Next Monday, March 9th, Apple is holding a special event in San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Invitations Apple sent to the media were titled “Spring Forward” hinting at Saturday night’s U.S. time change, and therefore the Apple Watch. A few new features are expected to be unveiled, along with pricing and more details on battery life. Apple has again constructed another demonstration “tent” just outside Yerba Buena for what should be a hands-on after-event. The initial announcement of Apple Watch also showcased a temporary facility for the watch, but the media’s time with Apple Watch was strictly controlled. Monday’s event promises a liberal hands-on policy for journalists to explore the watch’s abilities, as it is a launch ready product. But could the event be more than just a rehash of Apple Watch with price points and a few new features thrown in for good measure?
As I stated in January, the highly rumored 12-inch MacBook may be a strong possibility for this event. Apple Watch is the main draw for Monday’s event, therefore it dictates any other announcement being the first product to be discussed. Apple has a specific cadence to their events. Apple CEO Tim Cook is likely to give a State of the Apple Union address, touching on various points of interest, ending his discussion with MacBook lineup. Apple's Sr. VP, of Worldwide Marketing, Phil Schiller would then take the stage, introducing the all-new laptop.
In an interview released by Motoring, Mercedes-Benz CEO, Dieter Zetsche, warned Apple that entering the automobile market would be a great error in judgment. This is an interesting statement since Mercedes-Benz’ recently lost its North American research and development chief, Johann Jungwirth, to Apple to work on Titan (the project name for Apple's Car). Apparently Mr. Zetsche and Mr. Jungwirth have different value systems in what makes a good decision and what doesn’t.
When asked whether Zetsche was worried about Apple entering the automobile market, he responded by saying,
Getting well beyond the rumors of an Apple designed car, and thoughts of its possible mileage breakthroughs or handling, I began to wonder what the experience of an Apple created car would be like. Cars are an extension of our personality, or perhaps more importantly, an expression of how we wants to be seen by others. Cars are personal and emotional. We spend years of our lives within a car, and thus they tend to be a big deal.
Steve Jobs always groused about how there were concept cars which looked amazing, and how he would buy one today — if it were available. But when that car finally went on sale it looked like everything else out there. Apple has always never valued the auto laden world of focus groups and has instead relied on their own internal abilities to ferret out good designs from the poor. An Apple vehicle would likely follow this same philosophy.
Rumors continue to heat up that a new MacBook Air is just around the corner, as European dealers noted Apple has stopped restock shipment requests for the popular laptop. In addition Apple has approved the lowering of exiting U.S. supplies in order to clear channel inventory.
This can only mean one of two things: Apple is discontinuing the MacBook Air or they have an updated version that is to ship soon. We highly doubt this will change will include a rumored 12" MacBook Air model as such a shift would demand a special event to kick off the new laptop. Instead we can expect Apple to update the current 11" and 13" MacBook Air models with the latest Broadwell chipset from Intel. Pricing is likely to remain static unless Apple has seen softness in demand and needs to stimulate the product line.
This past Friday the Wall Street Journal cemented the notion that Apple, Incorporated is actively engaged in designing and building a fully functional car. The assumption is that Apple is aiming to build an all-electric Tesla killer. The pros and cons have already been positioned hundreds of times, with most coming to the following conclusions:
- Apple has the money, followed by why they should — or should not — build a car.
- Tesla and Apple are alike in many ways, thus going after the car business makes sense.
- Apple has the integrated tech know-how in order to build an amazing car
- Apple never made a music player, or a smartphone, and then when they did, Apple dominated both industries. Why not a car?
- Apple is in search of continuing to amass amazing revenue figures that dumbfound the world. A car would help Apple continue to defy the nay-sayers and cement CEO, Tim Cook's legacy.
Beyond the usual financial or technical conclusions, perhaps the biggest reason Apple should enter the car market would be to supercharge their brand.
Rumors of both a 12-inch MacBook and iPad have surfaced in recent months. Where there is smoke with Apple rumors there is often a form of fire, and claims of the an iPad Pro have been heating up quickly. We have put our stamp of approval on a 12-inch MacBook, but a 12-inch iPad (now with a stylus?) have us questioning the merits of why a product should exist.
The rumor mill is rife with speculation, claiming Apple will be releasing an all-new 12-inch iPad Air Pro. Or is it a 12-in MacBook Air?... The latest information on the matter comes from Mark Gurman of 9to5Mac. Gurman is well connected within the Apple ranks, and reported his findings about as close to fact as one could do without it being set in stone. So which is it? Which rumor makes sense, if either do at all?
First, there is the 12-inch iPad Air Pro rumor. Most of the iPad information has stemmed from Asian tech publications, siting upstream supply chain contacts. DigiTimes leads the pack with such rumors, and is a publication having as good a track record as a broken clock (even a broken clock gets it right twice a day).
It was a strange scene during Apple’s WWDC (World Wide Developers Conference) keynote in 2005. Steve Jobs stunned the audience by announcing the end of the PPC processor and ushering in a new era with Intel. Intel’s then CEO, Paul Otellini, strolled onto the stage in a clean room suit, looking absolutely ridiculous, but it was a crowning achievement for Intel. Apple, the lone holdout, was now an Intel Inside brand, and would bring additional margin to the diminutive chip maker. Apple transitioned its entire lineup of Macs to Intel within 12 months — a year ahead of schedule. But for all the success Apple has had in switching to Intel as a processor supplier, the Intel era appears to be coming to an end.
As 2014 comes to a close, it's time to take out our retina display crystal 8-ball and peer into 2015. What new goodies will Apple bring forth? Combining our inside-the-beltway information, rumors and amassed knowledge of Apple, here's a look at likely all-new Apple products in 2015:
- All-new MacBook Air (MBA): This will be the much talked about 12-inch MBA w/retina display, in an all-new enclosure design. This will boast Intel's latest Broadwell processors, delivering best-in-class performance, while providing battery sipping efficiencies.
- Photos: Apple's long awaited iPhoto and Aperture replacement.
- Apple Watch: No surprise here, but whether or not Apple Watch Sport Edition comes in at at a reasonable price, or the software provides a "must have" feature not yet revealed is still unknown.
- iBook: This isn't an iOS software update, rather, this will be an all-new ultra-portable laptop, running on a quad-core A9 Apple processor. Whether it supports a new type of iOS, or ported OS X onto the A series processors is unknown. While we have leaned towards are re-designed iOS, the latest information we have is that Apple will migrate OS X to ARM. This product represents the beginning of the end for Intel as an Apple supplier. But unlike the rapid PPC to Intel migration, which Apple accomplished in under a year, the process of moving from Intel to Apple's ARM architecture will be a slow transition, especially when considering the Mac Pro. Expect the iBook announcement to take place during Apple's WWDC keynote address. And no, we don't know if will actually be called iBook.
- iPhone 6S mini: Apple will deliver their annual iPhone updates, with an iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus, but will also introduce an all-new iPhone 6S mini. iPhone 6S mini will be the thinnest, lightest, most powerful 4-inch iPhone – or smartphone – ever made. Apple dominating the small and large display smartphone market should continue.
This list comprises only new product introductions, and not include the dozens of software and hardware updates Apple will bring to market. Considering the overall gamut of product releases due in 2015, this may be the busiest year ever for the diminutive Cupertino company.
As my middle school science teacher used to quip, “The Future is coming, and there’s no stopping it!” After hearing him say this over and over again, it was no longer funny. However, you could never deny the truth in his statement. When it comes to video programming (also known as television) times are a-changing and changing quickly. The question is not whether à la carte programming will soon become the primary way we view video content, but rather which network will figure this out first, begin the dominos toppling and lead us into this brave new world.