A revamped, full-size HomePod is coming back in 2023

The rumor: Apple is working on a bigger HomePod once again, according to Mark Gurman (86.5% accurate, via Power On).

  • “The HomePod, code-named B620, will run the same S8 chip coming to the watches and will be closer to the original HomePod in terms of size and audio performance rather than a new HomePod mini,” Gurman says
  • There’s also said to be a new display on top that could support multi-touch for the first time
  • Ming-Chi Kuo (72.5% accurate) was the first to report on Apple’s plans to resurrect a larger HomePod

Sam’s take: My original HomePod is showing its age more and more each day as the A8 chip (also found in iPhone 6) is 8 years old at this point. I’m ready for a new full-size HomePod to drop…even if that means waiting until next year for it. Maybe that’ll give Apple enough time to make the smart speaker side of the experience more reliable than it is now (which is, not reliable at all).

Next Apple TV will have A14 processor and 4GB RAM

The rumor: Apple is working on a fresh Apple TV with better specs, according to Mark Gurman (86.5% accurate, via Power On).

  • “The new Apple TV, code-named J255, is in development with an A14 chip and an additional gigabyte of RAM. That compares with the A12 chip announced as part of the 2021 Apple TV last year and could be useful for additional gaming capabilities rolling out in tvOS 16,” Gurman says
  • A new Siri remote could also be coming, as code discovered in iOS 16 beta 2 suggests

Sam’s take: To me, this should have been the update we got in 2021. While Apple nailed the new remote that launched with that Apple TV, the specs inside were still underwhelming. An A14 chip + extra RAM could more easily justify the price of the high-end streaming box. But I still think the cheaper version coming will still be the most interesting thing we see this year (Apple TV-wise).

Apple Watch Series 8 won’t get a faster processor…again

The rumor: Apple isn’t making their new watches any faster in 2022, according to Mark Gurman (86.5% accurate, via Power On).

  • “For those hoping for a faster chip in this year’s Apple Watch, I’m told the S8 chip will have the same specifications as the S7, which was also the same as the S6. Next year’s models, however, are slated to get an an all-new processor,” Gurman says
  • Apple is rumored to introduce 3 new Apple Watch models this year: a new SE, Series 8 and ‘Explorer Edition’ that is more rugged

Sam’s take: While I’m sure that supply chain shortages are the main reason we aren’t getting a faster chip this year…I’m still disappointed. One year is forgivable, but 2 years in a row? Come on. When will we see the processor improvements on Apple Watch that start to finally increase battery life?

Tim Cook says to “stay tuned” for Apple AR/VR products

The news: A new interview with Tim Cook is Apple’s best hint yet at what’s to come for augmented and virtual reality products (via China Daily USA).

  • When asked about many consumers being underwhelmed by the AR/VR products currently available on the market today, Tim Cook replied by saying “I could not be more excited about the opportunities in the space. Sort of stay tuned and you will see what we have to offer.”
  • This is a rare quote from Cook that confirms (without confirming) that we are getting close to the unveil of Apple’s first serious AR/VR product, rumored to be a hybrid headset costing upwards of $2,000
  • A special event in January 2023 is said to be when this device is finally unveiled to the public

Sam’s take: I think Cook answering questions in this way is a concrete strategy to get folks talking about what Apple’s foray into the AR/VR space will be. When Cook doesn’t want to answer a question like this, he just says he isn’t ready to share any details at this time. But to say, specifically, to “stay tuned” to what Apple is doing…that’s a direct reference that there is something big coming. I can’t wait for January.

AirPods Pro 2 leak in full: heartbeat sensor, new case and USB-C

The leak: Loads of new details about Apple’s upcoming AirPods Pro 2 headphones have been shared online, according to 52audio (83.3% accurate, source).

Here is everything that’s coming later this year…

  • While we see a similar design for the AirPods Pro buds, there are major changes to the case…including a microphone (and speaker for Find My)
  • There’s also new integration for hearing aids with the case, but the details on how exactly this feature works are fuzzy
  • USB-C will finally replace the Lighting port, too
  • There’s a new heart rate sensor inside AirPods Pro 2 that can, well, measure your heart rate…but the report also suggests that this same sensor could also be cable of measuring your body temperature
  • Sound quality is said to be the same as AirPods 3, but of course with the addition of active noise cancellation (ANC)

Sam’s take: Wow. These are going to be an absolutely killer upgrade. I see why it has been 3 years since AirPods Pro were last updated. I’m fascinated to know how the heart rate/temperature sensor is going to work on these…

Apple’s 2022 iPad is getting a larger 10.5-inch display, USB-C port and 5G

The rumor: Apple is planning the biggest refresh in years for their cheapest iPad, according to 9to5Mac (82.8% accurate, source).

  • Apple is nixing the Lightning port in favor of USB-C, so the entire iPad lineup will now feature the same connector
  • There’s a larger 10.5-inch display coming, which Ross Young (92.9% accurate) has also reported
  • An A14 Bionic chip will power the device and should be around 30% faster than the current A13 processor
  • Finally, cellular models will also be the first to support 5G connectivity

Sam’s take: This is going to be a huge leap forward for Apple’s $329 iPad. 10.5-inch screen, USB-C and A14? The sweetness of the cheapest iPad just keeps getting sweeter. Going to be an even crazier value when the device drops later this year!

Apple pushes further into sports with exclusive 10-year partnership for MLS matches

The news: Apple and Major League Soccer (MLS) have partnered to broadcast all matches exclusively through the Apple TV app for the next 10 years, Apple announced in a new press release.

  • Beginning in early 2023 and lasting until 2032, the Apple TV app will be the place to go for MLS content and extras, including “game replays, highlights, analysis, and other original programming”
  • Apple is touting no local broadcast blackouts or the need to pay for a TV bundle as major wins for the new agreement…making it a historic partnership as there has never been a time where you could find everything for an entire sports league in one place before
  • Apple says specific details about pricing and sign-ups will be announced later this year

Sam’s take: First it was MLB “Friday Night Baseball.” Now it’s an even more serious partnership with the entirety of MLS. Apple is really pushing exclusive sports content as a means to make Apple TV+ a more compelling service. And I think it’s going to work. Every person that seriously cares about MLS will now be a regular in the Apple TV app for the next 10 years…

Apple announces M2 MacBook Pro orders begin this Friday and ship next week

The news: Orders for the new M2 MacBook Pro are happening ahead of schedule, according to a new press release from Apple.

  • “On Friday, June 17, at 5 a.m. PDT, the updated 13-inch MacBook Pro with M2 will be available to customers to order on apple.com, the Apple Store app, and through Apple Authorized Resellers, and will start arriving to customers worldwide on Friday, June 24,” the release says
  • Apple previously said that both the M2 MacBook Air and Pro wouldn’t be shipping until July, but it appears that the Pro was ready ahead of schedule
  • The new 13-inch MacBook Pro looks identical to the previous generation and even features the Touch Bar…but now packs the powerful M2 chip with a faster 8-core CPU and new 10-core GPU

Sam’s take: This is great news! We’re getting our hands on the M2 chip earlier than Apple said we would. Looking forward to testing it against my M1 devices and seeing what noticeable changes there are generation-over-generation. Also, the time for orders isn’t the middle of the night anymore…it’s 7am CST!

Apple said to be holding January 2023 event for AR/VR headset unveil

The rumor: We are just half a year away from seeing Apple’s next major product unveil, according to Ming-Chi Kuo (72.5% accurate).

Sam’s take: Honestly, this sounds like a pretty realistic timeline at this point. As much as I want to see it announced this year…a standalone media event for something this big does sound appropriate. That being said…the Apple Watch was announced at the end of an iPhone event in 2014…so perhaps we see a glimpse of this headset sometime this September?

2022 iPad Pro models rumored to release in September or October

The rumor: Apple is going to have a jam-packed Fall for new hardware, according to Mark Gurman (86.5% accurate, via Power On).

Sam’s take: With rumors of that 14-inch model coming next year, I assumed we wouldn’t be seeing any new iPad Pros this year. But it doesn’t look like that’ll end up being the case. The existing sizes will likely continue to be Apple’s bread and butter for a while still.

New 14/16-inch MacBook Pro models with M2 Pro and Max could launch later this year

The rumor: New MacBook Pros could come as soon as the end of 2022, according to Mark Gurman (86.5% accurate, via Bloomberg).

  • “These new 14-inch and 16-inch models, codenamed J414 and J416, won’t be radically new products beyond offering the speedier chips,” Gurman says. “The M2 Max chip in the next high-end MacBook Pros will include 12 main processing cores and up to 38 graphics cores, up from a maximum of 10 processing cores and 32 graphics cores in the current models”
  • Apple’s new MacBook Pro models could see these new chips near the end of this year or early in 2023, but an exact timeline remains to be seen

Sam’s take: I wouldn’t expect these new laptops to launch before the end of 2022 as that seems a bit soon after the major update in 2021. The new M2 chips seem like they’ll actually be a moderate update though! 2 additional CPU cores and 6 more GPU cores should net some solid improvements…