14 rabbits Apple may pull out of its hat at Tuesday's announcement

14 rabbits Apple may pull out of its hat at Tuesday's announcement

Summary: We dive into each major product category and take a look at what Apple might have up its sleeve.

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TOPICS: Apple
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For years, Apple's announcement events have been the must-cover shindigs of the season.

All of us pundits, commentators, bloggers, reporters, and analysts each look into our own crystal ball and predict, prognosticate, handicap, illuminate, and adumbrate (and make stuff up) about what we think Apple is about to do next.

We had the joy of writing about the iPhone 5s and 5c announcements last month, and Apple quietly announced a spec-jump for iMacs. What does that leave?

Apple is following with another announcement tomorrow, I'm jumping on the adumbratin' bandwagon and making some of my own predictions.

Here, then, are the various products and my educated, but still probably pretty much unfounded guesses about each of them.

Mavericks: It's pretty much a given that Apple will announce a release date for OS X Mavericks, given that the golden master has been issued and even updated. Whether you're getting Mavericks this week or this month is the only question. This rabbit's got bunny ears.

Smart watch: After months of speculation about Apple introducing a new smart watch, Samsung came out with the Galaxy Gear and sucked all the enthusiasm for the category down a deep, dark black hole. Since the Gear hit the street with a thud, nobody's been talking Apple watch. This rabbit don't hop.

Smart TV: For years, Apple has been rumored to be working on something amazing for the living room, beyond the Apple TV. Could it be some way of cutting out the cable companies and going direct, allowing viewers to selectively watch and buy the programs they want? Could it be another living room TV? Frankly, this rumor is old and stale. This poor bunny has seen better days.

Apple TV: Compared to the iPhone, the Apple TV is merely a hobby. But the little hockey puck is a billion dollar product all on its own. It's possible the puck will get a spec upgrade, but it's more likely that more media providers will be added. It's unlikely we'll see a completely new offering this iteration, but we have been surprised before. This bunny is napping.

4K display: Will Apple leave money on the table. After announcing that the new Mac Pro (see below) will support up to three 4K displays, it seems relatively obvious that Apple will introduce its own 4K display. But whether that's a this-week intro or a next season intro is probably dependent on whether the 4K technology meets Apple's rigorous supply chain requirements. I'm guessing Easter. This rabbit is painting eggs.

iPad: Well, hello? This is the Big Daddy of the announcement rumors. We almost assuredly know that Apple will introduce the iPad 5 (possibly called "iPad" again). We're looking thinner, lighter, 64-bit, and most likely including a fingerprint sensor like on the 5s. Will there be a gold iPad? For those rabbits with champaign dreams, I give a tip of the top hat to "yes".

iPad mini with Retina: In my mind, the iPad mini is one of the big questions of this event. It's got question marks lined up on multiple vectors. Let's first take the Retina vector. To produce the mini with Retina, Apple would have to beef up the battery (although iOS 7 helps). A beefed up battery might make for a bigger machine. This one is a complete unknown. On this vector, the rabbit is hiding in its hole.

iPad mini with fingerprint scanner: While Apple clearly sees the security benefits of adding "what you are" authentication, they're not willing to sacrifice their margins to provide it, as seen in the iPhone 5c sans reader. My guess on this one, given that the iPad mini is already overpriced compared to its 7-inch brethren is that either (a) the mini will break mini-s and mini-c or (b) there will be no reader. Heck, bunnies don't have fingerprints (but their little toes are often covered in fur).

iPad mini in lots of colors: Here's one that's just chock full of possibilities. What if Apple kept the iPad mini pretty much as-is, but added lots of colors? The iPad mini is clearly Apple's mass-market tablet, and Apple has often punched up products with color (going all the way back to the fruit-flavored original iMacs). Color sells, and sells well. This rabbit is painting its eggs in a rainbow of colors.

iPad mini for cheap: Since Apple has been known to sell last year's model for less than this year's, expect the original iPad mini to sell for somewhere between $229 and $249. This rabbit may hop right over the fence.

iPod touch: Apple refreshed the iPod line relatively recently, but did not upgrade the iPod touch past about iPhone 4s levels. While the iPod is declining in sales compared to the iPhone juggernaut, it's still big business. If I were laying odds, I'd say you can expect to see iPod touches using 5c technology and colors. Let's do the bunny hop.

Smaller iPods: Will the smaller iPods get an upgrade? Well, the obvious answer is adding apps and the app store, but the straight iPod music player doesn't really need apps. My guess is this bunny will sleep through the season.

MacBook Pro: Now we move on to the Mac. It's quite likely that the MacBook Pro will get a spec bump to the battery-friendly Haswell architecture. Fingerprint reader? Doubtful, but possible. Bunnies are a'hoppin' for Haswell, but droopy ears for fingerprint sensors.

Mac Pro: Okay, let me be blunt: I want one. The spec list has me salivating. I love power and this thing seems to be dripping with raw energy. There are two real questions: when will it be shipped and how ungodly expensive will it be? I'm guessing shipping by end-of-year, and possibly November. The big question is price. Apple could surprise us with a price mere humans can afford, and that would rock the house. But my guess is we're talking serious work pricing that that floats us well up into the "what are you smoking?" stratosphere. This bunny wears a Rolex.

Mac mini: Ah, the Mac mini. My favorite Apple product and the one I've bought most. This is a fine product. My most fervent hope is a spec bump as well as the ability to run 32GB RAM. One other neat feature would be a move from SSD flash drives to on-board flash storage, which the Mac Pro will support and provides a big speed bump. The rumor mill has been completely silent on the Mac mini, and I'd guess we're really looking at a Spring announcement, along with the next MacBook Air. This rabbit will be back for Easter.

There you go. A baker's dozen (plus one) of predictions, some founded in quality rumor-mongering and some completely unfounded in anything at all. We'll all know tomorrow.

In the meantime, give your bunnies some love. The House Rabbit Society suggests feeding your rabbit one cup of veggies per 4 pounds of body weight. Wow, if I was a rabbit, you'd need to feed me with a dump truck of veggies. It's a good thing I like steak.

Topic: Apple

About

David Gewirtz, Distinguished Lecturer at CBS Interactive, is an author, U.S. policy advisor, and computer scientist. He is featured in the History Channel special The President's Book of Secrets and is a member of the National Press Club.

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68 comments
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  • Magic is gone

    No more magic coming from Apple these days, since 10/2/2011. I think most Apple fans are saying "remember the old days when we used to invent stuff..."
    Sean Foley
    • Wow, What laptops has Samsung dropped...

      No one knows... Though - We all know they cheat on their benchmarks to make other Android devices look worse when they're not...

      How about HP? Dell?

      No one knows... Actually, has either company introduced a "new" product in the last 10-15 years that has caused ripples? No - At least Samsung puts out a new Galaxy every year...

      You don't invent stuff every year but every few years - iPod to iPhone took a few years. Unless of course you're dropping a "smart watch" that doesn't do anything - Insert Samsung "smart watch".

      Microsoft may be the only other company that has been putting an effort - Surface updates and Windows 8.1 (the new Windows 7)...

      a 64-bit iPad may replace my new Nexus 7 (2013) as I'm tired of looking at apps that are not optimized for it's screen. It's unfortunately one of the downsides to making apps for a platform with variable screens - I would purchase a Nexus 10 but after a few hours of playing with my friends Nexus 10 - I realize that there are so few tablet optimized apps on the Google Store. Maybe in a year or two, I'll reconsider.
      dragnn
    • I agree, and it makes me sad.

      I've really loved my iOS devices since the iPhone 1.0. For the first four years, they were ahead of everything else in usability, ecosystem, and third party support. Those days are gone. They've fallen behind virtually every other flagship smartphone on the market in features. These days, I feel more like I'm sacrificing useful features by staying with the iOS ecosystem.

      Then, there is the highly disappointing iOS 7 fiasco. In that case, putting lip stick on the pig just made it uglier. Sadly, I have so much invested in iOS equipment and add-ons that I feel a little trapped. If Apple continues to sit on their rears, everyone else is going to be so far ahead of Apple that I'll be forced to trash my investment and move on. Honestly, I keep hoping Apple will get off their rears and do a major feature upgrade to catch up with everyone else. In reality, it's looking more and more like they just can't pull that sort of thing off anymore. The magic really is gone, isn't it?
      BillDem
      • think of it this way

        I find it to be the hardest thing to dump old computers and just prosperous them. But sometimes you have to just say it's out lived it's usefulness. Not saying your iphone is useless, but the peripherals are old enough tech that starting over wouldn't be such a bad thing.
        67cougargt
      • I don't agree

        BillDem, I found myself in your exact same predicament. I said I was too invested in iOS but 5 months ago I decided I wanted to see what life is like on the other side. I made the switch to Android (HTC One) and it was not at all what I expected. I heard the phrase "Apple is playing catch-up" so often, I believed it and figured that my new Android phone would be an experience of limitless euphoria.

        The truth is that I am left with much less satisfaction that I ever got from my iPhone 4S. I rooted my phone and have installed multiple ROMs in an attempt to find the one that leaves me satisfied. But none of them have. Even the bigger screen left me feeling bummed. It's gorgeous and it looks great. But I actually ended-up missing the one-handed use I got from my 4S. I thought I'd eventually get used to it but I still haven't. I switch the SIM card out of my HTC and back into my 4S and I'm just a more satisfied user with the 4S.

        It's not to say that Android doesn't have strong qualities (I've gotten so used to Swiftkey that I keep trying to swipe words on my iPad/iPhone). But more often I feel so much frustration from the fact that things on Android just don't work as well as they do on iOS.

        But don't take my word for it. It wasn't that bad to switch. There are a ton of free apps and all. I gave it a shot and it's not for me. If anything, getting an Android phone made me the biggest iOS fan of all. Hearing "Apple is playing catch-up" sounds utterly ridiculous. I now believe that Apple knows EXACTLY what they're doing.
        furious00
        • So...

          You decided to switch to Android, and it was the HTC One you went with? That was your mistake right there.
          BIGELLOW
          • Ridiculous

            If I had said I went with the Samsung GSIV some other fanboy would be saying "well that was your mistake right there..."

            Android is android...
            furious00
        • Been there done that

          I've done Android, Microsoft, and WebOS phones. The iPhone 5 is actually the first iPhone I've ever owned because all previous iOS versions prior to 6 had major deficiencies, IMO. However, the build quality is the best I've ever experienced, the camera is good, the speed is great, and it freezes less than any other phone I've ever had. I don't think it's "magical" or anything, but I do think that it's a very good phone.
          AlanS17
        • No...Apple makes some really good stuff.

          I just cant buy into Android. Every device I feel like Im looking at something built in "the clever guys garage". And that's great if the clever guy is giving it to you for next to nothing, but not so great when he wants you to pay just about the same as the polished tried and true product.
          Cayble
          • What?

            Didn't Apple start out in a garage...
            eye4bear
      • --

        poor ol billy. They will never a device for folks who love what an Android can do.
        soneo
      • I don't see it

        I just don't se where they've fallen behind. Widgets? I thought I would mis them when transitioning from Android to iOS, but I don't. NFC? It's still a gimmick. Beyond that, I'm not really sure what Android and Microsoft devices provide that's so far ahead of Apple. They all seem to be relatively similar in capability. The difference just comes down to opinion. Apps? They've all got them. Cameras? 4G LTE? Yup.

        As for iOS7, I hated it for a few hours when I first downloaded it, but it grew on me quickly, and now I much prefer it. Again, it mostly just a matter of opinion.

        I will agree that Apple hasn't done anything highly innovative in a while. I just don't see why that matters. Phones are phones. What are they currently NOT doing that we wish they would do?

        I'm personally fine with my phone as it is. However, I wish they would get on the Apple TV ball. I would like to see them do to cable TV what they did to the music industry.
        AlanS17
    • Apple has stayed profitable to selling premium products at ...

      ... premium prices ever since Steve Jobs returned to the fold and saved the day. With the backing of the Apple Board, Tim Cook is driving Apple toward commodity price-points to improve market share.

      This will ultimately cost Apple the perception that Apple products are somehow worth their premium prices. If this trend continues, Apple will chase the Android makers to the bottom and Apple with be just another technology company selling average products with razor thin profit margins. That is what OEMs do. Not what product designers and innovators do.
      M Wagner
      • --

        hmm, there is only one thing lacking in your reasoning - "Sense".

        Stop thinking like Microsoft, Google, Samsung..
        soneo
      • ", Apple will chase the Android makers to the bottom"

        that says it all - Android is the Chrysler of the computer companies. Apple - who knows but right now NO ONE has their build quality...we will see what the future holds.
        ScanBack
        • Everyone keeps saying that

          I just don't understand what is this build quality everyone talks about....Is it the fit and finish? Is it superior materials? Because to be honest, every phone I look at looks like it's been put together the way the manufacturer intended it. As far as what the damn thing is made from, with the new 5c....Plastic is plastic don't let anyone fool you. Even the 4, 4s, 5, and 5s, I'm sorry but glass isn't any better. And this is no lie, everyone, and I mean "EVERYONE" I know has cracked their iphone screen and many the back also. So either it's not superior or it's a major design flaw. I have never used a case on any of my phones from MW thru Android only screen protectors. And have never broken a screen yet that I didn't really want to. And I have dropped them all.

          Now I plan to put a case on my note 3 only because it such a large phone and the thinnest I've ever seen.

          Don't get me wrong I'm not trying to knock the iphone. I just don't think people really understand what build quality really means. And that's one of the first things they have to say about anything.

          And superior materials should mean the right material for the job.
          67cougargt
      • Caveat

        Their prices haven't reflected a race to the bottom, though. They offer older versions at a price cut, but the latest and greatest is pretty much always more expensive than the competition (unless we're talking about subsidized iPhones).
        AlanS17
    • So, Apple lost its magic three days before Steve Jobs died?

      Can't trust the opinion of someone who doesn't even get the facts straight.
      RationalGuy
  • Magic is gone

    No more magic coming from Apple these days, since 10/2/2011. I think most Apple fans are saying "remember the old days when we used to invent stuff..."
    Sean Foley
    • Says who?

      Apple has released many great products since 10/2/11, the iPad mini for just one not-so-poor selling example. The 2013 MacBook Air upgrade, while not visually different, represents a huge step forward. I actually got 10 hours battery life on the small 11" model (rated at 9 hours).
      Asiafish