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Ming-Chi Kuo is a renowned Apple analyst, with over 10 years of experience reporting on Apple with data from the supply chain. Much of what we learn about upcoming products, delays, and potential price points are derived from Kuo's reports.
● Analyst at TF International
● KGI from 2013-2018
● Started career at Digitimes in 2010
● Well respected analyst with a good track record
● Reported many of the iPhone X details first
● Connections throughout the supply chain
Ming-Chi Kuo has been a reliable source of solid data on Apple products over the years, despite Tim Cook insisting that supply chain sourced data is a terrible way to make predictions.
Kuo's strong point is device-specific details and specs, like color, size, chipsets, and ports. Device names and release dates are often not decided too late in production to be predicted accurately. The accuracy of this analyst is historically strong, with accurate reports even years in advance.
Ming-Chi Kuo not only uses obtained data to predict future Apple products but provides guidance for how well a product might sell. He arrives at these numbers based on volumes of component orders, then derives what they expect to sell based on previous supply chain inventory reports.
These reports can be accurate, but as Apple's supply chain is very diverse, knowing one product component order doesn't always provide the fullest picture.
Ming-Chi Kuo's Upcoming Product Predictions
The following are details about unreleased products provided by Kuo through his various reports received over time.
The next iPhone is rumored to have 5G support, and Ming-Chi Kuo says this will be the most critical upgrade for consumers. While Android manufacturers have been pushing 5G hard since late 2020, it hasn't caught on, but that may change as more and more cities gain some form of the technology.
New and better camera elements are expected as well; with the "iPhone 12" and "iPhone 12 Max" set to have dual-camera modules, and the "iPhone 12 Pro" and "iPhone 12 Pro Max" to have three-camera modules plus LiDAR.
The wide-angle lens will likely move from a 6-piece lens assembly to a 7-piece lens assembly. This was mentioned in another Kuo note from July 2019, which also contained information about a reduced notch.
The "iPhone 12" will likely ship without headphones, which is intended to boost AirPods sales.
Well before the recent Jon Prosser leak surrounding "Apple Glass" and its release, Kuo was reporting on the technology. There are two distinct devices, one being an "AR headset" and the other a set of glasses, or "Apple Glass." Kuo's note says that manufacturing would begin sometime at the end of 2019, and ship in Q2 of 2020.
The manufacturing never began, but the details surrounding the device match with more recent rumors. Ming-Chi Kuo noted that the device will rely heavily on the iPhone, just like the Apple Watch did. These details have since been corroborated by other leaks, with only the release date still in question.
A report in May revealed that the Apple AR glasses wouldn't arrive until 2022, which was contested by Prosser, who expects them by the end of 2021.
A note released in April 2020 said the Apple over-the-ear headphones, potentially called the "AirPods Studio" could start production in mid-2020. AirPods and AirPods Pro are to be updated in 2021 and 2022 respectively.
The "AirPods Studio" have been rumored for a couple of years, with a Ming-Chi Kuo note in 2018 calling for a release that year, which didn't happen, but shows Apple's plans for a high-end headphone have been going for years.
The rumored Apple "AirTags" are expected to ship in mid-2020. Kuo expects them to be ordered in the "tens of millions" by end of the year. The elusive tracking tags have been rumored since Apple's ultra-wideband feature leaked for the iPhone 11.
There have been no further reports from the TF International analyst, but other leakers have indicated the "AirTags" are expected to release in 2020. Apple announced that iOS 14 would allow third-party developers like Tile to tap into Find My, which will provide some competition to Apple's future Tile-like product.
The iPad Pro is expected to have Mini LED displays provided by Jingdian and Innollux. As of this report, the iPad Pro with Mini LED was expected in late 2020, but other reports push its release to 2021.
Kuo predicts a redesigned iPad mini with a 9-inch screen in early 2021 and standard iPad with a 10.8-inch screen in late 2020. They are expected to have fast chipsets, maybe the A12, and will follow a similar product strategy to iPhone SE.
Ming-Chi Kuo's History
Ming-Chi Kuo has been a well known Apple analyst for the past decade. His career first came into the spotlight while working at Digitimes, stating ship windows of unreleased iPhone 4 models. He went to work for Concord Securities in 2011, then KGI Securities in 2013.
There he spent the better part of a decade making a name for himself in the Apple rumors sector. When Mark Gurman didn't have insider information, Kuo usually did. Between the two of them, much of Apple's announcements were known well before being made public.
Kuo left KGI in 2018 to join with Chinese firm TF International. He still works there today and continues to provide highly accurate reports and analysis of Apple and its plans.
Timeline of Reports
The following is a timeline of every relevant report from Kuo predicting a new product or feature. Most predictions pertain to the iPhone but have expanded to encompass nearly every Apple product during his career.
Product names like “iPhone X” or “Pro Display XDR” were not known until very close to the announcement, so for simplicity’s sake, the correct product name will be referred to in quotes.
- Quality control of camera lenses won't lead to "iPhone 12" shipment delay
- 2021 iPhone will have a Touch ID power button and LCD.
- ”iPhone SE,” "AirTags," small AirPower-like mat, 2020 iPad Pro, “AirPods Studio,” 2020 MacBook Air, and 13-inch MacBook Pro should ship in the first half of 2020.
- All four “iPhone 12” are on schedule to launch in fall 2020, and will include sub-6GHz and mmWave models.
- MacBooks with scissor keyboard mechanism to launch in mid-2020.
- ”iPhone SE” to launch in Q1 with A13 and $399 price point.
- iPad Pro with LiDAR and new MacBooks with scissor switches to launch in the first half of 2020.
- "Apple Glass" to launch in Q2 2020.
- ”iPhone SE” will launch in early 2020 with iPhone 8 design, A13 chip, and 3GB RAM
- iPad Pro and MacBook to launch in late 2020 to 2021 with Mini LED.
- ”iPhone 12” to have a redesigned metal frame similar to iPhone 4.
- ”iPhone 11” event expectation: 18W USB-C charger for pro models and bilateral wireless charging might not happen.
- "AirTags" to use UWB, just like the "iPhone 11" line will.
- 2021 iPhone with in-screen Touch ID could be happening.
- The two high-end ”iPhone 12 Pro” models to feature Time of Flight sensors.
- ”iPhone 12” to reduce True Depth notch, full-screen display rumored for 2021.
- ”16-inch MacBook Pro” expected to use a scissor-switch keyboard.
- Apple may be moving to scissor switches for the next MacBook Air.
- All three "iPhone 12" models are expected to have 5G.
- Two new AirPods models are likely in 2019 to 2020, one with an all-new design.
- ”iPhone 12” to have 5G modems from Samsung and Qualcomm, with Apple producing their own by 2022.
- ”iPhone 11” to have 12MP front cameras, black coating to hide lenses.
- ”Pro Display XDR” in 2019, new iPad in 2020, and new MacBook in 2021 to have Mini LED.
- ”iPhone 11” to have a triple-lens camera with a super-wide lens, improved selfie camera.
- ”Apple Glass” to launch in 2020, will be tethered to the iPhone for use.
- AirPower and new AirPods to ship in the first half of 2019.
- ”iPad mini 5," ”10.2-inch iPad” and a new ceramic Apple Watch are expected in 2019.
- ”iPhone 11” to have bilateral charging, frosted glass, and larger batteries.
- ”Pro Display XDR” is expected to launch with something like Mini LED in 2019.
- ”16-inch MacBook Pro” expected in 2019, 13-inch to gain 32GB RAM.
- AirPods with wireless charging case is expected in early 2019, a new model in 2020.
- Apple’s “iPhone 11” to get better Face ID cameras.
- "Apple Car" likely to launch in 2023 to 2025.
- First note from Kuo at TF International; says two OLED iPhone models at 5.8-inches and 6.5-inches, and a budget $700 6.1-inch LCD iPhone are expected for the 2018 iPhone lineup.
- ”AirPods Studio” launching in late 2018 at earliest.
- 2018 iPhones to use upgraded Intel and Qualcomm modems for faster LTE.
- Apple to launch 6.5-inch “iPhone X Plus” and 6.1-inch budget LCD model in 2018.
- 2018 iPhones to retain dual-lens camera design.
- "iPhone X" will drop Touch ID, and have limited colors.
- 2017 iPhones to have lightning connectors, feature USB-C to lightning fast-charging.
- 4.7-inch “iPhone 8” and "iPhone X" will feature a glass back and wireless charging.
- 5.8-inch OLED “iPhone X” is said to have a 5.1-inch to 5.2-inch active display area, remaining area for virtual buttons.
- 2017 iPhones may include a 4.7-inch single camera with LCD, a 5.5-inch with dual camera with LCD, and a 5.5-inch OLED model with dual cameras.
- The iPhone SE is unlikely to receive a refresh in early 2017.
- Apple said to be considering AR for “Apple Car.”
- 5.8-inch OLED “iPhone X” with curved glass casing and screen in 2017.
- 4-inch “iPhone SE” with 12MP camera to cost $400-$500.
- iMac with improved processors and display to launch in Q3.
- Apple Watch refresh expected with “sport models” in yellow and rose gold, a new iMac and iPad mini expected in 2015.
- Next iPhone to use 7000 series aluminum.
- Next iPhone to have 12MP camera, 2GB RAM, and rose gold color option.
- Apple Watch may gain new case materials later in 2015.
- Next iPhones expected to have upgraded Touch ID.
- 12.9-inch iPad Pro production expected to start in Q2 2015.
- 27-inch retina iMac due by end of 2014.
- ”iPad Air 2” update with gold option and a laminated display is expected.
- 4.7-inch “iPhone 6” and 5.5-inch “iPhone 6 Plus” may lack sapphire display cover, gain 128GB option.
- "Apple Watch" expected in 2015 with two sizes, 8GB storage, and multiple materials.
- No redesigned lightning cable or adapter with coming with “iPhone 6.”
Ming-Chi Kuo continues to provide reports from his current place of work, TF International.