Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Rest of 2013 for Apple: No Retina For iPad mini And Other Products We Can Realistically Expect

Tim Cook said no major Apple product launches happening until fall of this year.  So, I find it funny that we still need posts from analysts or pundits affirming that.  The latest is that from the MacDailyNews/Cult of Mac stating that no new iPhone models will be coming.  What's interesting is that the two posts above quoted the same analyst, Peter Misek, as saying that Samsung will carve out a bigger piece of the high-end mobile device market from Apple.  It remains to be seen if that is so.  The thing is that bigger screen smartphones are gaining steam but there is evidence that they're limited in terms of adopters who really want something that big.  On the other hand, Apple's customary 70% of the mobile profit share has shrunk to 57% while Samsung has picked up nearly all of the rest (Fortune).

Let’s go through realistically what we can expect in 2013:

iPad/iPad mini.  I’ll go one step further.  We will see a new iPad this year but we will not likely see a new iPad mini with Retina Display this year.  Personally, I’m fine with that because I’m looking for the next regular iPad with a redesigned form factor.

I don’t know how Apple will improve upon the mini.  Maybe faster internals.  But that’s about it.  I doubt we’ll see a price drop.

iPhone 5S.  While we’re likely to get a new iPhone model, we will not be getting one with a screen bigger than the iPhone 5’s 4” screen.  As for talk about a cheaper third world iPhone, I’m not banking on that.  Frankly, there isn’t really a need for that right now.  Installation plans in China and India has increased iPhone sales and we probably will see some good news out of T-Mobile’s new iPhone installation payment plans.

iPod (including the touch).  I don’t see a major change here.  Apple doesn’t need to upgrade anything here.  Tim Cook did mention a new product category and that’s where he’ll likely lump it into.  Folks are thinking iWatch.  I’m thinking it’s something more genic.  Like iWear.  You can wear iWear as a watch or whatever clever ways you can put it on your person.  But I doubt we’ll even see iWear.

iRadio.  Plenty of talks about Apple trying to strike a deal with the studios for music streaming.  It should happen whether Apple has everyone onboard.  Someone suggested Apple should buy Sirius XM.  They should but won’t.  Apple’s Podcast app is its future radio-like service that it intends to monetize for itself and content providers.  Consider this both Apple’s Youtube and Sirius put together.

Apple TV.  A new model does not appear to be on the books.  There have been false rumblings about an app store for the Apple TV.  I’m not sure Apple is ready with this yet.  The current Apple TV serves both Apple and users.  Unless new features that require upgrade hardware, we won’t be expecting anything new.  Also, forget it, Gene Munster.  No 4K Apple panels coming.  Your vindication will have to come next year.  1080p is just not enough of a splash for Apple.  Though I do believe that should Apple eventually release a 4K panel, it might be generous enough to keep the Apple TV around for those of us who still have and use the 1080p sets.

Trucks.  Macs and Macbooks will get upgrades.  WWDC this June would be a logical place for this to take place.  They may get announced but not ship until July or so in time for the back-to-school rush.  I suggested that we should see a redesign for some of the Macbooks, particular the Macbook Air.  I would love to see a small form factor somehow but that is just mere day-dreaming on my part.  We'll likely see newer Intel parts.  As for Retina on the Air?  I want so much to say "yes" but reality is a "no".  Smaller form factor with Retina Display for the Air is just too perfect for it to happen right now.

New Product Category.  I've already talked about the iWatch.  I'm leaning towards iWear if that.  As for other product categories, I like to see more iOS integration, not just Siri, in vehicles.  Maybe even a accessories for older cars.

I really don't want to speculate beyond this because anything else would be mere wishlists rather than what Apple is realistically willing to get into.  However, home integration seems be something that Apple has shown some interest in.  iHome kit?  Could happen.  I think that's more realistic than an Apple 4K television set at this point.

Conclusion:  iPad.  Yes.  iPad mini with Reina.  No.  Upgraded Macs.  Yes.  iWear/iWatch.  Yes/No.  iRadio.  Yes.  TV-related products.  No.  New Product categories.  No (maybe 2014 as Tim Cook mentioned).  iPhone 5S.  Yes.  5" iPhone.  No.  Cheaper iPhone.  No.

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