By Mark Gurmanand Debby Wu
Apple is readying a clutch of new hardware for the coming weeks and months, including ‘Pro’ iPhones, upgrades to iPads and its largest laptop in years. The technology company is planning to announce three new iPhones at an event next month, according to sources. The handsets will likely go on sale in September, contributing to its fourth-quarter sales.
However, the real test will come in the crucial holiday season. That’s when the company is banking on a combination of new hardware, software and services to drive revenue higher, following a huge miss at the end of last year.
Also understood to be coming in 2019 are refreshed versions of the iPad Pro with upgraded cameras and faster chips, an entry-level iPad with a larger screen, new versions of the Apple Watch, and the first revamp to the MacBook Pro laptop in three years.
Updates to key audio accessories, including AirPods and the HomePod speaker, are in the works, too, it seems. Beyond these unannounced products, Apple is gearing up to launch a refreshed Mac Pro and its accompanying monitor, iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Mac, and Apple Watch software updates, as well as its Apple TV+ video and Apple Arcade gaming subscription services.
The company is planning to launch three new iPhones, as it has done each year since 2017: ‘Pro’ iPhone models to succeed the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max as well as a successor to the iPhone XR.
The main feature of the Pro iPhones will be a new camera system on the back with a third sensor for capturing ultra-wide-angle photos and videos. The extra camera will let users zoom out and capture a larger field of view.
The sensors will capture three images simultaneously and use new artificial intelligence software to automatically correct the combined photo if, for example, a person is accidentally cut out of one of the shots.
The new system will also take higher resolution pictures rivaling some traditional cameras. Photos taken in very low-light environments will improve, too.
The high-end handsets will have significantly upgraded video recording capabilities, getting them closer to professional video cameras. Apple has developed a feature that allow users to retouch, apply effects, alter colours, reframe and crop video as it is being recorded live on the device.
Another notable new feature will be a reverse wireless charging system so that a user can power-up the latest AirPods in the optional wireless-charging case by leaving it on the back of the new Pro phones. This is similar to a capability that Samsung had for its Galaxy handsets earlier this year.
The iPhones will look nearly identical to the current models from the front and feature the same size screens, but at least some colours on the back will have a matte finish versus the existing glossy look. The new models should hold up better if they fall due to shatter- resistance technology.
The phones will include a new multi-angle face ID sensor that captures a wider field of view so that users can unlock the handsets more easily.
Apple has dramatically enhanced water resistance for the new models, which could allow them to be submerged under water far longer than the 30-minute rating on the current iPhones.
None of the new models will include 5G, but next year’s will. They’ll also have rear-facing 3-D cameras that will boost augmented reality capabilities. Apple is planning a revamped MacBook Pro with a screen over 16in diagonally. The bezels on the new laptop will be slimmer so the overall size of the laptop will be close to the current 15in models.