Is this the Apple pipeline for 2020?

Posting via MacRumours, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo recently gave out his highly anticipated (and typically correct) list of new releases from Apple for 2020. Kuo proposed Apple AR glasses, new MacBook Pro keyboards, an iPad Pro with a sophisticated rear camera, and a new iPhone SE are all reportedly on the way. 

It might seem strange that an analyst at financial services group TF International Securities has become such an Apple prophet, until you know he used to work at DigiTimes, Concord and KGI Securities. Predicting Apple’s new product pipeline has long been his forte, and he has a string of contacts in Apple’s Asian supply chain. An Asia-Pacific analyst, Kuo is sometimes a little off the mark, but rarely so.

Retail consumers and businesses alike that have incorporated Apple into their working lives tend to follow his notes. Posted as research for investment clients, Kuo’s commentary gives users the most reliable insight into Apple’s product development each year. His latest predictions have been partially corroborated by various well-placed sources, so it’s almost certain that most of the products he pitched for 2020 will be at retail outlets soon.

Apple Office Upgrade

The perception of Apple as the manufacturer of personal playthings is changing. 

While many fashion design houses have long-employed Macs and other Apple tech in their work spaces, the rest of industry viewed Apple as purely retail. It’s true that fashionable play is a strong component of the business, but that shouldn’t mask the fact it’s only one aspect of the company. 

There has been a strong push from Apple to ensure businesses know how capable its applications can be at work. The pitch is that not only are Apple products smart and fast – thus enabling business at that level – but that they’re also familiar to millions across the globe, making for happier, more productive employees. They have a point. A great many starting, expanding or relocating businesses are switching to Apple. If one considers tech upgrades to be a cyclical and perpetual stream of activity, the Apple contribution to that constant flow is growing. 

Many companies have realised the benefits of incorporating their employees love of Apple products into their working lives. As a reliable IT relocation company in London can confirm, the stream is becoming more ‘Apple silver’ than ever! There are detractors – those that feel that Apple is a consumer-facing company, period, and not a tech giant. But with a staggering $300 billion in reserves, it’s undeniable that the company can easily reach into global work places and marry its feel-good products into the working world. Partly an upshot of the gig economy, Apple is now everywhere – not just accompanying users in their leisure time.

What Apples are soon to fall from the tree?

Kuo mentions a new iPhone SE is looming. This isn’t a big surprise, as he posted a preliminary appraisal earlier in 2019 and rumours of it have been bandied about for years. More unusual, since the iPad has always had but a single camera, Kuo has touted a new iPad with a 3D-sensing “time-of-flight” rear sensor. The new camera construct on the back might be an indoor-mapping tool, but more excitingly should come into play as Augmented Reality (AR) develops rapidly on various platforms.

Then – relief for millions of users who’ve hated the MacBook keyboard – the butterfly mechanism is to be dumped in favour of more typical “scissor-switch” mechanism keyboards. Giving rise to the absurdity of using a secondary keyboard to work on your MacBook, the butterfly keyboards gave hassles to uncountable people at various stages of use. While quietly offering free services to those so afflicted in the past, it’s refreshing to note the turnaround on this issue. “Love the Mac – hate the keyboard” has become a slogan of frustrated users and – since Apple is looking to populate enterprise with its products – that needed to change.

The “scissor-switch” keyboards are so named because of the hinge design beneath them. Apple mistakenly kept trying to render the alternative butterfly mechanism functional. A recent scathing revue by Wall Street Journal columnist Johanna Stern summed it up perfectly – Apple, you’re great, but you need to learn faster from your mistakes. Dump the keyboards! 

It seems Apple is doing just that mid-2020, as Kuo pitched that as the timeline when “new keyboard Macs” will begin their gradual takeover from older butterfly keyboard machines. Users will likely be able to do a (paid) upgrade of their old machines, swapping out keyboards to finally be free of double Es and double Ts! Kuo earlier noted that the soon-to-be released 16-inch MacBook Pro will be the first new model employing the scissor keyboard, but it’s likely some blur will happen as older models could all be retro-fitted with the new mechanism keypads.

Marketing, sales, and Augmented Reality

As AI and AR rapidly rise in application, you can be sure Apple will be positioning itself as top of the ‘retail end’ of apps. That said, AR is destined to be a business tool too, and the potential application of both Virtual and Augmented Reality tech is, well – unfolding and possibly limitless. 

In fact, Apple’s very first “head-mounted AR product” is in the pipeline for 2020. Whether it will be a different headset or Apple glasses remains to be seen, but from Kuo’s notes it would appear that the Jobbers are anticipating users wearing them all the time, so it’s likely to be a pair of glasses.

Clearly wireless and billed as an “accessory,” it’s expected to be employed most successfully with a user’s iPhone for purposes of networking and positioning details. Perhaps “sending a pic” of something to the boss will involve but a few flaps of your eyelids in the near future. 2020 will reveal all!