Better Late Than Never?
I’ve been woefully lax in producing homespun Apple punditry these last few months — nothing on the subject since August, in fact, which means that apart from a few tweets, I haven’t weighed on in the iPhone 6s/6s+ or the iPad Pro. So before I predict what I think tomorrow’s event will bring, let’s tally up the scorecard on my 2015 predictions:
Ugh. Not pretty. The biggest news of the September event was the (widely-rumoured) iPad Pro, and in spite of hearing all the rumours, it just didn’t seem likely to me that Apple would think “bigger” was the right direction to take the iPad (prediction IV). Well: it goes to show what I know.
Getting prediction IV wrong also made it easy to get prediction VI wrong — I just didn’t have any kind of read on what Apple’s plans for the iPad line were.
There wasn’t much to be surprised about with the 6s/6s+, and I mostly got that right (prediction II), though I was sure that Apple would finally abandon the 16GB size point (a capacity they’ve been shipping for more than eight years, it’s worth noting). They didn’t, which means they now sell a phone that can shoot 4K video… but which completely runs out of space after recording 45 minutes of said footage. And that’s assuming there are no apps, photos, or anything else on it. Sigh. Ditto with the iPad mini 4 — it can’t shoot 4K video, but it still deserves (and I thought it would get — prediction V) more than 16GB of storage.
My predictions about the rest of the iPhone lineup also fared pretty poorly, though once prediction I didn’t come true, it’s not surprising that prediction IIIdidn’t either. My only consolation here is that it sounds like the former will probably come true tomorrow. I don’t have much hope for the latter immediately, although it will probably happen in the fall when the new phones launch — there wouldn’t be much point in having a 7/7+, a 6s/6s+ and a 6/6+, as well as the new “6c” (or “iPhone SE”, or “6 mini”, or whatever it winds up being called). If, as rumoured, the “6c” does use an A9 chip, then it might mean Apple was willing to ditch the 6s/6s+ this fall too. I think just three phones (6c/7/7+) would make for a nice, clean, Apple-esque (or perhaps Jobsian?) lineup — but I felt that way last year too, and nothing came of it.
My technology-related predictions (VII, VIII, and IX) weren’t great either — Force Touch did make an appearance in the 6s/6s+, of course, but I certainly didn’t foresee “3D Touch” or a stylus(!) arriving for iPad, and Apple’s nascent enthusiasm for USB-C didn’t find any new expression. The new iDevices stuck with Lightning, the new iMacs stuck with USB3, and the new MacBook Pros… they didn’t arrive at all. But 2016′s gotta be the year for USB-C, right? Right?
On the positive side, at least my safest, easiest, non-prediction (numeral X) was 100% true: there were no new Apple Watch models. Whew!
Back To The Future
So, with that unpleasant account concluded, let’s turn now to the present / immediate future: what will tomorrow morning bring? I’ll keep it short — here are the two easy predictions:
- my 2015 “modern 4-inch iPhone” prediction will finally be fulfilled. It might be called the iPhone SE, though I hope not — that’s a terrible name.
- my 2015 “A9X-based 10-inch iPad” prediction will sort-of be fulfilled… but it will be more “a smaller iPad Pro” than “a faster iPad Air 2”, so I don’t get much retroactive credit for that.
I don’t want to be too conservative in my forecasts, though, so here are a couple that are a little further out there:
- new MacBook Pros will launch, featuring Skylake chips, available in the four iPhone finishes, and featuring exclusively USB-C ports. This line is overdue for new models (MBPs were updated on average every 7.5 months from 2006 to 2014, but it’s now been over a year since the last change to the 13" model, and 10 months for the 15"), and I like to think Apple has been using the extra time to prepare for a full reboot, in the spirit of the 2015 MacBook, but with a focus on performance this time around.
- Tim Cook will announce a change of heart on the whole FBI / phone-unlocking thing, and say that he now believes that the government has convincingly demonstrated that it can be fully trusted to behave responsibly concerning the privacy of its citizens, so Apple will now cooperate fully with the FBI’s investigations, and happily provide them with whatever custom software they need or want.
See you on the other side!
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