What Does 2020 Have in Store for Apple?

People love Apple products. Here’s why:

  • Apple is a global tech leader
  • They make cutting-edge products
  • Apple devices are well integrated
  • Apple is customer-oriented

Now that 2019 is firmly behind us, it’s time to take a look at the year ahead for Apple and its products. 

Apple is often tight-lipped regarding its plans for new products and services, but even it cannot completely prevent rumors and speculation. Below are our predictions for what 2020 has in store for Apple.

Custom Processors

Okay, we’re cheating a little bit here – Apple isn’t expecting to release the hardware in question until at least 2021, but we can expect a steady stream of information over 2020. By the time December rolls around, we should have a pretty good idea of what Apple is doing regarding custom processors. Thanks to an investor note sent from Apple analyst Ming Chi Kuo and obtained by MacRumors, we now know that Apple is gearing up to release its first Mac to use a custom processor designed in-house.

Although we don’t yet have any more specific details about the machine beyond the fact that it is definitely in development, this news lines up with past rumors that we have been hearing for some years now. Not long after Apple first switched from using mainly using AMD processors to Intel ones, we have been hearing whispers that their long-term goal is to produce their own custom processors for their Macs.

The Apple iPad and iPhone both use their own custom CPUs, which are ARM-based rather than Intel. In the long term, Apple’s plan is to enable all their devices – iPhones, iPads, and laptops and desktops – to run all the same apps and services. This will require all those devices to use the same underlying architecture. 

Currently, there are some Apple machines, such as the iMac Pro, MacBook Pro, and MacBook Air, that all use custom T2 chips. If new models of one or all of these systems are launched next year with custom ARM processors, it will represent a significant step towards a unified ecosystem across all of Apple’s devices.

Not only will Apple be using more custom chipsets going forward, but they will also be moving to 5-nanometre architecture across the board. All Apple’s new products from Q2 2020 onwards will utilize this. Apple has ramped up production of its new chips, trying to mitigate the ongoing uncertainty arising from the coronavirus outbreak.

All this chipset news is very exciting for Apple fans, although it might not seem like it if you aren’t au fait with the terminology. If you would like to understand this side of things a bit better, you should consider studying a computer science degree. A computer science course like Baylor University’s online computer science degree will teach you the fundamentals that underpin computer science and the design of hardware. It’s a great way to move from hobby to career path. If you’re not yet convinced, here are some reasons why it’s a good move:

  • Excellent graduate prospects
  • Computer scientists earn big money
  • Plenty of jobs in the industry
  • You can work anywhere

Supreme Court Battles

Apple does love a good lawsuit; they spent the best part of seven years in a largely pointless and self-defeating patent war with rival Samsung. While that particular battle is now at an end, Apple has found a whole bunch of other cases to take to court. However, the current case that really caught our eye is that of Apple vs VirnetX. This case is noteworthy because, on this occasion, it is the other party that is suing Apple for alleged patent infringement.

Patent trolls are nothing new to the world of tech, as there are plenty of people out there looking to make a quick buck by extorting money out of businesses like Apple. Usually, patent trolls are relying on the other party deciding that the costs of fighting their patent claims are going to be significantly higher than the costs of paying whatever license the patent troll is asking for.

But the VirnetX case is different. For one thing, VirnetX won the first round of their case against Apple, claiming that the Cupertino giant had used a number of VPN-related patents without permission. VirnetX first filed their claim a decade ago and was awarded $302 million in October 2016. Naturally, Apple appealed, only to have the judgment increased to $440 million.

The Supreme Court has now refused to hear Apple’s appeal and the tech goliath has exhausted all possibilities. It will have to pay damages in the case of VirnetX. In fact, there are two components to this action. The first case resulted in an even greater award of $502 million for VirnetX, but that ruling has been partially overturned on appeal and the issue returned to a lower court to recalculate damages.

New Wi-Fi Standards

According to a report from 2018, Apple has been working on improving the Wi-Fi capabilities of its devices for some time now. However, it is believed that those efforts are now finally paying off and we will see the first Apple devices take advantage of their new Wi-Fi standard by the end of 2020.

This new Wi-Fi spec offers up to quadruple the bandwidth of previous standards, but it is unlikely that it will be used for general internet usage. Instead, given that Apple is referring to it internally as “ultra-short range”, it seems more likely that it will be used to facilitate communications between different Apple devices and enable the rapid transfer of files and data between them.

Apple is known for keeping its cards very close to their chest when it comes to new products and ideas under development. It is therefore almost impossible to predict exactly what the company is going to do year to year, beyond the expected product cycle refreshes. However, we do know that Apple has spent a significant amount of time already developing its new processor architecture, and the tech giant has signaled a number of times that it ultimately intends to bring all of its disparate operating systems onto the same architecture. 

If Apple is able to deliver on all of its promises over 2020, this could be a very interesting year for them. Some have criticized Apple for a lack of innovation since Steve Jobs departed the company. Rumors of a new mid-sized screen to be added to future iPad models suggest that they are finally waking up and realizing that just releasing newer and faster models every year is not going to cut it anymore.