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What’s Apple working on? AirPods Lite, Pencil 3, TV for Android?

We’ve already covered what we want to see from Apple in 2023 in some depth – but our choices there are something of a conceptual wishlist. What is Apple actually working on right now? Here, in brief, are five reports that hint at what to expect from the company in the coming months.

‘AirPods Lite’ in the works: Apple’s AirPods have been a runaway success over the past few years, but demand is starting to slow. To combat this, it’s rumored that Apple is working on a budget version of its wireless earbuds to compete with the many cheaper alternatives now available. It’s not clear what features would be compromised to keep the price low, and it’s unlike Apple to compete at the low end of a market. Still, if true, we’d expect AirPods Lite to replace 2nd-generation AirPods in the lineup, currently the most affordable set at $129.

Optical sensors for Apple Pencil: it’s been nearly five years since the 2nd-gen Apple Pencil was released, and according to a patent application, the next version could pack some seriously cool capabilities. The patent shows sensors that detect the exact color and texture of a surface, potentially allowing artists to sample from the real world. The technology also has the potential for use in 3D modeling, and could even simulate textured surfaces via haptic feedback. Neat.

Fortnite returns to iPhone: Apple booted popular battle royale game Fortnite from the App Store in 2020 for trying to circumvent Apple’s cut of in-app purchases with its own digital storefront. A venomous lawsuit ensued. But now Epic Games’ boss is teasing the return of Fortnite to iOS this year, likely in reference to the third-party storefronts Apple may soon be forced to allow thanks to incoming EU regulations.

Dark Sky is no more: popular weather app Dark Sky was purchased by Apple a couple of years back, and it has slowly implemented some of its best features in the stock iOS Weather app. But since New Year’s Day, the original Dark Sky app is no longer available to download – and those who already have it installed will find it no longer displays any data. If you’re missing it, you may find a sliver of solace in Apple’s support document aimed at converting Dark Sky fans to Weather app users.

Apple TV for Android: according to a leaker with a track record better than you’d expect from someone called ShrimpApplePro, Apple is internally testing a new TV app for Android devices. There’s already an Apple Music app for Android, and Apple TV is available on plenty of non-Apple devices such as smart TVs – but no other smartphones yet. We find this one easy to believe, with Apple desperate to improve its services revenue, but it would still be amusing if Apple’s first release of the year is an Android app.