2016 is likely to be a big year for Apple, but really, which year hasn’t been a big year for it of late? If you start back in 2007 when the iPhone was introduced, then it’s fair to say that every year since then has been pivotal in shaping the Apple that we know today, for better, or for worse.
So with 2016 now (just) underway, things are set to get interesting over in Cupertino. With iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches and Macs floating around its Apple Stores, which will be big players this year and which will see significant changes in their product lineups?
Just what should we expect from Apple in 2016?
Apple Watch 2 (Early 2016)
The Apple Watch is now coming up to its first birthday, if you use its release date rather than announcement for such things, and rumors are starting to swirl as to what the second generation device will entail and when it will be available to buy. Current guesses have some time in the first few months of the year as possible announcement and subsequent release dates, with a special media event in March set to unveil both the new Watch and a new, smaller iPhone alongside. New hardware, such as a FaceTime camera are likely, though we’re less sure about that camera than we are, say, faster internals.
iPhone 6c (Early 2016)
Rumored to be announced alongside the new Apple Watch at the March event, an iPhone 6c would see a new 4-inch device go on sale for the first time in a couple of years. That device will, if rumors are to be believed, feature iPhone 6-like innards but with some iPhone 6s bits thrown in for good measure, and with a smaller screen, a larger battery than the iPhone 5s and 2GB of RAM. Think iPhone 6 or 6s, but smaller.
iPad Air 3 (Early to mid 2016)
The good news is the iPad Air 3 may not be too far away if rumors are to be believed, but the bad news is that it is highly unlikely to feature the same 3D Touch technology that is available in the iPhone 6s, nor carry the same pen-capable technology of the iPad Pro. Faster, more capable and likely thinner and lighter than the iPad Air 2, the third generation Air will be quite a machine. Probably.
iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus (Fall 2016)
Set to arrive in its usual September time slot, the new flagship iPhone will come with a redesigned chassis and improved internals, with a 256GB storage option said to be likely. Rumors of the new iPhone 7 being waterproof aren’t too much of a stretch given the iPhone 6s’ uncanny ability to withstand quite a soaking, though we wouldn’t want to put too much money on it becoming a reality. The same goes for rumors having the iPhone 7 ditch the 3.5mm earphone jack we are all so familiar with. We may finally be getting rid of those antenna lines though!
The MacBook Air has become the notebook computer that Apple believes most people should buy. It’s the cheapest notebook in its lineup and it’s a capable one too. Not quite as impressive to look at or pick up as the stupendously minuscule 12-inch MacBook, the Air is likely to get a significant update that could make it one of Apple’s most interesting products once again. Quite what that will entail though, we’re not quite sure at this point. It’ll be thin and light, though. Of that we are certain.
12-inch MacBook, MacBook Pro, iMac, Mac mini, Mac Pro
Don’t expect any huge changes here, with all having been kept ticking along just fine of late. CPU bumps, hopefully some price drops and maybe some rejigging of the currently available configurations are likely the order of the day here. Apple’s going to be busy enough as it is, without giving everything it makes a major overhaul in 2016.
5K Cinema Display, Apple TV 5, iPad Pro 2, iPad mini 5
Apple will forever be rumored to be working on a 5K Cinema Display until the day it makes one, so let’s just get that out of the way early in the year please, Mr Cook. Beyond that, the next Apple TV will possibly support 4K video via a new CPU configuration, though if Apple TV revisions of the past are anything to go by, that’s likely to arrive in 2020 rather than 2016! The iPad Pro and iPad mini are likely to receive incremental updates this year, though, that being said, we wouldn’t be too surprised if the iPad Pro was on an update cycle longer than 12 months. Especially given its price.
iOS 10, OS X 10.12, watchOS 3, tvOS 10 (Betas in mid 2016, release in Fall)
We will, of course, have WWDC on the horizon soon enough. That alone should keep us all busy, with iOS 10, OS X 10.12, watchOS 3 and possibly even a new version of tvOS being shown off. iOS 10, in particular, has us looking forward to the event. If iOS 10 is the equivalent of what OS X brought to the table for the Mac, then we could be in for quite a year on our iPhones and iPads!
Whatever happens to iOS, though, 2016 could be one of Apple’s biggest years yet. Challenges undoubtedly lay ahead and competitors will turn up the heat over the course of the next twelve months – that’s what keeps Apple honest and in turn is great for us consumers. We’re only a couple of days into 2016 right now, but the next 300+ days look like they may be good ones.