This year is coming to a close and there were plenty of big headlines from Apple, Samsung, Google, Microsoft, Nokia and many other major tech companies. Apple had plenty of major headlines, from the maps fiasco to the introductions of the iPhone 5 and the iPad mini. Despite the introduction of several new products, rumors are still rampant about the Apple TV, a possible smart watch that works with the iPhone, and even early iPhone 5S rumors. So what can we expect from Apple in 2013? Here are a few of my thoughts for product updates, and whether or not I think some rumors will actually come to fruition.
An actual television set developed by Apple has been rumored for more than a year now, but I think 2013 might be the year when we start to learn about Apple’s possible move into the TV space. We already have the company’s Apple TV set top box, but I think Apple can change the industry even further by providing a television with Siri voice controls, an iOS operating system for running applications and the best TV-based web browser ever available. Apple’s big challenge will be securing deals with cable providers, however, and recent reports have suggested that has been one of the largest holdups. If we don’t see the TV launch in 2013 (at least one executive said it won’t be coming soon) I imagine we’ll start to learn more about it, at the very least, through leaks. Apple flipped the smartphone industry on its head with the iPhone in 2007, and I think it’s capable of doing the same to our living rooms with its own TV.
This one is a no brainer, but a prediction list would be amiss without mentioning the iPhone 5S. The next generation iPhone will probably be called the iPhone 5S, because it follows Apple’s historical iPhone naming scheme. We moved from the iPhone to the iPhone 3G, the iPhone 3GS, the iPhone 4, the iPhone 4S and now the iPhone 5. It just makes sense. I’m guessing we’ll see NFC added finally, improved camera hardware as usual, and probably better storage options. I imagine the body and the display will remain the same, since Apple tends to change it every two years. We’ll also probably see more RAM and a faster processor, but again, those are no brainers. I think the real treat will be finding out what iOS 7 has to offer.
iPad mini 2
This is another obvious one. Apple will no doubt release a new iPad mini next year that will probably sport the faster A6X processor, more RAM, better storage options and, of course, a Retina display. I returned my iPad mini because I think its price point was too high for what the product ultimately offered me, and the screen resolution really bothered me at the end of the day. Hopefully the iPad mini 2 will push the price of the original iPad mini down into the $199 range, where Apple will continue to compete against Samsung, Amazon, Google and other tablet rivals.
There isn’t much that’s currently known about the fifth generation iPad 5, other than it will obviously feature beefier hardware specs than the fourth generation model. I’m hoping for a thinner device that runs iOS 7 and has less of a bezel around the screen than ever before. Imagine if the screen stretched from edge to edge? The good news is that the latest rumors peg it for a March launch, which would mean we don’t have to wait very long for it to launch. Something in me feels like that’s still too soon, though, so I’m placing my bets that it hits the market later in the year.
We covered a rumor out of Asia today that suggests Apple is going to make a smart watch that will interact with the iPhone. Sorry folks, I just don’t see this happening. The old iPod nano and the watch band is probably as close as we’ll ever get to a watch from Apple. Sony’s Smart Watch was buggy, laggy and had a terrible screen resolution. Apple could improve on all of these areas, but why? Why would it want your eyes moving away from its real moneymaker, the iPhone? The less time you spend on your iPhone or iPad, the less time you’re spending buying apps and other media from Apple and its partners. Plus watches are old school, why bother?
I also think we’ll see the regular refreshes of OS X and Apple’s Mac line of computers, and we know that at least one line of them will be manufactured in the United States, although it’s a bit early to tell exactly what we can expect from those products. Hopefully Apple has a few surprises in store, too. Who knows? What do you think we’ll see out of Cupertino this year?