Few technology gadget companies have a history of secrecy to math Apple. The company moves at its own pace, and introduces new technology– whether hardware or software– when it is ready to do so. Still, there are ways to predict some of what Apple plans to do, and approximately when the changes will arrive.
A good example, and the easiest, is WWDC. Every year, somewhere around late spring, Apple’s World Wide Developer’s Conference takes place; an even aimed at developers and with the centerpiece of iOS, macOS, as well as watchOS and tvOS. Occasionally, Apple will introduce new hardware, but that’s not a given. WWDC is about software.
Yet, Apple is a hardware company. A few months after WWDC we can expect some new hardware from Apple; specifically the latest and greatest iPhone, but other products show up over the months, too. Last year we saw the second generation of Apple Watch. New MacBook Pro models made it to market before the end of the year, with AirPods sliding in at the last moment.
This year Apple introduced the new iPad, a non-evolved device that starts life at $329. Obviously, Apple expects to see iPad users who haven’t upgraded in years to be enticed by price, but the timing seems aimed at schools, a market where Apple and Microsoft have suffered thanks to dirt cheap Chromebooks. A $329 iPad is more competitive than ever.
Other than iPhone, Apple has become less predictable with new product offerings, and upgraded products. Macs seem to get upgraded according to some nonsensical and highly volatile rhythm of ocean tides, and with global climate change upsetting so much of the world’s coastlines, who knows when a new Mac will make it to market?
iPhone and Watch seem to be on a somewhat annualized plan, but Mac models definitely are not.
Word on the streets is that iPad mini is about to be summarily dismissed like an FBI Director investigating his boss. Apple TV generation 4 is a few years old and the most expensive of the lot, but hasn’t caught the market on fire, thanks to streaming television packages from everyone but Walmart, and a cumbersome interface that could be the center of the home but still occupies Input #2 on the home television.
That ever present word on the streets says Apple is working on an Apple Car. Again. Electric and self-driving, perhaps, but having dozens of competitors doesn’t seem to deter Apple from doing what it does and when it wants to. Predicting Apple’s future products isn’t as difficult as predicting when.
So far, Apple lags behind all the artificial intelligent personal digital assistants. Just ask any tech writer with a grudge against Apple. Apple is behind. Until it is ahead. Amazon’s Echo is the hit AI platform with a few million homes using the device that does what about one billion Apple products do with Siri. All of these so-called assistants are more parlor tricks than poodles that can cook and converse, but it doesn’t matter. Apple is behind. Until it is ahead.
I’ve been watching Apple for years and making my own predictions but if I had a chimpanzee with a dart board we’d both be about even on making accurate guesses.
What I miss about Apple under Tim Cook is the ‘One More Thing…‘ presentations that Steve Jobs made famous. Otherwise, I’ve given up on predicting Apple’s strategy and new products. There’s no money in it, and I’m wrong too often to call it a hobby.