Apple Might Be Launching New MacBooks, AirPods and iPad Pros Relatively Soon

The company is expected to reveal at least one MacBook powered by its own silicon on Nov. 10, and new AirPods and iPad Pro tablets might arrive in early 2021.
Author:
Updated:
Original:

Over the last two months, Apple  (AAPL) - Get Report has unveiled new iPhones and Apple Watches, a refreshed iPad Air and entry-level iPad, the HomePod Mini, the Fitness+ workout service and Apple One subscription bundles.

But with Apple  (AAPL) - Get Report having just sent out invites for a Nov. 10 event where it’s widely expected to reveal one or more Macs powered by its own processors, the company’s 2020 product launches don’t appear to be finished just yet. Moreover, a number of reports point to additional product launches in early 2021.

Here’s a run-down of Apple product launches that are expected to occur during the next several months.

1. Arm-Powered Macs

At its June WWDC conference, Apple announced that it plans to fully migrate its Mac lineup from Intel  (INTC) - Get Report CPUs to internally-designed processors relying on the Arm instruction set in about two years, and that its first Arm Mac would ship before year’s end.

Given the potential battery life benefits of using its own processors, as well as the fact that MacBooks are believed to account for the lion’s share of Apple’s Mac shipments, notebooks are a logical place for Apple-designed Mac processors to make their debut. And that’s just what media and analyst reports suggest as well.

Bloomberg reported last month that Apple plans to unveil a new MacBook at a November event. And a few months earlier, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo reported that a 13.3-inch MacBook Pro powered by Apple silicon would arrive in Q4.

Kuo also reported that Apple is prepping a MacBook Air and a 24-inch iMac desktop powered by its silicon, and that the products would arrive in either late 2020 or early 2021. In addition, Apple was reported to be working on 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros that feature an “all-new form factor design” and would arrive in Q2 or Q3 2021.

On Monday afternoon, Bloomberg published a new report about Apple's Mac plans, stating production has begun for a 13-inch MacBook Air and 13-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros powered by Apple silicon. It adds Apple is also working on iMac and Mac Pro desktops containing its own processors.

2. New AirPods and Over-Ear Headphones

Last week, Bloomberg reported that Apple plans to refresh both the AirPods Pro and its entry-level AirPods in 2021, with the latter potentially arriving in the first half of 2021. Kuo has also reported that new entry-level AirPods could arrive in the first half of next year.

According to Bloomberg, the new entry-level AirPods will have “a shorter stem and replaceable ear tips,” as well as improved battery life. The new AirPods Pro will reportedly have no stem at all, along with “a more rounded shape that fills more of a user’s ear.” Both models are expected to be powered by new Apple wireless chips.

Bloomberg also reported that Apple is still prepping new high-end, over-ear headphones that support noise-cancellation. It added that the headphones were set to enter production weeks ago, but saw production delayed after their headband was deemed to be too tight during testing.

3. New iPad Pros

In March, Apple launched new 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pros that feature two rear cameras, a LiDAR scanner and studio-quality microphones, and which are powered by its A12Z SoC.

But with Apple having launched a $599, 11-inch, iPad Air in September that many reviewers have argued is a better deal than the $799, 11-inch, iPad Pro, and with the cellular iPad Pro models packing 4G rather than 5G modems, Apple has some incentive to refresh its iPad Pros relatively soon. And from the looks of things, would-be iPad Pro buyers might not have to wait too long.

Taiwan’s Digitimes has reported (citing sources at Apple suppliers) that new iPad Pros will arrive in early 2021, and Kuo has reported that mass-production of mini-LED displays that will be used by next-gen iPad Pro models will start in Q4. Mini-LED displays, which are also expected to go into future Macs, are costlier than traditional LED-backlit LCD displays, but can offer better image quality, brightness and power consumption.

Along with mini-LEDs, Apple's next-gen iPad Pro line will quite likely feature cellular models that pack 5G modems. Depending on when the tablets launch, Apple could use either Qualcomm’s  (QCOM) - Get Report Snapdragon X55 modem (used within the iPhone 12 line), or its next-gen Snapdragon X60 modem.

Also look for next-gen iPad Pros to get a processor upgrade. Given Apple’s history, the company could use a more powerful version of its A14 Bionic SoC (found inside iPhone 12 models and the new iPad Air) to power its next flagship tablets.

This article has been updated to discuss a new Bloomberg report about Apple's plans for Macs powered by its own processors.

Apple is a holding in Jim Cramer’s Action Alerts PLUS Charitable Trust Portfolio. Want to be alerted before Cramer buys or sells AAPL? Learn more now.