Tag Archive for ‘Predictions’

Predicting Apple’s Upcoming Events

I wrote some preliminary predictions when I linked to Matt Birchler’s piece about the upcoming iPhone lineup. But, shortly after publishing my thoughts I created a note in Vesper to jot down a revised — and complete — version of what I expect we’ll see from Apple over the next 7-8 months. There’s been a few rumors since last week which forced me to rethink the iPhone announcement, but I don’t expect my thoughts to change again unless something drastic comes about through the rumor mill.

It’s pretty clear that Apple is going to be holding an iPhone event the week of September 6. Once the press begins receiving invitations on Tuesday or Wednesday of next week, we’ll know the date for sure. I’m still holding out hope for September 8 — of course, I want to be right — but the ninth is looking like the most likely date.

Here’s what I expect we’ll see from Apple at their September iPhone event:

  • WatchOS 2
  • New Watch Bands
  • iOS 9
  • iPhone 6c
  • iPhone 6s
  • iPhone 6s Plus
  • New Apple TV

I think the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus will sport updated internals with Force Touch-capable displays being the landmark feature. I expect they’ll both be available September 18 with storage options starting at 32GB. As for the iPhone 6c, it will become both the free and $99 iPhone option going forward for 16GB and 32GB respectively. It will have iPhone 6-like internals, a 4-inch display, and an “unapologetically plastic” casing. But I don’t expect it will ship until October or November.

My iPhone predictions are likely the boldest of the bunch, but I think Apple wants to cut ties with all previous models. Apple will continue selling the iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 5s, and 5c until stock is depleted, but going forward I believe Apple wants all of their lower-priced models to have plastic bodies and 4-inch displays. At least for the foreseeable future.

Apple has already announced that iOS 9 and watchOS 2 will be coming this fall and I believe golden master builds of both will be available for developers hours after the event with a public release as late as September 14. Apple will also announce new watch band colors that will be available to order that same day, shipping at the end of the week.

The long rumored new Apple TV set-top-box will be announced with a claimed ship date similar to the iPhone 5c’s October or November timeframe. The Apple TV will gain a refreshed user interface and hardware design, an updated remote control, iOS 9-dependent features like universal search, a developer SDK, and App Store. Apple will most likely bring a couple of hand-picked developers on stage to show what they’ve been able to build for the Apple TV in a very short period of time.

The remaining questions I have regarding the Apple TV is on pricing and game controllers. I would love to see this new Apple TV priced at $99. But if Apple is going to build it on rather beefy internals, I just don’t see how that could be. I suppose Apple could differentiate pricing based on storage, but I don’t know if Apple really wants to do that. The target market — the masses — isn’t likely to know how those storage capacities will impact the Apple TV’s usability and most will just buy the cheapest model available. And that won’t make for the best overall user experience.

As for game controllers, I’m not sure if Apple will release a stand-alone controller themselves, expect third-parties to build controllers for them, or if the new remote could be turned on its side to be used as a controller with hardware direction buttons on the left and action buttons on the right. Of the three, I think a mixture of the second and third are the most likely. That would prevent most customers from needing to acquire a controller with more hardcore fans having the option to buy something more ergonomic.

Looking Further Forward

At first, I thought Apple would skip their typical October event and announce their new iPad lineup at the iPhone event, but that would make for a jam-packed event with far too much to cover in just two hours. And after the less-than-stellar Apple Music announcement, I’d guess Apple will be a bit more touchy about long-winded events than they normally are.

Here’s my broad-strokes expectations from an October iPad event:

  • OS X El Capitan
  • 21.5-inch iMac with Retina Display
  • iPad mini 4
  • iPad Air 3
  • iPad Pro

Again, these are some super-extra-early predictions. If I get any of this right, I’ll be just as surprised as you. However, I can’t imagine I’m too far off the mark.

El Capitan will likely get a GM build around the time of the event with a public release coming before the end of October. A new 21.5-inch iMac has been cropping up in rumors lately and it feels like a natural fit at the October event. I could also see some stealth updates to the Mac mini and Mac Pro which would quietly appear on Apple’s website — both are due for an update and releasing them before the holiday season would certainly contribute to a strong quarter for Mac sales.

I don’t expect much more than internal hardware upgrades for the iPad mini 4 and iPad Air 3, but the iPad Pro will obviously be an entirely new product. And I think we’ll see a few iPad Pro-specific features in iOS 9.1 that take better advantage of the increased screen real estate. I’m not sure what they could be, but wouldn’t it be neat if you could run two apps simultaneously that faced users on opposite sides of the device? A true multi-user device sounds like a novel idea, but imagine if schools could purchase half the number of iPads for classrooms.

As for an event to be held this spring — March or April:

  • New Apple Watch
  • Television streaming service
  • MacBook refresh

I won’t elaborate too much on the announcements at a potential spring event, but I do think the new Apple Watch will come in additional colors — such as gold or yellow — and obviously the streaming TV service will be entirely dependent on Apple’s ability to acquire the necessary rights. I expect Apple would be able to cut deals by then, but there’s always the possibility that one or more of the networks will decide that it’s not in their best interest to play ball.

Eager Anticipation

Of all the announcements Apple is likely to make over the next several months, I’m by far the most excited for the iPhone 6s and Apple TV. That’s partly because I plan on buying both of them as soon as I’m able to, but also because my current iPhone 5s is really starting to show its age. I can barely go a full day on a single charge at this point due to the wear and tear on the battery — my phone spends much of the day in airplane mode trying to preserve as much battery life as possible.

I also see the Apple TV as a huge opportunity for Apple. The Apple Watch will never be as important to the company as the iPhone because there’s only so many people that are interested in wearing a watch, but nearly everyone watches television. And if Apple can find a way to build a compelling device that’s powerful and easy to use, they could have a real hit on their hands.

Update 9/3/15: Matt Hauger asked me whether I thought there’d be a stylus for the iPad Pro and what I think Force Touch will be used for in the iPhone 6s. To reiterate what I replied with on Twitter, I do think Apple will release a stylus for the iPad Pro. There’s certain applications for which a stylus makes perfect sense — drawing, handwriting, annotating documents, etc. — and if Apple thinks they can make a better one than any other on the market, they’re going to do it. My guess is it’ll cost $69 and be sold separately.

Regarding Force Touch on the iPhone, I’m a little less clear on what I think Apple’s going to use it for. Assuming Force Touch begets pressure sensitivity, there’s plenty of applications which would benefit from such a feature — drawing applications, games, and possible accessibility use cases. But as for Force Touch specifically, if I were to compare it to traditional desktop computers, a long press is like a right-click whereas a Force Touch will be like a keyboard shortcut — a way to perform an action quickly without the need for an additional menu.

As an aside, Apple’s October event would be a great opportunity to introduce the new wireless keyboard and mouse that popped up in FCC filings a few weeks ago. They could be launched and demoed alongside the 21.5-inch iMac with Retina display.

Fall’s iPhone Lineup Predictions ➝

I like Matt Birchler’s predictions for the upcoming iPhone lineup. But, my gut tells me the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus aren’t going to stick around beyond the sell-through of existing stock. Instead, I predict we’ll see the lineup as follows:

  • iPhone 6s Plus – $299 ($749)
  • iPhone 6s – $199 ($649)
  • iPhone 5s – $99 ($499)
  • iPhone 5c – Free ($399)

I believe Apple wants to keep the free model plastic for the foreseeable future and use screen size as a natural distinction between the three “mainstream” models. I think the 5c and 5s will get minor internal bumps, although I can’t nail down exactly what they’ll change — possibly a slightly more efficient and cheaper to manufacture system on a chip to give them a longer lifespan for buyers.

I am on board with Matt when it comes to the internal storage options, though. I think the two 4-inch models will feature 16GB while the 4.7- and 5.5-inch models will start at 32GB. It’s clear that 16GB is barely passable at this point and the current iPhone 5c’s 8GB of storage is a complete joke. It’s time for the iPhone to have more reasonable storage options in the low end — I don’t think 16GB is best for users, but Apple needs to give them another reason to purchase a more expensive model.

Looking further into the future, I think Apple will introduce a new 4-inch model this spring that will replace both the iPhone 5s and 5c. This new model will be dubbed the iPhone 6c, will sport a 5c-style plastic casing, and occupy the free and $99 pricing tiers (depending on your choice of storage, 16GB or 32GB).

The Next Six Months ➝

John Gruber:

my gut feeling is that Apple will move the iPad to a September release schedule, alongside the iPods. But they wouldn’t want to wait over a year and a half from the announcement of the original iPad to announce the second one — not with these stakes, and not with so many serious competitors trying their best to catch up.

He believes Apple will release a new iPad in March or April and in September alongside their new iPods. It seems a bit too aggressive, if you ask me. But, it’s hard to argue with his explanation.

Possible iTunes 9 Features

iTunes 9 Screenshot

The Boy Genius Report was sent some supposed screenshots of iTunes 9. The images show a number of features rumored to be in the upcoming release of iTunes.

One of the features shown in the screenshots is Facebook integration (which The Boy Genius Report has rumored before), allowing a user to create a playlist and then share it on Facebook.

Another screenshot suggests that iTunes 9 will be capable of syncing with third party devices. While Apple has previously blocked the Palm Pre from syncing with iTunes, (playing devil’s advocate) it is possible that Apple was just blocking them until they put a system in place for Palm to do it legitimately. I don’t expect this to happen. However, with Apple’s latest trend of giving in to user demand it wouldn’t be too out of the question. Especially if they offered the feature to third party manufacturers making sure they know that Apple isn’t going to bend over backwards to make sure their devices continue to work, if something breaks that manufacturer will have to fix it with a software update on their own device.

The most interesting of these screenshots appears to show iTunes reading a DVD with the options “Play DVD,” “Preview Selected,” and “Import DVD.” This is the image that brings the whole batch to its knees. Although it would be brilliant for the movie studios to give us a legal option to put our purchased DVDs on our iPods and iPhones, it is not going to happen. And, why would Apple put a “Play DVD” button in the bottom right corner? iTunes already has a play button in the top left corner.

I have already predicted iTunes 9 at the September iPod event but I was recently perusing the Mac Rumor’s forums and came upon an interesting post. The forum user MikeDTyke pointed out that iTunes, DVD Player, and Frontrow are all missing from the list of applications that are moving to 64-bit. This lead him to speculate that Apple may be rolling all three of those applications into one, completely rewriting iTunes in Cocoa (just as Apple is doing with Finder) and adding DVD playback and a fullscreen interface. I don’t have any inside information indicating that this could be the case but it doesn’t seem unlikely at all. But, I don’t know if Apple would want to put DVD playback in iTunes, it doesn’t seem like the right place for it, it would feel more natural in QuickTime.

It’s hard to say what this theorized change would mean for the Windows versions of QuickTime and iTunes, I doubt Apple would want to pay the licensing fees for every Windows user who has QuickTime installed and without the Apple remote why would anyone want Frontrow on a PC?

Update 8/31/09: Apple Makes September 9 Event Official

Update 9/10/09: iTunes 9

Apple to Hold Media Event on September 9 ➝

It’s all rumors currently but John Paczkowski of All Things Digital is citing “sources close to the company” claiming that the date of the Apple media event will be Wednesday, September 9.

The event will be held in San Francisco–most likely at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, where it has occurred in years past

I’m expecting a new iPod touch and iPod nano (both with cameras), iTunes 9, Cocktail, and possibly an iMac refresh (most likely just specification bumps, although there have been rumors of “compelling new features”).

Previously:
8/8/09:
iTunes May Gain Blu-ray Support and Application Organization
8/8/09: Upcoming iMacs to Release with ‘Compelling New Features’
7/27/09: Apple’s Project ‘Cocktail’ Coming in September
4/7/09: iPod touch May Gain Camera in Future Hardware Revision

Update 8/19/09: 9 to 5 Mac is theorizing that the Beatles might be part of Apple’s upcoming media event. Jonny Evans mentions some odd coincidences with the September 9 date. It is likely just idle speculation but interesting none the less.

Update 8/20/09: A press release from the Apple Corps. now states:

Discussions regarding the digital distribution of the catalog will continue. There is no further information available at this time.

Which could mean the Beatles isn’t going to be involved with the Apple event, but who knows, this could just be their way of calming speculation.

Update 8/26/09:AppleInsider can independently confirm” that Apple will be holding a media event on September 9.

Update 8/31/09: Apple Makes September 9 Event Official

Update 9/13/09: Covino & Rich iPod touch was Real

E-Books on the Apple Tablet ➝

Although the Financial Times article from July 27  focused on project “Cocktail,” the information about the Apple tablet at the bottom of the article made most readers completely forget about Cocktail.

One of the more interesting aspects of the tablet mentioned by the Financial Times was that book publishers were optimistic about the tablet becoming an alternative to the Amazon Kindle. But, recently Dan Frommer reporting for BusinessInsider said that Apple might not be putting much effort behind competing with the Kindle.

Based on our conversation with [a source connected to the e-book business], it seems that any Kindle-killing the Apple tablet does will have to come from third-party e-book sellers, like Amazon (AMZN), Barnes & Noble (BKS), etc.

So Apple likely won’t make any deals with book publishers and instead will make deals with other companies to provide the e-books to be sold in the store. This way Apple will let someone else worry about the convoluted licensing agreements but will still benefit from the use of their device as an e-book reader.

The best example of this is the sale of audiobooks in the iTunes Store. The audiobooks are sold to you by Apple but are produced and provided to Apple by Audible. It is also possible that e-books could come to the Apple tablet the same way they come to the iPhone, through the App Store. Although, this second scenario doesn’t seem as likely to me.

Update 9/12/09: David Pogue (writing in the New York Times) asks Steve Jobs about e-book readers:

A couple of years ago, pre-Kindle, Mr. Jobs expressed his doubts that e-readers were ready for prime time. So today, I asked if his opinions have changed.

“I’m sure there will always be dedicated devices, and they may have a few advantages in doing just one thing,” he said. “But I think the general-purpose devices will win the day. Because I think people just probably aren’t willing to pay for a dedicated device.”

He said that Apple doesn’t see e-books as a big market at this point, and pointed out that Amazon.com, for example, doesn’t ever say how many Kindles it sells. “Usually, if they sell a lot of something, you want to tell everybody.”

Sounds to me like Jobs thinks that dedicated devices are a thing of the past. Although he “doesn’t see e-books as a big market at this point” I have a feeling that e-books are going to be a big deal on the tablet.

Wired Touting iPod touch Camera Rumor ➝

A “well-connected source” tells Wired that the recent rumors of a camera and microphone being added to the iPod touch are “on the money,” also saying that Apple’s factories in China are already manufacturing this new model.

The current iPod touch already has support f ormicrophone input through the headphone jack and dock connector but that means that users who would like to take advantage of a microphone based application (such as Voice Memos) would have to carry an accessory along with them. An integrated microphone would bring the iPod touch further up to speed with the iPhone’s functionality. From this release on application developers would be able to assume that a user would always have a microphone available to them, whether they’re using an iPhone or an iPod touch.

I expect this new iPod touch to be announced and released in September with both an integrated microphone and a camera. Also, don’t be too surprised if the camera happens to be 5 megapixels.

WWDC 2009 Predictions

The WWDC keynote is today and although I won’t be able to write about the results until later tonight or tomorrow morning I thought I would share my predictions for the event.

iPhone

I expect the new iPhone to receive a faster processor, more RAM, and twice the storage of the current model. It will also have an improved still camera, video recording capabilities, and a July release date. These new models will have the same price points as the current iPhone, $199 and $299 for 16GB and 32GB respectively.

The current 8GB iPhone 3G will be sold at $99, at least for a limited time until the current stock runs out.

Snow Leopard

The new Marble interface won’t be fully implemented in 10.6, instead this change will be pushed into 10.7. There will be some hints of it in certain applications, QuickTime is a perfect example, but the majority of the OS will have the exact same design as Leopard.

I expect Snow Leopard to gain a late summer release date.

Update 6/10/09: I am happy to say that all of my predictions came true except for the July release date on the iPhone 3GS and it is possible that my late summer prediction about Snow Leopard won’t come true. Apple is saying that Snow Leopard will be coming out in September, summer ends on September 21, it’ll be close.

Obviously there was quite a bit that I didn’t predict that came, specifically the MacBook announcements but overall I did pretty well. Here’s full rundown of all the interesting things that happened at the WWDC Keynote.

Update 8/21/09: Snow Leopard Coming August 28, the last day of Summer is September 21 so my prediction appears to be right on track.

Update 8/24/09: Snow Leopard is officially coming on August 28, which means that my prediction is right on track.