Apple’s big 2020: 5G iPhones with LiDAR, ‘HomePod mini,’ AirTags, more

Apple is preparing a redesign of its pro iPhones, borrowing cues from the latest iPads and adding LiDAR, as part of a major fall refresh that will see 5G added to as many as four new handset models and the release of two key new accessories: a new, smaller, lower-priced “HomePod mini” and AirTags item trackers, Bloomberg News reports, citing “people familiar with the plans.”

Apple LiDAR iPhones. Image: Apple's iPhone 4
Apple’s next-gen iPhone Pro models are expected to adopt iPhone 4 design cues

Mark Gurman and Debby Wu for Bloomberg:

This year’s successors to the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max will be joined by two lower-end models to replace the iPhone 11. At least the two high-end devices will have flat stainless steel edges instead of the current curved design as well as more sharply rounded corners like the iPad Pro introduced in 2018…

Apple will add the 3-D LIDAR system that debuted with the iPad Pro in March to its top-tier devices, setting the stage for advances in augmented-reality applications… Apple is investigating removing the cutout at the top of the display for the selfie camera and Face ID sensors in future designs, and it’s likely to reduce that notch in size with this year’s models.

Apple’s new HomePod speaker will be about half the size of the original while keeping a similar design… Apple is now targeting a release in the second half of this year… a lower price will help Apple better compete with cheap smart speakers from Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google.

Apple Tags wireless accessory… will be bundled with an Apple-designed leather sleeve and a keychain to attach it to objects… Apple is also working on a new version of the MacBook Pro, Apple TV, refreshed budget iPads and a new iMac.

MacDailyNews Take: Much of this is already know (5G iPhones with LiDAR are widely expected), of course, but, importantly, the report notes of this year’s next-gen iPhones that “Apple hasn’t informed suppliers of any significant delays… and its engineers are expected to travel to China and finalize product designs in May.”

As for naming the new, smaller, lower-priced HomePod: “HomePod mini?”


  1. I love my HomePod, but the system limitations are concerning (when compared to Sonos, etc). The HomePod is great as a primary listening device, but I would love a smaller version for kids rooms or as rear surround speakers. A smaller HomePod Mini would fill this need excellently.

    Also, while the HomePod does hit pretty low, the DSP cuts bass output pretty heavily at loud volumes (reasonable though as it protects the woofer). If there was either a HomeSub or an AirPlay 2 extender that plugs into 3rd party powered subwoofers, that would start to complete the system. If the solution was an AirPlay 2 extender, the system would need to be smart enough to employ a dynamic crossover so that the HomePod or HomePod Mini would be relieved of low frequencies. With HomePod’s “magic” of being able to adjust sound due to room conditions, it would have no problem working with any brand of powered subwoofer.

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