A new year means new beginnings, new possibilities and of course, new things to look forward to. With all eyes focused on Apple, analysts and consumers are all wondering what may be coming out of Cupertino in 2013.
Many things feel like certainties. History and experience help predict likely launches and many are probably just rumors (or wishful thinking), either way it is fun to think about the things we think Apple should focus on in 2013.
What might Apple have on their 2013 agenda?
- iRadio – One of the lesser talked about rumors is the idea that Apple will join the streaming radio game. While it may seem an unusual choice at first, it makes good sense when you consider that it would be a very logical extension of their existing iTunes service. Likely to compete with Pandora and Spotify, iRadio could offer predictive streaming services with some kind of tie-in to their existing iTunes Match service. Adding credibility to the rumor is BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield who has stated that the latest upgrades to iTunes support this endeavor but it would appear the requisite content deals with major record labels are “nowhere near complete.”
- iWatch – This one may seem like a bit of a stretch, but it makes complete sense if you stop to contemplate it fully. Very few details are known other than it is expected to be equipped with Bluetooth and should communicate with your iOS devices (presumably giving you the ability to use features remotely –perhaps Siri, and receive notifications in a manner that is less audible in public places and less obvious than picking up your iPhone every 3 minutes). The SmartWatch market is just starting to bubble up in the tech world and this is an area where Apple could be a pioneer of sorts (something they always like doing).
- iTV – We had our appetites wet long ago when the late Steve Jobs promised to revolutionize television. Rumors have been flying since then (with some hints coming from Apple CEO Tim Cook himself) but we have yet to see anything tangible. Speculation suggests that the problem is related to licensing for content, but this is difficult to say for certain when we aren’t sure whether a new Apple TV is an updated appliance or an actual television display (of some sort). Whatever it is (or isn’t), this could turn out to be a focus for 2014. Although, if Intel succeeds in releasing their own service this year, Apple will have to be even more prepared to compete.
- iPad – Little has been said about what we should expect from a 5th generation of the larger form-factor iPad, though it is likely safe to assume we will see an update sometime this year comprised of a smaller and lighter chassis and a faster processor. Not to be left out, updates to the iPad Mini are also expected with the most significant difference being the addition of a Retina high-definition display.
- iPhone – Apple has established a pattern that delivers an iPhone update every year –but a complete overhaul only happens every two years. If this pattern repeats itself, we should see an iPhone 5S in 2013 that may feature a faster processor and a wider array of color options beyond the existing white and black (probably similar to the new iPod Touch line-up).
- iOS 7 – Apple’s mobile operating system is due for an update and is expected to receive one in 2013. Specific features are not yet known but possible wishlist items include: adjustable snooze length for clock alarms, greater ability to remove stock first-party apps (or at least have the ability to file items like the Newstand into other folders), increased developer access to APIs for apps like Maps and Siri and even the possibility of defining an alternative default web browser other than Safari.
- MacBook – The MacBook Pro lineup got a massive refresh in 2012 with the addition of Retina display options and a much slimmer and lighter profile. This recent physical update makes it unlikely that we will see major design changes in 2012, but slight speed increases and price cuts are reasonable to expect. The MacBook Air may be due for some changes, but these are harder to predict as the Air and Pro lineups are gearing up to merge in many respects –perhaps another step toward running iOS instead of MacOS? Another theory I’ve had is that the MacBook Pro lineup is heading toward replacing the need for the MacBook Air and the features of the MacBook Air will find themselves in a new high-end version of the iPad (think removable keyboard somewhat like the Microsoft Surface tablet).
I certainly have a Wishlist. While not official rumors by any stretch of the imagination and for the most part come from my own mind, there are a few products that I am shocked Apple hasn’t produced (but I wish they would).
- Printer – Apple used to make printers years ago (the details of which I won’t get into), but with the brand loyalty they enjoy it would be logical to offer this kind of accessory –particularly if it was ultra portable and incredibly sexy to look at. Given that the money for printers is made in the consumables and Apple has little experience in that game, this may be an unlikely product to ever see.
- iPad Keyboard – This is a product that should already exist in my opinion –especially when you consider that Microsoft was able to deliver it. Apple has a Smart Cover, but they really should have some kind of keyboard option as well (instead of leaving it up to third-party accessory manufacturers).
- iPod Nano – While the iPod Nano has received a number of updates recently and still somehow remains quite popular, it seems insane that it cannot connect to iTunes Match directly. An upgrade to the Nano in 2013 that brings it onboard with iOS and iTunes Match would be ideal for those of us wanting music at the gym (or for our children) that accesses our existing library without needing to download and store each song offline.
What do you think Apple should focus on (in 2013 and beyond)?