Apple’s Sept 9th Event Predictions
Ah, punditry! As the designated Apple-person for the site, I suppose it’s my lot-in-life to throw out my predictions/hopes/wishes for Apple’s upcoming fall event. For the entire year, top Apple executives have touted new products, and even product lines, for 2014. And, up to this point, we’ve seen little, outside of a recent processor/RAM bump to the MacBook Pro line. So, what can we expect at Apple’s fall event? Quite a bit, I think.
With the delays of Intel’s Broadwell chipset, most new Macs will be pushed back until very late 2014 or early 2015, so, no Retina Macbook Air’s yet. In the meantime, I think we’ll see CPU and maybe RAM spec bumps across the board, even down to the Mac Mini. I do think that Apple has something up their sleeve for the Mac line, and I’m thinking “Macbook Touch” – an 11-12in slate that is, basically a touch-screen Macbook Air without the keyboard. With a Thunderbolt based dock for connections to a larger screen and expandability, a highly spec’ed Macbook Touch could be the only computer many consumers would need.
Tablet sales are clearly leveling off, at the very least. This, it seems to me, is due to the fact that tablets just don’t need to be replaced very often. It’s a small sample size, but everyone in my family, other than me, is still on their 1st iPad. And, I doubt they’d feel the need to get a new one, except if the old one broke. It is a far different upgrade cycle than ‘every 2 years’, as with smartphones. Like the Mac, the iPad will get it’s annual spec bump to the A8 SoC, better front and rear cameras, and more RAM. Then there’s the rumbling and rumors of an “iPad Pro”, which I think will be correct. A thinner-and-lighter version of the Macbook Touch design, even (hopefully) down to the Thunderbolt dock port.
I’ve been thinking about the Chromebook lately, the success Google has had partnering with schools, and I’m pretty convinced that Apple will release a competitor. Maybe that’s the iPad Pro, with a high quality ‘laptop dock’. Maybe it’s a stripped down, 32GB storage, 11in Macbook Air that’s rebranded. Maybe is an iOS “iBook” that is, basically, an 11-12in touchscreen laptop. I’m not sure what the form will be, but I am sure we’ll see something aimed at Chrome. Pricing for the iPad line-up may be the key here as well.
I think this will be a bigger part of the-show than ever before. The 4th generation AppleTV will reach feature parity (or very close) with the rest of the iOS line-up, and, finally, get its own App Store. That means we’re talking about an A8, or A7, SoC powered AppleTV, with horsepower somewhere between the original Wii and Xbox 360/Playstation 3 levels. Bluetooth compatibility will be expanded to include video game controllers, and Apple will be poised to take a healthy bite out of the console video game market – mostly Nintendo consumers, I’d expect. I don’t think Apple will ever make a television, but, they see ‘cracking the problem’ of TV as replacing the cable box. Look for Apple to have ‘channels’ become Apps, and people to – finally – be able to subscribe to some networks and content providers directly.
The iPhone 6, itself, I’m expecting to be a thinner and lighter version of the current iPhone 5/C/S design. I’m not buying the rumors that Apple will entirely drop the 4in screen model from the line-up, however. But, like virtually everyone else, I expect a new, larger, iPhone 6XL, or whatever Apple will call the thing. 4.7in screen for sure, I’m not sure about the 5.5in screen rumors just yet… that just seems like a lot of iPhone SKUs for Apple to add at one time, which would be very unApple-like. They may drop a 5.5in iPhone on us, but I expect Apple to move into the larger screen space one-step-at-a-time.
Yes, something is coming. Is it a watch, is it a health monitor, or something completely different? Probably all three. I believe it will be an accessory, not a stand-alone device. One used to complement smartphone activities, not act as a replacement.
The Classic lives to fight another year, and the iPod Touch gets its annual spec bump. The MP3 Player product category is dying slowly, move along.
Beats earbuds included with everyone iDevice sold. Which will be, perhaps, a marginal upgrade over the current EarPods. Macs are almost certain to include Beats speakers as well.
Unlimited photo and video storage.
And there you have it, my predictions for Apple’s upcoming event on September 9th. After the show, I will post an update and we’ll see how well I did.