Dec 28, 2018

Apple in 2019: What should we expect?

With 2019 almost here, it has been quite a year for the Cupertino-based tech giant. This year alone, we saw the HomePod be released, cheaper $329 iPad, Apple moved into their new Apple Park Campus, a number of new Apple Retail Stores were opened to the public, new Macs, a redesigned Apple Watch, new iPhone models, redesigned iPad Pro, and plenty of rumors and leaks. Here's everything we should expect from Apple going into 2019.


Please note that these aren't in any chronological order, or order in which we should expect them to be released. Only Apple can confirm or deny anything, and this is just purely speculation.

New AirPods



Many can argue that the AirPods are the most innovative Apple product in years, and these truly-wireless earbuds and have built quite the fan-following since they were released in late 2016.

It has been long rumored that Apple is planning on updating AirPods sometime in early 2019. Being they haven't been updated since 2016, it has left many customers wishing for wireless charging capabilities, improved audio quality, and different finishes, for almost two years.

According to well-known analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple is gearing up to release an upgraded AirPods model that supports Qi-wireless charging sometime in the first quarter of 2019. Furthermore, Kuo expects hands-free “Hey, Siri” functionality, and with the addition of Bluetooth 5.0, longer range, quicker pairing, and improved audio quality.

Kuo goes on to say that we should expect a revised design sometime in 2020.

Cheaper, Smaller HomePod
Image: Apple
Shortly after the release of the HomePod earlier this year, it was rumored that Apple had begun working on a smaller, cheaper version of the HomePod to compete directly with Amazon and Google, who both offer smaller versions of their speakers. It is rumored the smaller HomePod will cost between $150 to $200.

With the current HomePod costing $349, it is a hard sell, despite the excellent sound quality, due to the fact that it only supports Apple Music natively, and requires an Apple device to set up. According to Business Insider, "A $150 speaker that only works with iPhones and Apple Music is much more palatable than one that costs $350."

According to Barclays Analyst Blayne Curtis, we should expect to see the HomePod 'mini' sometime in the Spring of 2019, possibly alongside the AirPods and other products. He says a smaller HomePod will have "broader appeal."

Apple Over-Ear Headphones

Image: Apple / Beats by Dre
At the start of the year, KGI Securities Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo had a report stating the Apple has been working on their own branded 'high-end over-ear' headphones. Kuo says these headphones are not to be mistaken for the successor to Beats by Dre, but it's own branded headphones that combine "high-end audio" with the magic of AirPods.

According to 9to5Mac's Benjamin Mayo, "The addition of over-ear headphones to Apple’s lineup would flesh out Apple’s range of audio options, with AirPods optimized for size convenience, HomePod for high-quality home audio and the new over-ear headphones for high-quality sound on the go."

We should expect to see audio quality better than Beats by Dre, an Apple W2 chip from the Apple Watch Series 4, a fresh design compared to Beats, and "Hey, Siri" support like the upcoming AirPods 2.

Apple TV Streaming Service


Image: Apple
According to a report by The Information earlier this year, Apple is expected to launch their TV streaming service sometime in the first half of 2019 in the US first, then to over 100 countries in the following months.

The service will be free to all iOS and Apple TV users and aimed squarely at competitors like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. According to some reports, Apple will not allow the service outside of its so-called walled garden, which may possibly limit the reach of the service, and potentially hinder growth vs. other services.


Apple Austin Campus & Other Expansions

Image: Apple, Current Facility in Austin, Texas, United States.
Earlier this month, Apple announced plans to invest $1 billion in a brand-new campus in Northern region of Austin, Texas, United States. According to the official press release, "Apple has plans to establish new sites in Seattle, San Diego, and Culver City and expand in cities across the United States including Pittsburgh, New York and Boulder, Colorado over the next three years, with the potential for additional expansion elsewhere in the US over time."

The planned Austin campus is less than a mile away from the current Apple Austin Campus. The location is a 133-acre campus that will initially accommodate 5,000 additional employees, with the capacity to grow to 15,000, according to Apple.

The new campus will make Apple the largest private employer in Austin, with jobs ranging from engineering, R&D, operations, finance, sales, and customer support. At 6,200 people, Austin already represents the largest population of Apple employees outside of Cupertino.

According to Apple, the new campus will include 50 acres of preserved open space and, like all Apple facilities worldwide, its workspaces will be powered by 100 percent renewable energy.

WWDC 2019


Image: Apple, Apple CEO Tim Cook at WWDC 2018.
Apple's World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) is typically hosted around the first two weeks in June and spotlight the companies iOS, tvOS, macOS, and watchOS advancements. Apple uses the event to showcase its new software and technologies for software developers at the event and those watching from home via Livestream of the Keynote.

For 2019, we should expect to see iOS 13, watchOS 6, macOS 11 or 10.15, and tvOS. In rare occasions, Apple has released new products during WWDC, but, I do not expect Apple to do so during WWDC 2019.

As far as macOS, we typically learn what the name of the new operating system will be. I have made some predictions on what I want Apple to name it: Sequoia, Sierra Nevada, Redwood, or Big Sur. I prefer Sequoia. I would really love to see a redesign of macOS, similar to my current favorite concept by Álvaro Pabesio, here.

Furthermore, we should see iOS 13, which is said to have the features that Apple ditched in iOS 12 in an effort to focus on reliability and stability. I really hope that we finally see Dark Mode come to iOS in iOS 13. Additionally, welcome improvements to Siri thanks to Apple recently hiring Ex-Google employee John Giannandrea, who is the Senior Vice President of Machine Learning and AI Strategy. 

A long stretch would be native RAW support in the camera app. We should also see significant improvements to Shortcuts, Home, and Safari.

iPhone 11, 11 Max, and 11r

Image: Apple
With Apple updating the iPhone every year, we should expect to see a redesigned iPhone 11, 11 Max, and possibly an update to the cheaper Xr as the 11r.

I hope to see a revised design, one that is not similar to the iPhone X or Xs but still very much an iPhone. Furthermore, we should expect a new A13 chip inside, a slight possibility of 5G support, and improved True-Depth camera systems.

According to many rumors, the next iPhone will feature a Triple Lens Camera System on the rear with advanced 3D sensing for augmented reality capabilities. The first two lenses will be the same as the current model, but the third will act as a 3x optical zoom, a first for iPhone.

We expect Apple to use the new sensors to build upon its ARKit 2. ARKit 2 allows for shared experiences with multiplayer games, persistent augmented reality, extended support for image detection and tracking, and more.

Entry-level 10-inch iPad, and iPad mini 5

Image: Apple
According to Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple is working on the successor to the entry-level $329 iPad for 2019. He says the new iPad will be slightly larger, 10'-inches vs. 9.7'-inches. He also says that in order to accommodate a larger display, the new iPad will receive an industrial redesign with slimmers bezels, and look like its larger iPad Pro siblings.

Kuo assures that the new iPad price will not differ from the current $329, as Apple is still wanting this to be an entry-level iPad that is also aimed at education. We hope to see at least an A11 Bionic chip replace the A10 Fusion inside the current model. Furthermore, we hope to see support for the Apple Pencil 2.

Modular Mac Pro and Updated Apple Cinema USB-C Display

Concept Image: Pascal Eggert. Source: MacWorld UK
The current Mac Pro hasn't been updated since 2013. It still has the same internals, specs, and processors, from 2013. Apple forced itself in a corner with the trash-can design due to the fact they realized the Thermal Core of the Mac Pro isn't able to cool modern components, therefore, limiting them in their ability to update it sooner.

Earlier this year, Apple confirmed that it is working on an all-new Mac Pro that will have cutting-edge components, performance, and will be modular to allow creative professionals to upgrade the system as their needs grow over time.

Concept Image: Pascal Eggert. Source: MacWorld UK
Little is currently known of the Mac Pro aside from it having the latest components, Intel Xeon chips, and modular design.

Furthermore, it is rumored that Apple will release a new Apple Cinema Display alongside the Mac Pro that will have either 5K or 8K panel with 10-bit color support that Apple released with OS X El Capitan.

According to Apple's head of marketing Phil Schiller, "As part of doing a new Mac Pro — it is, by definition, a modular system — we will be doing a pro display as well."

Conclusion


2019 is set to be another busy year for Apple. We hope to see many of the products we've been wishing for this year and many advancements in both hardware and software.

Other notable mentions are that we expect Apple to update the Mac line with fresh processors, improvements with macOS 11 or 10.15, and the possibility of a Touch Bar wireless keyboard.

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