Like many, I like to make a few predictions for the coming year as to what I think will happen in the Apple eco-system. So, for better or worse, here they are:
My 2015 Apple Predictions:
1) 4.7" iPhone 6s and 5.5" 6s Plus - Will be introduced in September. Duh! Priced at a subsidized $199/$299 as the current versions, but "hopefully" with the starting storage of 32GB (but I'm not holding my breath on that). The "big" changes will be: (1) a rear camera capable of supporting 4K/5K video; (2) an improved "selfie" camera, hopefully capable of full HD video; (3) an 3rd generation 64 bit A9 processor built on a 14nm CMOS process, which will further improve the battery life while providing even better performance; (4) a sapphire screen "may" make a "surprise" appearance; (5) an "all bands" cell phone Qualcomm chip that will mean a single SKU "world phone" making one phone that works on all carriers and makes iPhone inventory management much better for Apple; (6) 450 MB/S download speed Qualcomm chipset for mind-blowing download speeds that puts typical 25MB/S cable download performance to shame; (7) Two front-facing speakers (ala HTC One) to finally get "stereo" onto the iPhone (OK, this may not happen until the 2016 iPhone, but we can all dream right?)
2) 4" iPhone iPhone 6 or 6s Mini (?) (5s replacement) - This iPhone will replace the iPhone 5s with a 4" screen , new "metal" body and with the 2014 iPhone 6 internal hardware (A8 processor, 2nd generation Touch ID) and be sold at a subsidized $99 price point, targeting those with smaller hands and/or smaller iPhone budgets, but who want a near state-of-the-art iPhone. Only a 32GB (or god forbid 16GB) priced at $99 and (maybe) a 64GB ($149/$199 subsidized) storage option will be offered. (Ideally the "metal" 4" iPhone would get the same internals as the 2015 6s/6s Plus, but Apple has a multi-year contract to buy A8 chips from TSMC and Samsung, and they don't want to keep the 2014 4.7" and 5.5" iPhones around in late 2015 to cannibalize the newer 2015 models, while meeting those A8 production purchase requirement.)
3) 4" Plastic iPhone 6c - (iPhone 5c replacement) The iPhone 5c will get an internals upgrade to the internals in the 2013 iPhone 5s (A7 processor but with 2nd generation Touch ID) at a subsidized $0 price point, targeting the so-called 3rd world and very budget minded consumers. The "plastic" iPhone will stay as Apples $0 subsidized "Apple Ecosystem Entry Point". New colors schemes with only 32GB or (god forbid 16GB) storage option will exist.
4) iPad Mini 4 (7.9" with Retina) - After the minimal 2014 "update", the iPad Mini will get the 2014 A8X processor available in the 2014 iPad Air 2, 2nd Generation Touch ID and a 32GB starting storage option (not 16GB we hope), along with 64GB and 128GB options, at a $399 starting price. The 32 bit A5 processor, non-Retina iPad Mini will be dropped by Fall 2015, possibly replaced by the 64bit A7 processor iPad Mini 3 with Touch ID and 16GB storage as the entry level 7.9" iPad Mini at $299 with only black and silver color options.
5) iPad Air 3 (9.7") - Will see the same A9 processor as in the 2015 4.7"/5.5" iPhones (not a A9x) and a 32GB starting storage option (not 16GB we hope), along with 64GB and 128GB options, at a $499 starting price. It may also get the necessary hardware to act as a register waypoint for stores, but that is doubtful. The 32 bit A6 processor, Retina iPad 4 will be dropped by Fall 2015, possibly replaced by the iPad Air (1) with 2nd Generation Touch ID at 16GB storage for the entry level 9.7" iPad Air at $399 with only black and silver color options.
6) iPad Air "Plus/Pro" (12.2" or 12.9") - The so called "bigger" iPad will appear, with much smaller bezels that even the iPad Air 2 and possibly the same screen (with Touch added) as the "new" MacBook Air with Retina discussed above. It will also feature a larger pixel count, although what that will be is subject to conjecture at this point. This device "may" support an A9X processor to support the larger screen pixel count. This iPad will be targeted at businesses for "cash registers" as well as "artists". This iPad will include and enhanced version of iOS 9 having "split screen" and multiple Touch ID login support, required for all those possible $10/hour staffers working these iPad registers and possibly "pressure sensitive" touch panel, which would be wanted by "artists". Flash storage options are expected to be larger at 64GB/128GB/256GB at a starting price of $699, $200 higher than the 9.7" iPad Air 3 starting price.
7) The above means that Fall 2015 will result in all the iPhones (and iPads) for sale having a 64 bit processors and 2nd generation Touch ID supporting Apple Pay, which will lead to the phase-out of 32 bit iOS support by iOS 11 (late 2017 iOS).
8) Macbook Air with Retina - 12.9" Retina screen in chassis as small as 11.6" MBA with an even thinner body thanks to the elimination of the fan and click pad, because of lower power Intel Broadwell processors finally making their 1-1/2 year late appearance. The current 11.6" and 13.3" MBA's will continue unchanged for 2-3 more years, with another $100 to $150 lopped off the price, before eventually being dropped for the single sized 12.9" MBA with Retina. Sadly the new MBA will still be saddled with the current slower Thunderbolt 2 ports, so you will not be able to drive an external 5K monitor. Flash storage options are expected to remain the same. Introduction mid 2015.
9) Macbook Pro - 13.3" and 15" Retinal hardware will finally get the more powerful versions of the Intel Broadwell chips slated for the MBA. These will (hopefully) be the first MacBooks to support Intel's 3rd generation Thunderbolt 3 ports, capable of driving an external 5K monitor, although based on updates to Intel's roadmap, the chipset supporting Thunderbolt 3 is "after" the Broadwell chipset, so Apple "may" delay Macbook Pro introduction until later in the year, totally skipping Broadwell for the Macbook Pro, or we may "suffer" with an inadequate Thunderbolt 2 in the Macbook Pro until 2016. Flash storage options are expected to remain the same. Introduction mid/late 2015.
10) Mac Pro - Will get a mid to late 2015 update to the upcoming Intel next generation 6-12 core processors that will replace the current chips, along with the latest GPU from AMD. This will be the first Mac Pro to support Intel's 3rd generation Thunderbolt 3 ports, capable of driving two (2) external 5K monitors. Storage options and pricing to remain unchanged. The current model will be dropped. Introduction late 2015.
11) Mac Mini - Hopeful minds would say we will get an upgrade to an Intel Broadwell processor version, but I suspect this will not happen until 2016, if then. Sadly, I suspect sales on the non-upgradeable version introduced in late 2014 will be so poor, that even less effort will be placed by Apple on the next upgrade. I still suspect that the "future" Apple TV will include a "Home Server" version, which will essentially be a Mac Mini with OTA and CableTV support - That would be the "smart play" by Apple, in my humble opinion.
12) Apple TV - Apple's "hobby" has fallen to 3rd place in "hockey puck" sales in 2014 and will only fall further without an update to the 2012 model still being sold. Without a breakthrough with the content providers, I have a hard time seeing the next generation box being born. Confession: I became a "cord-cutter" in 2014 by buying a four tuner TabloTV DVR to watch/record "live over-the-air" HDTV which I can watch on my big screen when home or on my iPhone, iPad or an Android device from anywhere in the world. I cut my cable bill from ~$180/month to $43/month ($30 for 50Mb/s internet, $8 for Netflix, $5 for TabloTV guide subscription = $1644/year saving!) and the only thing I've missed is some ESPN only football games and one HBO show (Game of Thrones). At least one of these (HBO) I should be able to buy an internet subscription for shortly for $10-$20/month (guessing) and the other (ESPN) may go internet subscription in 2015. If the latter doesn't, we'll just keep going out to our local sports pub to watch those key games now and are still saving a bundle!
13) Apple Watch - Will begin shipping in March 2015 (guess), but the limited functionality will result in crashing sales after the first 2-3 months. The high price, expected less than a day battery life, and much lower priced competition will likely limit sales of the first generation device, much as the first generation iPhone was limited for similar reasons. Will likely be 2nd or 3rd generation with battery life of 5-7 days before sales really take off. Hope I'm wrong on this one as I'm developing apps for the Apple Watch!
14) iOS 9 - With stand-alone apps support for the Apple Watch, the fall 2015 Apple iOS will (hopefully) be mostly a performance and bug fix update of iOS 8. Developers like myself, and I suspect most consumers, just want an iOS 9 that has 100% fixed iOS 8. Still a "free" upgrade.
15) OSX 11 - Yep, another OSX update in the late fall, but again, we're hoping its just got a better working "Hand-off" integration, Mail and bug fixes. Still a "free" upgrade.
APPLE - PLEASE JUST FOCUS 2015 ON MAKING 2014 CODE BUG FREE!