We’re barely six months into the year, and 2020 has already been one of the busiest (and craziest) years for Apple leaks in recent memory, with eerily accurate leaks that have already pegged some of Apple’s newest products, and some very interesting ones highlighting what could be coming next.
While we’re likely to hear many more leaks in the coming weeks and months, as well as getting a chance to see how these ones turn out, here are the 14 most interesting Apple leaks of 2020 so far.
2020 iPad Pro
Granted, we didn’t have to wait long to see the actual product, but it was an unusual “oops” moment for the normally secretive company, which typically plays these things very close to its vest.
When 2020 began, we already knew that Apple was working on a spiritual successor to its 2016 iPhone SE — a new device that would do for the iPhone 8 what the earlier model did with the iPhone 5s.
At the time, the rumour mill was suggesting it would be called either the iPhone SE 2 or the iPhone 9, but it was a “highly trusted” 9to5Mac reader who first pegged it as being simply the “iPhone SE” about two weeks before it actually launched. It was the more well-known leaker Jon Prosser, however, who accurately pegged the actual launch date of April 15th.
Navy Blue iPhone 12 Pro
Last year Apple surprised us with the release of the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max in a cool new midnight green colour, but if new reports are true it looks like the company may plan to change things up for the iPhone 12 Pro — and perhaps each year after that — with more classy colours.
According to EverythingApplePro leaker Max Weinbach, inside sources reveal that Apple is working on navy blue for this year’s iPhone 12 Pro. Like the midnight green, however, this is expected to be exclusive to the “Pro” models, with the entry-level iPhone 12 likely getting a wider assortment of more vibrant colours.
The 5.4-inch iPhone
According to Filip, and the earlier dimensions shared by Mac Otakara, the 5.4-inch iPhone is actually going to be really small — quite possibly even more pocketable than the 4.7-inch iPhone SE, thanks to the absence of a bezel, and yet it will pack in all of the same power and fun as the 6.1-inch iPhone 12. Just in a smaller package.
Our take: It’s not news that Apple has been working on a smaller iPhone, and in fact we saw dimensions almost a year ago that reflected this more diminutive size back when most still believed it would be the iPhone 12 Pro, not the iPhone 12, getting the smaller treatment.
While there’s little doubt that the iPhone 12 Pro will get some nice camera improvements, the leaks on exactly how nice have actually varied widely. What we do know is that any significant improvements will be limited to the iPhone Pro, with every report thus far saying the iPhone 12 is going to stick with the dual-lens configuration.
Max Weinbach of EverythingApplePro weighed in earlier this year suggesting that Apple will bump the main camera to 64MP, while later leaks shared diagrams of the somewhat obvious inclusion of a LiDAR scanner alongside the existing three lenses.
The leaks haven’t offered much other insight on what Apple might do with this year’s cameras, but a more recent leak has suggested that the high megapixel counts may be saved for the 2021 iPhone 13, which could also gain a fourth “anamorphic” lens for shooting cinematic videos.
Our take: Apple doesn’t usually chase high megapixel counts, so we wouldn’t count on seeing any huge jumps this year. The addition of a LiDAR scanner is pretty much a given for the iPhone 12 Pro, however, considering that it’s already arrived in the 2020 iPad Pro.
Earlier this year 9to5Mac managed to get its hands on an early leaked release of iOS 14, and has been poring over the code in it ever since.
There’s enough to be found in here that new nuggets are appearing every day, such as the most recent news that Messages for Mac may soon get an overhaul. However, the most interesting reports came out right away, including a whole new multitasking interface, a whole new home screen design, an new AR app, additional new Apple Watch faces, a new password manager, and much more.
There are also a whole slew of new health features coming in iOS 14 and watchOS 7, ranging from sleep tracking to blood pressure monitoring, and more.
Our take: The version of iOS 14 was a fairly early one, so while some things might have changed in the interim, we won’t have long to wait to see it, as Apple is expected to take the wraps off at its virtual WWDC next month.
All-New iPad Air
With this year’s iPad Pro out of the way, the biggest remaining question for the tablet lineup is what Apple plans to do with its non-Pro tablets. Apple added a new mid-tier model when it resurrected the iPad Air last year, which was really just a hybrid between the entry-level iPad and Apple’s earlier 2017 iPad Pro.
However, a series of reports and leaks suggests that Apple may be taking steps to take its iPad Air up a notch to make it even more mid-range, suggesting that it could get a physical design similar to the iPad Pro, with an edge-to-edge display, while incorporating an in-display Touch ID sensor rather than the more expensive Face ID system.
Our take: This makes sense for a whole lot of reasons, not the least of which is that right now the iPad Air and entry-level iPad look virtually identical to the untrained eye, so it would help to give the mid-range model a bit more cachet. Further, the larger iPad Air screen might be the perfect place for Apple to debut the in-display Touch ID sensor tech we’ve been hearing about for years.
By all reports, Apple has been working on its own over-ear headphones for quite a while, although until recently it’s something we’ve only heard vague whisperings about. However, it does seem like this year could be the year they finally arrive.
Once again, thanks to the iOS 14 leak, code has been found referencing the headphones, and then a leak surfaced from Jon Prosser suggested that they could debut in June, likely at WWDC. Later reports also seem to have nailed down the name as AirPods Studio, and have suggested that production is already underway.
Our take: It seems obvious these are coming this year, and it’s now more a question of when than if. The iOS 14 code suggests a fall release, but it wouldn’t be at all out of character for Apple to debut them at WWDC but schedule them for a release later on this year.
Apple TV Workout App
It’s one of the more obscure bits to leak out of iOS 14, but it looks like Apple could actually be planning to expand its fitness regimen to your big screen with a new Apple TV Workout app, currently codenamed “Seymour.”
The new app would reportedly be designed to let you download workout routines, and of course sync with your Apple Watch to see how hard you’re working out (or not).
Our take: It seems like there’s room for Apple to make another big push to make the Apple TV stand out from the crowd of set-top streaming boxes.
Apple Pencil Mini
Ever since Apple debuted the Apple Pencil on its 2015 iPad Pro there have been suggestions that it could find its way to the iPhone at some point, and while Tim Cook once hinted at it, we’ve really heard nothing more than rumours.
This year, however, multiple leaks have shown a magnetic docking connector on one edge of the iPhone 12 Pro that looks very similar to what’s found on the same edge of theiPad Pro.
Our take: We’ve heard enough talk about this that we have to assume Apple is working on it, but it’s also been so long that we’re not holding our breath. An Apple Pencil makes sense on an iPad, but having one on an iPhone feels like something Steve Jobs would have hated.
We’ve heard nothing official about Apple’s location trackers, ostensibly dubbed AirTags, but that hasn’t stopped Apple’s competitors from getting uptight, and there’s been a ton of evidence that the company is working on something.
In another big “oops” move, however, it seems it was Apple itself that ultimately let the cat out of the bag, posting a support video to its YouTube channel that clearly showed a reference on one of its screens to “AirTags.” The video itself was on a pretty innocuous topic — how to erase your iPhone — but that will teach Apple to let their employees shoot support videos on devices that are used for testing purposes.
Our take:AirTags is another one of these products that we’re almost guaranteed to see this year, and they could really arrive any day, as there’s been code laying around in iOS 13 for them since at least last year.
Apple Game Controller
While there have been rumours for years that Apple could turn the Apple TV into more of a gaming console, it’s only more recently that it seems to be getting more serious about gaming, thanks to last year’s release of Apple Arcade, where it’s not only providing games, but actually bankrolling their development.
So Apple may finally be working on its own gaming controller, at least if a vague report by an otherwise reliable Twitter account is to be believed. Unfortunately, there’s not much else known right as to what Apple is up to, and it’s even possible this could be a reference to the Vive-like AR/VR controller recently found buried in iOS 14 code.
Our take: Apple already added support for mainstream gaming controllers to its Apple TV and iPhone/iPad devices with iOS 13 last year, so it’s hard to imagine what Apple could bring to the table with its own first-party game controller, other than getting a slice of the hardware revenue, and perhaps being able to offer it in a bundled “Apple Arcade” set-top box.
By now it’s not news that Apple has been working on an augmented reality wearable for some time; we’ve been hearing rumours of it for years, and these actually solidified when a leaked report surfaced from inside an Apple meeting last fall, suggesting a 2022 release for an Oculus-style headset, following by a more ambitious set of traditional glasses by 2023.
However, leaker Jon Prosser recently turned all of that on its head when he claimed to have news that Apple was planning to debut ‘Apple Glass’ — the normal spectacles — as early as this fall’s iPhone launch event. In fact, Prosser says, the only reason that Apple might be pushing it off to next year would be because of the ongoing pandemic limiting the number of media who would actually be able to be there in person.
It flies in the face of everything else we’ve heard, but Prosser claims to have reliable information, and he’s even seen prototypes. To be clear, he doesn’t say that Apple plans to release Apple Glass before late 2021 at the soonest, but that’s still a full year before the timeline that other leakers and analysts had been hearing.
Our take: It’s not surprising that Apple might already have prototypes in the works, but whether its figured out all of the bugs is another story. Apple definitely doesn’t want another AirPower debacle on its hands, and the timeline that it’s laid out suggests to us that it’s going to take whatever time it needs to do this right. While Prosser’s predictions aren’t impossible, it feels like he may be jumping the gun a bit here.
‘Steve Jobs Heritage Edition’ Apple Glass
Prosser actually doubled-down on his prediction of Apple Glass by stating that Apple is also planning a special “Steve Jobs Heritage Edition” of the glasses, which would feature the iconic design of the glasses worn by Apple’s late CEO and co-founder.
According to Prosser, these would be sold as a special edition version of Apple Glass, similar to the Gold Edition Apple Watch back in 2015.
Our take: We give this one zero chance of being true. Not only is this not Apple’s style — Tim Cook isn’t about to use his mentor and the legendary Apple co-founder as marketing fodder — but there’s simply no way the technology is there yet to pack in everything that Apple Glass would need into the wire-thin frames of the glasses that Jobs wore. Most of the other leaked prototypes we’ve heard about are thick-rimmed Wayfarer-style glasses, which makes more sense.