Forget the iPhone 15–here’s why next year could be Apple’s biggest ever
All the news, rumors, and tips you missed last week.
By David Price, Editor, MacworldAUG 21, 2023 3:30 am PDT
Welcome to our weekly Apple Breakfast column, which includes all the Apple news you missed last week in a handy bite-sized roundup. We call it Apple Breakfast because we think it goes great with a Monday morning cup of coffee or tea, but it’s cool if you want to give it a read during lunch or dinner hours too.
This time next year, Rodney…
Regular readers may accuse me of “jam tomorrow” hypocrisy, but stay with me on this one: We’re starting to get some solid pointers that Apple’s 2024 really will be a year to remember. And this isn’t just the usual next-but-one optimism. The juxtaposition of a major anniversary in one major product category with the long-awaited launch of another gives concrete reasons to expect big things.
Let’s start with the Apple Watch. With the ninth generation due for launch next month, 2024 will see the launch of what we would ordinarily expect to be called the Apple Watch Series 10. Yet one reputable pundit thinks the company will switch up the branding and plump for something more momentous: the Watch X, bringing to mind the highly significant iPhone X launch from 2017. Apple is expected to tie this in with the ten-year anniversary of its smartwatch line, which admittedly launched to the public in 2015 but was announced in 2014, so the math just about works.
The Watch X looks set to include as many substantive upgrades on its predecessor as roughly three years’ worth of traditional (ie glacially cautious) Apple Watch refreshes. The case will be thinner. The straps will attach magnetically; this means all your existing straps will be obsolete, but on the plus side will free up room in the body of the watch for a bigger battery or other additional componentry. The display will be bumped to microLED for improved clarity and color. And the long-rumored blood pressure monitor will arrive at last.
If the excitement of a genuinely worthwhile product refresh isn’t enough, what about the launch of Vision Pro? In contrast to the mature Apple Watch line, Apple’s mixed-reality headset is at the beginning of its journey and isn’t expected to sell many units in year one. But the product’s potential–to create an ecosystem rivaling the iPhone, and to transform the way we interact on a societal level–is thrilling. It could become Apple’s biggest-ever product, or it could fail utterly, and that uncertainty alone makes this a far more interesting launch than the first iPad, Apple Watch, or AirPods.
There are big things coming down the pipe in other areas, too. The M3 Mac processor should land this fall, but many Macs won’t get it until the following year, which will also see the launch of the chip’s Pro, Max, and Ultra configurations; the M3 generation looks like a seriously major upgrade. Apple’s highly anticipated revamped smart home strategy will make itself felt in 2024, possibly including a HomePod with a display. And the iPhone 16, of course, currently looks like a far more appetizing prospect than the cautious-seeming iPhone 15… although that one might be a legitimate case of next year’s grass always looking greener.
Sometime next month (maybe September 12?), Apple will reveal the new Apple Watch, which will be the Series 9. And anyone who knows how to count realizes that next year’s watch will be the tenth version, which is a landmark anniversary. So here’s a question: With the anniversary in mind, should customers skip the upcoming Series 9 watch this year? We talk about the Apple Watch in this episode of the Macworld Podcast.
And with that, we’re done for this week’s Apple Breakfast. If you’d like to get regular roundups, sign up for our newsletters. You can also follow us on Twitter or on Facebook for discussion of breaking Apple news stories. See you next Monday, and stay Appley.