Top Stories: iPhone SE and Magic Keyboard Launches, AirPods and 23-Inch iMac Rumors, and More
While the iPhone SE and Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro making their way into customers' hands were the biggest news this week, we also saw a ton of rumors about Apple's upcoming product line.
Confusion about Apple's plans for its AirPods lineup continues to reign, with conflicting rumors on models and timing, while we also saw some new rumors about a 23-inch iMac and an 11-inch iPad coming later this year. We also got an update on Apple's plans to start shifting its Macs over to its own chips, a major move for the entire Mac ecosystem.
Read on for all of the details on these stories and more!
Hands-On With Apple's New iPhone SE
Apple's new iPhone SE went up for pre-orders last week and is now available. We went hands-on with Apple's latest budget phone, so be sure to check out our article and video overview.
Similar to our own experience, early media reviews praised the iPhone SE for packing some of Apple's latest technology into a tried-and-true design, all at a budget price. It likely won't appeal to users already on Apple's recent flagship devices, but for those upgrading from an older phone or just getting their first iPhone and on a budget, the iPhone SE is a fantastic option.
And if you're a fan of clever Apple ads, Apple's got a new one for the iPhone SE featuring the oddly satisfying task of peeling off the protective film from a new iPhone.
Finally, while there have been some rumors of a larger "iPhone SE Plus," most rumors had indicated it won't appear until next year, and noted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is now even saying that it likely won't launch until the second half of 2021, later than his original estimate of the first half of the year.
Hands-On With Apple's New Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro
In addition to the iPhone SE, the Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro has also started making its way into consumers' hands this week, and we've gone hands-on with the new accessory to share our thoughts on it.
As with many of the other early reviews, we've found the Magic Keyboard to be a powerful accessory that greatly enhances the iPad Pro's usability, although some will be turned off by the high price tag and its heft, which makes a combined iPad Pro and Magic Keyboard heavier than a MacBook Air.
Still, given the differences between the iPad and Mac platforms, those looking to do serious work with an iPad may be interested in investing in the clever Magic Keyboard that lets you do more than ever with the iPad Pro.
And just like for the iPhone SE, Apple's got clever new ad for the Magic Keyboard, entitled "Float," which features a colorful hummingbird investigating the iPad Pro setup.
New AirPods Allegedly Ready to Launch, Possibly Next Month
AirPods rumors have been all over the place, and several reports over the past week haven't done much to clear up the confusion.
Last weekend, Jon Prosser reported that updated AirPods are "ready to go" and will probably launch alongside an updated MacBook Pro sometime next month.
Just a couple of days later, hit-or-miss Taiwanese news site DigiTimes claimed that updated AirPods with the same design as the current AirPods Pro but without active noise cancellation have been pushed back from a May launch to the second half of the year or even early 2021.
And as if that wasn't enough, Ming-Chi Kuo has weighed in to claim that the third-generation AirPods won't begin mass production until the first half of 2021 and should look similar to the current model, while updated AirPods Pro won't arrive until late 2021 or early 2022. He does see some new earphones coming later this year, but believes these will be a Beats product rather than part of the AirPods lineup.
Lower-Priced 23-Inch iMac and 11-Inch iPad Models Rumored to Launch in Second Half of 2020
A report out of China this week claimed we may see some new sizes for a couple of products in the second half of the year, notably including a 23-inch iMac.
The report also claims that there will be a new 11-inch iPad, although there's some confusion about whether the report is referring to an iPad or an iPad Air.
Well-connected Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman also held a Periscope session where he said that Apple is planning a "substantial" iMac refresh this year, while also touching on a number of other product updates including a 14-inch MacBook Pro, a smaller HomePod, an updated Apple TV, an AirPower-like charging mat, AirTags, and more.
Bloomberg: Apple's First ARM Mac to Launch by 2021 With 12-Core Processor
Bloomberg's Mark Gurman this week also added some more details to his long-standing claim that Apple is working to launch Macs based on its own ARM-based chips rather than Intel processors. He claims Apple is working on three different Mac processors based on the A14 chip that will be found in flagship iPhones later this year.
Gurman says the first Apple-designed Mac chip will include a total of 12 cores, including eight high-performance cores and four energy-efficient cores designed for specific tasks. Apple is said to be considering chips with even more cores in the future.
Apple Music Launches on 2018 and Later Samsung Smart TVs
Apple has been busy working with smart TV manufacturers to roll out Apple TV apps on their platforms, allowing users to access video content from Apple's ecosystem, but that effort is now expanding to music.
Samsung this week became the first smart TV manufacturer to launch a dedicated Apple Music app, releasing it for many models from 2018 and later.
We went hands-on with the new Apple Music app, finding it to perform smoothly and closely mirror the Apple Music app included on Apple TV set-top boxes.
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.