Apple is preparing to launch next-generation AirPods and an updated lineup of low-end iPads, according to sources. The company will likely unveil the new devices at a special event in March, however, the event has not been finalized.
Apple began selling low-end iPads in 2017 with the launch of the 5th-generation iPad. The device offered many of the capabilities found in the more expensive iPad Pro models at an all-new $329 starting price. Last year, Apple revised the iPad with updated internals, Apple Pencil support, and a specific focus on educational customers.
This year, Apple plans to expand its low-end lineup with two new models, an updated iPad mini and a new iPad with a 10.5-inch display, up from the 9.7-inch found in the current models.
In addition to the new iPads and revised AirPods, Apple is preparing to launch a number of audio accessories in 2019. These include over-ear stereo headphones and multiple HomePod models, however, none of these products appear ready for launch, with the headphones in particular now scheduled for the second half of 2019.
Apple has been planning to launch its long-rumored TV streaming service in March of this year since at least October, according to one source. The company appears on track to meet their goal, and the service appears imminent.
New iPad and iPad minis
This year’s low-end iPad lineup will come in the form of two models: a smaller model to replace the iPad mini, and a 10.5-inch model to replace the 9.7-inch model. Both new models will feature updated A12 chips with updated internal graphics and support for Apple Pencil.
Moving on trend with the companies recent tendency to price devices higher, Apple’s new 10.5-inch models is said to start above $400 in the US, with the new iPad mini taking the place of the $329 slot. Both models are expected to feature redesigns, which will be different from the current design but not the same as the new iPad Pro, as well as similar bezel redesigns. One source confirmed that at least the larger model would lose the home button in favor of Face ID, however, we are unsure about the smaller model.
Apple will once again emphasize the value of the new iPads to the education market, with educational discounts for all models. The company is hoping to improve educational use of the iPad throughout 2019 with this new hardware as well as a major software overhaul coming later in the year.
Apple Enters the Streaming Race
Apple is planning to launch its long-awaited streaming service in the first half of 2019, likely in March, according to multiple sources. The service will be accompanied by an updated ‘TV’ app, that will also include the iTunes Movies and TV Store, at least on some devices.
We continue to believe that this will be a paid service despite reports otherwise, due to information from a source. Similar to when Apple Music launch, we expect Apple device owners will be given a free 3-month trial at launch, allowing users a chance to experience the content offerings before committing to the service. The service will be an important part of an upcoming subscription bundle Apple is hoping to launch in the Fall.
The service will launch with over 20 original programs and will be available beyond Apple’s own devices. One source told us it would launch on the various television platforms Apple announced at CES as well, which would explain the strange inclusion of an iTunes app on Samsung televisions at the show. Apple has also supposedly made a deal with Amazon to include the service on Fire devices, though it is unclear if that will be available at launch.
With iTunes Movies and TV moved to the new service, iTunes will now consist entirely of the Music Store and the computer software. Apple had originally hoped to be able to completely replace the music store with streaming by the end of 2019, however many feel that is unlikely at this stage. iTunes and its Music Store are likely to stay around for at least the duration of 2019.
AirPods 2 and the Mystery of AirPower
Apple will finally launch second-generation AirPods this Spring, likely in March, according to sources. The updated model will include a redesigned charging case with a front-facing charging indicator, improved noise isolation, support for Hey Siri, water protection, improved battery life, and more. Apple had originally planned on launching the revised AirPods in the fall of last year during the companies iPhone event, however abruptly delayed them soon before the show, after another round of AirPower disasters.
Apple was planning on unveiling AirPower in September following a year of production difficulties, however, experienced last-second technical issues. The project was then effectively canceled in its original capacity and Apple engineers began work on less-ambitious wireless technology.
Apple is close to releasing this new wireless product, which will still be called AirPower according to a source. It is unclear to us what the technical difference is at this time. The device will likely launch alongside the other new hardware.
AirPods 2 is likely to go on sale soon after its announcement at a higher starting price. Apple is also working on updated HomePod models that may be ready in time, including a smaller model, however, they may end up being delayed to the summer.