Following a year of blockbuster releases, Apple is planning another round of major product launches in 2019. These include all new low-end iPads, an updated Mac Pro, a new line of audio accessories, and more, according to sources familiar with the matters.
Additionally, Apple will unveil major-facets of its internal ‘Marzipan’ initiative alongside this years upcoming macOS and iOS releases. The initiative aims to more closely align the iOS and macOS software experiences by introducing new tools for developers that allow for easier creation of cross-platform apps. Additionally, iOS and macOS are said to receive major redesigns for the first time since iOS 7 in 2012 and macOS 10.10 in 2013.
As usual, the company will also unveil a new line of improved iPhone models that will further flesh-out their now price-vast hardware lineup. The company is also planning other Mac product updates, according to sources.
Here’s everything we have heard about Apple in 2019 so far, keeping in mind that some of these products are months-out and some info may change by launch.
Apple is preparing updates to the iPad and iPad mini for early 2019, according to one source familiar with the matter. They follow the redesigned iPad Pros, which were introduced this past October.
In March 2017, Apple unveiled the fifth-generation iPad model, which introduced an all-new starting price for the iPad – $329. This not only made the device the most accessible iPad but the most price-conscious product in Apple’s entire lineup. It was followed by an updated model in 2018 that included support for the Apple Pencil.
Now, Apple is planning to flesh out the lineup even further with two new entry-level iPads. The first is an update to the iPad mini, which many presumed to be half-dead and has not seen an update since 2015. The new fifth-generation model is said to include a tweaked design, support for the Apple Pencil 2, improved internals, and will replace the current sixth-generation iPad in terms of starting price.
This will allow Apple to introduce a new full-size option at a starting price around $429. The new model is said to include a new 10.5-inch display, up from the 9.7-inch display found in the current iPad, as well as Apple Pencil 2 support and improved internals.
Apple is planning on unveiling third-generation iPad Pros in the fall as well.
AirPods 2, Studio Headphones, and new HomePod models
Apple was originally planning revised AirPods for release in September 2018, however, they were delayed following the essential cancellation of AirPower (more on that later).
Despite this, Apple is planning on launching revised AirPods in 2019 that will feature improved noise isolation, water-proofing, ‘Hey Siri’ support, a new case, and improved battery life. We currently do not believe the case will be capable of wireless charging, however, this could change depending on how other projects go in 2019. Apple has no plans to release a universal-Qi compatible case for AirPods, according to a source.
Apple is planning a number of other audio-centric product announcements for 2019, the largest of which arguably being a pair of Apple-designed studio headphones. The device has been in development since the end of 2017 and is said to include new noise cancellation technologies with multiple levels of settings, a W-chip, support for ‘Hey Siri’, and of course high-end audio. The headset will likely sell for $350-$450. Apple was originally planning to announce the headset in early 2019 however they may end up shipping as late as the fall.
Apple is planning on releasing two new HomePod products in 2019. The first is an update to the original HomePod first introduced in 2017 with improved Siri capabilities and sound, with a new lower starting price (with one source indicating around $250). The second is a new smaller model that is said to retail for as little as $150. Both are expected to launch in either Q2 or Q3 2019.
As we’ve reported before, Apple’s heavily-reported ‘marzipan’ initiative is much farther-reaching than the Mojave ‘iOS app’ ports of Apple News, Stock, Voice Memos, and Home. The initiative includes new cross-platform design-libraries that adapt between Mac and iOS, a unified Siri experience, new designs for most Apple software, and much more.
We’ve previously reported in great detail about Marzipan and will continue to do so as this June’s WWDC approaches.
iOS 13, macOS, tvOS, and watchOS 6
Apple will, as always, unveil new major software updates for all of its hardware platforms at WWDC and release them to consumers in the fall.
This year’s iOS and macOS releases will be the largest in at least 5 years for a few reasons. First, they will both receive major re-designs for the first time since 2012 and 2013 respectively. Second, we’ve heard that Apple is considering bumping from 10.x to macOS 11 with this year’s release, due to the magnitude of its feature-set. And third, iOS 13 includes a series of new updates specifically for the iPad that will further differentiate it from the iPhone OS experience, and bring it much closer to a true independent operating system.
In addition, Apple will unveil major updates to tvOS and watchOS.
The series of updates will further illustrate the previously discussed Marzipan initiative, with a series of new developer libraries for cross-platform apps (which many of Apple’s own apps will be built on), cross-platform Siri, and a major reworking of iOS on the iPad.
Apple’s TV Service
Apple is gearing up to launch its long-awaited original programming streaming service in the first half of 2019. The service will include over 20 shows at launch, including a new sitcom starring Jennifer Anniston and Reese Witherspoon, the revival of Steven Spielberg’s Amazing Stories, new children programming from Sesame Workshop, and more.
Despite a CNBC report in late 2018 that claimed Apple would offer this content for free to consumers, we continue to believe this will be a monetized service. Apple may offer previews of the content for free to Apple device owners, but in general, Apple hopes this new content offering will be a strong boost to its services revenue.
The offering will be merged with iTunes Movies & TV Shows into a newly named application, according to one source. Users will be able to easily access all of their purchased iTunes content as well as Apple’s exclusive-offerings from one central location, and easily purchase titles from other studios.
Similar to launching Apple Music on Android, Apple plans to offer access to its new service on a variety of devices. The first glimpse of this was revealed at CES this week when Samsung announced its TVs would feature an ‘iTunes Movies & TV’ app in Spring 2019. We believe other TV manufacturers will get this app as well, which will actually be called whatever they end up naming the streaming service, including LG, Vizio, and Sony.
Apple is also planning on offering the service on streaming devices from third-parties, including the Amazon Fire set, which was reportedly part of the deal the companies signed earlier this year that brought Apple devices to the Amazon store and Apple Music to Alexa.
Apple’s 2019 iPhones
Unusually little is known about this year’s iPhone lineup at the moment, but here’s what we’ve heard so far.
Apple’s successors to the iPhone XS and XS Max that will be unveiled in the Fall will include an all-new camera array with 3 sensors that will enable a number of new capturing abilities including new depth effects. The company is also supposedly working on new, software-enabled camera features similar to the Google Pixel handset. We are also expecting the high-end models to feature a tweaked design.
Apple may restructure the iPhone lineup following a lackluster response for the iPhone XR. The XR is likely destined to move down to the current slot occupied by the iPhone 8 at around $649. iPhone XR will likely receive a slight refresh in addition to this price drop. On the higher-end, Apple may slightly lower the prices of the XS and XS Max slots, according to one source, by about $100.
In order to push customers to more frequent upgrades, Apple is reportedly planning a major refresh for its ‘iPhone Upgrade Program’ in the United States. The new program will reportedly be available in more regions and will subsidize the device by offering access to a number of Apple’s services, including Apple Music and the upcoming streaming service, while also including discounted Apple Care.
Apple Watch Series 5
Apple Watch Series 5 will launch this fall. Following last year’s major redesign, the new model will stick to internal improvements, as well as major new health capabilities.
The company is said to be planning on incorporating sleep tracking functionality thanks to an improved battery, as well as other improvements. Apple has been working for a number of years on blood sugar tracking via Apple Watch for diabetics, but it is not known if the feature will be ready for this year’s model.
In addition to a major OS update, the Mac is expected to receive many major hardware additions in 2019.
The most notable Mac coming in 2019 is the long-awaited Mac Pro refresh which Apple has publicly stated is in development. The device will feature a new, more modular design, and will be accompanied by a new Apple display.
Apple is planning small refreshes to both the MacBook and MacBook Air, with a slight price drop for the MacBook Air later in the year. Additionally, Apple is planning on refreshing the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, as well as introduce new lower-cost entry options.
The non-pro iMac will receive its first major refresh in a number of years, according to one source. The update reportedly includes a tweaked design and improved internals. The iMac Pro may also receive the tweaked design, in addition to a smaller refresh.
Following a turbulent year, Apple scrapped the original AirPower project at the end of 2018. The company has since begun work on a new first-party wireless charger that will support fast-charging and multiple Apple devices (however, it is unlikely it will charge three at once like the originally announced AirPower). One source said the new charger will only charge an iPhone and Apple Watch, but not AirPods.
Binyamin has been writing about Apple and the tech sector as a whole for over five years.
His work has been featured on Forbes, MacWorld, Giga, MacLife, and more.
Additionally, Goldman is the Founder of BZG, a software development company focusing on Apple devices.