What Apple is doing in 2019

Some highly speculative predictions around some of the all-new Apple products and services I’m expecting to learn more about in 2019.

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Silly season has hit us once again, and with every website offering some kind of take on Black Friday shopping posts I thought I’d sketch a few notes on some of the all-new Apple products and services I expect to learn more about in 2019.

What everyone knows

We all know a little about the company’s plans:

New iPhones, iMacs, waterproof AirPod 2’s and more.

We can also imagine the introduction of some take on its long-awaited AirPower product (will it be called something different?) and it’s an easy next step to suspect we might see some move toward true wireless energy supply, given its recent activity in that space.

A new Apple Watch is predictable, as should be an updated Apple TV (on which, more below). At least one Apple analyst predicts an all-new iPad mini.

iOS, macOS, watchOS and tvOS will also see improvements which the company will introduce at WWDC 2019, where you can also anticipate exciting real-world examples of augmented reality being used to transform enterprise communications and daily life.

Here’s a smattering of other predictions:

The Mac Pro

Apple resisted the urge to share any more information concerning its promised Mac Pro upgrade when it introduced new Macs this fall, but the signs look good for the company’s pro desktop. You can anticipate high performance, larger addressable memory space and a focus on modularity, as evidenced by the external GPU’s Apple now supports in all its Macs.

Apple has previously claimed it is taking a “modular approach” to the design, but hasn’t gone into detail. At the same time, it has invested a lot of energy ensuring its iMac Pro, MacBook Pro and even its ‘more pro’ Mac mini ranges deliver most of the horsepower creative professionals need.

These things won’t be built for the mass market (and won't be priced for it, either, I imagine), but if PCs really are going to become trucks (and they are), then I’m guessing Apple will want Mac Pro to be the fastest, baddest, heavy haulage creative workstation on the digital high road. 

“Apple is working on a completely redesigned, next-generation Mac Pro architected for pro customers who need the highest performance, high-throughput system in a modular, upgradeable design,” the company promised in a 2017 press release.

The T2 chip inside the Mac will make it a video encoding powerhouse. I don’t know if Intel can keep up – is Ming-Chi Kuo onto something?

Apple Maps

If you live in certain parts of California, you will already be using Apple’s improved Maps. These provide more detail about vegetation, building shapes, beaches, back garden swimming pools and more. The company has also started sending pedestrians equipped with Apple Maps monitoring equipment around some U.S. cities.

Apple wants to build a complete set of mapping data of its own from scratch.

Speaking earlier this year, Apple VP Eddy Cue told TechCrunch: “We have been working on trying to create what we hope is going to be the best map app in the world, taking it to the next step.”

Apple has previously suggested it will implement these improved Maps across the U.S. over the next year. International plans have not been announced, but it is logical to expect them to arrive in key territories in the next year.

It will be interesting to see how tightly woven Maps will be in other future Apple products and services.

Apple television

Apple has spent millions of dollars assembling a crack team of high-quality content specialists to put together its push at original movies and shows for it much-anticipated Netflix-style TV service.

The company is expected to introduce this new service in some form in 2019, most likely in fall. It’s also a no-brainer to predict better support for AR on Apple TV, for which a processor upgrade may be required.

Things may become even more interesting if there is any truth in claims the company intends offering a low-cost Apple TV “stick”a la Amazon Fire TV Stick. (Apple TV is second only to Amazon in providing a streaming services box.)

Apple evidently has a vested interest in widening its audience for TV shows, as it will also hope to sell music subscriptions, apps and hardware to new customers who like what it offers.

Waiting in the wings is the speculation that never dies, which is that now Apple owns pretty much all the technologies it needs in order to do something unique, it may even launch its own connected television set – all that product needs is robust 5G networks for such a system to become a real cable cutter’s choice.

A glance toward 5G

The first 5G smartphones will ship in late 2019. They won’t deliver on their hype because most of the carriers won’t have launched 5G networks yet, and probably won’t do so until 2020, or beyond.

We know Apple is working on 5G, and while we don’t expect it to introduce 5G support in 2019’s iPhones, it is slightly possible we’ll hear a little more about how it plans to support the technology on a software basis. That information may not emerge until WWDC 2020, of course.

Meanwhile Apple's crack silicon development teams are asking themselves "What’s in a modem?"

Those Apple Glasses also look set to be made for 5G – what else do you think your FaceTime Avatar is for? Connectivity (and capacity) is everything in the Internet of Things – even a smart scooter will need fast reliable bandwidth and AI capacity at the edge. **Cough** Not to mention any other form of transport.

Mobile medical devices

Apple’s new Apple Watch Series 4 hosts a fantastic new ECG sensor to monitor some heart conditions, offers a fall detection system and more.

All the same, not every Apple sensor can be manufactured cheaply enough or is sufficiently needed by customers to justify using them/paying for them to be inside every shipping device. Apple has been working on sensors for years, so I think it likely we’ll see it offer up a range of its own iOS-compatible mHealth accessories, such as the sleep monitoring system described in the following patent.

That enterprise push

Have you noticed how big Apple is in the enterprise? The company has quietly worked very hard at this and now has all the ingredients to support complex enterprise deployments across multiple industries.

With this in mind, you can expect Apple to become a little more overt in its focus on enterprise IT across the next 12-months as high-profile productivity apps reach iPad Pro. With consumer sales dampening in the face of global instability, this focus on the enterprise is a smart move by Cupertino. Anyone would think they’d been working towards it for a while.

Meanwhile, its switch into services may prove more fundamental than many believe in future, as ‘access-not-ownership’ models proliferate. 

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