It wasn't long ago when people proclaimed Apple was lost, that Microsoft was running laps around the Cupertino juggernaut. Turns out, the company is doing just fine, and is headed toward its most exciting product lineup in years—maybe ever.
It's true the company hasn't been at its innovative best in recent years, surpassed in form and function by Samsung. Compare the iPhone 7 to the Galaxy S8, and there's a clear discrepancy in quality. But with several new (and recently-updated) products in the pipeline, Apple looks primed to be back to its very best.
In addition to the highly anticipated iPhone 8, Apple is expected to unveil a redesigned Apple Watch, an iMac Pro, and an Apple TV that supports 4K video. The company's HomePod is also slated to be available in just a few months, among a slew of other products, including the powerful 10.5-inch iPad Pro.
In other words, this holiday season is going to be big as Apple looks to re-establish itself as an innovative leader.
iPhone 8, 7s, 7s Plus
Without a doubt, Apple's most anticipated product this year is the iPhone 8, which is expected to introduce a significant redesign and next generation technology.
Among the upgrades—which Apple kindly leaked—is a 5.8-inch OLED edge-to-edge display, advanced face-scanning biometrics, new camera features, and wireless charging. It's without a doubt the biggest update to the iPhone since the original launched in 2007.
But that's not the only iPhone Apple plans to release. The company is rumored to introduce the iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus, both of which may feature all-glass designs and wireless charging, along with faster internals.
The iPhone has always been Apple's prized possession, and this year's trinity (iPhone 7s, iPhone 7s Plus, iPhone 8) promises to be unlike any release we've seen before.
iPad Pro 10.5-inch and 9.7-inch iPad
Interest in Apple's tablet lineup has been on the decline over the past few years, but recent signs suggest consumers are smitten with the company's latest entries.
The new 10.5-inch iPad Pro features a beautiful ProMotion display, all-day battery life, powerful guts, and even more accurate Apple Pencil input, making the device a great tool for artists. Just when we thought the iPad Pro couldn't get better, Apple proved us wrong.
The 9.7-inch iPad, meanwhile, is only $329, and offers the same great tablet experience fans have come to expect from Apple. If all you want is to consume media and play games, Apple's 9.7-inch iPad is a terrific option.
Even more exciting is the imminent arrival of iOS 11, which will transform the iPad and iPad Pro into more of a desktop replacement than ever before. At last, Apple is tapping the true potential of its tablets in a way we haven't seen from the Cupertino company.
For years, professional users have begged Apple to pay attention to their needs, and the company finally answered the call when it introduced the iMac Pro. If your job requires you to have a powerful computer, Apple's beastly all-in-one should be on your radar.
With configuration options up to an 18-core Xeon processor, Radeon Pro Vega graphics, 128GB of RAM, and 4TB of storage, the iMac Pro sounds like every professional user's wet dream. And it features the same beautiful iMac design fans are familiar with.
The bad news is the iMac Pro will start at $4,999 for the base model, which isn't cheap. If you're looking for more power than you'll ever need, however, the iMac Pro is the computer to get.
MacBook Pro with Touch Bar
Announced last year, the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar is a gorgeous, powerful machine with a cool trick. Thanks to the OLED bar above the keyboard, users have an immediate and dynamic way to interact with whatever program they're currently using. It's like having a touch screen, but not.
As cool as the Touch Bar is, however, the jury's still out about whether or not it's actually useful. And for those whose work setups include a larger monitor with their laptop closed, the Touch Bar is essentially useless. Still, the feature extends the MacBook Pro's capabilities in ways we've never seen from an Apple laptop—and it's an incredibly beautiful machine.
Other features include a revamped keyboard, humungous trackpad, and a beautiful screen.
Apple Watch Series 3
Rumor has it Apple's next wearable will feature LTE support, making it even less reliant on your iPhone. That's great news for people who use their Apple Watch as an activity tracker, such as on runs.
Not only is LTE support coming, but the Apple Watch is said to sport a new form factor, though it's unclear what that form factor will be. Apple seems to favor a squarer design, while manufacturers in the Android Wear camp prefer a traditional circular look.
Whatever Apple decides to do, there will be two very important things to watch for: battery life and size. If the Apple Watch does include LTE support, constantly searching for a cellular connection will no doubt affect battery life. Meanwhile, including a SIM slot will probably make the design bulkier.
Those aren't deal breakers, but something to keep in mind ahead of the wearable's rumored release.
Apple TV 4K
Now that the 4K market is maturing, Apple may try to capitalize on the growing trend. After all, more 4K content is available than ever before, and finding an affordable 4K TV is as easy as searching on Amazon. Apple's 4K Apple TV likely won't get much hoopla if it does share the stage with the iPhone later this year, but its arrival is no less anticipated.
Apple's HomePod is the wildcard of the bunch. The squat speaker is similar in execution to the Amazon Echo and Google Home, but it puts more emphasis on sound quality, adding in Siri as a bonus.
The HomePod features seven tweeters, a 4-inch woofer, six microphones, and spatial awareness, which Apple says allows the speaker to adapt to whatever room it's in.
"It automatically analyzes the acoustics, adjusts the sound based on the speaker's location, and steers the music in the optimal direction," Apple says on its website.
But here's the thing: It'll cost $349, which is far more expensive than the Amazon Echo and Google Home. Whether you think a Siri-equipped speaker is worth that much is up to you. I can't wait to see if it lives up to the hype.
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