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iPad Pro, 'iPhone SE 2,' MacBook with scissor keyboard coming in early 2020, says Ming-Chi Kuo

Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is focusing on expected release dates in a new research note, with him making predictions about Apple's next iPad Pro, and when he expects the "iPhone SE 2" to ship.

2019 iPad Pro on top of 2018 iPad Pro 12.9-inch

iPad Pro mockup with three lenses on top of 2018 iPad Pro 12.9-inch


In a note for investors, TF Securities' Ming-Chi Kuo believes that beyond an AR headset later in the year, Apple has a big first quarter of 2020 planned. Kuo has narrowed down the iPad Pro with time of flight sensors to the first quarter, and is expecting the "iPhone SE 2" then as well.

MacBook with scissor keyboard mechanism



Kuo has discussed the 16-inch MacBook Pro switching to a new scissor mechanism in the keyboard, with it launching soon. Kuo has also spoken about it migrating to the rest of the product line. However, this is the first time that he's predicted a refreshed MacBook at all, much less one with a new keyboard.

The refresh isn't expected until the second calendar quarter of 2020.

"iPhone SE 2"



Kuo spoke on the "iPhone SE 2" specs recently. He previously wrote that a new "iPhone SE 2" will incorporate the A13 processor, and 3GB of RAM. Users looking for a small device may be disappointed, as he believes the "form factor design and hardware spec are similar to iPhone 8."

iPad Pro with time of flight sensor



Kuo has spoken about this iPad Pro refresh before, but hasn't specifically nailed down delivery time before Wednesday's report. The models will have 11-inch and 12.9-inch displays, the same as the current generation, but while there isn't any indication of changes to the outside, the analyst believes there will be some internal alterations.

A Time of Flight 3D sensor scans the area in front of the camera and calculates distances between objects and the lens. Not only does this assist in the math to speed focusing, but it is also used to accurately position items in augmented reality.

The new iPad Pro is expected to see the first usage of a "LCP Soft Board," referring to a material known as Liquid Crystal Polymer. As the name suggests, the board is soft and can be used as a flexible way to connect components together, working around the restrictions of inflexible PCBs.

The use of LCP Soft Board is apparently being made in preparation for the use of 5G modems in the iPad Pro. According to Kuo, Apple will introduce 5G-supporting models in 2021.

Apple has yet to migrate dual-lens shooters, much less the three-lens setup that is predicted, to its tablet line despite first integrating the technology in 2016's iPhone 7 Plus. The setup, which incorporates a wide-angle and "telephoto" lens, was later used in 2017's iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X, and last year's iPhone XS and XS Max.

Apple's iPad Pro has not been updated since the line received a massive redesign with a full-face display and Face ID in October 2018.