Forward-looking: Apple's Studio Display fostered the idea of a monitor taking on some of the processing load from the system it's connected to. New reports suggest future Mac displays could push the concept further as the company prepares new models, possibly for next year or beyond. New health-focused AirPods functionality is also in the works.
The latest edition of Mark Gurman's subscriber-only newsletter suggests that Apple is readying multiple new monitors, including new models of its Studio Display and Pro Display XDR. At least one of them could include an onboard processor to increase its functionality independent of a Mac.
Gurman had few specifics on the upcoming products, but said the smart display would use a chip originating in an iPhone, similar to the Studio Display.
Launched last year, the Studio Display uses the A13 Bionic chip, which Apple introduced with the iPhone 11. However, the monitor only uses the processor to control Siri, enable its webcam to use the company's Center Stage feature, and enhance spatial audio.
The new smart display would have additional functionality that works even after a connected Mac enters hibernation or shuts down. Gurman said it would double as a Mac monitor and a smart home display with a low-power mode, but the exact features are unclear.
Is Apple working on new monitors? https://t.co/8ckDBoM18Q– Mark Gurman (@markgurman) July 2, 2023
I'm told Apple is working on multiple next-generation monitors, including a large-screen panel with an iOS device chip and software stack. The idea is that the screen could double as a Mac monitor and a smart home display…
Mentioning a low-power mode implies that the monitor could use the technology behind the iPhone 14's always-on display. Apple's latest smartphone and Apple Watch models can display basic information like the time and wallpaper when asleep, conserving energy by setting brightness and refresh rate extremely low. The upgraded displays won't ship until sometime after this year.
The newsletter also mentions upcoming changes to the AirPods. Predictably, they will switch from using Apple's proprietary lightning cables to USB-C for charging. Furthermore, the headphones will have new functionality connected to the upcoming Vision Pro AR headset.
Additionally, health-related AirPods features are coming. Apple wants to introduce a hearing test to check for hearing problems, use the headphones to detect a user's body temperature by analyzing their ear canals, and make them usable as hearing aids. However, Gurman says not to expect new AirPods models anytime soon, solely based on the gaps between previous generations.