Much has been said about what consumers could see from Apple in 2022, but the company is also working on a handful of rumored products that aren't expected to be unveiled for at least another 12 months, and in some cases a lot longer.
Of course, that's assuming they get released at all. Apple works on many potential products some of which ultimately never see the light of day. With that in mind, this article summarizes what we believe Apple has in long-term development, and when these products could arrive further down the line.
1. iPads With Larger Displays
Apple is working on bigger iPad models with larger displays than the current crop in its product lineup, according to Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman.
The biggest iPads that Apple has produced in recent years are the 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro, and both sizes serve most people's needs, but there are arguments for Apple offering tablets that provide even more screen real estate.
While most users could have ergonomic issues holding an iPad larger than 12.9-inches for any length of time, a larger display mounted on a table would provide a giant sweeping canvas for creative designers and digital artists to work on (think Microsoft Surface Studio). It would also bring the iPad closer to the screen dimensions of Apple's latest 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models, which could allow the iPad to adopt more Mac-like features.
However, Apple would likely need to make significant software changes to iPadOS, such as in the area of multitasking, to make such a display practicable. This and other hurdles suggest to Gurman that larger iPads are not expected to launch in 2022, and are instead likely to come sometime later.
2. Apple Glasses
Apple is rumored to be working on at least two AR/VR projects, including a mixed reality headset and a pair of sleeker augmented reality glasses, which has led to some confusion about Apple's plans in this space.
The AR/VR headset is likely to be a high-end device, and while it is expected to be lighter than existing VR devices, it isn't going to be portable. Bloomberg had described it as providing users with an "all-encompassing 3-D digital environment" designed for gaming, media consumption, and communication.
The AR smart glasses, on the other hand, are said to look similar to regular glasses, but are expected to provide a mobile-first, optical see-through AR experience. Apple is said to be working with TSMC to develop "ultra-advanced" micro OLED displays less than one inch in size for the lenses, which will feature displays that can be interacted with using gestures, and Apple will offer the glasses as an iPhone accessory, which will allow them to be slim and lightweight, rumors suggest.
As it stands, most reports point to Apple debuting its mixed reality headset first, possibly as early this year, although very recent rumors have dampened hopes for a 2022 release. Rumors about the launch year of Apple's AR glasses are more conflicted. Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has suggested 2025, which is a lot later than Apple's original plan to launch them in 2023. Bloomberg has reported they are still "years away" and remain in an early stage of development.
3. Apple TV With Integrated Speaker and FaceTime Camera
Apple is said to be working on a combined Apple TV with HomePod-style speaker that also has an integrated camera to enable video calls through a connected television set, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman.
Apart from the clear potential for FaceTime calls, the device's other capabilities are said to include standard Apple TV features such as watching video and gaming, along with integrated smart speaker functions like music playback and Siri voice control.
The device is still believed to be in early development in Apple's labs. Assuming it progresses to production stage, we're very unlikely to see it before the year is out. Apple updated the Apple TV 4K in April 2021, and tends to update the device infrequently, releasing a new model around every three years.
That said, the rumored new device would represent a much more significant advancement in the Apple TV product line, and could always sit alongside the current Apple TV set-top box to firm up the company's broader home and audio strategy.
4. HomePod Speaker With Display Mounted on Robotic Arm
Apple is reportedly exploring the potential of a high-end HomePod speaker that includes an iPad-style display connected via a robotic arm that tracks and follows users around a room.
Apple is said to be working on the device to compete with existing speakers with screens, such as Amazon's Echo 10, which has a tablet connected to a robotic arm and use facial recognition to keep users in the frame during calls.
Of all the rumored products in our list, this is probably the one least likely to see the light of day at all. According to Bloomberg, the speaker should be considered a "concept" at this time, as its development is very much in the early stages.
Add to that the fact that Apple last year discontinued its original HomePod to focus on the HomePod mini, which has been much more popular since its release in 2020 thanks to its lower price.
5. Apple Car
First mooted before even the original iPhone launched, Apple's plan to launch a self-driving vehicle, codenamed "Project Titan," has seen plenty of twists and turns in the intervening years, and the Apple Car has faced several speed bumps on its development journey.
Concept "Apple Car" by Vanarama
Apple's work on an autonomous vehicle has been plagued by managerial shifts, changes in focus, and hiring issues almost since it began, and at one point it appeared Apple was shifting towards developing the underlying technology for autonomous vehicles rather than actually building an automobile of its own.
However, under the leadership of John Giannandrea, Apple's AI and machine learning chief, the Apple Car project is moving forward with the ambitious aim of producing an autonomous electric vehicle that does not require human intervention, which no other car manufacturer has been able to achieve.
Apple is now at a stage where it is sourcing components, talking with suppliers, and making deals with manufacturing partners. Apple reportedly aims to release a self-driving car by 2025, but even that timeline may ultimately prove to be too aggressive, so don't expect anything for a good few years yet.
6. iPhone With Face ID Under Display
Apple's plan to move Face ID under the iPhone display and adopt a single camera cutout to replace the notch appears to have been delayed this year, despite initial iPhone 14 rumors claiming otherwise.
Early rumors suggested that Apple would adopt a hole-punch design with Face ID somehow moved completely under the display, and later it was rumored that there would be a pill-shaped cutout instead.
However, display industry consultant Ross Young has now claimed that iPhone 14 Pro models will feature both hole-punch and pill-shaped cutouts near the top of the display. Young believes the hole will be for the Face ID dot projector, while the pill-shaped cutout will supposedly house the front camera and an infrared camera for Face ID.
Young believes the infrared camera will not be moved under the display until 2023 or 2024, suggesting that Face ID will be reserved for the iPhone 15 Pro or later. Young's belief tallies with a long-term prediction by analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has always claimed Face ID won't be moved under the display until 2023.