Apple’s To-Do List

Mavericks (courtesy of Wikipedia)

Based on my own wishes, preconceptions, and random thoughts — here’s what Apple potentially might be doing tomorrow. My predictions (which are worth nothing) are in black.

  • TV
    • Apple-branded TV — Implausible. I think this is a stupid idea and doubt it’s in the offing, unless it’s an Apple-branded 4K Display. Apple could leverage its manufacturing, supply chain, and scale capabilities to do something amazing in the 4K space. If I’m wrong, I suspect it will be a big monitor you can use as a TV (after all, there’s pretty much no 4K TV content anyway).
    • AppleTV Console (“iOS TV”?) — Unlikely. I want one. I think this is a great idea, it would cut Microsoft and Sony off at the knees, but there’s no reason to think it will happen. Besides, it would probably hurt Microsoft and Sony even more if Apple waits until after Microsoft and Sony have shipped a few million razor blade handles as loss leaders.
    • AppleTV Refresh — Likely — because the current model lacks 802.11ac support.
  • Mac OS
    • Mavericks — certain
    • Macbook Pro with Haswell (and Iris Pro in 13″) — almost certain
    • Macbook Air Retina — improbably: would be nice, but seems unlikely (Macbook Air was just refreshed)
    • Mac Mini Haswell — 50/50: possibly a stealth update or bare mention
    • Mac Pro — almost certain.
      • Price — I think it needs to be cheaper than the existing Mac Pro, otherwise being a cute cylinder does not make up for lack of internal expansion.
      • Upgradeable? Can we swap new CPUs/GPUs into it?
      • External upgrade chassis (either from Apple or third parties)?
      • 4K displays?
      • Thunderbolt displays with built-in (upgradeable?!) GPU?
  • iOS
    • 10″ iPad (gen 5, A7X, retina, iPad Mini style case) — almost certain, except for the “X” part.
    • 8″ iPad (gen 2, A7/A7X, retina) — almost certain:  maybe it will be A6/A6X to keep the performance gap relative to the larger model. (Recall that the Mini shipped with the A5 versus the Gen 4 iPad’s A6X.)
    • Bigger iPad — unlikely.
    • Hybrid Device — implausible. (You can’t ship two new OSes and new platform in quick succession, can you?)
    • iPod Touch Gen 6 (802.11ac, A6 CPU, iPhone 5c-style hardware) — likely: the fact that the current iPod Touch actually looks like a classier device than the iPhone 5c, and that it lacks 802.11ac support makes me think this might be coming.
  • Miscellanea
    • iWatch? — seems highly unlikely
    • non-iOS iPod refreshes? — shrug. It would be interesting to see the Nano become a mini (non-Retina) iPod Touch.

Note that my guess is that as initially shipped, the new Mac Pro will not be an attractive product (too expensive and too non-upgradeable). I think this may change in the future (the necessary pieces of the puzzle may not be available) — it will be a bit like FCP X — howls of pain from the pro community followed by demands for the old boxes to stay on sale (if they get taken off the market), followed by a slow clawback of goodwill as Apple addresses the obvious shortcomings. On the other hand, maybe Apple learned something from FCP X.

My predictions are very conservative. I hope there’s at least one surprise.