A new report out of the Apple supply chain could give us an idea when the company’s first new products of 2018 will launch.
Taiwan-based outlet DigiTimes reported on Monday that Cupertino’s supply chain partners are “poised to benefit” from new orders by Apple, specifically for its next-generation of iPad, MacBook, and Apple Watch models this year.
That’s expected news, but DigiTimes drops a hint as to when we could see such devices hit the market. According to industry sources, Apple is preparing to place sizable component orders new versions of its iPhone, iPad and MacBook devices.
The publication added that the new products are slated for a debut starting in March 2018.
Of course, DigiTimes doesn’t have a perfect track record of predicting Apple’s future moves, but the report does line up with some previous rumors out of the Apple news sphere.
At this point, the most likely candidate for a March 2018 launch is a rumored successor to its surprisingly popular iPhone SE device.
Reports of a so-called iPhone SE 2 first surfaced last August, when a Focus Taiwan story suggested that a next-generation 4-inch iPhone was set to begin production at a Wistron plant in Bengaluru, India.
The existence of a new iPhone SE-style device has since been corroborated by the Economic Daily Times, market research firm TrendForce, and India-based tech site Tekz24. While Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities has cast some doubt on the possibility, he didn’t rule it out entirely. While some suggest that the iPhone SE 2 could sport a glass back and wireless charging, others are more skeptical of that claim.
Notably, Focus Taiwan suggested that Apple would ship the device to the Indian market initially, before releasing it to the rest of the world. While that’s not a certainty, it could make sense with Apple’s India strategy in mind.
While one analyst forecasted that the device could launch in May or June, a March date seems probable. The iPhone SE was first launched in March 2016, before receiving a storage boost in March 2017.
Additionally, code hidden within iOS beta versions of 11.3 make reference to a “modern iPad” — the same type of moniker given to the iPhone X before its release. While that fact doesn’t confirm any design decisions, it could hint at an upcoming iPad Pro with slim bezels and no Home button.
Of course, Apple last refreshed the iPad Pro lineup in June 2017, hinting that it could do the same this June. This doesn’t necessarily conflict with the DigiTimes report — since Apple’s new products could launch starting in March with the iPhone SE successor, with others devices to come later on in the year.
While the DigiTimes report suggested that Apple could launch new MacBook Pro devices by March 2018, this seems less likely than new iPads or iPhones. Apple hasn’t unveiled new MacBook devices in March since 2015, and it’s taken to announcing new notebooks at its WWDC event in June.
But, again, the DigiTimes report could be taken in the context that only the first of Apple’s new products will launch in March. On the other hand, Apple is by no means obligated to stick to its historical launch patterns, so the company could always surprise us.