Not every supply chain leak turns out to be accurate. But when the most-respected and highly reliable analyst talks about unreleased Apple products, you know his report is worth paying attention to. TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is out with his latest investor report (via 9to5Mac) on Apple’s 2019 product lineup. It looks like the Cupertino company is going to have a busy year. Kuo has spilled the beans on the Apple Watch Series 5 specs as well as the AirPods 2 and AirPower launch timelines.
In the past, Kuo has made several accurate predictions about Apple’s unreleased products. This time, he indicates that almost the entire product lineup of the Cupertino company would get a major or minor upgrade.
Apple Watch Series 5 to get a ceramic casing
Talking about the 2019 Apple Watch Series 5, the analyst said Apple would bring ECG support to additional countries later this year. The life-saving ECG feature is currently offered only in the United States. Apple couldn’t offer ECG in other countries last year due to health regulatory hurdles. Apple hasn’t revealed when it would expand ECG support to other countries, so experts are hoping for a September release.
Kuo added that the Apple Watch Series 5 would be available in a ceramic casing. In the past, Apple has offered the ceramic option at a much higher price with Series 3, but it’s no longer available. There is no ceramic option for the Series 4 Watch. The ceramic variant of Apple Watch Series 5 would be more expensive than the standard models.
Separately, The Information reports that Huawei has been trying to steal trade secrets related to the Apple Watch heart rate sensor. Huawei engineers approached Apple’s manufacturers and suppliers with promises of large orders, but they were using the opportunity to obtain as many details as possible on processes and components that go into the Apple Watch, including its heart rate sensor. Huawei representatives would tell suppliers that their design was similar to Apple’s but declined to share schematics.
AirPower, AirPods 2 both to launch by June 2019
Coming back to Kuo’s report, the analyst added that the AirPods 2 would support upgraded Bluetooth connectivity and wireless charging. Recent reports suggest it would be available in a new black color option and offer a textured surface for enhanced grip.
However, its design is expected to remain the same as the original wireless earbuds. The analyst added that the 2019 iPhones would support reverse wireless charging, which means your future iPhones could wirelessly charge the AirPods 2. The AirPods 2 would have the same price as its predecessor.
Some #AirPods2 details I got from a new and yet unconfirmed but seemingly reliable source. Thus, I can't vouch these at 100%…
– New wireless charging #AirPods Case to be launched soon BUT shipped with current AirPods
– Brand new AirPods + new color(s) likely unveiled this fall pic.twitter.com/eNYom3Xys6
— Steve H.McFly (@OnLeaks) February 12, 2019
According to Kuo, the AirPods 2 and the long-delayed AirPower wireless charging mat would launch in the first half of 2019. Apple is holding an event on March 25, but it will reportedly focus on the upcoming streaming TV service rather than hardware products. The AirPods 2 and AirPower could be launched through a press release or at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June.
Apple had originally announced AirPower in 2017 alongside iPhone X. It was supposed to start shipping in 2018. But it was delayed indefinitely due to technological difficulties. There were even speculations that the Cupertino company had scrapped the project. But a few weeks ago, supply chain reports indicated that mass production had begun. It means shipments could start soon. The AirPower charging mat could charge your iPhone, AirPods, and Apple Watch wirelessly.
Other products will also be upgraded
Among other products, the seventh-generation iPod touch will get a faster processor. Kuo added that the 2019 iPhones would retain the same screen sizes as the iPhone XS, XS Max, and iPhone XR. All three of them will offer Lightning connectivity instead of USB-C port.
There were rumors that Apple was testing 2019 iPhone versions with USB-C connectivity, but it won’t make it to the final version. The upcoming iPhones would have a frosted glass casing and an upgraded Face ID. The iPhone XS Max successor will also get a triple camera system on the back, a first for iPhones.
Kuo added that Apple would release two new iPads this year with upgraded processors. The 9.7-inch iPad successor will get a bigger 10.2-inch display, thanks to the thinner bezels. There will also be a new iPad Mini with an upgraded processor.
According to the analyst, Apple will also release new MacBook Pro models with an all-new design and 16-16.5-inch display. The 13-inch MacBook Pro would also get a 32GB RAM option, which is currently limited to 16GB. We will also see a new Mac Pro with easy to upgrade components. What’s more, Apple is said to launch a giant 31.6-inch monitor with 6K resolution.