Redesigned iPad mini may have USB-C & A15 processor

The rumor: Apple is planning more radical upgrades to the next iPad mini than just the design, according to 9to5Mac (78.7% accurate).

According to their report, here’s what’s coming:

  • An A15 processor, the same one that will also be found in the 2021 iPhone lineup
  • A USB-C port will replace long-standing Lightning connectivity
  • The magnetic Smart Connector is coming to Apple’s next iPad mini, as well

Our take: A new design. USB-C. A15 chip. Color me surprised that Apple is putting the most work they have ever put into an iPad mini after broadly ignoring it for years. And apparently it’s coming before the end of the year…

macOS 12 could be called Mammoth or Monterey

The rumor: The naming for the next version of macOS may have been discovered in recent trademark filings by 9to5Mac (78.5% accurate, source).

  • Two trademarks renewed within the last year point to “Mammoth” and “Monterey” as the most likely names for this year’s macOS 12 update
  • 2020’s macOS Big Sur was the most significant update in years with an all-new design, Control Center and more

Our take: Both of these are solid names: we’ll find out the winner (and gravity of this year’s update) in just under a week.

2021 MacBook Pro schematics show new design, HDMI port, SD card reader & more

The leak: Apple’s 2021 MacBook Pro schematics have leaked, as shared by a hacking group that won’t be named due to ethical concerns (not yet tracked, via 9to5Mac).

  • The schematics (redacted and instead the concept image above) show a tweaked, more curvy design for the upcoming MacBook Pro models
  • Apple is making major changes to the ports on the device: HDMI, the SD card slot and MagSafe are all returning

Our take: This is one of THE crazier leaks we’ve ever seen, because the image comes from a hacking group that runs “a private ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) operation.” Essentially, the hacking group is extorting Quanta computer after stealing data from Quanta’s servers. Quanta is in Apple’s supply chain and thus has access to proprietary designs and product schematics. That puts us here: the hacking is asking for a sum of money and says they will leak Apple’s unreleased products each day until the ransom is met.

This is wild, and I’ve updated this article due to ethical concerns with naming the group.

‘HomePod G4’ & ‘HomePod TV’ concepts depict radical designs for future products

The concepts: Following a fresh report from Mark Gurman (89.9% accurate) about the future of the HomePod, designers have released new concepts for what the products could look like.

  • In a simplistic image posted to Twitter, @pwign shares his vision of an iMac G4-style device: a HomePod base and swiveling arm that connects to an iPad Air
  • Writing for 9to5Mac, Parker Ortolani concepts both a sound bar-like Apple TV and iMac-inspired HomePod with iPad fascia

Our take: As much as I felt like these products could be a design disaster earlier, these concepts are quite something. A ‘HomePod G4’ would work super well in my kitchen and, well, we’re all still waiting for a significant Apple TV upgrade

2021 Apple TV to support 120Hz refresh rate

The leak: The next Apple TV will support a higher refresh rate, according to 9to5Mac (77.2% accurate).

  • In the latest tvOS 14.5 beta, “Multiple references to ‘120Hz’ and ‘supports120Hz’ have been added to tvOS’ PineBoard in the latest beta release…PineBoard is the internal name of the system that controls the Apple TV interface”
  • Apple is rumored to release a new Apple TV sometime in 2021, but no credible source has provided a concrete timeline just yet

Our take: So Apple is working on an updated TV after all. There was some speculation after that weird remote situation that there actually wouldn’t be a new Apple TV coming. 120Hz support is killer for those who have a TV that supports the tech, and will make everything appear buttery smooth. It’s coming to the iPhone in 2021, too.

This may be the new Apple TV remote: it’s not what we thought

The leak: Apple’s new remote for the Apple TV may not be what we thought, according to 9to5Mac (77.2% accurate) and Apple TV expert Sigmund Judge.

  • While rumors of a new Apple TV remote have been brewing for years, it appears the updated remote will actually be an alternative the the existing Siri remote
  • A leaked image of the new remote was discovered by 9to5Mac…but it turns out that it exactly matches a new remote announced recently by Universal Electronics

Our take: It seems like Apple was never planning to update the current Siri remote: rather, they worked with Universal Electronics to develop a different remote that may be bundled with packages from cable providers. Weird turn of events here…seems like the current, problematic Apple TV remote shall remain.

Apple references ‘iOS 15’ & ‘macOS 12’ in WebKit code

The leak: Apple has all but confirmed the naming for their major 2021 iOS and macOS software updates, according to 9to5Mac (77.2% accurate).

  • While Apple usually refers to upcoming software versions as “TBA,” an employee specifically referenced “iOS 15” and “macOS 12.00” in an open-source WebKit repository
  • Beta versions of the software updates will likely be released sometime this June at WWDC, if Apple follows what they have done historically

Our take: iOS 15! macOS 12! While Apple could call these something different when they’re released this Summer…I don’t think they will. This sounds right.

Apple references unreleased iMac models in macOS Big Sur 11.3

The leak: Apple has revealed the existence of 2 new iMac models in macOS Big Sur 11.3 beta 5, according to 9to5Mac (77.2% accurate).

  • Both “iMac21,1” and “iMac21,2” were spotted in the latest update and correspond to J456 and J457, the codenames for Apple’s next desktops
  • Mark Gurman (89.1% accurate) says the new iMacs will likely be coming a bit later in 2021, but Apple has recently made a number of moves that seem to indicate a more imminent launch

Our take: This comes on the heels of references to the new iPad Pros in the latest iPadOS beta. Something tells me we won’t be waiting until Fall for these new iMacs.

‘A14X’ processor leaked in iOS 14.5, based on M1 chip

The leak: Apple has revealed the existence of a new and unannounced processor likely destined for the 2021 iPad Pros, according to 9to5Mac (77.2% accurate).

  • As noted in the findings, “iOS 14.5 includes references to a GPU from a chip called ’13G,’ which is not used by any currently available iOS devices…we can say that 13G is the A14X SoC, a variant of the A14 Bionic chip.”
  • 9to5Mac also says that this processor is based on the M1 chip, which corroborates what Mark Gurman (89.1% accurate) has reported previously

Our take: More evidence that these new iPads will be launching soon, likely sometime within the next couple of weeks. A14X is going to be a beast.

Apple confirms existence of Apple Silicon iMac in Xcode crash log

The leak: Apple has confirmed that an iMac with Apple Silicon inside is in active development, as first shared by developer Dennis Oberhoff.

  • According to 9to5Mac, “What this screenshot shows is that this developer’s application crashed while being used on an iMac powered by an ARM processor. Apple does not currently sell an iMac powered by an ARM processor, so this signals that the app was being used on an unreleased iMac with Apple Silicon processor.”
  • Apple’s redesigned iMac with Apple Silicon inside could launch as early as Apple’s rumored April special event, but sources broadly aren’t expecting the new models to drop until Fall

Our take: Another indicator that Apple may be planning to launch these new iMacs soon. No release date is confirmed yet, but I am cautiously optimistic based on previously reported timelines and the slew of iMac news lately.

AirPods Studio icon appears in first iOS 14.3 beta

The news: A closer look at the design of AirPods Studio has been discovered in iOS 14.3 by 9to5Mac (77.2% accurate).

  • The image lines up with what the rumors have suggested: a headband connected to earpads by metal arms
  • AirPods Studio aren’t coming out until March of 2021, according to Jon Prosser (82.4% accurate)

Our take: Honestly, these look a bit odd. Maybe it’s just the shading and such in the icon, but they look a bit cartoon-esque to me.