Back at the beginning of June, I felt compelled to review Samsung’s 2013 output so far, as much for my own sanity as anyone else’s; it’s tough keeping track of them pesky South Koreans.
At the other end of the scale, we have Apple, which announced a grand total of zero new iDevices (iPhone, iPad, iPod touch) in the first half of 2013. Nothing whatsoever, for the first time since, like, 2006.
Like Pavlov’s salivating dogs, we’d been conditioned to expect a new iPad in Q1, followed by a new iPhone at Apple’s annual WWDC (Worldwide Developers Conference) in June.
However, more recently, the latest iPhone has tended to show face in fall (or “autumn”, if you prefer), and Apple confused matters further by launching a fourth gen iPad in October last year – just six months(ish) after the third gen model.
The upshot is that the second half of 2013 will potentially be saturated with new Apple iDevices. Some are inevitable, while others we’re not quite sure about. Let’s take a closer look.
Apple iPhone 5S
If the second half of 2013 goes by without a new iPhone, I will eat my hat. And Jan’s hat. And Martin’s. I’ll eat lots of hats, basically.
That said, the iPhone 5S doesn’t sound like anything worth getting too excited about. Chucking the ‘S’ on the end (as with the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4S) means we should expect an almost identical phone on the outside, with a faster processor and enhanced camera.
Of course, the iPhone 5S needs something to differentiate it from the iPhone 5 (the iPhone 4S had Siri *cough*), and that feature will – according to the rumour mill – be a fingerprint scanner for, uhm, additional security.
Apple iPad mini 2
Despite seriously lame internals (it’s pretty much a small iPad 2) and a surprisingly high price tag (even for Apple), the first generation iPad mini proved incredibly popular with iConsumers. Go figure.
Almost as soon as it was announced, we realised an improved iPad mini 2 with Retina display would be on the cards – the first gen iPad mini having a resolution of 1024 x 768 (163 PPI).
There’s plenty of room for a processor bump on the iPad mini 2 also. The current chap has an A5 chip, while the beastly iPad 4 rocks the A6X.
Apple iPad 5
The fourth gen iPad arrived a tad earlier than expected (alongside the iPad mini in October 2012), with the popular theory being that Apple wanted the flagship products (iPhone 5, iPad 4, iPad mini) to rock the same Lightning connector.
In terms of specs, the iPad 4 certainly ain’t no slouch, but there’s plenty of stuff Apple is reportedly keen to address, specifically the size, weight (it’s twice as heavy as the iPad mini), and amount of bezel around the display.
Ultimately, the iPad 4 will look more like the iPad mini than the previous iPads. Is that a good thing? We’re not too sure. We quite like the idea of being able to fend off zombies with the current brick-style model.
Budget Apple iPhone
The jury is out on the budget iPhone, with two schools of thought. Firstly, that Apple would never lower itself to releasing cheap versions of its premium products, and that there’s not much money in selling budget phones in emerging markets anyway.
The other theory is that Android is largely kicking iOS’s butt in terms of smartphone OS market share because it offers cheap phones in addition the premium Samsung/Sony/HTC stuff. As for the money side, the budget iPhone would open up the App Store to a whole new range of customers.
If it’s happening, expect the budget iPhone to come in plastic and in a range of bright, iPod-style colours – or so the rumour goes.
Another one we’re not entirely convinced about, it’s the much-discussed Apple iWatch, a tiny little iDevice that wraps around your wrist. Er, supposedly.
Like it or not, smartwatches look set to become the next Next Big Thing. LG is rumoured to be working on a smartwatch, and Samsung has confirmed it’s getting in on the action too. Heck, even Foxconn has unveiled its own iPhone-compatible smartwatch.
Larger Apple iPhone and Apple iPad
Finally, the rank outsiders are a larger Apple iPhone and iPad.
It’s inevitable that Apple will release a larger iPhone in due time. I don’t believe for a second that they’re not interested in grabbing a slice of that market (it makes financial sense, if nothing else), and we’ve already seen the Californians backtrack on the “’tweener” thing with the iPad mini.
However, don’t expect to see a larger iPhone just yet. Maybe Q1 2014. Maybe.
Similarly, Apple might maybe possibly contemplate a larger iPad in time, but there’s no suggestion that consumers are hungry for larger tablets. If anything, they seem to want 7in devices more than anything else.
Phew, that’s a lot of iStuff. In short:
- We’d put money on seeing the iPhone 5S, iPad mini 2 and iPad 5 this year.
- The budget iPhone and Apple iWatch we’re not too sure about.
- Larger iPhone and iPad, maybe next year.