Apple may be gearing up to release refreshed iPad Pros with new 3D camera systems and additional MacBook models with scissor keyboards all within the first half of next year. That’s according to a new report by well-connected TF Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, which was published today. Here’s what you should know.
iPad Pro with ToF Camera
Kuo didn’t offer too many details about the rumored iPad Pro refresh, but he did continue to corroborate his prediction that they would sport a new time-of-flight (ToF) camera.
That 3D-sensing camera system could use lasers to accurately map an environment using ToF techniques (bouncing lasers off of objects in a room and measuring how long it takes for them to return.)
Accurate 3D maps of an environment would obviously bolster a variety of augmented reality applications. But it could also give a big boost to overall photo quality on the rear-facing cameras.
It’s also worth noting that Apple will likely bring the 3D ToF cameras to at least two iPhones next year.
This does appear to throw a wrench in any 2019 iPad Pro release timelines. It doesn’t make much sense for Apple to debut new Pad Pro models this year if it’s going to refresh the lineup again early next year.
Scissor Keyboard MacBooks
In addition to details about upcoming iPad Pros, Kuo also seemingly confirmed that Apple will slowly move its entire MacBook lineup over to scissor-switch keyboards.
The analyst has previously forecasted that Apple would release a 16-inch MacBook Pro with slimmer bezels and a scissor-switch keyboard. His last prediction on that device seems to indicate that it could drop as soon as this fall.
Kuo is also typically fairly precise when making forecasts about new Apple products. If he meant that the 16-inch MacBook Pro was actually coming next year, he would have specified MacBook Pro.
But instead, he simply said scissor-switch MacBooks. That could hint that he means the entire MacBook lineup would adopt scissor-switch keys by next year, or that Apple could release a new version of the now-discontinued, 12-inch MacBook.
When Are They Coming?
According to Kuo’s forecast, the refreshed iPad Pro models should arrive in the first quarter of next year. That’s between January and March.
It’s also worth noting that Kuo made a similar prediction for a new “iPhone SE 2” device last week. That device will actually be closer in design to Apple’s 4.7-inch iPhone 8, but would sport updated iPhone 11-style internals.
Based on the timeline, that may mean that the iPhone SE 2 and iPad Pro models could be released concurrently. It also does suggest that Apple could unveil both devices at a keynote sometime next year.
Kuo also suggests that redesigned MacBook models with scissor-switch keyboards may arrive later next year — specifically in the second quarter of 2020.
Again, he is likely referring to products other than the upcoming 16-inch MacBook Pro. A second-quarter launch may suggests that they’ll be announced at WWDC ’20, but it’s far to early to place any firm bets.