It’s been an incredible nine months since we’ve been introduced to any new iDevices (specifically the iPad mini and iPad 4; that was back in October 2012), but Apple is tipped to give birth to as many as five new iProducts later this year.
I recently covered what we can expect in Apple 2013 H2 iDevice preview, now I figured I’d go back and give them a possibility rating. Out of 10, let’s say. Yeah, that’ll do it.
The Top 5 Contenders are the iPhone 5S, iPad mini 2, iPad 5, budget iPhone and Apple iWatch. I also mentioned a larger iPhone and iPad, but while they probably – almost inevitably – will happen at some point, there’s next to no chance of it being this year.
Ready? Let’s dance.
iPhone 5S – incremental upgrade
The rumour mill paints the notion of the iPhone 5S being largely identical to the iPhone 5 – certainly as far as aesthetics go, and that’s where the smart money is.
History dictates that the iPhone 5 will be followed by a mostly-the-same iPhone 5S, with the major changes probably being a faster processor and enhanced rear camera.
To give that theory some context, the iPhone 4S looks identical to the iPhone 4 on the outside, with the major selling point – other than slightly improved specs – being Siri, which debuted on the former.
And not forgetting that the iPhone 5, stretching to 4in, marked a fairly radical design change for Apple’s handset. Don’t expect the Californians to push the boat out two years in a row, man.
The big question mark over the iPhone 5S concerns the presence of a fingerprint scanner. We’re undecided on that, but otherwise feel fairly confident that you’ll be looking at much the same phone around September time.
iPad mini 2 – Retina display
When the first generation iPad mini touched down last October with iPad 2-level specs, smart arses (ourselves included) immediately suggested that Apple was leaving room to maneuver with a subsequent Retina version.
True, it’s only a matter of time before the iPad mini Retina arrives, but will it be this year? There have been rumours of mini Retina production problems, and a recent tale suggested Apple might release a slightly enhanced iPad mini in time for Christmas, and follow up with a Retina version in early Q1 2014.
Considering how irksome that’d be for consumers picking up the latest iPad mini from Santa in December, only to have it almost immediately dated, we’re not entirely convinced.
Still, the cracks of doubt are definitely beginning to form, hmm…
iPad fifth gen – thinner, lighter, less bezel
This one is pretty much a certainty: the iPad 5 will follow in the iPad mini’s footsteps with a significantly thinner and lighter design, and with less bezel around the display.
Considering the big fat iPad 4 weighs more than twice the iPad mini (652g vs. 308g), and looking at the thickness of the former (almost a full centimetre) it seems like a sure fire thing.
Put us down for £50 (that's a full month's wages) on 'yes'.
This one was all the rumour rage a few months ago, but more recently it seems to be going the way of the Amazon smartphone and Microsoft Surface smartphone (neither of which have seen the light of day despite persistent rumourage).
Story goes that Apple will look to capture a slice of the entry-level market with a cheaply made, plastic-cased budget iPhone.
With little profit in selling cheap phones, and considering consumers in that boat probably won’t be shelling out a ton of money for apps, we really don’t see the point. Not to mention the fact that Apple is typically associated with premium products. Remember the $200 MacBook? Me neither.
Analysts continually ask what Apple might do to innovate in this post-Jobs world, and the answer – potentially – is the iWatch. Er, forgetting that there have already been loads of smartwatches from Sony and Motorola.
Still, wearable tech is largely touted as The Next Big Thing, and who better to kick it into gear than Apple? The iPad was initially laughed out of the building, but look at the tablet market now.
Will it be this year though? Apple iWatch in time for Christmas? We’ll sway slightly towards ‘yes’ on this one.