June was a huge month for Apple, with a raft of important software announcements at WWDC. But contrary to expectations, Apple barely launched a single hardware product during the month (just the Beats Studio Buds), and the weight of expectation is becoming overwhelming.
Here are the most important upcoming Apple products, and our analysis of how likely each one is to appear in July. You'll note that none of our probability scores are above 5/10, and we have to face the fact that the month could feasibly pass without any hardware launches at all, in which case we'll have to console ourselves with thoughts of a bumper autumn.
Don't forget to check our predictions for June and laugh at the things we got wrong. You'll be able to do the same at the end of July.
This is the hottest entry on Apple's unreleased list, and the one in which Macworld readers have shown the most interest.
It might seem premature to be expecting a new MBP, given that Apple updated the line as recently as November 2020. But this was only a partial update, adding the desirable M1 processor to the entry-level 13in models; the more expensive 13in models are still based on Intel, as are the 16in ones. It's strange, given the popularity and positive reviews of the M1 chip, that Apple's most expensive laptops are still equipped with the previous set of processors.
Apple fans have high hopes, then, of two more announcements in the near future: the upgrade of the Intel-based 13in Pro to a 14in screen and Apple Silicon; and the upgrade of the 16in to an M1X or M2.
Sadly, however, credible sources predict that we won't get another MacBook Pro launch until the autumn, so the wait will probably go on for another few months. You can read all the latest rumours in our new MacBook Pro hub.
The Air is less obviously in need of attention than its Pro sibling, given that no Airs were left behind when the M1 circus came to town last year. Apple only sells two base configurations of the MacBook Air, but they both come with an M1 chip; Intel has left the building.
But there is talk of something larger on the way for the Air: a complete redesign that would take away the device's distinctive sloped shape and give it extra graphics cores and colour finishes. It would also get a next-gen chip from the M-series processor family.
Exciting stuff, but here too we will probably have to contain ourselves for a while. According to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, the revamped MacBook Air will launch in the second half of 2021 at the earliest, and may be held back until 2022.
Get the latest info in our MacBook Air news hub.
Like the MacBook Pro, the iMac line has received only a partial overhaul since the arrival of the M1 chip: we got a new 24in model, but the larger 27in edition remains unchanged.
So hopes are high for a premium iMac with M1 (or M1X, or M2) processor and, perhaps, the same natty colour finishes offered with its smaller sibling. (Although maybe not. Current thinking is that Apple is pursuing a strategy of entry-level products with bright colours and pro models with more sombre finishes.) Most intriguingly, pundits reckon it could get a screen bump to 30in or even 32in.
You can read more in our iMac 32in news roundup.
The wait goes on, and on, and on. The standard AirPods were last updated in March 2019, and despite proving one of Apple's most successful ever products, haven't been touched since. What's going on?
We have to assume that the pandemic is to blame at some level: it wiped out production schedules, and drastically reduced the amount of time we were all spending outside. Maybe Apple didn't think the time was right to launch new AirPods (although it did launch the Beats Studio Buds last month, you'll note), and maybe it simply wasn't able to get them made in sufficient volume.
We're fairly sure there will be new AirPods this year. Most sources reckon it'll be autumn - suppliers are only just starting to gear up for production - but there have been so many incorrect predictions about new AirPods over the past 27 months that we'd understand if you refused to believe anything we say on this topic.
Catch the latest gossip in our new AirPods rumour roundup (which also discusses the next entry on our list).
Image courtesy of 52audio.
Yes, the AirPods Pro have gone a long time between updates too - they came out in the autumn of 2019 - but Apple will want to get to the basic AirPods first. The analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who generally knows his stuff, says no new AirPods Pro until 2022. Sorry, everyone.
Here's what you can expect from Arcade in July:
- Solitaire Stories - Adds narrative to solitaire, which might work. Expected on 2 July.
- Angry Birds Reloaded - You might just have heard of this franchise. Apple just says this is coming soon, but has to a good bet for July.
- Alto's Odyssey: The Lost City - New instalment of the critically lauded sandboarder. Coming soon.
- Doodle God Universe - Coming soon.
- Jetpack Joyride+ - Re-release of a stone-cold App Store classic: a side-scrolling endless runner with great cartoon graphics. Coming soon.
- Detonation Racing - Coming soon.