I’ve stared into my trusty (or is that rusty?) crystal ball and read the tea leaves to come up with my predictions (i.e., educated guesses) on what we’ll see from Apple in 2013. And here we go ….
° The iPhone 6 will arrive in the spring, although I don’t think Apple is going to a twice-yearly update cycle for all — or even most — of its products, as some pundits have said. The next gen smartphone will sport a beefier processor and add support for NFC, a technology that allows cellphones and other devices to communicate with each other wirelessly. I don’t think we’ll see any major changes to the camera, including the rumored light-field camera. Storage capacity will remain the same — 16GB, 32GB and 64GB models — as will the iPhone pricing structure.
° Apple won’t release a low-end “iPhone mini.” Instead, the company will keep older models of its smartphones available at reduced prices.
° The full-sized iPad 6 will arrive in the spring, along with the second iPad mini with a Retina display. The full size iPad will be even slimmer and still won’t — much to my regret — come in a 128GB model.
° The iPod shuffle and the iPod classic will be discontinued.
° There’ll be different configurations of iPod nanos (but none with iOS) to serve the low and mid-range MP3 player markets, while the iPod touch will continue to grab the lion’s share of the iPod market.
° Apple will finally release an Apple-branded HDTV in time for the 2013 holiday season. It will come in versions ranging from 42 to 55 inches, run a special version of iOS, support Siri and FaceTime — and be priced in the high-end of the HDTV spectrum. Alas, there’ll be no 3D version. Oh yes — there’ll be a new version of the Apple TV set-box to go along with it.
° Apple will drop optical drives in all its laptops. However, the company will, for one more year, offer versions with traditional hard drives and/or Fusion drives. However, after 2013, Apple laptops will come with solid state drives only.
° There’ll be no 15-inch MacBook Air or a Mac laptop running iOS.
° Apple will update all its desktop lines with Intel Haswell processors, but there’ll be no touchscreen Macs or (sigh) an iMac with built-in television features.
° Previously, I’ve predicted that Apple would discontinue the Mac Pro. However, I’m going to take CEO Tim Cook at his word and expect Apple to roll out an eye-popping pro desktop. I think it will sport a new form factor, Thunderbolt support, USB 3.0 support, support for more high-end graphics cards and Haswell processors. The Mac Pro will also remain the only Mac with a built-in optical drive.
° There have been rumors lately (see http://tinyurl.com/ccu7jqp) Apple is working with Intel to develop a smart Bluetooth watch that connects to your Apple devices. I’d love to see this, but I just don’t think it’s going to happen. Unless Apple moves the Apple TV out of the “hobby” category and puts an “iWatch” into the category.