When you think about it, Apple has a large number of product lines, each of which works together to create a user experience beyond the sum of the parts. What’s coming from Apple in the next few months? There’s little we know, and much we don’t. Here’s my view.
Anything Can Happen
What has Apple told us about the next few months? We can expect iOS 7 and a new line of iPhones. We’re also expecting OS X Mavericks for Mac, the already announced Mac Pro, and, that’s about it.
Apple’s traditional silence doesn’t stop the rumor lambs from bleating their messages and guesstimates and rubbing their crystal balls (pun intended) to get a view of tomorrow land in Cupertino.
My very best Tonto impression (ear lowered to the dirt to count the number and distance of approaching indians, cavalry, or bad guys) yields the typical cornucopia of Apple rumors.
First up is the iPhone 5S. Reports are scattered all over that Apple will have a lower priced iPhone with a plastic shell. Other reports say a larger iPhone 5S screen with a Liquidmetal case.
Other reports say Apple is working on larger displays for both iPhone and iPad. 13-inch for the latter, and 5-inch for the former. Can you say ‘Apple Phablet?’
Tucked around the same weeds of the rumor mill are reports of Sharp’s fabulous IGZO display technology headed to Apple’s iPad mini this fall. I’d be very surprised if Apple didn’t jump all over this when Sharp announced IGZO technology in 2012.
Screens can be made in almost any size, including smaller pixels (higher density), and it uses far less energy than traditional LCD displays.
It’s not a stretch to see IGZO displays show up in iPhone, iPad, and Macs over the next year. That could also mean a MacBook Air with Retina display and 12-hours of battery life. It also means we could see an iMac, MacBook Pro with a 4k (Ultra HD) display.
The combination of higher pixel density from a display that uses far less battery power means Apple could spread the entire iPhone and iPad line. Think 3.5-inch iPhone mini (with multiple colors), 4-inch iPhone 5S, and 5-inch iPhone 5X, each differentiated by case, screen size, battery life, and CPU capability.
For the iPad it’s easy to envision an iPad mini with Retina display, but also a 9.7-inch iPad, and a 13-inch iPad, each with Retina displays, and both smaller and lighter than the current line of iPads.
Apple has a history of playing leapfrog with new technology, often waiting awhile before implementing what is obviously a jump in a new direction. Massive adoption of IGZO displays and Liquidmetal cases (light and strong) through the entire iPhone, iPad, and Mac line is certainly plausible if not already underway.
Other surprises may rear their heads between now and the holiday season, including a new Apple TV with more capability, or an agreement with a few giant cable TV companies to make Apple TV the de facto cable TV set top box.
Another one of the rumor weeds that continues to grow is an agreement or settlement with Samsung. Apple is about to pull the plug on tens of billions of dollars of Samsung CPU and screen manufacturing in retaliation for Samsung’s obvious theft of Apple’s intellectual property. Samsung wants the cake and the option to eat it, too, but Apple has plenty of leverage to force a settlement on good terms.
Finally, there’s iWatch, which now has been rumored to have a Liquidmetal case. What other wearable hardware does Apple has in the back room?