2016 has been a controversial year for Apple; many people were skeptical about the removal of the headphone jack on the iPhone 7, how easily they would lose their AirPods, and the new MacBook Pro's lack of ports, among other criticisms. In addition, although Apple was very successful in 2016, the year was slow in terms of new hardware. However, 2017 is finally here–and it could be a huge year for Apple. Here is everything to expect.
Last year, the only iPad that was released was the 9.7" iPad Pro, bringing some of its specs on par with the iPhone 6s and others with the 12.9" iPad Pro. This year, Apple is expected to release at least three new iPad models: a new 12.9" iPad Pro, a 10.5" iPad Pro, an iPad Air 3, and possibly an iPad mini 5. The two new iPad Pro's will share specs to clean up the current iPad Pro lineup so their only difference will be size. The 10.5" iPad Pro will replace the 9.7" iPad Pro, and although it will have a larger screen size, it will maintain the same footprint. The iPad Air 3 (which will be 9.7" like the current iPad Air 2) will be a mid-range option for people who want a fairly large screen but a slightly less powerful, more affordable device. The iPad mini 5, which would likely just be an iPad mini 4 with upgraded internals, is also a possibility. The lineup will be as follows: iPad Pro (12.9" / 10.5"), iPad Air 3 (9.7"), and iPad mini 4 or 5 (7.9").
The current Mac lineup is very messy. The laptop options consist of the 12" MacBook, the lightest option which was last updated in early 2016; the new MacBook Pro; and the MacBook Air, which has a design from 2010, a poor display, and legacy ports. It's also the thickest one despite the name "Air." This year, Apple is hoping to clean up the confusion by killing off the MacBook Air, lowering the price of the 12" MacBook, and eventually bumping up the specs on the MacBook Pro as well as lowering the price of the unsuccessful non-Touch Bar version. The new 12" MacBook for this year will likely adopt the new second-generation butterfly mechanism keyboard from the MacBook Pro and receive Intel's latest Kaby Lake processor, followed by the MacBook Pro later this year. As for the desktop lineup, it currently consists of the 4K 21.5" iMac, the 5K 27" iMac (both last updated in late 2015), the now obsolete and overpriced Mac Pro (which was last updated in 2012 when it had a major redesign), and the Mac mini (which received a minor upgrade in 2014). In a recent interview, Tim Cook specifically mentioned the iMac when talking about what Apple had in store for desktops in 2017, so we know that the iMacs will be updated this year. They will likely have four Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports and perhaps have slimmer bezels to make for a more compact machine. As for the Mac Pro and Mac mini, it is worth noting that Cook never mentioned these in his interviews. Also, Apple recently stepped out of the standalone monitor business, cutting the Thunderbolt Display and partnering with LG for external displays made specifically for the new MacBook Pro. For these reasons, it is possible that Apple will kill off both the Mac Pro and Mac mini. However, this would be very unwise of Apple, for many professional users feel there is a place for these machines. In fact, many people would argue that Apple should continue to release new separate displays as well, but this is unlikely. Since there is still money to be made on the Mac Pro and Mac mini, let's assume that Apple will update both of them this year. If this is the case, the Mac lineup will be as follows: MacBook, MacBook Pro, iMac, Mac Pro, and Mac mini.
The iPhone 7 introduced a ton of new features to the iPhone, such as IP67 water resistance, a dual speaker system, a dual camera on the Plus model, new Black and Jet Black finishes, a customizable non-clickable home button, and some other changes. However, many people were disappointed by Apple's traditional, basic aluminum design. According to the most recent reports, this year Apple will be launching three new iPhone models: the iPhone 7s, the iPhone 7s Plus, and iPhone 8. The iPhone 7s and 7s Plus will be mostly identical to their predecessors, but will contain speed improvements with the upcoming A11 chip. In addition, they will be made out of stainless steel in replace of aluminum and bump up their water resistance rating to IP68. As for the iPhone 8, it will have the same footprint as all iPhone Plus models, but will have a larger 5.8" curved-edge OLED display and a ceramic back for wireless charging. Like the iPhone 7s, it will have Apple's A11 chip for excessive speed and efficiency, as well as an IP68 water resistance rating. In addition, it will have no physical home button, so the Touch ID sensor will be embedded into the screen. It will also probably come with loads of small improvements such as tweaks to the already fantastic dual camera. The 2017 iPhone lineup: iPhone 8 (5.8"), iPhone 7s Plus (5.5"), iPhone 7s (4.7"), and existing iPhone SE (4").
The Apple Watch Series 3 will most likely release in September like the Series 1 and 2 did in 2016. It's not clear what changes and improvements the wearable device will have, but a slimmer design, a camera, and cellular connectivity without the need of a connected iPhone are all possible new features.
Although an Apple executive recently explained his negative thoughts on stationary home speakers like the Amazon Echo and Google Home, there is a lot of money to be made in this department. Many people forget to take advantage of hands-free Siri on iPhones and iPads and its integration with Apple's Home app. To step up their game in this area, Apple needs to either remind customers of what Siri can do that is just like Amazon and Google's solutions, integrate this feature into Apple TV with a new version or a software release, or launch their own home speaker, which has supposedly been in the works for quite some months now. If it does in fact release this year, it will most likely go on sale in September, a year after Apple was reported to be entering the prototyping stage of the product.
WWDC17–the World-Wide Developers Conference–will take place on June 5th. Apple will be announcing and releasing for beta testing the following software updates: iOS 11, macOS 10.13, watchOS 4, and tvOS 11. Not much is known at this time, but a recent sketchy rumor suggests that iOS 11 will include long-overdue group FaceTime calling with up to 5 people at a time in a call.
Even if only 80% of the products mentioned are released this year, 2017 could very well be a huge year for Apple. Below is a predicted timeline for Apple's releases this year. Also, let us know in the poll what product you are most excited for!