After last week’s flurry of product launches, Apple’s new iPad Pro and MacBook Air have started to make their way into consumers’ hands, and we’ve gone hands-on with both of them this week. Apple this week also released iOS and iPadOS 13.4 (as well as macOS, watchOS, and tvOS updates) with a number of new features and improvements.
On the rumor side of things, we’re starting to hear about the possibliity of a delayed launch of the iPhone 12 later this year, some details on Apple’s iPhone camera plans, new Apple TV hardware and software rumors, and an update on Apple’s rumored Mac transition from Intel to Arm-based chips. Finally, we shared a look at some prototype hardware and software related to Apple’s AR/VR headset project.
Read on for all of the details, and check out our video above for even more from this week’s news cycle.
Hands-On With the New iPad Pro and MacBook Air
Apple last week announced new 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models, and as of this week, orders are beginning to arrive to customers. We picked up one of the new 12.9-inch models and checked it out to see just what’s new and whether it’s worth buying.
The new iPad Pro features an A12Z Bionic chip with faster graphics performance, an Ultra Wide camera for 0.5x zoom, a LiDAR Scanner for enhanced augmented reality, better sounding microphones, and compatibility with Apple’s upcoming Magic Keyboard with a built-in trackpad. Pricing continues to start at $799 for the 11-inch model with 128GB of storage, while the 12.9-inch model begins at $999.
Keep in mind that rumors suggest that Apple may be planning another iPad Pro refresh towards the end of 2020, with expected features including a faster A14X chip, 5G support, and a Mini-LED display.
We also spent some time going hands-on with the new MacBook Air, which features a lower starting price, more storage, faster 10th-generation processors, and most importantly an updated keyboard.
iOS and iPadOS 13.4 Released With iCloud Folder Sharing, Trackpad Support for iPad, and More
Apple this week released iOS 13.4 and iPadOS 13.4 with several new features, including iCloud Folder Sharing, a redesigned Mail app toolbar, and support for Bluetooth mice and trackpads on many iPads.
Apple will be releasing its own Magic Keyboard case with a built-in trackpad in May for 2018 and later iPad Pro models, and we have put together a guide with everything you need to know. Third-party options like Logitech’s new trackpad keyboards for the 10.5-inch iPad Air and 10.2-inch iPad are also supported.
Apple Considering Delaying iPhone 12 Launch ‘by Months’
Apple has reportedly held internal discussions about the possibility of delaying the release of new iPhone 12 models “by months” due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Supply chain sources also believe that “practical hurdles” could push back what was expected to be a normal September launch, although other suppliers say they have not been asked to push back production.
Apple is widely rumored to be planning four new iPhone models, including a 5.4-inch model, two 6.1-inch models, and a 6.7-inch model. All of the devices are expected to have OLED displays, 5G support, A14 chips, and rear 3D sensing like the LiDAR Scanner on the new iPad Pro.
6.7″ iPhone 12 May Have Sensor-Shift Stabilization in 2020, Periscope Lens to Follow in 2022
Apple’s rumored 6.7-inch iPhone 12 model will feature sensor-shift image stabilization, according to reputable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.
While details are slim, sensor-shift technology could bring optical image stabilization to the Ultra Wide lens on the 6.7-inch iPhone, as already exists for the Wide and Telephoto lenses on iPhone 11 Pro models.
Kuo also predicted that at least one 2022 iPhone model will feature a periscope lens, which could allow for 5x optical zoom like Huawei’s P30 Pro or even 10x optical zoom as is rumored for the device’s P40 Pro successor.
Apple Testing AR/VR Headset With HTC Vive-Like Controller, Crosswalk Bowling Game, and More
MacRumors has obtained a photo from iOS 14 of what appears to be a generic looking test controller for Apple’s rumored AR/VR headset, which reports suggest will be released by 2021 or 2022. The controller has a very similar design as the controller for the HTC Vive Focus headset, released in 2018.
Apple is testing a variety of augmented reality experiences on its headset, including a “crosswalk bowling game” that appears to allow Apple engineers to roll a virtual bowling ball across the crosswalk to knock down virtual bowling pins on the other side of the street.
Apple is also rumored to be working on a pair of sleeker AR glasses that could be released as early as 2022 or 2023.
Apple to Launch Several Macs With Arm-Based Processors in 2021, USB4 Support Coming to Macs in 2022
Apple plans to launch several Mac notebooks and desktop computers with its own custom designed Arm-based processors in 2021, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said this week in a research note obtained by MacRumors.
Kuo believes that Arm-based processors will significantly enhance the competitive advantage of the Mac lineup, allow Apple to refresh its Mac models without relying on Intel’s processor roadmap, reduce processor costs by 40 to 60 percent, and provide Macs with more hardware differentiation from Windows PCs.
Apple Allegedly Adding Kids Mode and Screen Time to tvOS, Launching Apple TV With Up to 128GB Storage
Apple is reportedly planning to launch a new Apple TV and add new features like Kids Mode and Screen Time options to a future version of tvOS.
The new Apple TV is said to feature an A11 or A12 processor and 64/128GB storage capacities, up from the current 32/64GB options.
The source of the report has shared some previously accurate tvOS rumors, including a picture-in-picture feature and multiple user support, but it has been wrong about some other Apple rumors.
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.