Now that the Apple Watch and the new MacBook have shipped to customers, the fervor that surrounds new Apple products is likely to die down – at least for a little while. But the Cupertino-based company is far from finished releasing new products this year, that much is certain. From the devices that we know are coming, to those that are still just rumors, here’s what Apple fans can expect from the tech giant in the months ahead.
New iPhones and iPads
You don’t have to be psychic to be able to predict new iPhones and iPads will be released later this year. I’ll even go out on a limb and say that we should expect to see them in the September/October timeframe. (Bold I know!) But what exactly they’ll bring to the table remains to be seen. Rumors persist that the iPhone 6S will not only pack a faster processor and a better camera, but a Force Touch screen as well, bringing some of the features we’ve seen on the Apple Watch to the smartphone too. The iPad, on the other hand, continues to go through mostly iterative updates, getting faster processors and slimmer designs, but few other significant changes or features. Look for the iPad Mini to finally receive a worthy refresh this fall, getting slimmer and lighter in the process. Meanwhile its larger sibling – the iPad Air – will probably only see a few minor tweaks.
Of course, there are some indications that we can still expect an iPad Pro to be released later this year, most likely in the fall too. This long-rumored tablet will reportedly have a 12″ screen, amazing battery life, and possibly even USB ports. The product is expected to mostly appeal to the business market, although some consumers will probably have an interest in the larger-screened iPad as well. Other than that, little is known about the iPad Pro, but there is enough chatter in the Apple supply chain to suggest it will come sooner or later.
The iMac is likely to see an update in the months ahead, but until recently I would have guess that any upgrades would have been minor ones at best. After getting a Retina display last year, it seemed like 2015 would see only processor and graphics card updates on Apple’s venerable all-in-one machine. But new rumors suggest that an 8k display could soon become an option on the iMac, which would provide eye-popping visuals to say the least. Critics and customers were wowed with last year’s screen resolution upgrade, but going to 8k would simply be incredible. I’d also expect the next iMac to also come with USB-C ports like the ones found on the new MacBook as well.
New 15″ MacBook Pros
The 13″ MacBook Pro with Retina display received an update when the new MacBook was revealed, as did the MacBook Air. But oddly the 15″ model has yet to be refreshed. That will change at some point this year, as the laptop will no doubt receive faster processors, an improved graphics card option, and the new Force Touch trackpad that is already found on every other model in Apple’s notebook line. Look for USB-C ports to be added to the 15″ MacBook Pro as well as we steadily ease over to those ports becoming standard on all Mac computers.
The Apple TV hasn’t been updated in a meaningful way since 2012, and we all know that it is long over due. Rumors suggest a new model will be revealed at the World Wide Developers Conference in June, and that it will run apps, have more onboard storage, voice search capabilities powered by Siri, and a redesigned interface. The device is not expected to ship until the fall, and will coincide with the launch of Apple’s alleged entry into the streaming television market. Such a device could also herald Apple’s entry into the home video game market, as an Apple TV capable of running apps would automatically have an impressive catalog of games available too.
The acquisition of Beats Headphones hasn’t provided much for Apple as of yet, but with a rumored streaming music service launching this summer, we may finally see why Tim Cooke was so interested in purchasing the audio company last year. There have been persistent rumors that Beats will also release new headphone models that will plug into the lightning port on Apple devices as well, providing new opportunities for how users interact with them. For instance, iPhone owners could turn the noise-canceling options on the Beats on or off from their devices rather than having to fumble for a button on the cans themselves. Using the lightning port could also produce higher quality audio too, something Beats headphones could certainly benefit from.
Mac Pro, Mac Mini and iPods
I’ve lumped each of these devices into one category because it seems unlikely that any of them will receive any updates this year. Both the Mac Pro and Mini models have gotten only very incremental upgrades in recent years, often seeing many months between new models. Both were refreshed in 2014, and neither seems likely to see a another round of upgrades this year. On the other hand, iPods are nearing the end of their life, and sales continue to fall. Apple will keep offering the product as long as it continues to be worth it to them, but there really isn’t a need to update the iPod line moving forward. As much as I’d love to see the iPod Touch get the latest A-series processor, it just doesn’t seem like it’ll be in the cards.
One More Thing?
Could Apple have another surprise product lurking in the wings? There are some suggestions that the company is researching all kinds of new technologies, but it seems very unlikely that any of them will come to market this year. Instead, expect Apple to concentrate on launching new services instead, including the aforementioned streaming music and television offerings, as well as possible new iCloud options too.