What's Up With Apple: New Products Coming and More

Now that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) has dropped new hardware (iMac, iPad Pro and so on) and software (tracking transparency and the like), it is past time for dedicated Apple watchers to seek clues as to what the company is going to do next. Next week’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) is the stage on which Apple is expected to introduce at least one or two new products.

According to a report at AppleInsider late last month, Apple is rumored to be ready to take the wraps off new 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro models. Production of the new MacBooks is expected to begin in the second half of this year.

Taiwan’s DigiTimes reported Friday (via 9to5Mac) that the coming MacBook Pro models will come with miniLED displays manufactured by Germany-based Osram Opto Semiconductors. The company has a fab in Wuxi, China, and two plants in Malaysia.

Further down the road, Apple is expected to unveil a new iPad Pro next year that has a glass back and supports wireless charging. Later this year, according to a report from Bloomberg, the company is expected to announce a redesigned iPad mini, the device’s first makeover in six years.

The big change to the iPad mini, according to Bloomberg’s unnamed sources, is narrower borders around the display. An even more significant change, removing the home button, is reportedly being tested but no decision has made to eliminate it.

A longshot for a WWDC unveiling is a mixed reality (MR) headset. Whether that happens next week doesn’t alter the high probability that Apple will someday launch an MR and augmented reality (AR) headset. Gene Munster and David Stokman at Loup Ventures argue that the headsets should be part of a strategy that will redefine e-commerce as “commerce-at-home”:

The defining factor is not whether commerce is digital; rather, one defining factor is the optimal location for a retailer to meet a consumer’s needs. Shopping happens on a spectrum between home and the store.

Munster and Stokman note that Airbnb, Peloton, Tesla and Carvana have turned homes into hotels, fitness studios and car dealerships. “Apple can turn the home into an Apple Store,” they write.

Finally, for those Apple history buffs out there, TechCrunch has posted a 2007 email from the company’s then-senior vice president of software engineering, Bertrand Serlet, to Steve Jobs that spells out the framework of what has become the company’s App Store and how Apple could build its walled garden. Fascinating really.

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