What will Apple release in 2021?
2nd January, 2021 at 4:43 pm by André
Apple unveiled several new products in 2020, but there are still many possibilities coming up in 2021. Next year we will of course see the continuation of Apple’s transition to their custom silicon chips, as well as several other highly anticipated technologies — so let’s get right into it.
First, let’s talk about Mac:
We saw huge improvements last year with the introduction of the new M1 powered MacBooks and Mac minis. As we previously reported, Apple’s latest range of computers completely obliterated their predecessors in all categories; such as speed, performance and efficiency. At the same time, the company managed to decrease their average price.
Right now, it seems some users are holding out on upgrading to Apple’s new notebooks due to the limited I/O of two USB-4 ports. And when it comes to the Mac mini, which is often used as a server, the removal of the 10 Gigabit Ethernet option came as a let down to many.
Also holding some users back is the lack of an external redesign, which is increasingly feeling long overdue. So of course, we are eagerly waiting for the upcoming M1X 16” MacBook Pro and 4 port 13” - 14” MacBook Pro, powered by Apple Silicon. Not to forget the highly anticipated redesigned iMacs that we have been waiting for a long time. Earlier reports indicated that the computer may come with a 12 or 16 core M2 chip which are going to be performance beasts.
If the reports turn out to be true, it is likely that the new devices will be the most powerful all-in-ones ever. There have been many reports of Apple developing 24 and 32 core chips, but probably only for the Mac Pro. Recent reports indicate that they are in the early stages of development, and that a 2021 Mac Pro is highly unlikely. Thankfully, we can most likely expect that at WWDC 2022 to finish the 2 year tradition.
Mini-LED is a technology we have been waiting for a long time. It has considerable advantages over OLED, such as a higher contrast ratio and deeper blacks. These advantages come without the drawbacks that are conventionally associated with OLED — such as display burn-in. This is the most likely reason why we haven’t seen OLED panels on Macs or iPads, which tend to show the same UI (such as menus and toolbars) for long periods of time. This is a huge risk, because unlike phones or watches, these larger devices are often used for longer, more sustained periods of time. Not to mention the lack of ProMotion support which is one of the main features of the iPad Pro line.
Mini-LED is meant to address that with the use of LEDs 200 microns in size. And with the use of multiple local dimming zones, Apple is able to make thinner, brighter and more efficient panels for their next generation of devices. Since this is an expensive new technology, it’ll likely be limited to higher-end devices such as the iPad Pro at first, then slowly trickling down to replace aging LCD and OLED panels found on current devices.
AirPods: There have been many reports of third-generation AirPods planned for the first half of 2021, which allegedly take many of the design characteristics from the current AirPods Pro. The similarities are rumored to include shorter stems and silicone tips, aimed at improving better fit and sound quality. The changes will also likely bring superior playback control, a differentiating feature AirPods Pro has over regular AirPods.
This is a yearly, software focused event so no one can guarantee any new hardware is going to be released just yet. But we’ll definitely get the new versions of iOS/iPadOS 15, macOS 12, watchOS 8 and tvOS 8. Apple Watch:
The Series 6 was a minor upgrade over the Series 5. We haven’t seen many reports about the Series 7 as of now, but several rumors have suggested new health sensors such as glucose monitoring, and a switch to solid state buttons, as found on the iPhone 7 and newer. This would likely help with water resistance and durability. iPhones:
2020 was a super-cycle year for the iPhone, with 4 completely new form factors introduced in October. Because of this, we don’t expect to see any huge changes this year. The designs will likely stay basically the same, with the possibility of a smaller notch and camera system. There have also been several reports claiming that there will be at least one portless iPhone in the 2021 lineup. No source is 100% sure about which iPhone is going to lose the Lightning port. However as we previously reported, this kind of move would allow for a bigger battery inside the device, as well as enhanced water resistance.
There have also been many reports lately talking about the return of Touch ID in the Power Button using similar hardware as the iPad Air 4. This would be a welcome change given the current situation, not to mention it would be great news for people who still prefer Touch ID over Face ID.
Now this is an interesting product, not because of what it does, but because we have known about its existence for over 2 years. As you may remember, references to AirTags appeared in an Apple Support video and inside iOS 13 code. Because of this, we all expected that the new technology would be released alongside the iPhone 11. The iPhone 11 included a U1 chip, which was made to work with AirTags, but that (obviously) didn’t end up happening. We all know what AirTags do at this point, they are Tile trackers - aimed at helping you find misplaced items via the pre-installed Find My app. At this point, we’re starting to think that maybe Apple lost them and forgot the iCloud password. But speaking seriously now; many sources claim production started in Q4 2020 so we expect them to (finally) be released this year.
We’ve seen AR glasses before from many companies, including Google. However, most of those were eventually discontinued because the technology wasn’t considered mature enough to be a mainstream product. However, Apple has filed multiple patents on augmented reality hardware in 2020, which makes an earlier 2021 to early 2023 release rumor even more realistic. Apple’s glasses are expected to be very similar to the first Apple Watch, in the sense that they’ll need an iPhone for most of the processing power and rely on it for most things. It’s widely expected that the device will become more independent from it with newer generations.
Because of privacy concerns, the device likely won’t have a camera. Google Glass used to have a camera on the front which resulted in it being banned in many places, so the lack of a camera on Apple Glasses might be an advantage to make them way more socially acceptable. They have a high chance of being the eventual iPhone replacement if done right.
We expect 2021 to be a very exciting year for Apple, with a big focus on the Mac to complete the company's planned two-year transition. And with the expected release of entirely new products such as AirTags and possibly Apple Glasses, it’s set to be one for the books! We’ll definitely keep covering all the best Apple news so stay tuned for more.