It was another big week for rumors this week, with a flurry of reports about Apple's augmented reality glasses, the iPhone 12, and Apple's "AirPods Studio" over-ear headphones. This week also saw the release of iOS 13.5, bringing a number of health-related updates to Apple's mobile devices.
Following last week's rumor from Ming-Chi Kuo about Apple's augmented reality glasses potentially launching in 2022, we've seen a flurry of new rumors led by a massive report from Jon Prosser sharing quite a few details he's heard about them.
Prosser says the glasses will be called "Apple Glass" and will start at $499, with prescription lenses available for an additional cost. In line with previous rumors, he says Apple Glass will rely on a paired iPhone for most of its functionality, allowing the glasses themselves to be as slim and light as possible.
According to Prosser's sources, Apple's original plans involved unveiling Apple Glass at the annual iPhone event in September or October, but restrictions on in-person gatherings could push the debut back to a March 2021 event. A second report from DigiTimes offers a similar timeline, indicating that "small-volume production" could begin in the first half of next year, with a launch sometime later in the year.
Apple this week released iOS 13.5, a major health-related update that brings many features related to the ongoing public health crisis. Most notably, it delivers the COVID-19 Exposure Notification API that will let public health entities build apps to alert users if they've been in close proximity to someone who later tests positive for the virus.
iOS 13.5 also makes it easier to unlock a Face ID device while wearing a mask, bringing up the passcode entry screen more quickly when a mask is detected. And for those users spending more time on Group FaceTime, Apple has added an option to turn off the Automatic Prominence feature that enlarges the tile of whoever is speaking. Finally, there's a new feature that lets your Medical ID information be automatically shared with first responders when placing an emergency call.
There's also an iPadOS 13.5 update with a subset of the iPhone features, as well as a watchOS 6.2.5 update that brings the ECG app and irregular heart rhythm notifications to Saudi Arabia and adds new Pride watch faces.
According to noted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple's iPhone 12 lineup later this year may not include EarPods wired earphones in the box. While Apple has included wired earphones since the original iPhone in 2007, many users these days don't use the included earphones, instead opting for their own preferred wired or wireless accessories.
Given the popularity of Apple's wireless AirPods lineup, the move would likely increase demand for those accessories, and Kuo says Apple will likely offer a "special AirPods promotion" late in the year, although he doesn't specify what that promotion might be.
In other iPhone 12 news, an extensive report from display analyst Ross Young outlines his expectations for all four iPhone 12 models, ranging from a 2340x1080 5.4-inch display on the smallest one to a 2778x1284 display on the largest 6.7-inch model.
And finally, this week saw perhaps our first significant part leak for the iPhone 12 in the form of the main logic board. The part in question appears to have been manufactured in October 2019, which would make it a relatively early prototype, so we'll have to see if that's what ends up in one of the final phone designs.
Apple is rumored to have a smaller, lower-priced HomePod on deck for later this year, and there are increasing signs that the new model could be on the horizon.
In addition to Best Buy offering the HomePod on sale for $199.99 this week, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman notes that Apple employees are now able to purchase up to 10 HomePods at a 50 percent discount, up from a limit of two. The larger purchase limit could be part of Apple's efforts to clear out inventory of the current HomePod ahead of the new model.
Finally, the HomePod was listed as "sold out" on Apple's online store in the United States last week, although only briefly.
Apple's AirPods Pro ship with silicone tips that fit inside the ears, but people who prefer the tighter or more comfortable fit of foam have been modding their earbuds to add a foam layer. That's no longer necessary, as well-known earphone tips company Comply is now shipping its foam tips that are compatible with AirPods Pro.
We picked up a pair of the new Comply Foam Tips for AirPods Pro, which come as a set of three pairs for $25, and tested them out in our latest YouTube video to see how they fit and whether they're an improvement over the silicone tips that the AirPods Pro ship with.
We've been hearing quite a bit recently about Apple's long-rumored over-ear headphones, said to be called "AirPods Studio," and it looks like a launch may be coming in the relatively near future.
Rumors have generally suggested a summer or fall launch for AirPods Studio, with a report earlier this week claiming that suppliers in Vietnam will begin shipments to Apple in June or July, but a new report from DigiTimes indicates that production on the new headphones is already underway.
Each week, we publish an email newsletter like this highlighting the top Apple stories, making it a great way to get a bite-sized recap of the week hitting all of the major topics we've covered and tying together related stories for a big-picture view.