With sales of iPhones having permanently plateaued and now declining year after year, and the state of Apple's once consistent blowout iPhone numbers under growing threat (explaining the company's pivot to a "service" company), Apple is now looking to produce new "Pro" versions of its iPhones, along with upgrades to its iPads and laptops, according to Bloomberg. The new products will be rolled out next month.
As most are well aware, Apple has struggled to generate any “killer” innovation over the last few years - in fact ever since Steve Jobs died - and has instead leaned on its legacy iPhone business and offered relatively tepid new "wearable" products, like Apple Watch and HomePod, while hoping to transition ever more to a services company.
Here's what we know so far: Tim Cook will announce three new iPhones at an event next month which will likely go on sale in September. The new products will come in time for the fourth quarter and the crucial holiday season. Apple's hopes to avoid the enormous earnings miss it posted at the end of the year last year.
As we noted after Apple's last earnings report, iPhone sales Q3 represented about 48% of revenues, the first time that the product has made up less than half of sales in several years.
In addition to trying to
drive up the ASP of iPhones offer "new" phones, a refreshed iPad Pro with an upgraded camera and faster chips and an entry-level iPad with a larger screen will also be on their way. Additionally, the company is going to be updating the Apple Watch and will revamp the MacBook Pro for the first time in three years. Audio accessories like AirPods and its HomePod speaker are also in the works.
The updates continue to make it seems as though Apple has lost its sharpness as an innovator. The "new" phones are being described as looking nearly identical to the old ones, and the main "upgrade" is going to be new camera hardware for photographs and video. Here are more of the detailed updates, according to Bloomberg:
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 colors, reframe and crop video as it is being recorded live on the device. Another notable new feature: 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.
The high-end iPhones will look nearly identical to the current models from the front and feature the same size screens, but at least some colors on the back will have a matte finish versus the existing glossy look. The new models should hold up better when they’re dropped due to new shatter-resistance technology.
All of the new iPhones will have faster A13 processors. There’s a new component in the chip, known internally as the “AMX” or “matrix” co-processor, to handle some math-heavy tasks, so the main chip doesn’t have to. That may help with computer vision and augmented reality, which Apple is pushing a core feature of its mobile devices. 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.
- The 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pros will get similar upgrades to the iPhones, gaining upgraded cameras and faster processors. Otherwise, the new iPads will look like the current versions. The low-end iPad’s screen will be 10.2-inches. That means Apple will likely no longer sell a new model with a 9.7-inch display, discontinuing the original display size after using it for nearly a decade.
- Apple is planning a revamped MacBook Pro with a screen over 16-inches diagonally. The bezels on the new laptop will be slimmer so the overall size of the laptop will be close to the current 15-inch models. The new laptop would mark Apple’s largest since the 17-inch MacBook Pro was discontinued in 2012. It’s part of an effort by Apple to retain and woo professional computer users. Apple is also launching the previously announced Mac Pro and 32-inch XDR Pro Display later this year.
Apple will also launch a refreshed Mac Pro and accompanying monitor, while software updates for iPhone, iPad, AppleTV, Mac and Apple Watch will also be on their way.