Time for last minute pre-announcement predictions

The App Store is down in preparation for the Apple media event later today, and I realized I had not yet published any of my thoughts on what was coming. Well, time to fix that!

On the docket for today:

Think this is obvious. It won’t be released today, developers don’t even have a GM version yet. The reason, they can’t release the phones without the new OS and there are still a couple things they have not publicly announced. So the doors will be opened and we will get a full demo of what is in-store for iOS 7. Developers will likely get the GM and the application submission process will begin, the final version will likely take another week and will come along side the new phones [with new features].

New iPhone
Again, expected. The question then comes down to specifics. There seems to be too much smoke for a lone phone announcement, so I think there will be two, possibly three. Expect the high-end 5S with a new camera, updated processor, etc. Will come with more battery life, better screen, more durable and will be incredible.

The question really becomes, what about the second device. Think the common perception is that the 5 will be discontinued and the 5c will takes its place. And there is merit to this thought. I can see them replacing the 5 with all the same internals but reverting to the previous 4S screen size, cutting price from the device. Basically, just a smaller iPhone 5. Add new color variants and and a plastic or carbon fiber back with more texture to prevent slip in the hands.

Another thought is that they also leave the 5 as is, and release a lower cost 4S with the updated internals and new case design – intended to hit the base of the market. But that does not seem as likely, unless the current iPhone 5 gets an upgrade (new processor) at the same time – thus making a three phone announcement.

Last year Apple surprised everyone by talking iPods at this time, and I think they will again. These have become more accessory items and not big news, but they are often reflective of the iPhone concepts. Here I am expecting a new, updated iPod Touch – to match the upgraded iPhone 5S though likely without the high-end features such as the rumored finger-print scanner. I continue to hope that one day they will add GPS and a data plan (a-kin to the iPad), but I won’t bet on it.

My expectation is that the iPod Touch will get replaced, probably next year, with a iPad Nano 5″ display, at which time it will get the data plan – for some reason I feel the data plan is tied to the iPad brand

We will likely see the end to the iPod classic as the SSD is likely cheap enough to takes its place. An updated iPod Nano will likely be show-cased, possibly running iOS 7 (though without the App Store). The bundled apps will then match those found on the iPod Touch and iPhone, just smaller, something that is possible due to the auto-layout feature Apple has move towards. This also might then allow for things like WiFi integration and notifications to be included. A couple surprises possibly here, heres to hoping.

The iPod Shuffle might get a rebranding a bit, think this will become what is through of as the iWatch. And since we have not heard a lot on it – this is probably whats in the rabbits hat. My thoughts are that it includes a smaller high-res screen, and the screen will be flexible to some degree. It will come on a wrist strap – like a watch – that would house the batteries for at least a 24 hr run-time. The shuffle will include WiFi, Bluetooth and a pedometer (GPS is just too power hungry).

Suspect it will get notifications, mail, and connect to your iPhone to allow more data communication, possibly voice calls and Siri integration too. However, I think primarily it will be used to send and view tweets, reminders, time, and music. Expect Nike+ integration, though don’t expect much from the touch screen, it will be too small for much more than just swiping. My thought it that there will be some way to display the date and time with the screen is in power-saving mode. Might be nice to have a vibrator built in for notifications, though no speaker.

Later this year…

Later this fall we will see an iPad refresh, which will all be standard upgrade news regarding new iPads and iPad Minis. I do expect a retina iPad Mini at a premium cost, and a non-retina version at a lower cost. During the same show they will formally release the Mac Pro (possibly leading off the show). But I believe it will be then that they take the wrapping off the upgrade to the Apple TV as well. New form factor, updated internals to match the latest chips available, a remote (would be nice to get as a software update to the iPod Nano), and the long awaited SDK — again possible from Apples move to apps designed with Auto-Layout.

As for what they have up there sleeve for next year, not sure – possibly I am still too early with some of these thoughts. But, this could be a big fall for Apple. iMac and Macbook updates might only be annotations in events moving forward, though I can see then doing a “Mac” announcement in February around MacBook Air updates.