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?
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.
Apple Watch 2
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.
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)
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.
Apple TV Streaming Service
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.