2017 was a huge year for Apple, particularly with the release of the first-generation version of the iPhone X. This year is set to be no different, with many new products on the horizon such as Apple’s first ever smart speaker – the HomePod – and a larger screened version of the iPhone X.
Beyond that, we’re expecting new software, a new Apple Watch and perhaps an iPad Pro with Face ID is in the works. Below, we’ve rounded up what we’re expecting, and when, in the next twelves months.
The next few months should finally bring the release of the HomePod, Apple’s first ever smart speaker. This was originally meant to debut in December 2017 but Apple delayed it’s launch to “early 2018” for reasons that they failed to specify. For this product, Apple has focused a great deal on sound quality, with a 7 tweeter array and 4-inch upward facing woofer for a clear sound.
The HomePod includes an A8 Chip so that the room can be analyzed and sound is adjusted accordingly. You’ll also get integration with Siri and Apple Music.
Three new iPhones
Apple introduced three new iPhones in 2017 which is why current rumors suggest that we should expect three more in 2018. The first is expected to be a second-generation iPhone X with 5.8 inch OLED display, which may be accompanied by another OLED phone at 6.5 inches – the iPhone X Plus?
Alongside these, further rumors have suggested that a more affordable 6.1 inch iPhone with LCD display will be introduced for midrange markets.
In September, we may see a high-end iPad Pro that adopts many of the elements of the iPhone X including slimmer bezels, no home button, and Face ID. As of yet, there has been no rumors regarding the size of the iPad but it’s likely that Apple will stick to the 10.5 inch format that they’re used to. There might also be a new Apple Pencil in the works but the features that will entail can only be speculated.
Last year we saw the introduction of the fifth-generation 9.7 inch iPad that came on the market for the lowest ever price at $329 for a 32GB model. A model at an even lower cost is expected to miss features such as the Apple Pencil and ProMotion Display technology but it would allow Apple to compete with tablets at the lower end of the market. If the rumors are true, we’re expecting this to come around March, a year after the debut of the fifth-generation model.
Apple Watch Series 4
Apple has released a new Apple Watch every year so this year we’re expecting a fourth-generation model. We know how strict Apple can be with their release schedules and in that case, the Watch Series 4 should come in September. Despite there being only a few rumors surrounding this release, it’s expected that Apple will use micro-LED displays that will allow for thinner, lighter displays with improved color gamut and brightness.
EKG functionality has also been tested for use with the Apple Watch, requiring users to place two fingers on either side of the device to record heart activity and test for irregularities. The company has also been testing non-invasive blood glucose monitoring techniques although it seems unlikely that this kind of tech will be ready to debut in the next launch.
AirPower Charging Mat
In 2017, the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X introduced Qi-based charging for the first time ever. As of yet, there is no Apple product on the market but they have stated that it’s something that they’re working on. The AirPower will be designed to charge the Apple Watch, AirPods, iPhone X and both iPhone 8 models all at the same time. An inductive charging case is also apparently in the works. However, beyond “2018”, Apple has given no indication of when these accessories will be ready.
Next generation AirPods
Speaking of AirPods, an updated version is expected in the second half of 2018 although there has been no real indication of what updates they will bring. Perhaps we’ll see AirPods in a range of different colors?
iMac and iMac Pro
Apple is known to refresh the iMac on a yearly basis so its likely that we’ll see updated 21.5 and 27 inch machines that feature 8th generation Coffee Lake chips from Intel. A design refresh hasn’t been seen since 2012 but it still remains unclear as to whether or not this is something we’ll see this year with so many rumors surrounding updated internals.
The iMac Pro is a new product that wasn’t introduced until December 2017 so if this is something that’s pegged for an upgrade in 2018 it won’t be until the very end.
Macbook and Macbook Pro
A minor spec bump to the 8th generation Kaby Lake Refresh is likely to both the Macbook and Macbook Pro sometime around June along with some improvements such as faster RAM and SSDs. Last year, the KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said that Apple was working on a higher-end Macbook Pro that would be set for release before the end of 2017. This is a product that’s yet to materialize so maybe 2018 is its year.
Software including iOS 12, macOS 10.14, watchOS 5, and tvOS 12 are all expected for release in 2018. As it does every year, Apple should release these at the Worldwide Developer’s Conference in June and following that, beta versions should be available to developers and then public beta testers for an eventual September release alongside new iPhones.