Apple’s WWDC conference kicks off on June 5th and whilst it is predominantly a software conference, reliable Apple analyst KGI’s Ming-Chi Kuo is reporting that he expects Apple to launch two new hardware products next month.
Repeating previous claims, Kuo says there is a more than 50% chance of the Siri Speaker, an all-new category for the company. In addition, he says that there is more than 70% chance of an all-new design 10.5-inch iPad Pro to be announced at the keynote.
Obviously, announcements of the new operating systems is inevitable. That means Apple will announce iOS 11, macOS 10.13, tvOS 11 and watchOS 4 — major feature updates to all its platforms. KGI doesn’t give insight into what functionality or changes the new software will bring but it does include some notes about the predicted hardware unveilings.
Regarding iPad, KGI describes the 10.5- inch iPad Pro as an all-new design. KGI’s belief that Apple will announce the new tablet at WWDC is based on the fact it expects mass production of the 10.5-inch iPad to start in late Q2, which is close enough to the conference date. Leaks from accessory manufacturer support the idea of a June launch for the 10.5-inch model.
The 10.5-inch iPad will look similar to the 9.7-inch iPad Pro but feature narrower bezels; the device will pack a larger display into the same approximate chassis size. This will echo the design of the upcoming iPhone 8, which is wrapped in a swirl of bezel-less rumors. KGI expects Apple to ship about 6 million 10.5-inch iPad Pros this year, targeting corporate and commercial sectors.
The analyst says that the Siri Speaker will debut alongside the ‘announcement of software development details for home AI’ at the conference. Referring to his previous report, KGI expects the Siri Speaker device (tentative name) to boast premium audio quality and a higher price tag than the Amazon Echo. A new tidbit in today’s report is the fact that the device will include a ‘touch panel’. It’s not clear if this means something like capacitive buttons or a touchscreen display, a la Amazon Echo Show.
For the last couple of years, WWDC has been a software-only show. It is not unprecedented for the company to release or announce new hardware though. In 2012, WWDC played host to the first Retina MacBook Pro and 2013 saw the sneak peek of the trashcan Mac Pro. For 2015, it was widely rumored that Apple was set to unveil the fourth-generation Apple TV at the conference … but this did not transpire.
Apple’s WWDC conference kicks off on June 5 and the event will be streamed live on Apple’s website for anyone to watch. It will surely be a packed keynote if the company unveils the new iPad Pro, Siri Speaker and the usual bout of software updates at once. Stay tuned to 9to5Mac for all the announcements.
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