Are you ready for it? Every year about this time the Applesphere’s rumor mills crank up into overtime, starting first with the Worldwide Developer’s Conference (WWDC) and not ending until Apple announces quarterly financial results almost a year later. The vacation period away from hefty rumors seems to be about seven days in May.
WWDC is just weeks away and the rumor cloud has begun to appear. Yes, we can expect new versions of macOS, iOS, tvOS, and watchOS, but what else? Historically, WWDC is software heavy but there have been hardware introductions, too, and this year Apple is in need of new hardware.
Already on the streets is the rumor of a new $199 Beats-branded HomePod. The $199 price tag makes sense, but not the Beats brand. For better or worse, HomePod is here to stay, and if Kate MacKenzie’s decidedly napkin math is anywhere near accurate, HomePod fares well against Amazon’s Echo.
The math is remarkable.
As they do every year, Apple rumors will grow in number and detail until the holiday shopping season in late fall. Some of them are preposterous. Others will be spot on accurate. Some are trolls feeding the faithful. Some are lucky guesses. All are entertaining.
As has been the recent trend, expect a new line of iPhones in the fall, with more iOS features presented at WWDC. Ditto for Watch. Series 4 should be on schedule for a late summer release. The television industry is still catching up to Apple TV 4K with HDR but maybe Apple has a skinny bundle of TV channels all packaged up nice and pretty, YouTube TV-style.
Face ID seems to have become a success so we can expect the facial recognition technology to show up in future Apple products; new iPhones, iPad Pro, and even new Mac models.
And, speaking of Mac models, if ever there was a line of products that continues to draw the short straw of manufacturing and new features, it’s the Mac. Both Mac mini and MacBook Air suffer a lack of upgrades in recent years. Apple’s butterfly keyboard in both MacBook and MacBook Pro has come under fire from customers who disdain the flimsy keys which tend to break and cost half the price of a new Mac notebook to fix.
A few new Macs at WWDC would not surprise me. Neither would an improved Siri with more third party application capabilities built in.
Over the course of the next few months the number and quality of Apple-based product rumors will increase steadily, pause briefly at new iPhone models hit the streets, then pick up again just before the holiday shopping season.
You may have noticed another trend on the backside of the rumors list. Sales. Apple seldom features a sale online or in store, but Apple uses Best Buy and other retailers to help move merchandise just before a new line of product is introduced. These days everything is on sale outside of Apple. iPhone discounts, iPad discounts, even Mac and Beats headphones have been discounted at big box retailers and online stores.
Get ready for it. Silly season has begun; predictions for Apple’s near-term future are here and will increase for months to come.