Apple’s Spring 2018 — My Predictions
I generally divide each year into three chunks when it comes to Apple announcements. Spring, which is the months leading up to WWDC. Summer, which is the beta period leading up to the fall event. And Fall, which is up until New Years. I understand that my system might not make much sense to some of you, but I consider winter and spring one chunk since not that much happens during the winter time in the world of Apple. Apple usually has a few small product introductions in the time between February and April. They used to hold big events early in the year but now they tend to opt for smaller releases, traditionally done on their website or in a lower key event. I think that this coming Spring is going to be a relatively exciting one. My expectations are pretty high since last year was such a huge success, especially for iPhone.
My first prediction is an updated iPhone SE with new internals and a refreshed design. It’s been two full years since Apple introduced the iPhone SE and last year’s iPhone 8 and iPhone X raised the bar for what an iPhone can be. The current iPhone SE just doesn’t cut it, even for a lower cost option. The new designs and faster internals inside the newest iPhone models are just begging to be melded into the iPhone SE. My expectation is that the SE’s shape will remain mostly the same but that Apple will find unique ways to blend in the new design elements. The first is an all glass back to enable wireless charging. The second is the removal of the headphone jack. The last one is a change in the color scheme, particularly with the new gold model. None of this is particularly drastic. Much like the iPhone SE is a smaller iPhone 6s with a few components from the iPhone 6, I expect this new SE to be a smaller iPhone 8 with a few components from the iPhone 7. Some have been hoping for a corner to corner display on a next generation iPhone SE and I think it’s just an unreasonable request at the moment given the price tag. I expect that this new iPhone SE will give Apple a mid cycle boost much like the last one did, especially since the first SE was such a hit.
Now speaking of mid cycle boosts, last year Apple added a (PRODUCT) red iPhone 7 to the lineup instead of updating the iPhone SE. This got me thinking. Where’s the gold iPhone X? I think it’s quite possible that we also see a gold iPhone X in the Spring for a light premium over the other two colors much like the red and jet black iPhone 7 models. The only objection to this expectation that crosses my mind is that Jony Ive might not be crazy about the idea of creating a shiny gold device that isn’t actually gold. We saw this with Apple Watch. The 18K gold models were retired and gold aluminum models were introduced at much cheaper prices to much fanfare. Apple may end up keeping gold exclusive to the lower end models so that they remain. appealing. But I believe that gold could still be in the cards for iPhone X.
Last year Apple introduced the wildly popular low end fifth generation iPad too alongside the red iPhone 7. The fifth gen iPad did such a great job of lifting up iPad sales that I fully expect them to refresh it in the Spring before unveiling new iPad Pro models at WWDC. I also think that it’s possible that the price drops even further. I’m not quite sure what can be done to update the device while keeping the price low. I can see two major changes, the first being a True Tone display and the second being the A10 chip. Both of these features are natural improvements to the product to extend its life. I know that users would really like to see a pro motion display and/or a laminated display. But I’m not sure that Apple can keep the cost of the device low enough with those additions. In terms of colors, I expect to see the new gold finish reach the iPad here for the first time.
Apple Watch has gotten a new collection of bands every Spring since its launch. I can practically guarantee that Apple will introduce a slew of new bands and combinations for Spring and Summer. They usually add bright colors to spice things up. Apple has updated the sport band, leather loop, classic buckle, Nike sport band, Hermes bands, and woven nylon bands during the Spring. This year I expect those ones to get refreshed with the addition of the new sport loop. I have no idea what colors they will add but they’ve historically been pretty great.
HomePod is also slated to launch during this time but likely won’t coincide with these other potential releases. Since HomePod was delayed, Apple surely wants to get it out of the gate as soon as humanly possible. I fully expect to see the HomePod in late January or early February
My last prediction lies with software. iOS 11.3 will probably launch alongside the HomePod, but iOS 11.4 could also be in the books. In the past these dot releases have alternated between being bug fixes and feature releases. iOS 9.3 launched in the Spring of 2016 with a bunch of new features like night shift. iOS 10.3 was the Spring release of 2017 and it brought very few new features, most of which were just preparations for iOS 11. That means that whatever Spring holds for iOS 11 could be pretty great. I’m hoping to see some updates to iOS on the iPad as well as some user experience enhancements for the iPhone X.
So when do I think these products will launch? If history repeats itself, mid March is a good bet. Whether they decide to hold a press event and a keynote at the Steve Jobs theater or simply do a few press releases is completely up in the air. It truly depends on how big of an announcement these products are.