Apple CEO, Tim Cook may be off battling the FBI’s surveillance dragons on his righteous quest to stop stupid governments undermining the mobile revolution when it’s only begun, but his company still has its eyes on where the puck will be. Here’s what we think we know about Apple’s forthcoming spring collection, coming into view (we think) March 15(?).
iOS, tvOS, OS X, watchOS
Apple is developing important software updates across its product range, introducing much better discoverability to Apple TV apps and a range of useful features for iPads and iPhones, including multi-user mode, Night Shift and more. Traditionally the company ships bigger updates just before big launch events, as they usually also introduce include support for new solutions. And while the focus is on mobile devices, you just know the Mac's coming along for the ride.
Will Apple introduce a 4-inch iPhone to follow in the footsteps of the iPhone 5S? Will it offer “curved edges” (is that really a selling point?) I expect a good camera, Live Photos, fast processor, Apple Pay, 3D Touch (I love 3D Touch). There have been claims the product will be “unashamedly metal”. We will see. I expect a 4-inch iPhone will do quite well, though I don’t expect it to be the first Apple product to ship without a headphone jack, though that will in future make sense /because: mobile everything.
Too many people look at Apple’s devices as separate products, but they are a continuum. This means you can start a project on any of its devices and finish it on others, flitting between them as and when you need to. It’s the kind of compatibility and sync you don’t really get from anybody else -- that is why Apple critics tend to avoid mentioning it and why iPad Pro owns the enterprise.
What to expect? iPad, or more specifically a thing I’m calling “farewell iPad Air, hello iPad Pro family”. iPad Pro becomes a range including 9.7-inch and 12.9-inch device. They’ll both offer great processors, Apple Pen support, excellent speakers and their own Smart Keyboard. Meanwhile the popular iPad mini will get its own set of upgrades to help it remain the world’s favorite medium-sized tablet, with a focus on browsing, reading and taking notes.
We know there is something going on at Apple Retail, and yet Angela Ahrendts, SVP retail and online has been relatively quiet since she took her job in a blaze of publicity. She isn’t resting on her laurels while taking those paychecks... a glance at any of the many larger Apple Stores going through long (and costly) refits in recent months tells us to expect change. Apple also seems to be hiring oodles of retail staff, and its plans must include both online and physical retail elements designed to put Cupertino up front and center in the digital transformation of retail.
The most recent GarageBand update is fantastic. Alongside great new features development appeared focused on making the application work well across -- and between -- all Apple’s products, illustrating interesting conceptual ideas that underpin how strongly its different devices complement each other. I love that you can open the GarageBand help pages on your iPad while working on the app on your Mac, for example. Expect much, much more of such device agnostic utility in Apple software soon.
Speaking of seasons, Apple will soon announce the biggest event in its calendar, June’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference (WWDC). There it will reveal deeper integration across all its platforms, Siri for Macs, even more powerful mobile features and technologies (LiFi?) and – potentially, sow seeds of future plans to bring things like Notes to Windows and iMessages to Android, along with surprises we haven’t predicted, such as hints concerning Apple’s subscription TV and movie service perhaps or even something else. Stay tuned.
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