Apple’s important updates in 2024 are all here

Looking forward to looking forward to it, the winter wind is coming, and Vision Pro is approaching. Vision Pro, which was originally scheduled to be launched in the United States in early 2024, has recently been exposed to more and more information.

Mark Gurman, a well-known reporter from Bloomberg, also brought a lot of valuable revelations in the latest issue of "Power On" real-time newsletter.

In addition to the specific launch time and internal evaluation of Vision Pro, as well as the planning of multiple product lines, we can basically get a glimpse of Apple’s big moves next year:

  • Vision Pro, the first mixed reality glasses, goes on sale
  • iPhone 16 regular updates: size adjustment, added buttons
  • Apple Watch major update: new design, supports blood pressure measurement and sleep pause (snoring) research
  • AirPods 4 will support noise reduction and add hearing aid function
  • OLED version of iPad and large-size iPad Air launched
  • New Macbook Air launched at the beginning of the year

Vision Pro – the top star of 2024

Vision Pro has become the most anticipated Apple product since its debut at the WWDC conference in June this year. At that time, Apple said it would be launched in the United States in early 2024 and then in other markets.

Mark Gurman revealed that Apple will invite hundreds of retail employees in January 2024 to learn how to use and sell Vision Pro. The official launch time is expected to be between the end of January and February.

Recently, Apple's intellectual property database has also updated documents on "how to place and display" the Vision Pro.

▲ Vision Pro placement standard diagram. Picture from: MacRumors.com

As can be seen from the schematic diagram, Apple has prepared a metal stand for the Vision Pro: the curved stand will act as a nose bridge, lifting the Vision Pro high so that consumers can observe the display, headband and other components from all angles.

▲ Vision Pro placement standard diagram. Picture from: MacRumors.com

The external battery, which has been complained about as "cumbersome" by the outside world, Apple does not plan to hide it through any storage method, but places it exposed at the bottom of the stand. In addition, two devices will be placed on each long pad, one at one end and one at the end, in opposite directions.

▲ Vision Pro placement standard diagram. Picture from: MacRumors.com

At that time, Apple will accept online orders, but users will most likely be advised to pick up their orders in-store so that Apple employees can provide users with appropriately sized headbands, eye masks, and lens prescriptions.

According to current news, Vision Pro is priced at US$3,500 (approximately RMB 25,000). Production in 2024 is expected to be less than 400,000 units. Due to production limitations, it will not be launched in other markets until the end of 2024.

People inside Apple like to compare it to the Apple Watch, noting that the first three generations of the product weren't very good and that by the time the fourth generation comes out, the hardware will be up to par and sales will pick up.

Mark Gurman revealed that Apple will focus on wearable products (Vision Pro, Apple Watch, AirPods) in 2024, and the iPhone, which has always occupied the top spot, will give way.

In order to prepare for the launch of Vision Pro, iOS 17.2, which was launched last week, also officially brings the spatial video shooting function to the iPhone 15 Pro series.

On the Settings-Camera-Format page, turn on the "Apple Vision Pro Spatial Video" button to enable the spatial video format when recording videos.

For specific tutorials and shooting effects, we have done video demonstrations before. If you are interested, you can click here to view

Insert previous short video

Regardless of whether you have plans to buy Vision Pro, I suggest you use the iPhone 15 Pro series first to accumulate some spatial video material.

Especially when you go home during the New Year, you can use this mode to record your hometown, relatives and friends. This will become your extremely precious "three-dimensional memory".

After the Smart Island, all members have "Smart Keys"

Let me pour some cold water on this first. The iPhone under-screen camera that everyone has been waiting for is probably unlikely to appear on mobile phones in the past two years. Mark Gurman said that Apple plans to continue the design of iPhone 15, and Smart Island will still be the most recognizable presence of iPhone 16.

However, the “Action Button” on the iPhone 15 Pro will be decentralized to all models, and the traditional paddle-type mute button will become another historical memory of Apple.

▲ Comparison between iPhone mute button and Action Button. Picture from: 9to5Mac.com

In addition to all "smart keys", the iPhone 16 series will also make another feature on the middle frame: adding a new button specifically for shooting video. The specific location can be referred to Sony mobile phones.

The addition of the shooting button completely confirms the rumor that "the ordinary version of the iPhone can shoot spatial videos", which will even make the iPhone the best peripheral for Vision Pro. No wonder Gurman said in the revelation that "the update is focused." On wearable devices, even the hardware updates of the iPhone are now designed to allow access to this head-mounted display device.

▲ iPhone 16 prediction composite picture (right 1). Picture from: znyj.ofweek.com

Coincidentally, this also echoes the recent news that the iPhone 16 camera module is "returning to its ancestors in design". The arrangement of the cameras on the new phone may abandon the existing diagonal layout and return to a vertical arrangement design.

Earlier news pointed out that Apple has tried a variety of lens arrangement solutions. One is the original upper and lower "split" combination, which is exactly the same as the back of the iPhone 12; the other is an upper and lower "one-piece". This is the classic design of iPhone X.

▲ iPhone 16 prediction composite picture. Picture from: znyj.ofweek.com

No matter which one is finally adopted, they are all highly "paying homage" to the previous generation products. Therefore, these two solutions are jokingly called by netizens as an "atavism" phenomenon.

On the surface, this old solution that will be adopted is a design step back. In fact, Apple uses a "vertical" layout to prepare the hardware for its spatial video.

Recording Apple's spatial video requires the iPhone to be in landscape orientation, and the depth effect is only possible with isometric sensors arranged vertically or horizontally. Lenses on the same horizontal line can restore the position of the human eye to the greatest extent, and can also keep the two lenses in the same position as much as possible, so that the later system can synthesize a more realistic 3D imaging effect.

From this perspective, this will be a typical case of Apple's "design serving function".

In addition, according to Mark Gurman, the size of the standard version of iPhone 16 will remain unchanged, but the screen size of the Pro version will become larger. The Pro will increase from 6.1 inches to 6.3 inches (slightly smaller than Xiaomi Mi 14), and the Pro Max will increase from 6.7 inches to 6.9 inches.

Apple's first semi-in-ear noise-canceling headphones are coming soon

Among the Apple products updated this year, the headphone cable may have the smallest upgrade. In terms of hardware, AirPods Pro only has a C port, while the semi-in-ear AirPods and AirPods Max remain unchanged.

Since AirPods 3 was released last year, due to its similar appearance to AirPods Pro, the price and comfort are not significantly different from the previous generation, which has caused some users to make a choice.

According to Mark Gurman's analysis, because there is no differentiation between similar products, many users choose TWS headphones from other brands to buy products with equivalent functions to AirPods at a lower price.

The good news from Mark Gurman is that two AirPods 4 models will be released in 2024, and the high-end version will support active noise reduction. For those who are not used to wearing in-ear headphones, it is worth looking forward to.

On the other hand, AirPods 4 will adopt a new design and finally use a USB-C charging port. There is no need to carry an extra Lightning exclusive charging cable when going out.

And Apple is polishing a major update for AirPods: the "hearing aid" function, and is expected to release specific details and demonstrations of this feature later next year.

▲Image from: Bloomberg.com

Apple believes its new understanding of hearing aids has the potential to disrupt "a multi-billion dollar industry."

At the same time, the niche AirPods Max will also participate in the 2024 update plan. It is reported that Apple is planning to develop new models, replace the Lightning charger with USB-C, and may add new colors.

Apple Watch is deeply involved in health functions, and iPad also has surprises

Apple Watch used "Double Tap" this year to explore new ways of interacting with smart watches. This is a cool feature, but for users after S7, the motivation to change is not strong.

In this regard, Apple will launch a newly designed Apple Watch in 2024 to reverse the status quo. The tenth-generation Apple Watch is likely to make an astonishing debut as the iPhone X.

The new watch will also introduce two health functions: "blood pressure measurement" and "sleep apnea detection". These two technologies will alert users after detecting related problems and recommend follow-up tests.

Currently, smart watches that can measure blood pressure are a bit bulky because they require a special pressure device to measure more accurate values.

The sleep monitoring function for apnea is also of great significance. Currently, 1 billion adults worldwide suffer from sleep apnea, and more than 60 million people in China have this phenomenon. Apnea during sleep can lead to symptoms such as angina pectoris, high blood pressure, respiratory failure, and in severe cases, sudden death overnight.

If Apple can really implement these two professional functions on a standard watch, it will once again widen the gap with its competitors in the field of health monitoring.

Compared with Apple Watch, iPad's "toothpaste squeezing" behavior in 2023 will be even more obvious. The low-key iPad 10 eSIM version and the USB-C version of Apple Pencil are hard to surprise.

Fortunately, Mark Gurman revealed that the iPad will also receive a "major update" next year:

  • The Pro version is being improved, and it is rumored that Apple will launch an iPad Pro equipped with an OLED screen to replace the existing mini-LED panel. This will be the first iPad to use OLED material.
  • The iPad Air will have the option of a larger screen size (possibly 12.9 inches).
  • iPad mini and standard iPad will have faster and better chips.
Mac will also launch new products soon. MacBook Air will soon use the M3 chip and is expected to be unveiled at the beginning of the year; the new MacBook Pro codenamed J614 and J616 are already under development.

For tech enthusiasts, 2024 is definitely a year to look forward to.
After getting tired of watching the narrative of smartphone battlefields, the launch of Vision Pro and the civilianization of space video shooting will bring new possibilities to the product and content market.
It is foreseeable that more interesting applications and content will be derived around 3D, stereoscopic and AI. For example, travel bloggers can use only an iPhone to bring distant mountains, lakes and seas to you in a three-dimensional and immersive form. Game developers can also create interactive videos with a strong sense of "surrounding".
The “iPhone moment” in the virtual reality market is coming.

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