The U.S. economy seems to be chugging along and that means money is flowing and customers are buying. OK, to be fair, smartphone sales have stalled, but so have tablet sales. We only need so many gadgets, right?
PC sales might be on the upswing, mostly thanks to pent up demand, and Microsoft pushing the hell out of PC notebook tablet hybrids with touchscreens. Mac sales, unfortunately, are way, way down compared to a year ago or even last quarter.
Apple seems to have become a sluggish gadget maker. iPhone ship about when expected; late summer or early autumn, but nothing else has a schedule that anyone can depend on. Meanwhile, a bunch of Apple products seem to have stagnated.
Here’s my list of what Apple needs to launch soon (mostly because I say so, and I have some products that could use an upgrade or two).
iPhones – Well, duh. This year should see all new iPhone X-like iPhones in a variety of sizes. Two models will get more expensive OLED displays, with a middle model sporting an improved LCD, but all with Notch, Face ID, and improved cameras. I’m voting for a larger iPhone X. Much larger. Almost iPad mini larger.
Watch – If there is another product that seems destined to launch about the same time every year, it’s Watch; this time, Watch Series 4 running watchOS 5. Go figure. It may also be that Apple has a surprise or two in store for Watch, including two new sizes, perhaps thinner but with a larger display.
AirPods – These popular puppies are pushing two years old, so a new model seems likely. You’ll see discounts on the current model at Best Buy and Amazon, and that can be an indicator that Apple is moving old inventory to make way for new inventory. Look for new AirPods to be capable of using Apple’s AirPower charging power– itself missing in action for nearly a year.
iPad Pro – The newest iPad starts at $329 and is an absolute bargain with an excellent display and nearly as powerful as the big brother iPad Pro. With Face ID and thinner bezels a big hit with Apple’s customers, expect the same treatment in a new line of iPad Pro models. But no Notch.
Mac mini – This is one Mac model that has languished beyond belief. What is Apple thinking? Regardless, expect a new mini this year in 1) a similar form factor with upgraded components, or 2) an entirely new form factor with upgraded components. Guess what Mac mini needs?
MacBook – Even this entry-level Mac is in need of a substantial refresh. The price is too high relative to a MacBook Pro and it is not as powerful as the MacBook Air for $300 less. What’s with that?
MacBook Air – For now, the Air is a relic from yesteryear, but priced at $999 it’s perfect for anyone who doesn’t know what a Retina display is. This little Mac weighs the same as a MacBook Pro and a pound more than the MacBook. I would love to see an upgrade to MacBook Air at $799 with an Apple-designed ARM-based, A-series CPU inside of Intel Inside.
From here on it gets interesting and less likely that Apple will fulfill my wishes for the year.
HomePod mini – Next to last on my list and the one hardware item I think is unlikely in 2018 is a smaller version of HomePod. If you haven’t listened to a HomePod then you’re missing out. The stereo combo provides an amazing sound, even at double the HomePod’s price (2). But another HomePod priced at, say, $199 might become a big seller as Siri gets smarter.
Siri – Speaking of Siri, improvements are here and more are on the way, including HomePod, but once Siri can identify a specific voice in HomePod members of the technorati elite politburo might sit up and take notice.
Apple needs to launch my product this year. I have money.