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.
The iMac was recently updated to include a stunningly high-resolution 5K display. Saying a fancy number like "5K" is one thing, but seeing it in person is quite another. The display is simply breathtaking, and the retina feel from my staring eyeballs from just two-feet away was in full effect. Simply put, Apple's iMac Retina 5K display is the best on the market in an all-in-one. So where is Apple's 27" 5K Thunderbolt display?
Apple currently sells the 27" Thunderbolt display for $999, while the iMac with Retina 5K display starts at $2,499. Based on Apple's previous 27" iMac pricing (which used the exact 2560 x 1440 display as the 27" Thunderbolt monitor), it would seem reasonable for Apple to sell a 5K display for roughly $1,499.
Apple is a unique company, and anyone who would deny that just doesn’t understand the company's history. While IBM created the first personal computer, it was Apple that made the PC useable by people who weren’t programmers. Yes Apple leveraged the idea from Xerox (and then Microsoft from Apple), but does anyone think we would have seen mass adoption of PC’s in the 90’s if Xerox were leading the charge with the GUI interface? And it wasn’t just the GUI interface. Apple delivered files, folder and a trash can, in easy-to-understand icon format. Apple then linked the PC with design software and laser printers and an entirely new way to publish documents was born.
Fast forward two decades and Apple launched the iPod. Apple did not create this product category either, but took it to the next level and made it a must-have for an entire generation. Once again the iPod portable music player was not a standalone device. iPod came with iTunes vertically integrated, quickly followed with the iTunes store, and the music industry was transformed overnight.
Last week, 9to5 Mac spotted an interesting post on Apple’s website that showed a yet-to-be announced Mac mini model — Mid 2014. This mistake was quickly taken down but not before much could be written about it. The question now is not whether Apple has a Mac mini update, but when Apple will release it?
Last night, while stumbling upon Penn & Teller’s whimsical Fool Us TV show (sorry, I really don’t watch much live TV anymore — thank you Apple TV), I found myself watching what I thought was another Microsoft Surface commercial, wasn’t a Microsoft ad at all. Rather, it was a generic Intel tablet commercial, pushing the idea that Intel-based tablets are what people need (not ARM-based or iPad tablets). Just how desperate is this dual-force Microsoft and Intel I wondered?
Microsoft’s failing campaign to sell their heavy, battery draining 2-in-1 Surface Pro is one thing, but Intel trying to sell the idea that the only type of tablet worth buying is due to something the user will never see, touch or understand – the processor. Apple’s dark decade of the 90’s laid the groundwork for Intel to advertise to, what could be described as, low technology information consumers. Intel was successful in pushing the idea that when looking to buy a new PC, that only an ”Intel Inside” PC was worth considering.
One feature of Apple’s forthcoming iWatch is becoming abundantly clear. Whether it is Apple suppliers yielding information, or reviewing Apple’s long-standing patents, the company's first-ever wearable will be stunningly flexible. The band will be flexible, the display will be flexible, and even traditional areas where a thick printed circuit board and battery pack should be — it will all be flexible. iWatch will not only be thoroughly pliable but it will also be stunningly thin.
The heavily rumored Apple iWatch is most likely to become a reality this Fall. While competitors such as Samsung, Google and others have created high-tech “wearables”, Apple typically does things differently — and better. Before iPhone, it was Blackberry who ruled the day as the serious smart phone with a physical keyboard, email and some limited web browsing capability. Then Apple entered the market with the iPhone and the industry was changed forever.
Years have gone by and even Gene "no lines" Munster of Piper Jaffray seems to have given up reporting that an integrated Apple HDTV of some sort is just around the corner. When Gene gives up on the idea, it must be a dead product, right? Will the mythical Unicorn Apple HDTV ever arrive?
During the past year, attention has shifted away from an Apple TV and towards the idea of Apple launching a watch-like device, and more recently, chatter has surrounded the forthcoming iPhone. But Apple has become a master of "look at the shiny object in this hand while you ignore what we've got in the other." Just because focus has shifted away from a living room device going above and beyond the current Apple TV in no way means it isn't be developed, or waiting for an opening in Apple's schedule to launch.