While we’re all but certain to be getting a 13-inch MacBook Pro with scissor keys, an iPad Pro refresh, and an iPhone SE2 at some point before the summer, a new report from analyst Ming Chi-Kuo suggests that Apple might have a few surprises up its sleeve, as well.
While the report is extremely light on details, there are a couple of intriguing tidbits. As 9to5Mac reports, Kuo claims that Apple is gearing up to release “a smaller wireless charging mat, UWB tag, and a high-end Bluetooth headphone” sometime in the first half of 2020. Those would all represent new product categories for the company.
The most interesting is the “smaller wireless charging mat.” Since Apple doesn’t currently sell a wireless charging mat, presumably that means it would be smaller than the doomed AirPower, which was killed before it ever hit shelves. AirPower was supposed to charge three devices simultaneously, so a “smaller” model would likely charge a single iPhone, maybe even two. Still, it suggests that Apple hasn’t given up on creating a first-party wireless charger.
The “Bluetooth headphone” claim is even lighter on specifics, but it likely refers to the rumor that Apple is developing a pair of over-ear noise-canceling headphones like the Beats Studio 3 Wireless. Those retail for $350 and offer up to 22 hours of battery life, likely in the ballpark of the targets Apple would want to hit. Case in point: PowerBeats Pro preceded AirPods Pro with the same $250 price point. In fact, we wouldn’t be surprised if Apple called these AirPods Studio and charged $349.
Finally, a “UWB tag” almost certainly means Ultra-Wideband Apple Tags are on the way. Rumored for months and clearly in development, they will likely be similar in size and functionality to Tile, with one notable exception: reach. By tapping into the existing network of iTunes users, Apple Tags could be infinitely more useful than any other Bluetooth tracker on the planet, letting you find things that are miles away when someone using an iPhone 11 walks by. (Of note, Apple added a UWB toggle to iOS 13.3.1, adding an important layer of privacy ahead of a possible launch.)
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Michael Simon has been covering Apple since the iPod was the iWalk. His obsession with technology goes back to his first PC—the IBM Thinkpad with the lift-up keyboard for swapping out the drive. He's still waiting for that to come back in style tbh.