Apple’s big iPhone 12 event may have four phones, but some of the most hotly-anticipated accessories – including AirPods Studio headphones and Apple’s first tracking tags – could end up MIA, new leaks suggest. The “Hi, Speed” event on October 13 is expected to cover a number of bases, with the iPhone 12 range adding 5G and ceding a little stage time to a new HomePod mini. Don’t expect a full accessories-fest, though.
Indeed, some of the items we’ve heard rumors about for much of 2020 could end up missing next Tuesday’s reveal. Manufacturing issues during this time of pandemic are being blamed for some iPhone 12 variants following on in November, but it’s also being cited as a cause of delay for accessories like Apple’s first over-the-ear headphones to bear the AirPods brand.
Believed to be launching as AirPods Studio, the new headphones will come in a variety of forms, with both sports and luxury fittings. Renders shared by leaker Jon Prosser show what’s believed to be the high-end iteration, with a $599 sticker price reflecting their metal and leather construction. However there’ll also be a “sport-like” version that will come in at $350, he claims.
That would follow Apple’s strategy with Apple Watch, though we’ll probably have to wait until later in the year to see the full line-up. AirPods Studio aren’t expected to be at the October 13 event, and nor it’s said are AirTags.
Apple’s take on the tracking tag market currently dominated by Tile have long been a point of leaks and discussion. Indeed the UWB (ultrawideband) radio that Apple added in the iPhone 11 using its new U1 chip was generally seen as paving the way for direction-aware localization. With the U1 and the AirTags, it’s believed, you’d be able to track down whatever had been tagged with precise directions shown on the iPhone’s display.
What hasn’t been discovered, though, is a launch date for Apple AirTags themselves. First expected earlier in 2020, now Prosser says that the unveil has been pushed back to March 2021.
It’s a huge setback, and it’s not entirely clear what might have prompted it. One possibility is that manufacturing has proved to be an issue: after all, there’s a fair amount of technology that needs to be squeezed into each AirTag, which is believed to have a polished metal back and a white fascia. Alternatively, it could be waiting on more devices with UWB and the U1 chipset to arrive, so that the flagship tracking features are actually more usable.
With four new iPhone 12 variants, 5G to explain, and new camera tech, it’s clear that Apple will have plenty to occupy itself with on October 13. Given previous rumors that the company plans to leave out bundled EarPods from the new iPhone box, however, what will arguably be just as interesting is seeing how Apple justifies the accessory omission.