Apple’s annual release of new products is highly anticipated — but difficult to predict in terms of timing and the extent of the changes the company makes. Supply chain disruptions caused by the worldwide COVID-19 outbreak create more uncertainty.
According to a Bloomberg News report, Apple plans to offer redesigned top-tier iPhones that will upgrade the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max. In addition, the company will come up with two cheaper iPhones that will replace the iPhone 11. Also, it will introduce 5G capability to four new handset models along with two new accessories.
Sources who did not want to be identified for the Bloomberg report said the redesign will mean significant changes in the look of at least the two higher-end devices, with flat stainless-steel edges, instead of the now-familiar curved corners, along with flat screens, instead of the familiar sloping edges. Such changes will have a similar look to 2018’s iPad Pro.
The upgraded iPhone Pro smartphones will have three cameras on the back, with the lower-end phones maintaining two cameras. Apple is also looking to put 3-D capabilities on the high-end phones as well, similar to those of iPad Pro, introduced in March.
Restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic mean Apple engineers are mostly working from home, the report said.
As previously reported, the 5G iPhones may not arrive until December, due to the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Apple has one shot at its first 5G launch and tepid success out of the gates due to a lukewarm consumer appetite would be a disaster scenario that further plays into the mindset of Cook & Co. as they ponder the potential timing of this flagship product rollout,” said Wedbush analyst Dan Ives.
After making progress with redesigns, Apple will send its engineers to China to deal with production issues. In general, Apple’s penchant for secrecy make predictions on timing difficult. And due to the current global coronavirus crisis and its economic impacts, iPhone specifications could still change.
Other products that Apple is working on releasing include a cheaper version of its HomePod speakers of about half the current size, whose release has been delayed; “Apple Tags,” a feature that would allow users to keep track of keys and wallets; new versions of the MacBook Pro and Apple TV; a new budget iPad; and a new iMac.