Is Apple on the cusp of a hardware renaissance? The answer depends, in part, on how much stock you put into various leaks and rumors. One of the persistent rumors we have been hearing for quite some time is Apple making a transition to its own custom processors for its Mac products, rather than continuing to lean on Intel.
We know from Apple's past decisions and present strategies that it prefers to use in-house designs wherever possible. The strategy has worked out for the iPhone—the custom processors inside Apple's handsets are designed by Apple and based on ARM's architecture.
The same thing could apply to Apple's Mac systems in 2020. To wit, we wrote about this very thing almost exactly a year ago. At the time, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claimed Apple would make the switch in 2020 in order to have full control over all major hardware and software systems, and subsequently boost its bottom line.
Rumors of a swap to ARM hardware have not disappeared, and now that 2020 is within rock-throwing distance, it won't be long until we find out if they are true.
There has also been chatter of Apple releasing augmented reality (AR) glasses in 2020, according to a separate prediction by Ming-Chi Kuo. These would essentially be Apple's take on Google Glass. As the story goes, Apple would market these as an iPhone accessory and display things like text messages, emails, maps, and so forth.
According to Bloomberg, Apple is even considering an App Store specifically for its AR glasses, and has hired graphics gurus and game developers to help elevate its spectacles as the leader in an what Apple hopes will be an emerging category.
I'm a bit skeptical of that strategy. Google Glass did not catch on with consumers, and I'm not sure it's really viable to think of AR glasses as creating a new category that could one day replace the iPhone, as the report suggests. It would require users not only buying into the idea of AR as a daily driven technology, but also widespread interest in wearing an accessory, versus tucking one in their pocket.
And speaking of that pocket gadget, Apple is also said to be making some big updates to its iPhone. Specifically, 2020 could see the launch of iPhone models with 5G support, along with a faster processor and a 3D camera on the rear.
Summed up, 2020 could be a very interesting year for Apple.