Few sequals have ever had such success as Apple and their range of products, so it is with excitement that we look towards August/September when Apple traditionally hold their ‘music event’ which over the year has seen the evolution of the iPod range, but perhaps this year will include much more than that.
In many ways Apple has been predictable in timing of new and upgraded products, although often unpredictable in what the actual product and functionality would be, but this year they are even proving to be unpredictable in terms of timing of releases. It started this summer with no new iPhone being announced at WWDC 2011, and now rumors are that we will see a wider range of upgrades coming this fall, beyond just the iPod range.
What we know
We already know that iOS 5 and the iCloud is coming for full later this fall, as it was announced at WWDC 2011. There is still some uncertainty of the final version of iOS 5 and how many features will make it through beta testing, but it looks promising so far. As for the iCloud which promises to take wire syncing out of the equation, there might be differences in what services will become available when in different parts of the world, as we here in the UK already know that we are likely going to have to wait a while for the iTunes Match feature for example.
What we believe
There is never a lack of rumors around Apple, with everyone from Wall Street analysts to bloggers making their predictions about what is coming next and by when. Some guesses are more qualified than others, but fact remains that until Apple makes an announcement we don’t know anything for sure.
Based on the buzz in the market, this is what we believe will come this fall.
iPhone 5 & iPhone 4S
Whatever the reason for Apple not to deliver a new iPhone this summer, indications are that we might see two new iPhone’s coming later this year as part of an extended iOS family; the iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S.
It looks like Apple might for the first time deliver iPhone’s that are different in other ways than just color and storage space, as the rumor mill suggests an entry level iPhone 4S will come to target the pre-paid smartphone market, an area where Android amongst other have enjoyed success. Such a device could potentially mean large international growth in market share for Apple.
As for the iPhone 5, we are likely to be talking about a specification upgrade to A5 processor and 8-megapixel camera. There is also talk about a slimmer and lighter design, but we don’t expect it to stray much from the current iPhone 4 design.
iPod Touch 5
With the success of the iPad there has been many speculations around what Apple might do next for the iPod Touch, such as making it slightly bigger, to sit in size somewhere between the current model and the iPad (perhaps a 6-inch screen).
If there is an upgrade to the iPhone coming this fall we might see the iPod Touch 5 taking much more of a back seat at what has traditionally been a big event for this model, but i would expect the specifications to match those of the iPhone 5 (A5 chip etc.). As for more screen size options i have my doubts for this year, but perhaps in 2012.
iPod Nano iOS friendly
With everything else that is going on around the iOS range, such as the iCloud, it is perhaps time for Apple to make more changes to the iPod line up, including the smaller member in the iPod Nano. Building further on the current design, but adding some iOS features could just take the Nano to the next level.
Although there are plenty of rumors about Apple’s plans to make an entry into the tv set market, it might be a bit too early for that, but it might be different for an upgrade to the current Apple TV 2 to a third generation Apple TV 3.
Expectations for an Apple TV 3 would include true 1080p HD, as well as for gaming purposes using the new AirPlay mirroring feature in iOS 5. It would not surprise me if Apple starts selling iPod Touch/iPad bundles that include an upgraded Apple TV to further target the gaming console market and further app enhance your television set.
Although there is plenty of chatter about an upgraded iPad 2, often referred to as an iPad 2 HD or iPad 2 Pro, with Retina display coming as well this fall, i have my doubts.
Firstly i think 6 months after the release of the iPad 2 is too close, especially knowing that Apple is finally getting production levels to keep up with demand. They will also be looking closely at what competitors are bringing to the market and what their market share is. If they start seeing real threats we might see Apple making their move early to stay ahead, but for now there seems to be few reasons for Apple to release another upgrade already.
So while it looks like the iOS family will be extended in this next chapter of ‘Meet the Apples’ and we just have to wait and see how many and what they will look like this fall.