New report details Apple’s plan for iPhones (and other gadgets) this year

A new report from Bloomberg’s Debby Wu and Mark Gurman says that Apple tasked its suppliers with building “at least 75 million” 5G iPhones. That’s in the ballpark of what was produced last year, so Apple is expecting strong sales despite the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

More interesting for our purposes here, though, are tidbits about what those iPhones—and other Apple products planned for release this year—look like.

Citing people familiar with the situation, the Bloomberg story claims that Apple has a busy holiday season ahead of it. The sources say that Apple plans to launch four 5G iPhone models, a new iPad Air, two new Apple Watch models, over-ear headphones, and a new HomePod speaker. They also allude to a modestly updated Apple TV 4K and the long-rumored AirTags product, but the story did not claim that those are coming this year.

Let’s start with the iPhones. Bloomberg’s sources say there will be two entry-level models (up from one last year, the iPhone 11) and two high-end successors to the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max. While the main split between the cheaper iPhone and its pricier siblings has been the choice between an LCD and an OLED screen these past couple of years, the sources claim that all four new iPhone models will have OLED screens.

Those screens will also come in new sizes. The cheaper iPhones will come in 5.4- and 6.1-inch variants, while the premium alternatives will come in 6.1 and 6.7 inches. All four devices will also have 5G, though the sources say that some testers have reported that this feature hasn’t improved their wireless data speeds much on current nascent 5G networks.

In any case, the phones would all feature Apple’s new A14 system-on-a-chip and see a significant redesign—the first major one since the introduction of the iPhone X in 2017. All four phones will have squared edges, resembling the iPad Pro or in some respects the iPhone 4 and 5 from years past. The two cheaper models will have aluminum edges, while the more expensive ones will have stainless steel—the same split we see between the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro today.

Also, Apple plans to axe the Midnight Green color it introduced for high-end iPhones last year and replace it with a new dark blue scheme.

Apple already signaled to investors that the new iPhones will ship a few weeks after last year’s models did. That said, iOS 14 is still expected to launch in September. (Previously, its release has been closely tied to that of the first new iPhone of the year.)

As for the other products mentioned in the report, the new iPad Air is expected to have an edge-to-edge screen similar in design to that of recent iPad Pro models. The two new Apple Watches include a successor to the Series 5, as well as a replacement for the Series 3 at a lower price. Apple also plans to introduce over-ear headphones that will carry the Apple brand name instead of Beats, and a smaller HomePod speaker that trades fewer speakers for a lower price.

All these products are planned for release by the end of this year—meaning Apple has a very busy season ahead. However, specific launch dates are not known for any of them, apart from the aforementioned plan to launch new iPhones a few weeks later than last year.

Listing image by Samuel Axon

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