I’ve stared into my crystal ball, as I always do this time of year. Here’s what I’m foreseeing for Apple’s iPad, iPhone, and iOS plans for 2019.
Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has predicted that Apple is working on an iPad mini 5 with “an upgraded processor and a lower-cost panel.” However, I don’t think this will happen. I think the mini is history.
My crystal ball says the 9.7-inch iPad will be the “low cost” offering with Pro models being the high-end selections. Hardware-wise, expect all the tablets to get processor upgrades, but no major design changes. That said, the 9.7-inch iPad will ditch the Home button and other hardware limitations will be addressed.
For example, the iPad Pro has USB-C connectivity, but you still can’t access an external hard drive or use a mouse or tablet. Many peripherals that work on the Mac don’t work well — or at all — on the iPad Pro. Expect iOS 13 to address these issues. The OS upgrade will also beef up the iOS multitasking system, offer faster switching between apps, and more.
Next fall’s iPhones will adopt upgraded A13 chips. And all will feature OLED screens. The higher end smartphones will finally add support for the Apple Pencil, something I believe Apple is hesitant to do but will do to boost smartphone sales (if, as multiple rumors claim, they’re currently below Apple’s expectations).
The 2019 iPhones will add a triple-lens, rear-facing camera system for capturing detailed depth and distance information to enable TrueDepth-style augmented reality functionality, as well as adding support for 3x optical zoom.
The TrueDepth camera system will be drastically revamped and improved, and the not-much-loved notch will disappear entirely. In 2017 Apple filed a patent for a screen featuring tiny holes; this would allow the camera and sensor to be located beneath the screen. In other words, instead of having the camera above the screen, the camera would be within the display itself. Thus, no need for the notch.
Also, Apple eliminated 3D Touch in the iPhone Xr and replaced it with Haptic Touch. Expect this to happen to the entire 2019 iPhone lineup.
What you won’t see: “foldable” iPhones or Apple smartphones with 5G. Those features could be coming in 2020, however.