2018 has just begun and you are already eager to know what surprises Apple is preparing for its fans? Great, because we're just as intrigued – which is why we've collected all the rumors and data from analysts on this topic in this article.
Let's start with the most obvious. The smart column from Apple was supposed to be released in December 2017, but, for undisclosed reasons, the release was postponed to the beginning of this year. This, however, does not make the new product less interesting – we can't wait to find out how competitive HomePod will be against the background of analogues from Amazon and Google. Note that yesterday, January 5, HomePod was released in Australia, the USA and the UK. Residents of other countries, including Russia and the CIS, will have to wait.
The main advantage of the column from Apple is the so-called “spatial imagination”. Thanks to it HomePod is able to “read” the environment and adjust the audio in such a way as to produce the best sound for such conditions. This feature is available in many premium audio devices. Sound from two HomePod will be combined with this technology, not layered – but this is provided that you are willing to pay $ 349 for each device.
Thanks to the built-in Siri, you can ask the column to include a specific song or ask for advice on something you might like. What's even more interesting is that HomePod can act as a smart assistant, able to read messages and reminders for you, play podcasts, control HomeKit-enabled devices, and more.
iPhone SE 2
It is possible that the super-popular iPhone SE will receive the long-awaited update in 2018. The original SE was released in March 2016 and has been loved by users thanks to a combination of one of the best designs iPhone and top specs … at least at the time of release.
One of the suppliers Apple, Wistron, is reportedly ready for the next generation SE in India.
The new 4-inch iPhone SE will launch mid-year and retain the design of its predecessor, but will be equipped with an A10 processor and 1,700mAh battery, 32GB or 128GB of storage (depending on modification) and will run on iOS 11 out of the box.
The new budget smartphone is expected to be part of a plan Apple to double its presence in the Indian market over the next five years. India is now one of the top priority markets for Apple – especially considering that the company has recently faced a number of challenges in China.
iPhone SE 2 will first be available in India, after which it will be released in other countries. The second generation is expected to be slightly cheaper than the first – the price of the base modification will be around $ 450.
Note that these forecasts contradict the report of respected Chinese analyst Pan Jiutang. He previously told investors that Apple has no plans to upgrade the SE lineup. In his opinion, the company does not need this, given that an increasing number of users are switching to smartphones with larger screen sizes.
3 new iPhone
As in the case of SE 2, Apple will increase the battery capacity in the successors iPhone X. So, in the new models, batteries will be installed at about 2,900-3,000 mAh (for comparison, in iPhone X2,716 mAh). If we assume that this is indeed the case, then this means an increase of ~ 10%, or about 2-3 hours of additional operating time – although this advantage may well “eat up” the additional functions of these devices.
All three models will support Pre 5G and Face ID. If this is true, then in 2018 Apple will officially say goodbye to Touch ID – a technology that the company first introduced in 2013 along with iPhone 5s.
According to a report by analyst Min-Chi Kuo, this year Apple will release iPhone X Plus with the largest display ever equipped iPhone. He also noted that this year there will be three iPhones with a notch in the display a la iPhone X.
It is assumed that iPhone XI will be 5.8-inches, as well as iPhone X, while the Plus version will be equipped with 6.5-inches OLED – display. The third model will have a 6.1-inch LCD – display, but the design will be the same as the older models. It will be equipped with Face ID, but support 3D Touch will be absent, and the main camera will consist of only one module.
The pixel density of a 6.5-inch display iPhone X Plus will be 480-500 ppi (for iPhone X this figure is 458 ppi, the same will be for iPhone XI) . 6.1-inch LCD – the display of a lower-end model will have a more modest 320-330 ppi.
Kuo previously noted that the 2018 iPhones will not have TrueDepth in the main camera. Most likely, the camera as such will be improved as a whole – Apple does this every year – but the changes will be small. In particular, Apple will continue to use the 6-piece lenses that iPhone have been equipped with for several years.
Large-scale changes are also not worth waiting for due to the fact that Apple wants to avoid problems with the supply of components. As a reminder, this is precisely why there was a shortage of iPhone X – vendors could not cope with the request for TrueDepth modules. That is why the entire first batch of the device was sold out in a few minutes.
Shared apps for iOS and macOS
Although Apple has always denied that merging mobile and desktop platforms is a good idea, according to unconfirmed reports, in 2018 the company will allow developers to create programs that will work immediately on iPhone, and on iPad, and on Mac.
Depending on which device is running on, such an application will adapt the control mode to the touch screen or keyboard with mouse / touchpad. Most likely, the corresponding set of tools for developers will become available in the first half of the year. It is expected that the toolkit will be presented during the WWDC, while in App Store such applications will not appear until autumn.
According to insiders, inside Apple this project was called Marzipan. At the same time, the same source claims that there is not a zero chance that this initiative will never be implemented. It is not yet clear whether we are talking about a complete (and mandatory) unification of the app store, or about an additional opportunity when creating an application, the implementation of which will remain the developer's choice.
As strange as it may seem, more than a year has passed since the release AirPods. Given the popularity that these headphones have gained despite their price point, it should come as no surprise that Apple lineup updates are a priority. This will most likely happen in the second half of 2018.
Min-Chi Kuo said little in his report about the alleged second-generation changes. However, he noted that by using quartz, the company will be able to make the headphones even smaller than the original ones AirPods. In addition, he said that Apple is currently experiencing difficulties in delivering the first generation. It is not always possible to find them in stores, and in the official online store the delivery time is 7 working days. Although the same iPhone X, which was recently in short supply, is now promised to be delivered the next day. The problem is the supply of flexible printed circuit boards, one of the key components.
Perhaps because of this shortage, Kuo predicts sales growth AirPods in the first quarter of 2018. He also suggested that this year Apple will double sales of these headphones to 26+ million.
Budget update iPad
Inspired by the success of iPad (2017), Apple is rumored to be preparing a new budget iPad for 2018 release. It is reported that this year's version will cost even less than the current 9.7-inch tablet to compete with peers from Amazon, Samsung and Huawei.
As a reminder, Apple made iPad more accessible than ever in March last year. Considering the base model was priced at just $ 379, you can buy a full 9.7-inch tablet for less than iPad mini. The specs still include a crisp Retina display, Apple A9 processor and an 8MP front camera.
Of course, while this is the most budget-friendly offering from Apple, it is by no means the cheapest tablet on the market. That is why, according to Digitimes, this year Apple plans to release a new 9.7-inch iPad at a cost of only $ 259.
Note that since 2014, sales iPad have been steadily falling year after year. However, in the 3rd and 4th financial quarters of 2017, positive dynamics was observed for the first time. The main role in this change was played by the budget iPad (2017) and iPad Pro with its additional features and excellent performance.
Apple hopes that the next budget iPad will meet the same positive user response. An insider close to the supply chain Apple notes that the new iPad will be released in the second half of the year.
New iPad Pro
The second popular line of “apple” tablets – iPad Pro will not be ignored either. It will reportedly receive a significantly more powerful 8-core A11X Bionic processor, making it the most powerful iPad ever built. The chip is manufactured by TSMC. The novelty will consist of three powerful Monsoon cores and five energy efficient Mistral.
Compared to the Apple A11 Bionic chip, which is used in iPhone X and iPhone 8, the new processor will differ in the presence of two additional cores (A11 uses 2 Monsoon and 4 Mistral ). It is thanks to this that the capacity of the new iPad Pro will increase. Also in iPad Pro 2018, the M11 coprocessor and the Apple Neural Engine chip with artificial intelligence will be used, thanks to which it will be possible to add Face ID to the tablet.
As for the rest of the novelty's features, it is expected that the top tablet will inherit from iPhone X a “full-screen” design, improved cameras, a new stylus Apple Pencil. That said, there is one thing that iPad Pro cannot borrow from iPhone X: OLED – the display. This was reportedly influenced by both technical and financial constraints.
Apple Watch Series 4
Last year's update significantly changed the line Apple Watch: now you really don't want to take this watch off your hand. And, as we said in the review of popular fitness trackers, this is one of the critical indicators for manufacturers of smart watches and bracelets.
This year, according to insiders, Apple wants to reduce reliance on Samsung as a supplier of displays for Apple Watch and will use microLED screens for the fourth generation. The previous generation uses OLED – displays from multiple suppliers, but for iPhone 8 Samsung is the only display supplier. Now Apple plans to split production as much as possible and use multiple suppliers to reduce the risks of shortages, so it is exploring new technologies.
The microLED displays are not yet ready for use in smartphones, but it looks like Apple will be able to use them for their smartwatches. One of the main advantages of this technology is that such displays do not require backlighting. This will make Apple Watch thinner than ever and free up more battery space.
However, the transition to microLED is quite a difficult task even for Apple. Mass production of such displays is difficult even for the largest manufacturers, so we can only wait to see if Apple can solve this problem.
Modular Mac Pro
One of the main products that we expect from Apple in 2018 is the company's promised updated Mac Pro. It's been four years since the last major Mac Pro update, and last April Apple promised to announce an all-new Mac Pro and a new external display in 2018.
Company representatives admitted that the existing Mac Pro does not meet the needs of their power users. However, the new model will be modular with the ability to upgrade the computer if necessary. Phil Schiller noted that Apple “has completely rethought what the Mac Pro should be,” and given that it will be a modular system, a professional-grade display will be announced along with it. It is already in development.
This could mean a return to more traditional desktop computers that give users the freedom to improve components like a processor or graphics card without completely changing the entire system. For example, the new iMac Pro is incredibly difficult to customize to fit your needs – and so is the current Mac Pro.
Note that already at the time of release, the Mac Pro was not as powerful as technology allowed at that time. The GPU used in it was more suitable for a laptop and, of course, could not withstand any competition with dedicated graphics cards.
Unfortunately Apple did not say exactly when the new computer will be released. All we know is that the presentation is worth waiting for this year.
In 2018, we can expect to see new developments Apple in the field of augmented reality – by reading how much the company invested in this direction last year.
Min-Chi Kuo predicts that Apple will be successful in 2018 by dominating the competition. So, the achievements in augmented reality of the Cupertinians are 3-5 years ahead of their rivals. This applies to AR in iPhone, iPad and Mac. In addition, new areas such as self-driving cars will help Apple develop and integrate their own software with augmented reality.
It is reported that there are now Apple at the disposal of hundreds of engineers specializing in AR and VR devices. Also Apple has taken over several AR companies like Metaio and hired a number of outstanding developers in both fields.
In addition, in 2018 Apple it plans to launch its own streaming media service that can compete with Netflix. Original content for this site is already under development. The exclusive content was originally expected to be part of Apple Music, but it appears to be a separate project.
What would you like to see from Apple in 2018 the most? Share your opinion in the comments!