Not even a pandemic can stop Apple. In just two years, the company has managed to double its value, recently hitting an unimaginable market cap of two trillion dollars even as the world has undergone a global health crisis.
This autumn we can expect even more exciting and important Apple product releases. And there are two products in particular that I will be watching a little more closely.
iPhone 12 gets better - so who needs an iPhone Pro?
With this autumn's iPhone 12 series, it looks like Apple's just-below-premium class will be even more attractive, judging by the rumours circulating during the year.
We'd argue that the cheap iPhone 11 is currently a smarter purchase than the much more expensive iPhone 11 Pro (it's top of our iPhone chart), but its biggest problem is the slightly mediocre LCD screen. Anyone who's used an OLED screen quickly wrinkles their nose at the iPhone 11.
This year, that device's successor will not only come in two different sizes; it will also fix the 11's biggest problem. The LCD screen will be replaced by an OLED screen, by all accounts - and just like that, the cheaper model's biggest disadvantage is blown away.
According to the often quoted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, this autumn's iPhone 12 lineup will look like the following:
- iPhone 12: 5.4in OLED screen, dual cameras, 5G
- iPhone 12 Max: 6.1in OLED screen, dual cameras, 5G
- iPhone 12 Pro: 6.1in OLED screen, triple cameras, LiDAR sensor, 5G
- iPhone 12 Pro Max: 6.7in OLED screen, triple cameras, LiDAR sensor, 5G
In addition to this, the iPhone 12 is also expected to have exactly the same processor as the Pro series, and thus the same performance and longevity. 5G is also expected to come to all iPhone 12 models.
Of course, Apple will come up with something else to make the Pro versions more attractive, but even today the price gap is large and the extra features are not so many. Many people can probably live without a triple camera and LiDAR sensor.
So when iPhone 12 is now expected to fix one of the biggest shortcomings, the inferior screen, then who needs an iPhone 12 Pro? The regular iPhone 12 series is by far the most interesting and important iPhone coming this autumn.
The Apple Silicon Mac - and not just the new processor
An entirely new type of Mac is promised before the end of the year, a Mac that will bring to an end a 15-year era of Intel processors in Apple machines and heralds the Apple Silicon age. Mind you, given how successful Apple has been with its own ARM-based A-processors in the iPhone and iPad, perhaps we shouldn't have been surprised when Apple announced the transition to proprietary ARM processors in the Mac too.
Of course, the processor itself is interesting: the way it will be designed, the performance it will provide, and the speed of the transition. There are lots of potential problems to keep an eye on, too.
But it's more than just the processor itself that's interesting. Equally important is what the new architecture will allow the Mac to do.
We still do not know which Mac will be the first to come with an ARM processor, but as we've written before, this is a golden opportunity for Apple to redesign and launch a completely new, say, MacBook Pro. When Apple breaks free from Intel's architecture and can create its very own platform, there are lots of new interesting decisions on Apple's drawing board (which have probably been made already, even if we don't know the outcome just yet).
Will the Touch Bar remain? Surely not, at least in its current form. A Mac with ARM processors should not need the T2 processor that controls the Touch Bar.
What happens to pricing? When Apple avoids buying Intel processors at market prices (albeit with a volume discount, one must assume), an opportunity opens up to manufacture Macs at lower prices. Is there a chance of cheaper computers from Apple in the future?
Or will the company decide it's happy with the price as it is, and instead choose to add components with higher performance and quality? Or new functionality, such as a touchscreen display? Or just make bigger margins?
What other choices does Apple make on the inside of the Mac? It would be reasonable to expect the need for power and cooling to decrease, so what does Apple do with the extra space? Larger battery? Smaller chassis? Maybe both.
This is perhaps the most important time for a Mac in 15 years, and it happens in the middle of a very unusual 2020. In other words, there is every reason to keep your eyes glued to these two important products. Above all, one of them - the first Mac with an ARM processor - will say a lot about future products from the company.