Apple & 2013

by Da'Von B.

Well, with the year coming to a close and a new one approaching here’s a stab at what we may see in 2013 from Apple…keep in mind this is hypothetical, not to be taken out of context as factual information but simply guesses of what Apple could introduce based on current product analysis. And as a side-note, if anyone truly believes Apple will introduce an iPhone 5S within the next 3 months, I have a few beans that are pretty magical that I’d like to sell you. A company can only do so much with hardware iteration, what will become increasingly important is software and services available to user along with a strong ecosystem that isn’t a pain to navigate. Here’s a truly hypothetical look at Apple in 2013.

Mac

Desktop: Apple has essentially updated their entire Mac product lineup within the last three months aside from the Mac Pro which still has a lot of prosumers perplexed. The iMac has been given a nice facelift and a boost to its internals the interesting thing about the new iMac is the fusion drive combining an SSD and HDD where the software manages the data allowing the frequently used apps and documents are stored on the SSD while the apps that are infrequently used are located ont he HDD. This option also looks to be a feature that may debut on the Mac Mini as well, although the current spec list doesn’t show this, the information of this option comes from the FAQ page. From the hardware side, Apple may finally answer the question of what will happen to the Mac Pro this model will either be discontinued or completely rebuilt and redesigned, based on Tim Cook’s response to a Pro user there may be something waiting in the wings. 2013 may show improved iterations of the iMac and Mac Mini in terms of internal specs, with the recent update and lack of availability at the moment, it’s a little too early to consider what may be in store.

Mobile: Outside of the MacBook Air’s all of the mobile products have been updated as well while introducing two new products in the 15″ and 13″ Retina MacBook Pros. This appears to be a precursor to the future of Apple in terms of the mobile computing design. What’s somewhat interesting is the lack of disc drives in both the new iMac and Retina MacBook Pro, obviously this is something that will be mimicked by many other companies but it’s interesting nonetheless, as Apple has had a knack of killing off the inclusion of various formats throughout the years and this will continue. The usual chorus of whining will slowly die down and people will accept the fact that they may not need said disc drive and if so, purchase an external from Amazon.com or Best Buy. What we may see are subtle redesigned MacBook Airs, when comparing the 13″ Air to the 13″ Retina Pro there are some interesting differences and that can be seen in the image below.

So it’s very possible that come 2013 the MacBook Air both 11″ and 13″ models will have a smaller footprint and possible modest redesign. Many have suggested Retina will come the airs next year…however that seems like a bit of a stretch as the cost could increase for such a product, if anything (and remember hypothesising here) what we may see are speedier smaller footprint 11″ & 13″ MacBook Airs, improved disc based MacBook Pros (these may be on their way out in 2014) and improved and possibly a small price reduction in the Retina MacBook Pros.

iPod(s)

The iPod line that was just introduced will likely get a modest update themselves, what will be interesting to see is what Apple decides to do with the iPod Touch, this is mainly due to the iPad Mini currently shipping, it’s possible the iPod Touch will stick around offering a modest improvement to the internal system as well as an external improvement to the cameras, outside of that everything is up in the air. Will it receive a price reduction? Will it come in a smaller capacity? There are many questions that could be asked with regard to the iPod Touch and the speculation will undoubtedly intensify over the coming months.

With regard to the iPod Nano Apple may change the design again only angering the presumptuous peons in feeling their entitled to certain design aspects to go with third part accessories they felt were cool. One of the most absurd complaints heard recently is that the iPod Nano can’t access Spotify or Pandora because of how mainstream the streaming music services have become…once again absurd. There is no best guess for the iPod Nano and what it may or may not become, the same goes for the iPod Shuffle which may remain and come in different colors.

iPhone

One could look at the many patents filed and recent acquisitions that Apple has made within the last year and come to some insane assumption of what Apple will do to the iPhone in 2013. Will there be an iPhone 5S? Yes more than likely and the name could possibly be “iPhone 5S” that will likely include a faster chip a little more memory and additional software that won’t be available for the iPhone 5, however with regard to design the iPhone 5S will more than likely look just like the current iPhone 5.

What will be interesting is how the recent acquisition of AuthenTec will impact the iPhone 5S, based on the company being described as one who produces mobile security chips and fingerprint sensor technology for PC firms, how will this impact the future of the iPhone? The possibilities are interesting and if NFC is a technology Apple decides to adopt combined with the Passbook app introduced in iOS 6 obviously the user experiences will be a top priority, but the end result will be an intriguing one.

iPad

There’s been some wrestling with this for some time and as with everything else written this will definitely be hypothetical with regard to what we’ll see in the 2o13 iPad and iPad Mini. With the Retina iPad the main thing that may come to light will be its thinness, will the 9.7″ Retina iPad achieve an improvement in its thinness? This will be the main difference if Apple can achieve such a task, also the design may take on what’s seen with the iPad Mini, iPhone, and iPod Touch; where the black model may feature a back slate back while the white model could have the silver back, providing a sense of uniform design aesthetics across the board. The processing speed and memory will likely take on a modest improvement as the software will be what will truly improve the device. But there are also questions with regard to storage & pricing, this will be touched on shortly.

The iPad Mini, Apple’s new little darling was met with a lot of anticipation and more than likely the company will sell millions shocking the bullish “analysts”. It’s very possible that what we’ll see will be a 7.9″ Retina iPad Mini taking on the same design, same battery life, and storage options but the first generation iPad Mini will reduce in price down to $249 – $299 for the 16GB model. Similar to what we’ve seen Apple do with the iPad 2, and that’s where the question surrounding the future of the iPod Touch comes in, with a reduction in price to the iPad Mini if the company decides to do this what effect will this have on the Touch? With Apple the company has no problem cannibalizing themselves so this will be interesting to see if they follow this route. Now about the storage options many people have “claimed” that Apple will introduce a 128GB iPad…if they can they would once again hypothesizing that Apple will introduce such an iPad this is what we may see in the iPad family tree;

9.7″ Retina iPad

  • 128GB – $699
  • 64GB – $599
  • 32GB – $499

7.9″ Retina iPad Mini

  • 64GB – $529 ($499?)
  • 32GB – $429 ($399?)
  • 16GB – $329 ($299?)

If this is the new structure it’s definitely an interesting one, it’s very possible Apple may not go this route and stick with 64GB being the maximum for both iPads…but it’s very possible they may not.

iOS/OS X

Once again only so much can be done with hardware iterations, as 2013 may be the year where the true focus and innovation may come from software and services. With iOS, Apple has provided a lot of incremental and necessary improvements to the mobile OS most notably Siri and iCloud. The question becomes “so what’s next?” and there are many possibilities but that’s all dependent upon what other services Apple could or would introduce you have rumors of an Apple music streaming service along with rumors of a television streaming service, remember both are simply RUMORS, some have a complicated time in falsely establishing such rumors as fact. The same goes for OS X what can Apple do to improve their mobile and desktop OS?

This could possibly aimed directly at iCloud, as a service iCloud has seen it’s hiccups from time to time, but iCloud is what will provide the seemless bridge between mobile and desktop, between iPhone and MacBook or iPad and iMac. iCloud does it’s best to do that now but Apple may double down on offering a cleaner user experience and server-side improvements of iCloud. There will likely be other services available but the question is “what else is needed?” outside of a cleaner iCloud set-up (which is essentially ridiculously easy now) it’s a valid question to ask. The highlight of both iOS 7 and OS X may simply be the services related to the AuthenTec acquisition and some substantial improvements to Siri and Maps providing Mac users with a desktop Maps app and the ability to sync various maps across all Apple devices. Let’s not forget the potential human interface design possibilities for both now that Jony Ive is in charge, there may not be any substantial changes…or we could possibly see a radical design shift.

Apple TV

Yeah those rumors of the music and video streaming services fit in perfectly around this area. Problem is no one knows how to trace the roots of these rumors. A music streaming service seems more plausible than video at the moment but both could be on their way. The Apple TV didn’t see an update in 2012, leaving many to wonder what Apple will do and leaving some analysts convincing themselves of the belief that an actual Apple television is on its way (cue the crickets). There have been many suggestions that Apple may actually introduce an Apple TV App Store, this in itself would be interesting as App developers would come upon a new goldmine of services that could be offered and viewed through an HDTV including and most notably gaming. The Apple TV of 2013 would likely include the latest A-Chip processor along with adequate memory to handle the tasks developers throw at it. This is definitely an area to watch over the coming months.

Wrapping Up

As stated earlier Apple has overhauled 95% of their product line-up in the last 3 months introducing new products along the way. This leaves a gaping hole in the Spring when Apple usually sets the stage for an iPad reveal along with a few other hardware enhancements. So the question now is “Will Apple introduce something completely new?” and it’s a valid question to ask, but what could it be? Would Apple go after Google and their Project Glass? Or are the analysts who refuse to go away finally right about an Apple Television set? Could Music and Video streaming services truly be on their way? We will all without a doubt find out in 2013.

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