As the Autumn approaches (sorry, "Fall") Apple will be readying a number of changes to their product lineup. Here is what I expect to see and what I hope to see...
The new iPhone will arrive in September and will come with a few usual changes. Thinner design, new Ax chip inside which will be faster than the 6S, better graphics, improved camera. There has been a bit of talk about a new dual lens camera, and this certainly fits into the usual iterative updates. One question- will Apple continue to update the iPhone SE separately to the main iPhone lines? Looks likely this year as the SE is too new for a refresh in September.
The big question is the headphone socket and whether Apple will go for a lightening connection for wired EarBuds or opt for some sort of wireless option? My own view here is that this will come down to usability. Not only does the ease of connection matter, in other words how the Bluetooth or other wireless technology works, but also the battery life of any wireless EarBuds. I suspect we will see lightening EarBuds shipping as the standard and possibly new wireless versions as an optional extra. But let's hope that if Apple do go for wirelessly versions, they have got something better than the current Bluetooth technology, which is at best fiddly and normally frustrating to use.
It is possible that we will see changes to the iPad, especially as we approach Christmas. The iPad would be a good seller during the holidays and the iPad Pro (12" model) could see changes so it has the newer TrueTone display. The smaller 9" iPad Pro is less likely to change as it is less than a year old. It is also possible that Apple will leave the iPad out, given that the Pro has been changed in the last 12 months, and make any changes in the new year.
We will definitely see three updated operating systems- the new macOS Sierra to replace OS X El Capitan, the next version of the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch operating system, iOS 10 and watchOS 3.0. This was set out in June at WWDC and it is likely to ship (for free) in October.
It also seems to be time for new Apple Watch models. Apple launched the first Watch almost 18 months ago. As we approach the Christmas buying season it seems logical that there will be new Watch models; I have always maintained that the Watch is the new iPod, for music and fitness. Maybe it is also time to streamline the range from three to two families of Watch?
But this all then leads to the much neglected Macintosh lineup. There are three families in need of urgent attention, and some may get more love than others! The MacBook Pros are probably the most likely focus, with Apple's target on laptops rather than desktops these days. In terms of hardware design, I would expect to see a revised form factor and Apple have probably been holding off for the release of new chips from Intel. So I would expect some significant speed boosts for the new models.
Less likely to have their day in the sun, although this would be welcome, are two desktop models, the Mac minis and the Mac Pros. The Mini has not seen a refresh since 2013, which is quite shocking. In fact I am holding off and hoping that there will be a new model for my home, so I will be keeping my fingers crossed that Apple has not decided to let the Mini fade away. And lastly the poor old Mac Pro. I confess I don't have a single client using a Pro and have never recommended one to anyone, given their price. But I do hope that Apple keeps the Pro around as a sign of how they can produce high end models and cutting edge technology for the likes of graphics and video editors. Departing this space would be quite sad and signal a significant retreat from the desktop PC market.
It is possible that Apple will launch new displays, given that they do not sell any displays right now, having retired the Thunderbolt Display a few weeks ago. I am hoping that we will see a new 4K display alongside new Pros and Minis, giving the desktop models a welcome boost.
Lastly, the MacBook Air is also in need of some TLC. In the last 18 months, Apple has focused on the new MacBook, with its introduction in 2015 and revision earlier this year. But beside the Air, it does show just how outdated the Air's design has become. The larger silver edge on the display points to an older age of laptop and it would be great to see a refresh to bring it in line with the MacBook and possibly newly launched MacBook Pros. However the Air is also Apple's biggest selling laptop (and biggest seller in the entire Mac family). It is the one Mac which sneaks in under the $1000 price point and so is the choice for students and the price-conscious consumer. So any change would need to keep this in mind- this is a volume, every-person Mac and not designed to be cutting edge.
In terms of timing, there is likely to be an event in the first week of September and if Apple has enough to announce, it may choose to make the September event an iPhone and iOS gig, and then hold a second event in October, possibly for any iPad or Mac announcements. I expect we will hear about a firm date for the September event next week.
Updated info on Apple Watch: 15/8/16