What Apple Left Out: AirPower, New AirPods and More
Now that Apple's 2018 iPhone event has come and gone, it's clear that the company is far from done when it comes to releasing new products. Not only did the company fail to mention a few hotly anticipated items, but whole product lines are still awaiting updates and refreshes.Apple CEO Tim Cook on stage the 2018 iPhone event. Credit: Apple
From Apple's already-announced wireless charging bay to its laptops and tablets, here's what we're still waiting for.
AirPower: Up in smoke?
While it's super-rare for Apple to announce a product and never ship it, there's cause for concern with its Qi-based wireless charging mat, dubbed AirPower. After the company first revealed AirPower a year ago, at its previous iPhone event, the general consensus pointed to an early-2018 release. This summer, hopeful reports suggested a Sept. 2018 launch date, which now looks unlikely.Credit: Apple
Even though the iPhone Xs, Xs Max and XR support wireless charging, Apple didn't even mention those features during the announcement. This has many — including reputable Apple blogger John Gruber — thinking AirPower has completely dropped off the radar.
Gruber's tweet may be vulgar and dire, but the revelation that Apple wouldn't say a word about AirPower, even off the record, is noteworthy. It should also send iPhone users looking elsewhere for a Qi-charger for multiple devices.
Prognosis: Don't hold your breath.
AirPods 2.0: "Siri, pause this tune."
We've been waiting the second generation of Apple's completely-wireless earbuds, as the first AirPods came out nearly two years ago. We expected to see the headphones at the iPhone and Apple Watch event because they all fit together really well, giving Apple a completely-wireless story to tell.
Also, there's smoke coming from the rumor mill, as a Bloomberg report leaked Apple's plans to launch a new pair in 2018. The update would be modest, adding a touch-free Siri activation option and a W2 chip, the successor to the W1 chip that powers the current AirPods, and allows for strong Bluetooth connections.
We're not giving up on new AirPods for 2018, though. Not only is it likely Apple will hold a second event this year (more on that below), but the AirPods aren't just limited to iOS and watchOS devices, so they can fit into any Apple keynote.
Prognosis: Delayed, but still expected.
New iPad Pro: A short wait longer?
Details and renders of a new 11-inch iPad Pro and an updated 12.9-inch model, have been coming slowly, yet steadily, all year. These new iPad Pros will offer Face ID, follow the iPhone's lead by dropping the home button and feature much-slimmer bezels. Also, the Smart Connector is supposed to move to the bottom edge, so the slate would stand vertically when used with Apple's Smart Keyboard cover.
But since Apple likes to keep its events on the short side, the company didn't exactly have enough time to show off even more new hardware yesterday. After all, it needed 2 hours on the Apple Watch and three new iPhones (the Xs, Xs Max and XR), which were a lot to process (even though these phones are more iterative than revolutionary.
This is why we're anticipating Apple to send out more event invitations, and soon, for a mid-to-late October event. (That timing would fit within Apple's history.) It's here that the company would pull back the curtain on these new iPad Pro slates. But that's not the only computing device we expect Apple to show in October.
Prognosis: Just one more month.
New MacBooks: But which kind?
Since it would be hard to fill a whole media event — which usually last two hours — with just iPad Pros and new AirPods, we expect this to-be-announced Apple event to also show off new MacBooks.
While Apple launched new MacBook Pro laptops in July, the 12-inch MacBook and MacBook Air haven't been updated since June and July of last year. Apple's always hailed the iPads as the future of computing, so it wouldn't be a surprise for the company to roll out the present-day counterpart alongside.
An August Bloomberg report broke news of Apple's plans to launch "a new low-cost laptop" in 2018, which "will look similar to the current MacBook Air, but will include thinner bezels around the screen." That suggests that Apple may be merging those two MacBooks lines into a new model, one with the sharp Retina display you see in the Type-C only MacBook, but the chassis of the MacBook Air.
If that comes true, and the laptop offers the keyboard of the MacBook Air (not the butterfly-style switches of the MacBook and MacBook Pro), the legion of Apple fans who have been begging for a MacBook Air with Retina Display will likely say it was worth the wait. The new MacBook will likely feature updated performance, according to a report suggesting that Intel's Amber Lake and Whiskey Lake CPUs will be found inside these new MacBooks.
Prognosis: Expected in October.