframe has been pushed back due to supply chain disruptions and Apple engineers working from home.
Apple just updated the iPad Pro last month with an A12Z Bionic chip, Ultra Wide camera, LiDAR Scanner, and improved microphones.
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.