Apple CEO Tim Cook teases 'new things' coming in 2021 – here's what they could be

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Update: Apple's 2021 announcements promise 'new things', hints CEO Tim Cook in his company's stellar Apple earnings call Thursday. We could see Apple enter new product categories, or make significant product refreshes, as we go into detail about below.

Apple fans can expect 'new things' in 2021, according to Apple CEO Tim Cook, who teased upcoming announcements during the company's Q1 2021 earnings report

“We've got new things that we aren’t going to talk about that we think will contribute to the company," Cook said in response to a question in the earnings call's Q&A segment. "We see lots of opportunity." In his usual way, he avoided specifics, leaving a lot up to speculation.

Naturally, Cook didn't elaborate on what Apple has planned for 2021. That will have to wait for the next Apple event. But we can infer what his comment suggests and what they'll mean for Apple in-depth.

Here are three things Apple may be planning that fit into the 'new things' category – beyond the obvious iPhone 13 (or iPhone 12S if it's called that) and new iPads 2021 series.

More MacBooks with Apple processors

Apple saw Mac growth in its latest earnings, and that trend should continue as it broadens its computers with the more in-house processors like the M1 chip

Apple is rumored to be readying a redesigned MacBook Pro in 14-inch and MacBook Pro 16-inch sizes powered with their own M-level processor. Both are expected to remove the divisive Touch Bar and reintroduce the SD card slot and a new version of MagSafe charging. A MacBook Air 2021 is also said to be in the works for a later time.

Late last year, the MacBook Air M1 debuted and, after thorough testing, it instantly reached the top of TechRadar best laptops list (beating the Dell XPS 13 that reigned for years). 

Over the next two years, the entire MacBook line will adopt Apple's new in-house processors, and that's something that Cook believes the move will empower the company to take more of the personal computing market.

Apple AirTags to finally launch in 2021

Is 2021 finally the year of Apple Air Tags? The rumored Bluetooth tracker would most certainly fit the 'new things' label teased by Cook during the Apple earnings call. 

Apple's biggest hardware rival, Samsung, just launched its own Bluetooth Tracker by way of the Samsung Galaxy SmartThings tracker during its Galaxy S21 Ultra launch. It's a handy way of keeping tabs of non-smart belongings they attach to, like keys and backpacks, within Bluetooth range.

Recent leaks suggest that Apple AirTags may one-up Samsung's SmartThings tracker with a device that supports UWB (ultra-wide band) technology. It could allow you to pinpoint the location of your belonging with directional and spatial awareness, and use AR to lead you to where it's hiding (answer: it's under that pillow... again).

Another big sign this tech is coming soon from Apple: Samsung is already planning an updated UWB version of its new tracker to take on the perceived threat of Apple AirTags, while Tile, the de facto Bluetooth tracker leader, is doing the same.

One more thing: Apple AR glasses

Here's a longshot, but certainly Apple's most promising new rumored project for the 2021 'new things' nominating list: Apple Glasses. Tim Cook has been very bullish on augmented reality tech on every earnings call we've tuned into.

We've come across several reports – some credible and others sketchy – that Apple Glasses are coming in 2021 or 2022. The credible ones suggest Apple is readying a face-worn AR display that uses the iPhone to do the heavy computational lifting.

But the latest intel suggests the Apple AR glasses may be preceded by an Apple VR headset, according to Bloomberg. Despite Apple's praise of augmented reality, saying it's the future of all of this face-worn tech, a powerful Oculus Quest 2-rivaling headset – with performance on par with new M1 processor – is said to be the stepping stone to Apple's AR ambitions.

Like we said, it's a longshot and sounds more like a 2022 announcement (and that's what Mark Gurman's reporting spells out). The only thing that's certain is that with a comment like 'new things,' Apple CEO Tim Cook isn't giving up the juicy details until his Apple event presentation clicker triggers the official announcement.

Matt Swider