Rumor: Apple working on professionally-gear iPads, new iMacs, new notebooks and is collaborating on a 5K monitor with LG
Date: Tuesday, August 30th, 2016, 05:52
Category: Apple Pencil, Hardware, iPad, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, macOS, Rumor, Samsung, Sierra, USB-C
Apple is rumored to be planning a slew of updates across its iPads, notebooks and desktops according to sources.
The company is said to be expanding its operating system support for the Apple Pencil while widespread hardware changes will emerge in next-gen versions of the iMac, MacBook Air and a 5K standalone monitor in collaboration with LG Electronics Inc., in addition to a thinner MacBook Pro notebook.
Apple is thought to be shipping an updated iPad next year, while new Macs are expected in late 2016 according to anonymous sources. Apple has declined to comment, but it’s been said that in the wake of iPad unit sales declining year-over-year for nine straight quarters, Apple is looking to create more professionally-geared models that have produced the first increase in quarterly iPad revenue in more than two years. New features aimed at higher-paying professional customers could support this trend, while the goal of the Mac updates is to keep the line’s sales numbers stable even as sales of rival personal computers continue falling.
Apple is thought to be rolling out more pro-level iPad features in iOS 10, but could also save the enhancements for the next major iOS version later in the year, said one of the sources. Apple began integrating features exclusive to the iPad last year with the release of a mode to work in two applications simultaneously.
The planned iPad update will include improvements to the Apple Pencil, a handwriting and drawing stylus aimed at professionals. Apple has considered allowing users to annotate objects in many applications across the whole operating system, including in Mail, the Safari web browser, and iMessage, similar to what Samsung Electronics Co. offers on its Note smartphones, the person said. Currently, Apple only supports Pencil functionality in specifically developed apps.
The new iPad hardware will include faster display technology that allows for smoother zooming, panning and scrolling according to one of the sources. Apple isn’t planning to update its iPad lineup until next year, when a new version of the iPad Pro will be released with a 10.5-inch display, up from the current 9.7-inch display, according to a recent research note by analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.
Apple is also expected to release new Macs as soon as October. The revamped MacBook Air is said to include multi-functional USB-C port technology and iMacs with an option for new graphics chips from Advanced Micro Devices Inc.
As has been mentioned before here on the PowerPage, Apple is said to be developing a thinner MacBook Pro notebook with a flatter keyboard. The standout feature is a digital function key display above the keyboard that allows for common tasks to be done more quickly for whatever program is being used, according to people familiar with the upcoming product. The feature is internally called the “Dynamic Function Row,” two of the people said, who added that Apple’s official name may differ.
The Dynamic Function Row, as it were, shows a virtual representation that can change as needed and includes brightness and media controls as well as features such as volume controls and controls for browsing in Safari or making quick edits in iMovie, etc.
The feature requires the upcoming Sierra Mac operating system, which is currently on track to be released as early as the end of September, one of the people said. Sierra will also bring the Siri voice assistant to the Mac, support for Apple Pay transactions on the web, new animations in the iMessage application, deeper iCloud integration for file storage, and an auto-unlock feature for users wearing Apple Watches, the company said in June.
Finally, Apple is working on a new standalone monitor to connect to its computers, according to the people. After exiting the monitor business earlier this year with the discontinuation of the 27-inch Thunderbolt display, Apple is working with LG Electronics on a new monitor with a high-resolution “5K” screen, according to one of the people. Apple currently sells an iMac with a built-in 5K panel, which includes over seven times as many pixels as standard 1080p displays.
A spokesperson for LG declined to comment.