With 2018 just about to go into the books, Dan Morenu2019s looking ahead at what Apple may have in store for us in the year ahead.
By Dan Moren, Contributor, MacworldDEC 27, 2018 7:00 pm PST
Seems like just yesterday I was
running down what to look for in 2018, but the Earth has made it around the sun once again, which means that we’re once again poised to embark upon a new year of Apple news.
While there are some things that we can always reasonably expect from Apple in any given year—a new iPhone, probably at least one iPad revision, and some new Macs—2019 is unusual in that we already have several strong indications of announcements to expect from the company. Here’s a quick look at several things that I’m keeping an eye over the next twelve months.
Apple’s platforms get cozier
The strong performance of Apple’s custom silicon in iOS devices, further integration of Apple custom chips like the T2 in the Mac, and the release of iOS apps running with little alteration in macOS Mojave have me convinced that 2019 is the year we’ll get some big news about the hardware future of the Mac.
While that doesn’t necessarily mean a Mac with an Apple-designed CPU will be on sale before the end of the year, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference featured an announcement that such a product was on its way. That would give developers time to update their apps, though at this point architecture transitions are starting to feel like old hat for many Mac developers.
That said, it’s eminently plausible to me that we’ll see a Mac make the jump next year; as for which Mac will be the first, well, I still think the lack of any update for the 12-inch MacBook in 2018 makes it a prime candidate. (And while I’d love to see it have a touchscreen built in, I’m not holding my breath on that front.)
Streaming the night away
If I were to shake my
Magic 8-Ball and ask it whether Apple’s video streaming service will launch next year, it would say “Signs point to yes.” The company’s stable of video content has been steadily building over the last year, with news of casting and new series and movies regularly appearing in the entertainment trades.
Of course, the details are in the implementation. It seems likely that the TV app will be the home for Apple content (which may not thrill the other video providers that Apple has been enticing into the app), but we still don’t know whether the service will include any library content, what it will cost, or even what it will be called. Here’s hoping that it’s not just the Apple TV service that you watch in Apple’s TV app on your Apple TV, or I will probably spend a solid week banging my head against my desk.
As for the suggestion that the video service subscription may be bundled with Apple Music, that would certainly be a welcome development for many of us, who have found our subscriptions ballooning in recent years. Perhaps there will even be some sort of “add-on channel” offerings for third-party services as Amazon, Hulu, and others have offered.
I wouldn’t expect the new service to rear its head before Apple’s annual September event, which seems like the right time to launch, especially given that there need to be enough shows finished to launch with.
Going beyond AirPods
Wearables has been a burgeoning category for Apple; there’s a reason that Tim Cook calls it out in almost every financial call, even though it’s not an official segment on the company’s balance sheet. While it may not be experiencing quite the same huge growth as the company’s Services business, Wearables is clearly an area where the company intends to keep investing.
AirPods, in particular, have been a popular product that Apple’s included in the segment. A new version is expected to appear at some point, but I’m more interested in the somewhat more vague rumors that the company may also release a second pair of wireless headphones in a non-earbud form factor.
As the owner of many pairs of wireless headphones and someone who dislikes earbuds, I’m hoping there’s truth behind the whispers on this one. Bluetooth is the de facto standard among wireless headphones these days, and while it works well enough, the AirPods are a indication that things like pairing and switching between devices can be done way better. I’d like to see Apple’s W1 (or, dare we say, W2?) secret sauce expanded to more wireless audio devices.
That’s a wrap
There’s a lot more to look forward to in 2019, of course. The mysterious Mac Pro is due to ship, for one. iOS 13 is rumored to bring more iPad-specific improvements, which the tablet is in dire need of. And it will be interesting to see exactly how Apple plans to top the iPhone XS and XR, especially as rumors of flattening iPhone sales gather steam. It’s sure to be an interesting twelve months in the land of Apple, and I’m looking forward to following it all. See you next year.
Dan has been writing about all things Apple since 2006, when he first started contributing to the MacUser blog. He's a prolific podcaster and the author of the Galactic Cold War series, including his latest, The Nova Incident.