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Apple Watch: 2018 Predictions
Monday, 2018 January 1 - 2:05 pm
Happy 2018 everyone. I'm not a very reliable blogger these days, but I'll at least get this one out every year.

Here are my predictions from last year:

1. iPhone 8 design. Well, this was a mixed bag. I didn't count on two new iPhones. While I was mostly right about the iPhone 8, I was largely wrong about the iPhone X. I'll generously give myself half a point here.

2. Apple Watch 3 design. My predictions weren't very risky here. The cellular capability is a game changer, IMO. Full point.

3. MacBook replaces MacBook Air. Mmm, nope. The MacBook Air remains, anchoring the low end of the lineup. Zero points.

4. Convertible MacBook: NO. Full point.

5. Mac Pro and Mac Mini: YES. New machines are still being promised but they didn't appear in 2017. Zero points.

6. Apple Smart Home device: YES. Not exactly what I'd hoped for, but pretty much what I expected. Full point.

7. Apple VR and AR: NO. Well, another mixed bag; Apple heavily promoted new AR features in their iPhones, but didn't produce any VR or AR hardware. I'll give myself half a point.

8. iPad Line: New Pro and Mini. We got a new Pro, but not a new Mini. I suspect that Apple is seeing the iPhone 8 Plus cannibalize the Mini market. I was right about the Air going away. Half point.

9. New TV hardware: NO. We got a new 4K AppleTV this year. Zero points.

10. 2017 closing stock price: $120. Apple stock has inexplicably risen to around $170 despite few changes in the product lineup or philosophy. Some of the exuberance is due to tax law changes, but jeez. Zero points.

So, 4.5 out of 10; not great. Here we go for 2018.

1. New Mac Pro and mini. I mean, come on. Here I'm expecting that the products will merge into a single modular design; you start with a base unit (which is the mini) and you can stack video and other expansion modules via Thunderbolt. Well, maybe "hoping" is a better word than "expecting". Really, as long as we get something.

2. New MacBook... without a second USB port. On the one hand, some users are noisily demanding a second port, which would admittedly be useful. On the other hand, Apple wants to get rid of ports and is pushing wireless as the ultimate solution. It wouldn't surprise me to see the MacBook get wireless charging instead of a second USB port.

3. MacBook Pro adds an escape key to the touch bar. The touch bar isn't exactly a hit with users, and I think the big reason is the lack of the escape key. Well, that and it isn't very useful in general. But I think it'll remain; Apple's right about the need to remove the legacy function keys.

4. iPhone 8 forever. I think the iPhone 8 is essentially the end of the line for the home-button-based iPhone line; I don't think Apple will spend R&D dollars on an iPhone 9.

5. iPhone X forever. Apple will certainly release a new model of iPhone X, but I don't think the name changes any more (i.e., it won't be the iPhone X2). But there may well be an iPhone XL, with a giant OLED screen. Feature-wise, I think we'll see 5G wireless as the tentpole feature, and maybe advancements to wireless charging.

6. iPad mini forever. By that I mean the iPad mini 4. It's probably not a big seller and the profit margins aren't great, but I'm beginning to see the pattern of keeping old devices around as entry-level products.

7. iPad Pro with Face ID. This is practically a no-brainer; the iPad Pro will lose the home button, allowing the device to become smaller overall without losing screen real estate.

8. AR Device. With the introduction of ARKit and all the emphasis on AR, it may be time for a device. Goggles are the obvious choice, but we might see something else... maybe even a holographic projector? A transparent tablet? Apple has lots of patents in this area.

9. Artificial Intelligence emphasis. Every major tech company is heavily investing in AI, and Apple is no exception. I think we'll see a smarter Siri, perhaps with vision recognition. Apple's purchase of Shazam covers a good portion of the audio recognition part of the equation. We might see "AIKit" to allow developers to tap in to the iPhone's AI engine.

10. 2018 closing stock price: $210. Big drivers for the stock price: price reductions for the iPhone X, a new product category (AR?), and even though investors should have already baked in the tax repatriation, we'll still see people talking about Apple's bottom-line improvements as if they were a huge surprise.

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Posted by Ken in: techwatch


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