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“Great products” expected for 2016: iOS 10, Apple Watch 2, iPhone 7

2016 Expectations
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In a recent interview on CNBC’s Mad Money, Apple CEO Tim Cook teased that the company has “great products in the pipeline” and suggested that the new “iPhones” will be a great incentive to upgrade. Cook said something similar three years ago about the “great products” that were coming in 2014. This is the year that we saw the Apple Watch, iPhone 6, Apple Pay, and iPad Air 2 announced. So what exactly are these “great products in the pipeline?” What do we expect to see for the rest of the year?

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iOS 10

2016 Expectations

iOS 10 concept by iPhoneInformer.com

The tenth-generation operating system is all but confirmed to be announced at Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference (WWDC) next month in California. Apple has a history of announcing software updates at this event geared towards developers so they can prepare their apps to work on the major software update when it is released in the fall. Rumors for its features have been quite absence, but we are hoping for a complete redesign and overhaul of bug fixes since it is the tenth version. Current rumors suggest that Apple will be updating their Music app with reorganized tabs, a whole new user interface, and increased functions. The Music app will have 3D Touch display shortcuts for sharing music faster and previewing songs. Apple is also working on a person-to-person payment system with Apple Pay and this may be included in the update. Other rumors have indicated an all-new Photos app and iCloud Voicemail where Siri will be able to answer phone calls and transcribe voicemails.

We also expect watchOS and tvOS updates, which are for the Apple Watch and Apple TV, respectively.

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Apple Watch 2

2016 Expectations

Apple Watch 2 concept with camera by Eric Huismann.

The second-generation Apple Watch is expected to be announced and released this year, hopefully the announcement being at WWDC. We are expecting a watch that is not dependent on the iPhone for functionality, a 20% to 40% thinner design, a front camera, and models made of new materials (perhaps tungsten or platinum). Rumors have also suggested that it will have a cellular chip or a WiFi chip inside so it can be independent of the phone. If the new watch is not announced at the conference, it should come along the iPhone 7 in September.

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iPhone 7

2016 Expectations

iPhone 7 concept by Martin Hajek

The next major numbered iPhone generation is upon us this year. Historically, Apple has refreshed the design when releasing an iPhone with a new number, but this year might be different since next year is the tenth anniversary of iPhone. Unfortunately it occurs on an “S” year and previously the company has only updated the internal components and added a flagship feature. Considering the iPhone 6 when it was released in 2014, it was a complete redesign from the iPhone 5s, and the iPhone 6s had a similar design to the iPhone 6 but came with a 4K video camera, 3D Touch display and added waterproofness. This would mean the ninth iPhone (this year) would have a complete redesign and the tenth (next year) would only have a minor update. Apple appears to be switching these to make this year a minor update and next year a complete overhaul of design.

The current rumors suggest the iPhone 7 will be available in the same sizes as the iPhone 6s (4.7″ and 5.5″) with the larger model coming with rear dual-camera, no headphone jack, a thinner Lightning port, and potentially the same body design as the iPhone 6s. It will be powered by the A10 processor, have more RAM, and a higher storage capacity of 256GB. Next year’s iPhone, however, may be a complete redesign with a shell made mostly of glass similar to the iPhone 4.

On a side note, the name of the iPhone is also unconfirmed. A recent blueprint suggested it would be called the “iPhone Pro” or perhaps Apple would just call it “iPhone”. Apple may also release three sizes of the new phone: 4.7″, 5.5″, and 5.8″. The latter may be a part of next year’s iPhone instead.



iPad mini 5 (7.9″ iPad Pro)

2016 Expectations

iPad Pro compared to iPad Air 2 and iPad mini, by WSJ

Currently the rumors around the next-generation iPad mini is just speculation since it is likely that the table will be discontinued this year. We would like to see Apple take the iPad mini and make it part of the iPad Pro lineup. They could offer their Pro tablet lineup in 12.9″, 9.7″ and now 7.9″ display sizes. It could have four stereo speakers, a redesigned interior, a higher quality display, and support for the Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard.

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Apple TV Streaming Service

2016 Expectations

Apple TV 4 Home screen

Apple was rumored all of last year to release an Internet streaming TV service similar to Sling alongside the 4th generation Apple TV in fall 2015. Unfortunately this did not happen because contracts were apparently not finalized. Hopefully we will see them release it this year. The Wall Street Journal reported over a year ago that the streaming service would initially be limited to twenty-five channels and be offered for $30 to $40 per month.



Apple Entertainment concept: on-demand music, TV and movies

Apple TV 4 Home screen
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With Apple Music and a rumored streaming Internet TV service coming next year, Apple is working their way into on-demand entertainment. Music and TV channels will be available at any time of day whenever we want, but what else is there for Apple? What else do we want on-demand? Movies. Specifically new movies. Using this inspiration, we created a concept called Apple Entertainment that allows subscribers to access movies, music and TV on-demand.

Apple Entertainment is a revolutionary system that incorporates three entertainment services into one. It takes Apple Music, Apple’s rumored Internet TV streaming service and a new idea called Apple Movies and packages them all together for a set monthly price.

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The first component, Apple Music, was introduced at the Worldwide Developer’s Conference in June and it allows subscribers to stream any song at any time, on-demand. It also includes curated radio stations, like Beats 1, and a platform for artists to connect with their fans. Subscribers can access all this content for a set monthly price of $9.99 for individuals and $14.99 for families. It’s a whole new system of music that directly competes with Spotify, Rdio and other similar services.

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The second component of Apple Entertainment is Apple’s rumored Internet TV streaming service. It was expected to be announced in June, then this was pushed back to September and now the release is sometime in 2016. The Wall Street Journal reported that the service would start at twenty-five channels anchored by major networks like CBS and Fox. The channels would be live and Apple would be competing directly with Sling TV. The rumored price is around $30 to $40 per month.

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The final component is Apple Movies, which hasn’t been really rumored or announced yet, but we feel that it is the next step for Apple. This would allow subscribers to access movies on-demand, like Netflix and Hulu. As of earlier this year, the iTunes Store had 50,000 movies available for rental and purchase. If Apple could offer these movies on-demand for a monthly fee instead of paying per rental, it would be huge. Understandably the newer movies would probably not be able to be streamed immediately after release, at least for now, but Apple could offer movies ahead of Netflix. We predict a monthly charge for this service of $9.99 or $14.99, similar to Apple Music. In addition, Apple is reportedly going to be making their own movies and TV shows, similar to what Netflix does now so this could be further evidence that Apple is working on on-demand movies and TV.

Apple Entertainment would take each of these services (music, TV and movies) and put them together for a set price of $60 to $70 per month. Since Apple doesn’t believe in bundling and saving money, like when they offered AppleCare+ for the Apple Watch and iPhone together and literally made it the price of the one plus the other (no discount), we see Apple doing something similar here. The minimum price would be $60 (assuming $40/month for the TV subscription) for one user and $70 for two or more up to six. Subscribers can view music, radio, TV shows, live TV channels, movies and more on-demand. Apple would take over the living room in terms of entertainment and after seeing the new Apple TV, we could very well be seeing this in the next few years.

Apple TV 4: new user interface, motion-sensitive remote, A8 processor, coming next month

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The fourth generation Apple TV, like the iPhone 6s, is no longer a secret. This device has been in the works for years and finally we expect for it to be announced next week at Apple’s special media event. Besides a new form factor, we will see a redesigned user interface, completely revolutionary remote control, support for iOS functions and a price for under $200.

Apple TV concept

Apple TV concept by Martin Hajek

The new Apple TV will have a similar design for its body, like its predecessor, with a redesigned and more simplified remote control. The box will be slimmer, wider and primarily made of plastic. It will be powered by the A8 processor, which is the same processor in the iPhone 6, and have the much faster and efficient Bluetooth 4.2 connectivity. The storage capacity will be 8GB, like its predecessor, but Apple is considering a 16GB model as well. The back of the box will have the usual ports: power, HDMI connector and USB port for connecting to the Mac.

The dark gray/black metal remote control will be motion-sensitive similar to the Wii remote with multi-axis sensors and it will use Bluetooth to connect to the box. The controller will be thicker and bigger than the current remote with a touchpad on the top, two physical buttons (one is the Home button and the other is for Siri) on the bottom, rocker buttons for volume and a microphone for Siri. It may even have a headphone jack in it. In addition, Apple is opening up the platform by providing support for more complex and console-style remotes. Third-parties can create game controllers with more buttons and joysticks to interact with the content on the Apple TV.

Apple TV concept

Apple TV concept by Andrew Ambrosino

For the software of the Apple TV, there is a redesigned user interface with support for Siri, an App Store and home automation. The Apple TV will run a custom version of iOS 9 so it will feel consistent to the experience on the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch when iOS 9 is released publicly this month. There will be a system-wide search bar that will allow users to find results from multiple apps. For example, searching for “The Office” will pull videos from YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, iTunes Store and more. In addition, the Apple TV will be receiving its own App Store. The software development kit (SDK) for developers will be available following the announcement so there will apps populating the App Store when the Apple TV is released next month. The box will support voice search, home automation and more through Siri. She will be activated using the special button on the remote, or likely by saying “Hey, Siri” (as hinted by the event invitation.) Finally, the Apple TV is rumored to have support for HomeKit, which will allow it serve as the central hub for home automation.

Apple TV concept by Andrew Ab

Apple TV concept by Andrew Abrosino

Besides offering on-demand TV and movies, the Apple TV is also rumored to have a streaming TV service. The service will initially have twenty-five channels which will be anchored by major networks and be available for about $30-$40 per month. This will unfortunately not be announced at the event next week as Apple is still in talks with programmers about their service so we anticipate the release date will either be later 2015, or more than likely, 2016. Apple is also reportedly exploring original TV and movie content that they may included in the future on the streaming service.

When the new Apple TV is announced next week, rumors suggest that Apple will be continuing to sell the third-generation Apple TV. This older model will be able to access the Internet TV streaming service when it’s released next year, but it will not have access to the App Store or Siri. The price will remain at $69, while the new Apple TV will be $149 and it will be released in October.

Apple is reportedly launching TV streaming service in fall with 25 channels

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Earlier this week, it was reported in The Wall Street Journal that Apple is in talks with programmers to offer a web TV service on the Apple TV and other iOS devices. This service would be limited to about 25 channels to start, which is a “slimmed down bundle of TV networks” and it would cost about $30-$40/month.

Citing people familiar with the matter, the WSJ said that major broadcasters would be the anchor of the service and there will be twenty-five channels initially. The first channels would be offered by ABC, CBS and FOX. Apple is also reportedly talking to Disney, Discovery, which is the owner of the Discovery Channel, Animal Planet and TLC, and Viacom, the owner of MTV, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon. We expect that the new HBO Now channel will also be included in the twenty-five. Due to the falling out last year with Comcast, the parent company of NBC, this channel will likely not be available anytime soon.

A few media executives spoke to the WSJ about Apple’s TV service and they expect it to be offered for around $30-$40 per month. This compares to the Sling television streaming service, which only costs $20 and is available on multiple platforms and devices, but is limited to seventeen total channels. Apple’s service will be limited to their iOS devices, like the iPad and Apple TV.

credit: WSJ

credit: WSJ

The service will be shown off at the Worldwide Developer’s Conference (WWDC) in early June and released to the pubic in September alongside the iPhone 6s and iOS 9. We should also see a redesigned Apple TV in early fall as well.