Kuo: iPhone 12 May Not Come With EarPods in the Box, Apple to Introduce AirPods Promotion in Second Half of 2020

Apple’s upcoming “iPhone 12” may not come with EarPods included in the box, as a means of driving driving demand for the company’s popular wireless AirPods, which are sold separately, according to reputable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.


Apple has included earbuds with the iPhone ever since the first model of the smartphone launched, in large part because the ‌iPhone‌ was pitched as a natural extension of the iPod – a music player that also made phone calls.

However, in a TF International Securities research note issued to investors today and seen by MacRumors, Kuo said he expects Apple to leave out the traditional wired earphones that come with iPhones, which expects will usher in strong demand for ‌AirPods‌ shipments this year.

In addition to the need for new ‌iPhone‌ users to supply their own earphones, Kuo expects an uptick in ‌AirPods‌ shipments to be driven by an end to ‌AirPods‌ inventory depletion by the second half of the year, coupled with the possibility that Apple will offer a special ‌AirPods‌ promotion in late 2020.

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Kuo: Apple Glasses to Launch in 2022 at Earliest, New 10.8-Inch iPad and 9-Inch iPad Mini Coming in 2020/2021

Apple has long been rumored to be working on some kind of augmented reality headset, and in a new note to investors, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said that he expects the Apple Glasses to launch in 2022 at the earliest.


Taiwanese site DigiTimes also recently said that Apple’s AR glasses could launch by 2022 as suppliers work to ramp up development, and The Information has also suggested a 2022 launch date. Rumors have indicated that Apple’s first AR headset will look similar to Facebook’s Oculus Quest, but with a sleeker design that uses fabrics and lightweight materials to make it comfortable to wear for long periods of time.

‌Apple Glasses‌ could feature a high-resolution display and are likely to be reliant on the iPhone for processing power to keep them slim and lightweight. The glasses are expected to run a new operating system, rOS (or reality OS), and Apple is exploring touch panels, voice activation, and head gestures as a means of control.

Kuo in the same note said that Apple is working on two new iPad models, which include a 10.8-inch ‌iPad‌ and an 8.5 to 9-inch ‌iPad‌ mini. These new iPads are expected to launch in the second half of 2020 and the first half of 2021, respectively.

We predict that Apple will launch the new 10.8 inch ‌iPad‌ and 8.5–9 inch ‌iPad‌ mini models in 2H20 and 1H21, respectively. GIS will be the main touch panel supplier. The two new ‌iPad‌ models will follow iPhone SE’s product strategy, and selling points will be the affordable price tag and the adoption of fast chips. We believe that GIS will be the primary touch panel supplier for these two new affordable ‌iPad‌ models because the company is the largest medium-size touch supplier, thanks to the cost advantages of Megasite. We think that two new affordable ‌iPad‌ models will significantly contribute to GIS’s revenue because affordable models account for 60–70% of total ‌iPad‌ shipments.

Kuo said that he believes the two new ‌iPad‌ models will follow the ‌iPhone SE‌’s product strategy, which means affordable price points. At 10.8 and 8.5 to 9 inches, both iPads would be larger than the current models.

The existing low-cost ‌iPad‌ is 10.2 inches, while the current ‌iPad‌ mini is 7.9 inches. It’s not clear if Apple plans to introduce larger-sized tablets or increase the available display size through bezel reduction.

Kuo previously said that Apple was working on an ‌iPad‌ mini with a mini-LED display that could be released as soon as late 2020, but it’s not clear if the larger ‌iPad‌ mini mentioned in today’s note is the same ‌iPad‌ mini that will get a mini-LED display.

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Kuo: Apple’s Mini-LED Product Roadmap May Have Been Pushed Back to 2021

Apple’s development of mini-LED display based hardware has not been significantly affected by the global health crisis but it may have extended adoption of the technology in the short-term, according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.


In a research note with TF International Securities today, seen by MacRumors, Kuo said mini-LED chip, panel, assembly, and terminal assembly are expected to begin mass production in the third quarter of 2020, the fourth quarter, the end of the fourth quarter, and the first quarter of 2021, respectively.

“We believe that investors do not need to worry too much about the extension of the mini LED schedule, because mini LED is a key technology that Apple will promote in the next 5 years, so even if the short-term schedule is affected by the new coronary pneumonia, it will not damage the long-term positive trend.”

Apple is said to be planning four to six products with mini-LED displays over the next two to three years, according to Kuo. The analyst previously said Apple planned to release a high-end 12.9-inch iPad Pro with an A14X chip in the third quarter of 2020 and an updated 16-inch MacBook Pro with a mini-LED display in the fourth quarter.

However, today’s note suggests Apple’s roadmap for the mini-LED versions of these products may have been pushed forward slightly. In March, DigiTimes said that Apple would launch multiple Mac notebook models with mini-LED backlit displays by the end of 2020, while Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman has said Apple plans to introduce a new 16-inch ‌MacBook Pro‌ in October or November, but without specifying which display technology it could use.

Along with a mini-LED 16-inch ‌MacBook Pro‌, Kuo believes Apple is planning to introduce a 14.1-inch ‌MacBook Pro‌ with a mini-LED display, although he hasn’t provided launch information for the 14.1-inch model that Apple is working on, beyond suggesting there are several mini-LED devices in the works for 2020 and 2021.

Future mini-LED displays will use approximately 10,000 LEDs, with each one below 200 microns in size. Mini-LED displays will allow for thinner and lighter product designs, while offering many of the same benefits of OLED displays used on the latest iPhones, including good wide color gamut performance, high contrast and dynamic range, and local dimming for truer blacks.

In today’s note, Kuo advised investors to pay attention to the trend of mini-LEDs and reiterated that they are positively looking at the growth momentum of Apple’s mini LED product roadmap.

The analyst estimates that Apple mini-LED product shipments will grow significantly by about 300 percent and 225 percent in 2021 and 2022, respectively. Apple’s active mini-LED product strategy will also force competitors to launch similar products in the next few years, which is also the key to accelerating the growth of mini-LED applications, accordinf to Kuo.

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Kuo: Mass Production on Third-Gen AirPods Starting in First Half of 2020, Design Unchanged But New Internals

Apple is working on third-generation AirPods that will go into mass production during the first half of 2020, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said in a note to investors today.


The new ‌AirPods‌ will adopt the System-in-Package used for the AirPods Pro, replacing the rigid-flex PCB+SMT design of the second-generation ‌AirPods‌. Kuo says that these internal updates will be the biggest change to the third-generation ‌AirPods‌, suggesting the update will not include design changes and will continue to look like second-generation ‌AirPods‌.

The third-generation ‌AirPods‌ will go to mass production in 1H20, and the most significant change of the internal design of this new model is the adoption of SiP to replace the rigid-flex PCB+SMT design of second-generation ‌AirPods‌. We believe that Apple will pull in this new model because of the declining demand for second-generation ‌AirPods‌. Luxshare ICT will be the main supplier for this new model.

There have been rumors that Apple is working on a set of ‌AirPods Pro‌ without Active Noise Cancellation that will feature the ‌AirPods Pro‌ design at a lower price point, but Kuo does not mention these earbuds.

He does, however, say that the market is expecting a new ‌AirPods‌ model in the second half of 2020, but that this is more likely to be a new set of Beats instead of a new set of ‌AirPods‌, so it’s possible all of the “‌AirPods Pro‌ Lite” rumors are referencing new headphones in the Beats lineup.

As for the ‌AirPods Pro‌, Kuo says that a new model will go into mass production in the fourth quarter of 2021 to the first quarter of 2022, which suggests no ‌AirPods Pro‌ refresh in 2020 or early 2021. We can expect Apple’s high-end over-ear headphones in 2020, though, as Kuo says that these will enter mass production in mid-2020.

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iPhone SE Plus Postponed Until Second Half of 2021

Apple may postpone a larger version of the new low-cost iPhone SE until the second half of 2021, according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

In a previous note, Kuo said that Apple was working on an “‌iPhone‌ SE Plus” set to be released in the first half of 2021, but now he believes Apple will “likely postpone” this new model until later in 2021.

The current ‌iPhone‌ SE

We predicted that Apple would launch the new ‌iPhone‌ model in 1H21 in a previous report (“‌iPhone‌ supply chain to be 2020 top pick in the tech sector; key predictions for new ‌iPhone‌ product mixes in 2020 and 2021” [December 5, 2019]). However, we think that Apple will likely postpone the new model from 1H21 to 2H21.

The ‌iPhone‌ SE Plus is expected to have a 5.5 or 6.1-inch display with a full-screen design, similar to the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro. It will not use Face ID, though, and will instead feature Touch ID integrated into the power button on the right side of the device.

With no Face ID, the ‌iPhone‌ SE Plus will feature a smaller notch as the front of the device will only need to house a standard front-facing camera, microphone, and speaker.

Apple just this month released the ‌iPhone‌ SE, a $399 ‌iPhone‌ that is similar in design to the ‌iPhone‌ 8 but with an upgraded A13 processor. It marries ‌Touch ID‌ and an older ‌iPhone‌ design with newer ‌iPhone‌ performance and is an appealing upgrade option for those coming from older iPhones like the ‌iPhone‌ 6 or ‌iPhone‌ 7.

Kuo has not provided details on the pricing of the ‌iPhone‌ SE Plus, but if it’s in the SE family, it will presumably have a price tag lower than that of Apple’s flagship devices despite the full-screen design and relocated ‌Touch ID‌ button.

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