New iPad Air:
Since there was no new iPad Air in 2015 or 2016 Apple fans were hoping for an update to that model soon. There were some concerns that the 9.7in iPad Pro had displaced the iPad Air line, but those fears were unfounded when Apple announced a new iPad in March 2017. Apple has done away with the Air from it’s name, however: what was the iPad Air line is now just the iPad.
The iPad is what would have been called the iPad Air 3 and comes with Apple’s A9 processor, an update to the A8X processor in the iPad Air 2. This means it has the same chip as the iPhone 6s, but retains the same display and cameras as the Air 2. read more here: New iPad latest.
Apple stop using Air in all its product names very soon – as signalled by the 13-inch MacBook Air’s tiny update in 2016 and the retirement of the 11-inch version.
When? We think 2018
The iPad mini received a minor update in March 2017, gaining more capacity for the same price (£419 for the 128GB Wi-Fi model and £549 for the 128GB Wi-Fi + Cellular). However, this was not the iPad mini 5 anticipated, and given that the iPad mini 4 was last updated in September 2015, it’s clear that Apple isn’t too focused on its smaller tablets and Apple does state that the most popular tablet size is 9.7in.
Perhaps October will see the introduction of an iPad Mini Pro with upgraded components, a new thinner, tougher aluminium chassis, and the inclusion of a Smart Connector to match that of the other iPad Pro devices.
Read more about the iPad mini 5: iPad mini 5 new feature rumours
When? We think 2018
Apple predictions for 2017: iPad Pro 2
With the 12.9-inch iPad Pro arriving in November 2015, and the 9.7-inch iPad Pro in March 2016, it’s hard to guess the plans for this line. We had hoped for an update to both in spring 2017, but no update was forthcoming.
Apple did however introduce a new 9.7in iPad in the iPad Air category (so lacking the Apple Pencil support and featuring a A9 chip rather than the A9X, and £339, rather than £549.
Apple may update the iPad Pro models in September or October 2017. Much will depend on how effectively they have dealt with the stagnating iPad sales problem we’ve observed in the past few earnings calls.
One way to stimulate interest could be the introduction of a new size, which is what analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is suggesting. He has stated that Apple will offer three Pros in 2017, but not a Mini as you might think, instead a 9.7-inch, 12.9-inch, and new 10.5-inch variant. He makes sense of this by explaining that the 9.7-inch Pro will be a lower powered version than it’s bigger brothers – possibly the existing Pro being kept as the base model and sold at a cheaper price.
Kuo’s thoughts were published before Apple lauched the new iPad 9.7in, which seems to sit as the lower powered version he predicted. Whether Apple would stop selling the 9.7in iPad Pro remains to be seen – the company has said it is its most popular sized iPad.
Other rumours doing the rounds argue that there will be a 10.9-inch version instead of the 10.5-inch one Kuo is backing. This could also feature a design change that eliminates the bezels and makes use of the software fingerprint detection technology that is expected to appear in the iPhone 8.
There’s no doubt that iPads are in a transitional period at the moment, but Apple seems to be pushing the Pros as the way ahead, so expect some interesting products in March.
Read our 12.9-inch iPad Pro review | iPad Pro 2 rumours
When? We think October
Apple predictions for 2017: Apple Watch 3
Apple released the second generation of its Watch in September of 2016 which added GPS, internal upgrades, and water-proofing to the design. This was accompanied by the WatchOS 3 update that increased performance and functionality for not only the new models but also the original range.
We expect to see Apple announce the third iteration of its Watch in September 2017, hopefully for around the same price as the current models which start at £369, although that is far from certain after the increases we saw at the end of 2016.
Apple did offer some new Apple Watch bands in March 2017. These include a new wide stripe Woven Nylon band, standalone Nike Sport Bands and Apple Watch Hermès bands in new colours.
There’s little in the method for firm confirmation recommending what the Apple Watch 3 will resemble, however any reasonable person would agree that you ought to expect a model that is fundamentally the same as the present form. A few specialists have hypothesized that there could be a Watch S discharge in March of 2017 that would incorporate extra storage room, however this remaining parts talk, best case scenario. A few news locales have additionally specualted on the possibilty of a round show, much like the one found on the Moto 360 Android Wear gadget.
It’s broadly expected that the Watch 3 will incorporate a front confronting camera that could be utilized for selfies or FaceTime calls, as Apple holds a patent for such a gadget and Watch OS 2 presented bolster for FaceTime sound calls.
The new model is likewise prone to include a Micro-LED show, which would be lighter, more slender, and brighter than the LCD boards as of now utilized.
Another regular believed is that Apple will at long last acquaint 3G or 4G abilities with the Watch, keeping in mind the end goal to make it more free from the iPhone. We’re not persuaded by this. Apple loves its gadgets to be firmly entwined, and the battery life issues that accompany cell capacities may make it an ugly choice right now.
It’s still early days for the Apple Watch, so we completely anticipate that this will be a tranquil advancement as opposed to upset. More slender, lighter, quicker and longer battery life is the mantra, and we’d be exceptionally content with that.
For a more top to bottom take a gander at the most recent gossipy tidbits on the Apple Watch make sure to look at our Apple Watch 3 Rumors article.
Perused more about Apple Watch: Apple Watch extras round-up | Best Apple Watch straps | Apple Watch tips | Apple Watch 2 Review
At the point when? We think September
Apple expectations for 2017: Apple TV
It may have gotten away from the consideration of many individuals that 2017 really denote the tenth commemoration of Apple TV. In light of this some imagine Apple could commend the occassion with a refresh to its little black box. Regardless of whether this is valid or not remains a secret, as there have been not very many dependable gossipy tidbits about any new improvements inside the Apple grounds. At that point there’s additionally the way that the standard crevice between emphasess of Apple TV has a tendency to be a few years.
It was interested however that a huge segment of the current WWDC occasion was given to the product refreshes in tvOS. Possibly something is cooking in the labs all things considered? We’ll continue inquiring about and announcing our discoveries, so return consistently.
Perused more about the Apple TV: Apple TV (2015) audit | Best Apple TV applications | Tips for utilizing the new Apple TV Siri Remote | New Apple TV discharge date gossipy tidbits
When? We think WWDC
Apple predictions for 2017: Macs
The Mac Pro:
The Mac Pro is long overdue a refresh as it hasn’t been updated since its launch in 2013. The once futuristic device now looks a little long in the tooth, having been bypassed by generations of Intel chips that never made it into the chassis. Will Apple update the Mac Pro in 2017 or has it given up entirely on this professional Mac workstation?
At this point we really don’t know. Rumours of release dates and potential upgrades have come and gone, but nothing has appeared. We were hopeful that March 2017 would see new Pros announced, but nothing has materialised yet.
We think a WWDC launch in June is possible.
Read more about the Mac Pro: Mac Pro release date rumours & specs | Mac Pro preview | iMac vs Mac Pro, best pro Mac desktop
When? We think WWDC
With the introduction of the 12-inch MacBook and the new, lightweight 13-inch MacBook Pro the writing seems pretty much on the wall for the old MacBook Air. Apple has already retired the 11-inch model in 2016, and once the 12-inch MacBook gets an update in 2017 to hopefully add an additional USB-C port and upgrade the god-awful keyboard, there won’t be much room left for the Air brand.
All many of us wanted for the 13-inch model was to get a retina screen and a spec bump, but we suspect that will never happen and the MacBook Air, like the iPad Air, is on the way out.
Read more here: New MacBook Air release date, specs & rumours.
When? We think never…
With the MacBook Pro having been released at the end of 2016, we don’t expect much to change until very late in 2017. The massive redesign has already caused quite a reaction, so we’d rule out anything significant happening in the next iteration. Instead we think there will most likely be a shift to Kaby Lake chips, which in turn could open up higher RAM options. Other than that all we really want are the prices to come down. Read: MacBook Pro 2017 latest rumours.
When? We think October
Apple predictions for 2017: 12in Retina MacBook update
Macintosh propelled its unimaginably thin and light 12in MacBook back in March 2015, and the MacBook’s first birthday saw a strong if unspectacular refresh – different sensible specs helps, and a rose gold shading alternative.
The third emphasis of the 12in MacBook is probably going to show up sooner or later in 2017 – despite the fact that there was no indication of it when Apple refreshed some of its items on 21 March.
Bits of gossip are thin on the ground at this moment, however a portion of the more stunning theory has proposed that the new form may highlight a ‘Drive Touch console’ – a console, at the end of the day, that doesn’t really move in light of your key presses, rather recreating presses through haptic criticism simply like the Force Touch trackpad. Sounds entirely odd – also hard to use for touch-writing – however that is the kind of thing you have a tendency to hear this a long ways in front of a dispatch. We believe it’s more probable that Apple will introduce the second era of its butterfly console that showed up on the new MacBook Pro.
Read more in our 2017 MacBook rumour round-up.
When? We think WWDC
Ah Mac Mini, where did it all go wrong? After being hobbled in 2014 by what can barely be considered an upgrade, Apple has left the Mini to fall fallow. Now we don’t know whether 2017 will see a resurrection of its fortunes, but all here at Macworld are rooting for the little guy.
Read more in our new Mac mini rumours article.
When? We think WWDC
The iMac range last saw updates in 2015 that moved the high-end models over to Intel’s Skylake processors, and the 21.5in models to Broadwell chips. What 2017 holds in store for the range is still uncertain, as Intel’s chipsets seem to be slightly out of step with Apple’s demands at the moment.
No iMac updates were forthcoming on 21 March when Apple updated the iPad, but they may still appear. Bloomberg has reported that new iMacs are on their way, at WWDC we think, but details are as yet unknown as to what upgrades the devices will be running.
When? We think WWDC
Read more in our new iMac rumours article.
Apple predictions for 2017: Mac processor updates
Despite Apple’s adventures into processor design it’s unlikely we’ll see the company rolling out its own chips in its desktop and laptop machines unless it can make them fully compatible with the current Intel line-up.
Wonderful though it would be to run iOS apps alongside OS X software, Apple would need to give developers several years’ notice to update their applications to run on any new architecture, so expect to still be buying Intel-driven machines for at least the next 12 months.
Apple predictions for 2017: Force Touch Keyboard
A Force Touch keyboard could be in the works, too – as a supplement to the Magic Trackpad 2 – if a recent patent filing is anything to go by. The switchless design would allow Apple to produce even thinner MacBooks, and also to take into account the force with which a key is pressed, which will be a boon for anyone making music on their Mac. In the opposite direction it should allow for haptic feedback, which could possibly be used to signify to vision-impaired users that they’re correctly striking a particular key.
Apple predictions for 2017: Software & services
‘Wireless mystery device’
Recent photos reveal a mystery wireless device submitted to the FCC by Apple bearing the model number A1844. The mystery device, of course, caused huge stirs in the Apple community. The application claimed that it was a low-powered device with both Bluetooth and NFC wireless functionality. This led some to believe that it was either going to be a new, smaller Apple TV or possibly even an accessory for Apple Pay, allowing small businesses to accept wireless/Apple Pay payments.
However, while we’d all hoped it’d be a cool new Apple device, further investigation seems to suggest that it’s nothing more than a badge reader that attaches to a door assembly, most likely for use in Apple’s Apple Park HQ opening in April 2017. There’s a snap of the wireless device above, but those that want more information can check out the full FCC filing here.
Apple traditionally announces new version of iOS in June, followed by the release in the autumn.
So far the only strong rumour about the new operating system is that it will include an improved ‘natural-sounding’ Siri as Apple works to improve the behaviour and repsonse of its voice interface.
Another strong possibility is the inclusion of a Dark Mode with black backgrounds rather than the bright white normally found on iOS, and there’s an outside chance that your Contacts could become active in iOS11, meaning you can see when people are available to chat.
Read more about the latest rumours in our iOS release date rumours UK article. Plus you can revisit the changes Apple made in iOS 10 by watching the video below.
Apple predictions for 2017: macOS X
Like iOS 11, the new version of Apple’s Mac operating system will be unveiled at WWDC 2017 in June, and then roll out in the autumn.
So far there are no real rumours about what Apple will include in the new update. Siri integration was at the centre of the 2016 release, so it’s possible that those features will be enhanced and improved upon for the 2017 update.
As always, check back regularly and we’ll keep you up to date on any new developments.
Also check out our OS X 10.13 Rumours page.
To refresh your memories on what Apple included in macOS 10.12 Sierra read more here: macOS Sierra new features and release date or watch the discussion video:
Apple predictions for 2017: WatchOS 4
WatchOS is developing nicely and in 2017 we expect to see the introduction of Sleep Tracking, which would further bolster the fitness focus of the Apple Watch. No other news as yet, but we’ll keep digging
In the mean time you could read about the improvements made in watchOS3 here: watchOS 3 new features or listen to our discussion about it.
Apple predictions for 2017: tvOS
Last and probably least of Apple’s four software platforms, tvOS nevertheless got a decent update at WWDC 2016 which we think will probably carry it through 2017. You can read all the gory details in our article New tvOS features, but we also discuss the new features in this video:
Apple predictions for 2017: Apple Pay
Alongside these headline developments, there will be a whole series of speedbumps along the way as Apple extends and refines its Apple Pay offering. We anticipate that Apple Pay will be accepted in a wider range of headline stores.
Apple predictions for 2017: Apple Music
Apple Music – which is now available on Android – will inevitably expand.
With 15 million subscribers in 2016 Apple Music made a decent start, but is it good enough to continue this momentum and can it really compete with the likes of Spotify? As for Beats 1, we’re not convinced this is making the impact Apple hoped for, but the we probably aren’t the target market for it. We’d like to see more radio channels tuned to less trendy music choices.
There are also rumours that streaming on Apple Music could be enhanced, with high-resolution better quality audio for that service – up to 96kHz/24-bit, according to a report on Macotakara. Since the 3.5mm headphone jack is limited to CD quality sound this appears to back up the motives for Apple ditching the 3.5mm headphone jack from the iPhone 7, as the Lighting port can offer HD audio.
Apple Music may also prove to be the one thing that keeps the iPod on the shelves in 2017. If you’d asked us what we thought of its chances at the close of 2014, we’d have said ‘slim’, but 2015 saw Apple deliver the first proper update to the iPod touch in three years, and it’s now providing another entry ramp for the firm’s £9.99 a month music subscription service. That alone means it makes sense to give it at least 12 months to prove itself. The same can’t necessarily be said of the nano and shuffle, which are each available in just one configuration and, without streaming abilities, offer no ongoing revenue source.
Apple Music saw a major redesign at WWDC 2016. We discuss the changes in this video:
Apple predictions for 2017: Mergers & acquisitions
Apple has got quite a lot money, and armchair pundits love to spend the company’s money for it. Buy Tesla! Buy GoPro! Buy Sonos!
From time to time these suggestion-cum-predictions come true, as with Apple’s acqusition of Beats in 2014, but it hardly needs stating that the company isn’t in a hurry to divest itself of that cash cushion. Any merger & acqusition activity is likely to be comparatively conservative: rather than going for the big names that crop up in prediction articles like this one, Apple is far more likely to pick up smallish but promising firms on the way up and take their products in house – just as it did with Siri.
We do know of a few big deals that Apple has considered recently, though. The Financial Times reports that in May 2016 Apple sat down with Time Warner, one of the biggest entertainment companies in the world, and spoke seriously about an acquisition deal. The deal never got beyond the exploratory phase, but this does strongly suggest that Apple is in the market for an acquisition that will give it a foothold in video content – something that would prove valuable in the event that its rumoured TV-streaming service comes to pass.
With Time Warner apparently out of the picture, many analysts believe that the next target could be Netflix, but we’re still in the realm of the mega-deal, so don’t bet your live savings on the deal happening.
Apple’s Gliimpse acqusition
On 22 August 2016 Fast Company reported that Apple had made an intriguing new acquisition: Gliimpse, a startup that enables users to collect and collate personal health data. It’s not known at this point how much the acqusition cost Apple, but the company has confirmed the deal, albeit with its usual boilerplate statement that it “buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and generally [does] not discuss [its] purpose or plans”.
Gliimpse was created in response to the bureaucratic difficulties in the US related to health documentation: the lack of an overarching authority or standardised system makes it exceptionally difficult for patients to access and usefully analyse their own data. And this makes it an obvious fit with Apple’s recent health-related announcements. With the launch of HealthKit and CareKit, the company intends to revolutionise the health and medical care sector, and has a track record of providing umbrella services – in music, fitness and mobile software most successfully – that make complex markets easier for consumers to approach.
Related fact: one of Gliimpse’s founders, Anil Sethi, started his career at Apple in the 1980s.
Apple’s Turi acquisition
At the start of August 2016, Apple acquired a Seattle artificial intelligence company named Turi, according to a report by GeekWire. The site’s sources peg the deal at approximately $200m, although both Apple and Turi have declined to comment on the matter.
Turi’s specialities, artificial intelligence and machine learning, are hot right now and the acquisition represents Apple’s way into an increasingly crucial area of the tech sector. Google is big on artificial intelligence, as are Facebook and Amazon, but Apple itself has discussed the subject in numerous recent product launches.
iOS’s QuickType keyboard uses artificial intelligence to predict what you’re trying to type; iOS also uses it to suggest apps it reckons you’re likely to use and contacts you’ll want to speak to, and the new automated album creation tool in Photos uses deep learning techniques to analyse faces, places and objects and create coherent compositions. watchOS 3’s Instant Apps feature is dependent on being able to predict which apps you’ll want to use next.
But Apple’s products are only going to get smarter over the coming years, as Turi’s tech is integrated into the portfolio.
Apple’s Tuplejump acquisition
Further to it buying Turi, Apple followed up the next month, September 2016, by buying Tuplejump. Like Turi, it is a machine learning company that allows better data management for businesses. According to TechCrunch, Apple’s interest in the acquisition was down to Tuplejump’s focus on open source ways of applying machine learning and analytics to big data.
This again points to Apple’s increasing interest in improving its artificial intelligence products such as Siri.
Apple’s $1bn investment in Didi Chuxing
After its iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus launch, Apple invested a huge $1bn in the uber-competitor, Didi Chuxing – a Chinese company that forced Uber out of its local market.
The company is valued at $35bn, and with a further $1bn investment from Apple, it seems that there is certain weight behind the movement in China – this came come in a form of advertising of Apple products in China, to Apple-product integration within taxis.
Given the boom of the Chinese market, it seems that investors are happy with this move.
Apple predictions for 2017: But don’t expect…
The Apple Car, was the hot rumour of 2016, but now it seems that Apple has scaled back it’s ambitions and now thought to see working on a software solution rather than the hardware. The company is said to have had up to 1,000 developers working on the so-called Project Titan, and to have set up various different front companies, including Faraday Futures and Sixty Eight Research. We’d love to see it on the roads in 2017, but industry chatter suggests 2020 is a more likely date. If they’re right, it might not be worth holding back on an interim upgrade to your existing run-around next year. And if you were hoping for an actual television set from Apple it’s time to give up on that idea too.
We won’t see an Apple car this year, but you can expect the rumours to continue.
Additional reporting by Karen Haslam. Read on to find out what our predictions were for 2015…
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