Apple appears to have leaked its own products. The company released a beta version of its upcoming iOS 12.2 release to developers last week, and it’s emerged in the days since that the software contains references to four iPads and one iPod Touch that have yet to launch.
The references, spotted by developer Steve Troughton-Smith, add fuel to rumors that Apple is planning to launch new entry-level tablets following its bumper iPad Pro launch in November. A report earlier this month revealed that two Taiwanese touch panel manufacturers expect steady shipments in the first half of this year. Rumors point to an upgraded version of the $329 9.7-inch iPad that launched in March 2018, which lacks support for features like the smart keyboard connector, and a new version of the 7.9-inch iPad Mini that hasn’t seen an upgrade since September 2015. Troughton-Smith found references to two iPads, split by Wi-fi and cellular connectivity to create four model numbers.
The fifth product, an iPod Touch, surfaced in a rumor earlier this month. The current model, priced at $199 for 32GB of storage and $299 for 256GB, offers users a cheap iOS device for users that don’t need cellular connectivity, or cannot afford the $449 iPhone 7, or prefer a four-inch screen. Apple brought its four-inch iPhone SE back for a $249 clearance sale earlier this month, but Reddit fans praise the iPod Touch as even smaller and cheaper than this model.
Troughton-Smith’s notes suggest, however, that none of these new products will use the face-scanning system that first debuted on the iPhone X. Apple brought Face ID to the iPad Pro with the November launch, tweaking the design to remove the home button and reducing the size of the bezel. The move may come as a disappointment, particularly as Apple brought Face ID to all three iPhones introduced last year, and draws into question whether the company will make any further cost-cutting measures.
With rumors pointing to a launch in the first half of this year, Apple may be preparing to launch sooner than some may expect.
One key question is whether Apple is making the move as part of a wider play to retain budget consumers. The company raised the price of the most expensive iPhone to $1,099 last September, and CEO Tim Cook has warned about reduced revenue in the most recent quarter. The five new products could help attract buyers put off by the company’s premium pricing.