Alright folks, it’s that time of year again! A flurry of new Apple products is about to be released over the next 2 months and there are rumors abound about what Apple has up its sleeve this time around. I’m here to sift through them all and give you a clear picture of what to expect for this year’s refresh. All of the following information has been pulled from various tech blogs, including: Gizmodo, BGR, MacRumors, 9to5Mac, and AppleInsider. Without further ado, let’s get started!
This is the one thing I know for certain will show up at the iPhone unveiling. A new version of iOS always comes with a new iPhone. iOS 7 was announced at WWDC on June 10th; so we know what’s coming with that. It’ll be supported on the iPhone 4, 4S and 5, 5th generation iPod Touch, iPad 2, iPad with Retina display (3rd & 4th generation) and the iPad Mini, as well as all the new devices announced. More on those…
The updated iPhone model will definitely be called the 5S, following the naming pattern that started back in 2009 with the 3GS. It will sport the same design as the iPhone 5 with upgraded internals. Few surprises here; expect the usual suspects to be upgraded. We’ll see a dual-core A7 processor, 12-megapixel rear camera, dual-LED flash for better low-light photos and a slightly bigger battery. Other possibilities I haven’t heard others speculating about, but that make sense, include: small low-power processors for specific applications (Siri?), the more power-efficient combined chipset for Wi-Fi/Bluetooth and a more battery-efficient LTE chipset would equate to greatly improved battery life on the 5S. Don’t expect to see 802.11ac Wi-Fi though; the battery drain would negate any gains in capacity or through the aforementioned improvements. We probably won’t see that until the iPhone 6. The one thing Apple might have up its sleeve would be a much-needed security boost: an embedded fingerprint sensor. I’ve been seeing speculation and leaks about Apple either integrating a fingerprint sensor into the display or home button. The home button seems like the best bet for this and recent leaks suggest Apple agrees. If this happens, expect to be able to unlock your iPhone by simply putting your finger on the home button. This will also be the first iPhone to be released on all 4 U.S. carriers simultaneously (Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint). It’s even possible that one model could be used on all of those. Look for smaller and prepaid carriers to get it within the month following the initial release.
“But Paul, what about those leaked, plastic-looking iPhones?”
Let me start off by saying one thing: I’m not fully sold that this is actually coming out. Apple has prototypes of several different versions of its devices at all times; they’re currently testing a 12″ iPad but that won’t ever see the light of day. This could be the same scenario as when the 4S came out: everyone was expecting a teardrop-shaped phone matching all the leaks prior to its announcement, not the same design as the 4. A plastic iPhone just doesn’t feel like an Apple product from 2013.
Having said all that, these leaks all look legit. However, I feel like most sites have it all wrong. Everything I’ve read about the iPhone 5C (C stands for cheap?) says it will replace the 5, which doesn’t make sense. Let me explain: when the iPhone 5S drops, Apple will discontinue the iPhone 4 (even though it does support iOS 7, as I mentioned). That will leave the 4S as the only iPhone sold by Apple with a 3.5″ screen and 30-pin dock connector. After last fall’s quick refresh of the full-size iPad to give it the Lightning connector, I believe Apple will use the same philosophy to ditch the 4S a year earlier than normal. The 5C will replace the 4S as the free-on-contract model, meaning that all iPhones that Apple sells will have a Lightning connector and 4″ screen. It will have a hybrid of the internals from the 4S and 5 with a polycarbonate-like case, which should equate to slightly better reception for cellular and Wi-Fi signals. This should at least have the cellular internals of the 5 so that all 3 iPhones (5C, 5, 5S) will support all 4 U.S. carriers. This is the only scenario releasing the 5C makes logical sense.
“But Paul, I need to replace my aging iPod. How about those?”
Inevitably, we’ll see a 6th generation iPod Touch introduced. It’ll have updated internals like a dual-core A6 processor and 8-megapixel camera, maybe the fingerprint-sensing home button. Probably not much more of a change here. There haven’t been any leaks concerning a new Shuffle or Nano so don’t expect to see those, although a bump in storage would be nice. The Classic could finally be killed off if they release a 128GB Touch. Look for the 5th generation Touch to stick around as a cheaper model for a few months like the 4th generation model did.
“Didn’t they upgrade the iPad around this time last year?”
Correct! Speaking of which…
We’ll see a 5th generation iPad released with the usual upgrades: A7x processor and better camera. If the fingerprint sensor shows up in the iPhone 5S, you can bet it’ll be in the new iPad as well. It’ll also sport thinner bezels a la the iPad Mini and be thinner than the current, 4th generation iPad thanks to new display tech. Speaking of the iPad Mini, a 2nd generation Mini with a Retina display should be showing up. It’ll have to use an AXx processor like its bigger brother in order to power the high-resolution display, likely the A6x powering the current, full-size iPad. Look for a price drop on the 1st generation Mini and 4th generation full-size iPad. Apple should finally discontinue the iPad 2, getting rid of the last device they sell with a 30-pin dock connector (assuming they kill the iPod Classic and iPhone 4S, like I said before).
“Hey Paul, what about computers? I like to do real work.”
Little snotty, aren’t we? Yes, Apple does still sell computers…
Apple updated the MacBook Airs at WWDC with the new Intel processors. No other Macs saw an update, though we did get a sneak peek at the new Mac Pro. We should see an across the board update to those battery-efficient Haswell processors; hopefully we’ll get a small storage bump as well. The Mac Pro will make its scheduled appearance. This could even be the time we see the non-Retina MacBook Pro discontinued; it’s gonna happen sooner or later. This could precipitate the complete move away from standard hard drives and going all-in with flash storage. The new Mac Pro will have PCI-E based flash storage and we could easily see a similar move on the Mac Mini and iMac. That’s actually pretty exciting because those things are screaming fast! We also might see a new 4K Thunderbolt Display released alongside the new Mac Pro. Expect discounts on the now-current models from other retailers.
“Where’s OS X? Isn’t it about time for another cat?”
There’s not many left to choose from…
Well, Apple is changing things up a little bit. At WWDC, they announced, and released for developer beta testing, OS X 10.9 Mavericks. With not many cat names left, Apple decided to move to a naming scheme with quite a few more choices: California landmarks (Mavericks is a well-known surfing location in Northern Cali). We know from the announcement what to expect here and this should be released alongside new hardware. As it seems, any model Mac that can run Mountain Lion will run Mavericks (though features like AirPlay mirroring will have specific hardware requirements).
“So when can I get all this cool stuff?”
Ahh! I knew I was forgetting something…
It’s all but confirmed by Apple that the iPhone(s) and iOS 7 will be announced on September 10th. It makes sense to announce the new iPods and iPads on this date as their updates won’t take much time to explain. That will bring all new, iOS 7-supporting devices out on the same day and kill the 30-pin dock connector all in one event. With the announcement on the 10th, they should be available for pre-order on Friday the 13th and in stores on the 20th. This means we should expect iOS 7 to be released on September 18th to all supported devices. I’ve heard about delays for the iPad version, but hopefully those will get ironed out. As for the computers, I expect another October release, with a launch event probably on October 15th. This is where we’ll see Mavericks, updated Mac Minis, MacBook Pros, iMacs and the new Mac Pro (with possible 4K TBD). Expect all of these to be available the same day.
Whew! That’s a busy fall for Apple; so many new products ready for holiday shoppers! If you’re in the market for a new computer or mobile device, it might be best to wait until this plays out. If anything, for the discounts on the older stuff.
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