Tim Cook Says He Expects AirPods to Ship Over ‘Next Few Weeks’ in Email to Customer

airpods-duoMany customers are anxiously anticipating the release of Apple’s wireless AirPods, originally slated to launch in October but later delayed. Fortunately, the wait may soon be over.

MacRumors has been forwarded an email in which Apple CEO Tim Cook, responding to a customer, allegedly said he anticipates AirPods to begin shipping “over the next few weeks.”

Customer’s comment: “Give us a release date. I really bought in to the wireless vision you painted. Now I’m stuck waiting with my EarPods but can’t charge my 7 at the same time which I need to do at work. Let us know if it’s a month or 6 months, because then I’ll just buy some other wireless headphones.”

Tim Cook’s response: “Thanks for your note. Sorry for the delay—we are finalizing them and I anticipate we will begin to ship over the next few weeks.”

MacRumors has verified the email’s full headers appear to originate from Apple’s corporate servers, while Apple executives are known to respond to customers on occasion, but as a boilerplate disclaimer, it should be noted these emails can of course be faked. Apple did not immediately respond to request for comment.

Apple has so far only said it needed “a little more time” before AirPods are ready for customers, while conflicting rumors have pointed towards release dates between Decemberand January, offering little clarity. AirPods remain listed as both “coming soon” and “currently unavailable” on different sections of Apple’s website.

Second Source Claims Apple Will Launch 10.5-inch iPad in 2017

A report from the Taiwanese supply chain emerged overnight claiming Apple will release a 10.5-inch “education and enterprise” tablet as part of its iPad line-up next year (via DigiTimes). The 10.5-inch iPad is said to be equipped with Apple’s A10X processor, also expected in next year’s refreshed line-up, with production slated to begin next month.

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Apple is launching the 10.5-inch iPad mainly because 10-inch and larger tablets have been popular among enterprises and the education sector in the US, the sources said. Its existing 9.7-inch iPad may be too small and the 12.9-inch iPad Pro too expensive for such procurement, the sources indicated.

A number of claims have emerged recently suggesting Apple plans to extend its iPad line-up with a new tablet dimension in the 10-inch range. Earlier this month, Barclays analysts claimed Apple will release a bezel-free 10.9-inch model alongside refreshed 9.7-inch and 12.9-inch iPads, citing its own supply chain sources, while in October Japanese website Mac Otakara said a new 10.1-inch iPad Pro would launch in early 2017.

However, today’s report marks the second independent source to suggest Apple plans to introduce a 10.5-inch mid-tier iPad. In August, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said the same thing and earmarked the same A10X processor for the tablet, suggesting there may be more substance to this particular rumor.

In addition, Kuo claimed Apple will also launch lower-price versions of the 9.7-inch iPad. Today’s sources corroborate that claim also, citing Apple’s apparent intention “to compete with Android models”.

Shipments of the rumored 10.5-inch iPad are expected to reach two million units in the first quarter of 2017 and may reach 5 to 6 million units in the year, DigiTimes sources said.

More “revolutionary” changes to iPads, including a switch to OLED displays, are expected in 2018, according to Kuo’s earlier report.

Rumored 5.8″ OLED iPhone Said to Have 5.1″ to 5.2″ Active Display Area

Apple is widely rumored to release its first iPhone with an OLED display next year, but reports have been conflicting about its potential screen size.

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo previously said Apple will launch a 5.8-inch iPhone with a curved OLED display and glass casing next year, while Barclays analysts recently called for a 5-inch iPhone with a curved, bezel-free OLED display. Japanese website Nikkei also expects a new glass-backed 5-inch iPhone.

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Now, in a new research note, Kuo said the much-rumored premium iPhone model will indeed have a 5.8-inch OLED panel, but with a smaller actual active display area of between 5.1 and 5.2 inches. Kuo said this is for “specific design purposes,” which likely points towards a wraparound or curved display of some sort.

We predict OLED iPhone will be 5.1-5.2”, despite various market speculation. In terms of the display size of the OLED iPhone, current information from the upstream points to 5.8”, while that from the downstream points to 5”, which does not conflict, in our view. We predict OLED iPhone will adopt a 5.7-5.8” flexible OLED panel (with Samsung (KR) as the exclusive supplier). Nonetheless, for ‘specific design purposes’, the actual active area may be around 5.1-5.2”. Other than the OLED model, we expect Apple to launch new 4.7” and 5.5” TFT-LCD iPhone models.

Kuo reiterated the all-new OLED-based iPhone will be accompanied by new 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch iPhones with traditional LCD displays.

Three New iPads Said to Launch in March, Including Bezel-Free 10.9-Inch Model

Apple will launch a trio of new iPad Pro models in March, including refreshed 9.7-inch and 12.9-inch versions and an all-new bezel-free 10.9-inch model, according to Barclays Research analysts Blayne Curtis, Christopher Hemmelgarn, Thomas O’Malley, and Jerry Zhang, citing sources within the company’s Asian supply chain.

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In a research note obtained by MacRumors, the analysts said the 10.9-inch model’s borderless design will allow for it to be the same physical size as the current-generation 9.7-inch iPad Pro. That means the display itself will need to have an edge-to-edge design, possibly signaling the removal of the Home button.

Multiple rumors have claimed Apple is developing a new iPad in the 10-inch range, but the exact screen size has varied in each report. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said a new 10.5-inch iPad Pro will launch in 2017, while Japanese website Mac Otakara said a new 10.1-inch iPad Pro will launch in early 2017.

Barclays, like Kuo, expects the new 9.7-inch iPad Pro to be a “low-cost” model alongside the 7.9-inch iPad mini, which the analysts do not believe will be refreshed alongside the larger tablets. Instead, the research note said Apple will continue to produce and sell the iPad mini 4, released in September 2015.

Mac Otakara previously said the 12.9-inch iPad Pro will feature a True Tone display like its current 9.7-inch counterpart, using advanced four-channel ambient light sensors to automatically adapt the color and intensity of the display to match the light in the surrounding environment.

That report said all three new iPad Pro models will gain quad microphones, compared to the current dual setup, and retain 3.5mm headphone jacks.

The 12.9-inch iPad Pro is also said to gain the 9.7-inch model’s same 12-megapixel rear-facing iSight camera and True Tone flash.

More “revolutionary” changes to iPads, including a switch to OLED displays, are expected in 2018, according to Kuo’s earlier report.

macOS hints at new MacBook Pro’s OLED touch bar on keyboard ahead of Apple’s event

A new discovery in yesterday’s release of macOS 10.12.1 hints at the much anticipated OLED touch screen expected to be integrated into Apple’s upcoming MacBook Pro rumored to arrive at the company’s October 27 event this week. 

Within resources for System Preferences, updated assets in macOS 10.12.1 show a new virtual keyboard layout with the top row of the current keyboard design missing. 

With the upcoming refreshed MacBook Pro’s expected to have the new OLED touch bar in place of the top row of function keys on the device’s keyboard, it makes sense that a new virtual keyboard layout for that device wouldn’t have those keys represented…

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It’s still unclear exactly how Apple will implement the touch screen functionality, which is said to include contextually sensitive buttons of some kind based on the app in use. Apple was also planning to possibly include Touch ID functionality in the new MacBook Pros, and earlier discoveries in macOS seemed to hint at possible integration into or near the new OLED touch bar. In addition to the new functionality with the OLED touch screen, Touch ID would open up possibilities for Apple Pay on the web, unlocking the Mac itself, and other apps without the need of an iPhone or Apple Watch for authentication.

In addition, the new MacBook Pros are said to be thinner and have a smaller footprint, a larger trackpad, and offer the usual upgraded internals including new AMD graphics and more.

The latest reports from supply chain sources this week backed up earlier reports that Apple will release a new 13-inch MacBook in addition to two MacBook Pro models at its event this week. The report also indicated new iMacs and 5K display in the pipeline for next year. 

Apple Invites Media to ‘Hello Again’ October 27th Mac-Centric Event

The October event is expected to focus on the introduction of new Macs, headlined by a much-rumored and highly anticipated revamped MacBook Pro. According to rumors, the new MacBook Pro will feature the first redesign to the machine since 2012.

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A thinner, lighter body is expected, with a wider, pressure-sensitive trackpad and a flatter MacBook-style keyboard with the same butterfly key mechanism. The MacBook Pro will be available in the same 13 and 15-inch size options, and will feature USB-C with USB 3.1 support for faster transfer speeds, Thunderbolt 3, and Touch ID.

Touch ID is expected to be built into a new OLED touch panel built into the top of the MacBook Pro, where it will replace the physical function key row. The OLED touch panel is said to feature contextual buttons that will change based on each app that’s in use. A leaked chassis suggests it will feature four USB-C ports and a headphone jack, but no HDMI port, no USB-A ports, no MagSafe connector, and no SD card slot.

A refreshed 13-inch MacBook Air with USB-C ports has also been rumored, but it is not clear if other internal changes will be made to Apple’s low-cost machine. It’s possible the 13-inch MacBook Air will be a standalone product going forward, based on rumors suggesting the 11-inch model will be discontinued.

Apple is also said to be working on updated iMacs with AMD graphics chips, which could be introduced at the event, and we might possibly see the debut of a rumored 5K Retina display with an integrated GPU. Apple discontinued the original Thunderbolt Display earlier this year, but an updated product has been in the works and it makes sense to release it alongside refreshed Macs if it’s ready to launch.

Apple’s Mac Pro and Mac mini are in dire need of refreshes, having been updated last in 2013 and 2014, respectively, but it is not clear if these machines will also see updates at the event.

Second report of 10-inch iPad Pro, along with new iPad mini Pro & refreshed 12.9-inch model

A KGI report in August said that Apple was planning to launch three new iPads in 2017, and suggested that the 9.7-inch model would grow in size slightly to 10.5-inches. A Macotakarapiece today also suggests three new iPad Pro models are coming up in the spring of next year, with some details overlapping the KGI report and others differing.

Makotakara supports the idea of a slightly larger standard-sized iPad Pro, though it suggests the diagonal screen size will be 10.1 rather than 10.5 inches. The larger screen size will be achieved by making the external dimensions 1cm longer and 0.5cm wide, it says …

While some had wondered whether Apple would continue to develop the iPad mini line now that it has larger iPhones, the report says that a new model is on the way, which will also get the ‘Pro’ suffix.

iPad mini 4 will renew as iPad Pro (7.9-inch), get Smart Connector, and change into the specification of 4 speakers audio. Also, the iSight camera of 12 million pixels, True Tone flash, and True Tone display correspondence to Display P3 [DCI-P3 wider color gamut aka True Tone display] seem to be adopted.

The report doesn’t say so, but if the Smart Connector makes it into the iPad mini, it seems likely that it will be included in the 10-inch model too. The report also suggests that all three models will be upgraded to quad microphones.

Finally, the 12.9-inch iPad Pro will be upgraded to the 12MP camera and True Tone flash from the current 9.7-inch model, along with the True Tone display.

There was no mention of the low-cost 9.7-inch iPad suggested by KGI.

With Apple dropping the 3.5mm headphone socket from the iPhone 7, many of us had wondered whether it would follow suit on the iPad, but Makotakara says not: all three models will retain the socket, it claims. There’s also no word on whether next year’s iPad will retain a mechanical Home button or switch to the touch-sensitive version used in the iPhone 7.