Apple likely to keep the same design for iPhone 7

Apple has been in a tick-tock pattern with regards to iPhone chassis design since iPhone 3G with a design overhaul every other generation. Base on report by KGI’s Ming-Chi Kuo, it appears that Apple is likely to reuse the same iPhone 6/6s design for iPhone 7. 

Ming-Chi Kuo, a reliable Apple analyst, claims that we will see a major iPhone design change in 2017, with Apple dropping aluminium for an all-glass enclosure with AMOLED screen. Separately, Apple is reported to enter a $2.6 billion agreement with Samsung to supply OLED panels.

So far the rumour mill points to an iPhone 7 to have the same look as iPhone 6/6s, sans the headphone jack. The bigger Plus model will likely sports a dual-lens camera. The iPhone this year might not be called iPhone 7 at all since it has the same design as iPhone 6/6s. Some have suggested names such as iPhone 6se.

There are few reasons why Apple could be reusing the same design. A design overhaul is timely in 2017 as it is iPhone’s 10th anniversary. It makes sense to make next year’s model a memorable one.

2016 is also a year of world wide economic slowdown. Demand growth for smartphone is negative and there is no end to the slow-down in sight. Apple is preparing for its worst quarter, and is cutting some cost by reusing the same manufacturing equipments and process for new iPhone. 

Time will tell if Apple is changing the iPhone design overhaul to a 3-year cycle. Those waiting to upgrade their iPhone will be disappointed if there is no new design this year. 

OS X Mavericks 5120×2880 wallpaper points to likely 27″ Retina display for iMac and Thunderbolt display

osx-mavericks-retina-display

As part of its OS X Mavericks announcement, you can locate within Apple.com a high resolution 5120×2880 wallpaper for Mavericks. This resolution is exactly 2x the 2560×1440 resolution found on 27″ iMac and Thunderbolt Display.

With Apple’s announcement of the Mac Pro supporting 4K video display alongside 20Gb Thunderbolt 2, it is safe to say that there will be a new 27″ Thunderbolt Retina Display release together with Mac Pro. And it is possible that Apple will release a high end model of 27″ iMac with Retina Display.  

Our wishes and predictions for Apple products in 2013

Here’s our wishes and predictions on what Apple will bring us in 2013:

Mac

Intel is expected to release its Haswell processors between March to June 2013. Haswell is the successor to the Ivy Bridge processors, and Apple will definitely update its Mac line to use this new family of processors.

Apple will continue to sell the standard MacBook Pro along side MacBook Pro with Retina Display, and there will be no cosmetic changes but spec bump with the new Haswell processor.

New MacBook Air 13 inch is expected to be smaller and lighter, as its thinnest does not proved to be an advantage next to the new 13 inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display.

As promised by Tim Cook himself, we will finally see an update to the Mac Pro line in Spring. The last Mac Pro update is in August 2010. We suspect the new Mac Pro line will be a brand new design. This year will also see Apple refocus back the enterprise, and the new Mac Pro is designed to target this market.

iPhone

We predict Apple to release an update to iPhone in September. It is likely called iPhone 5S based on past models, have the same appearance as iPhone 5 but with spec bump. Besides the usual black and white premium models of iPhone 5S, Apple will for the first time expand its iPhone range to include iPhone with colour options, similar to current generation iPod touch. This new range will be priced cheaper with last-generation (i.e. iPhone 5) specifications.

iPad

Apple will update its iPad to have the same slate and white design as current iPad mini, with a thinner body and spec bump. It will be lighter, run longer and cooler than current generation iPad. iPad mini will be refreshed with the same design but a Retina display and minor spec bump. Both updates are expected around September together with the new iPhone.

New Products

Apple is likely to unveil a new product category in spring. Will this be the year Apple unveils its long rumoured HDTV? Will it be the brand new rumoured bluetooth smart watch? Will it be new Mac that targets the enterprise? Will Apple launches a Spotify competitor? Whatever this product might be is any body’s guess.

Misc

This year will see Apple introduce new Wi-Fi 802.1ac as standard across Mac, iPhone and iPad. Consequently, AirPort products such as AirPort Extreme, AirPort Express will be refreshed to support the new standard.

27-inch Thunderbolt Display will get an update when Apple introduces its new Mac Pro line. The new Thunderbolt Display will have the same thin design as seen in new iMac.

Software wise, Apple will release iOS 7 and Mac OS X 10.9. We predict changes in the lock screen in iOS 7, minor changes in control element to give iOS a minor refreshed look. Apple will tout its improved Maps in one of its media event, and there will be a new killer feature in Maps to bring interests back to its Maps app.

This year will likely see the ability for iOS and Mac App Store to include charges for app upgrade. It will be made available in iOS 7 and OS X 10.9 at end of the year, preparing the release of new iWorks at end 2013 or early 2014.

We will finally see an SDK for Apple TV, preparing developers for the future release app market for the Apple TV and thus the follow-up HDTV. 

Where is iOS 6 beta 5?

Apple released its latest iOS 6 beta 4 for its developer community on August 6. It has been over a month and there is no sight of iOS 6 beta 5. Typically Apple releases a beta version of iOS every 2-3 weeks. This lapse of iOS 6 beta 5 release leads us some speculations.

Since the iPhone 5 announcement is only next Wednesday, it is likely that the next iOS 6 beta release will be the GM (Gold Master) release to be revealed together at the iPhone 5 media event. There will not be an iOS beta 5. The final release of iOS 6 will coincide with the release date of iPhone 5, which is expected to be 1-2 weeks after next week’s announcement.

iOS 6 beta GM will contain information about iPhone 5 hardware for sure. This is the main reason Apple delays the beta release. As widely rumoured, iPhone 5 will have a longer display resolution at  640 X 1136, an increase from the current 640×960. We expect existing apps will run unchanged on iPhone 5, but requires update by developers to take advantage of the increased resolution.

Apple might surprise us with new iOS 6 features or new built-in apps or new iPhone 5 hardware feature. All the details will be unveiled next Wednesday at the iPhone 5 media event. 

Apple is likely to refresh iMac and Mac mini with the launch of OS X Mountain Lion

Apple refreshed its notebook lineup during WWDC in June. Tim Cook has mentioned that Mac Pro refresh will only come in 2013. iMac and Mac mini are the two remaining Macs that are without any refresh even with the abundance of next-gen Ivy Bridge processors. 

The time is almost ripe to finally see some spec bump for iMac and Mac mini. Slashgear has reported dwindling 27-inch iMac stocks in big name retailers including Best-Buy and J&R. We predict that Apple will refresh its remaining Mac lineup with the launch of OS X Mountain Lion. Apple can only confirm that OS X Mountain Lion will launch in July with no specific date.

Beside processor bump to the latest Ivy Bridge Core i7 and USB 3, the new iMac is likely to sport NVIDIA GPU, a transition from the AMD graphic processor used in past iMac. The question remains if there will be new Retina Display model for the new iMac. 

As for the Mac mini, the upgrade is expected to be minor with the inclusion of Ivy Bridge processor and USB 3 ports.

Why there is no Mac Pro refresh

Apple did not announce new Mac Pro during its WWDC 2012 keynote. But soon after the event, the spec for Mac Pro on Apple’s online store got a speed bump, from old 6 core 2.93GHz Intel Xeon X5670 to 6 core 3.06GHz Intel Xeon X5675. Many Mac power users are not happy as there is no upgrade to at least Sandy Bridge E processor, there is no Thunderbolt port and there is no USB 3 port. Apple simply just bump the processor speed, and Mac Pro is stuck in year 2010 when it was last refreshed.

Fans of Mac Pro get a breather as Tim Cook has confirmed that a real Mac Pro refresh is coming in 2013. So the real fact is Mac Pro refresh is being delayed.

We speculate that one of the main reason for the delay is a rethink on Apple’s side on its desktop line. Mac Pro line when launch next year might finally get a new look. Arstechnica has written a well-researched article speculating the future Mac Pro, and we think the article hits the right spot about the complexity of designing Thunderbolt in Mac Pro, and we believe this is the main cause of the delay. 

The complicating issue is that Thunderbolt not only carries high-speed PCIe data, but must also carry DisplayPort video as well. On all other Macs, GPUs—whether integrated or discrete—are fixed. This makes it easy to pipe the DisplayPort output to the Thunderbolt port, which serves as both a high-speed interconnect as well as the connection for an external monitor. The Mac Pro, on the other hand, has removable PCIe-based graphics cards. How will Apple get the output of these cards into the Thunderbolt controller?

MS Office for iPad launching Nov 10

Microsoft will launch Office for iPad on Nov. 10, The Daily has learned. This follows reports earlier this month that a late fall release was likely.

Take it as a rumor, it is a great feat to know the exact launch date as there is no official announcement from Microsoft yet.