What Apple Has in Store For Us in 2019

Starting the future:2019

Starting the future:2019

The particle Debris article of the week comes from Jonny Evans in his Apple Holic column at Computerworld.

Over and above those items that are fairly standard like a new iPhone in September and things that are expected like the AirPods 2, author Evans puts some meat on the bones of a skeleton outline for Apple in 2019. Plus, we can be pretty sure of some across the board OS updates at WWDC 2019. Looking beyond those staples, there is, for starters, the much anticipated Mac Pro.

Apple has previously claimed it is taking a ‘modular approach’ to the design, but hasn’t gone into detail. At the same time, it has invested a lot of energy ensuring its iMac Pro, MacBook Pro and even its ‘more pro’ Mac mini ranges deliver most of the horsepower creative professionals need.

Beyond that, Evans discusses the revitalized Apple Maps, a possible “Apple TV stick” (which I doubt), a peek at 5G wireless prospects (but not prime time in 2019), mobile medical devices, and initiatives in the enterprise with the powerful iPad Pro.

Also, 2019 is the year we can expect to see the first fruits of Apple’s original TV content development. Evans speculates:

Waiting in the wings is the speculation that never dies, which is that now Apple owns pretty much all the technologies it needs in order to do something unique…

Exactly. The issue is how Apple will leverage its technology and ecosystem to break into a market dominated by Amazon, Netflix, Hulu and others. Will Apple deliver a half-hearted effort, like Google, not being aggressive enough? Or will Apple compete brilliantly and emerge as dominant? I can’t wait to see how Apple handles this.

Not mentioned is the fate of the left-behind MacBook, Apple’s promised external display, and the very late Coffee Lake iMacs. Still mysteries.

Predicting what Apple will do is always tough, but Evans always has his finger on the pulse of what this company may be up to.

More Debris

• Previously, I pointed to some good reviews of the new Mac mini. However, a week later ars technica has published a great review.

Notable is the detailed discussion of the T2 security chip as well as a discussion of the design decisions and how that affects the various deployments that Apple suggests. This is a terrific read.

Mac mini 2018
The “beloved” 2018 Mac mini. Image credit: Apple

• Adam Engst at Tidbits wonders: “What Happened to 5K Displays?” Engst explains in detail. My own take on this may be a case of Apple trying to set itself apart, failing to deliver product, and then watching the industry go another direction.

• Are you into Apple Music? Does your music stress you out, psych you up, or sooth you when needed? “Neuroscience Says Listening to This Song Reduces Anxiety by Up to 65 Percent.” Actually, the article points to a top 10 list of soothing music.

In this age of constant bombardment, the science is clear: if you want your mind and body to last, you’ve got to prioritize giving them a rest. Music is an easy way to take some of the pressure off of all the pings, dings, apps, tags, texts, emails, appointments, meetings, and deadlines that can easily spike your stress level and leave you feeling drained and anxious.

• The popular discussion around robots involves how robots will replace humans in many jobs. But this article caught my attention because it looks at a positive aspect of robot companionship. Plus, it mentions one of my favorite movies, Robot and Frank. Here you go: “Is there a robotic solution to loneliness and ageing?

The elderly title character was given a “robot butler” to help him continue living on his own. The robot was capable of everything from cooking and cleaning to socialising (and, it turned out, burglary).

If you doubt the science in this science fiction movie, I refer you to Sophia from Hanson robotics. Enjoy Sophia sing a duet with Jimmy Fallon. (Sophia comes on stage at about 2m:15s.)

3 thoughts on “What Apple Has in Store For Us in 2019

  • What about final APFS specifications so that DiskWarrior 6 to rebuild APFS disks can be released? What about Time Machine for APFS disks? What about macOS that is not beta but true final APFS certified?

  • John:

    While I’ve enjoyed the gamut of your readings for this week’s PD, I’m going to comment on only two.

    First is Johnny Evan’s ‘Apple 2019’ piece. Apart from the usual staples of the Mac Pro and Apple TV, which were not surprises, the two sections that truly caught my attention were those of mobile medical devices and the enterprise push, with the latter’s focus on the iPad Pro.

    Regarding mobile medical devices, this is likely going to be a substantial growth industry, leveraging both iOS (specifically with the iPhone as its device of choice) and watchOS. There are already third party devices that can pair with the iPhone to provide a single lead ECG, similar to the performance we anticipate with the next update of watchOS for the AW 4. There are other third party sensors both on the market and in production that will monitor other factors that predict both immediate emergencies and long term disability or disease. This will trend will only grow. However, in our ageing high income country populations, while many consumers may require only one such device, most will benefit more than we presently realise from a device that can monitor multiple health indicators. We are learning much more about not simply the ageing process, but how our individual alleles (versions of genes) predispose us to certain specific conditions. This can best be monitored with a personal device, such as the AW. While I don’t expect the AW to be able to monitor all of these factors, such as blood glucose, cardiac enzymes, blood cholesterol, let alone prostate specific antigen (PSA) for identifying prostate cancer, to name but a few, both Apple designed and third party hardware will come along that will provide, likely for a fee, the capacity to pair with the AW and/or iPhone to monitor a range of disease indicators specific to the concerns of the individual. These companies may leverage the services that DNA analytics companies like 23 and Me or Ancestry will increasingly provide; making it possible for an individual to know their personal high risk factors, and select apps and hardware that will enable them to monitor these trends and share with their health providers, who will then be able to rely on albeit limited but hard data (possibly FDA cleared or even approved) in addition to physical exam and specialised diagnostics. The advantages of this personalised monitoring will become increasingly appreciated and, more importantly standard, leading to wide spread adoption – hopefully at lower cost. Imagine having a health package monitoring system slaved to your AW or iOS device that is as personalised as your music list. It may not be as extensive, but technology and market forces of a population that wishes to extend not simply lifespan but quality of life will drive it. Count on it.

    Regarding the iPad Pro, I completely concur with Evans’ notion that for many, this can serve as their primary device. Like Evans, for me the iPad Pro is now my only travelling companion for short jaunts, like a working conference. There are only two things that I require that would make this my main work device. The first is a reference manager, like Endnotes, to write peer-reviewed manuscripts. I don’t see why this could not happen, such as using an Endnotes virtual keyboard, not unlike TextExpander, that would enable one to populate a draft with citations in Cite-While-You-Write mode. The other would be a data management/analytics package; specifically Stata. Given that the iPad Pro provides more raw computational power than the desktops that once were the platform on which Stata and SPSS once ran, this cannot be the barrier to porting them to iOS, nor can it be either storage or RAM. And, with iOS, neither can 64-bit computation be a limitation; after all this is where iOS lives. If these two tools come to iOS, the iPad Pro will likely become my main work tool.

    Second, and speaking of ageing and quality of life, is the article on robotics and ageing. One thing that many people in high income countries may be less attuned to than people living in lower income countries that rely on household help see is the abuse that comes with hired human help towards the elderly. In high income countries, we hear about this in connection with nursing homes, but the same thing occurs in one’s own home if physical and mental disability that comes with ageing reaches a critical point. Having a robot that can provide both physical assistance with manual tasks, including physically aiding one in routine tasks (bathing, dressing) in addition to household chores, and be able to provide intellectual stimulation, not just conversation but professionally developed exercises for memory and recall, will go far to provide a safe and reliable extension to quality of life, without the temptation to abuse that comes with human help. This does not negate the latter, but decreases one’s sole reliance and therefore vulnerability to it. To this will likely be added AI-enabled protocols for identifying progressive life threatening disabilities, like depression, dementia, and stroke, not to mention physical and mental signs of abuse, with the robot’s ability to call in the cavalry when these are spotted and the individual is either unaware, unwilling (due to impaired judgement – we’ll need to talk about this one) too afraid, or incapacitated.

    On the whole, I see AI-powered robotics in the home as an essential emerging technology with tremendous growth potential, a potential that will likely only be realised first in high income countries that can under-write its initial offerings.

    These are two trends that I think we can safely expect; the first in which Apple will definitely have a role, the second in which Apple should.

  • I don’t see any change in direction for Apple in 2019: more closed products, further locked down; less value for products; less adherence to tried and proven UI elements; more software features but more bugs. The only shining star could be a new Mac Pro, but based on Apple’s actions in recent years I’m not holding my breath. Apple is suffering today from hubris and a lack of understanding by its young developers and engineers who don’t understand what made customers truly passionate for its products in earlier years. Today, Apple has become just another premium lifestyle brand. Fashion comes and goes. Customers who were (such as me) passionate for Apple now mourn what it has become while holding onto a sliver of hope that Apple might one day fly its pirate flag proudly over its campus again. Why? Because then Apple strove to give the very best user experience instead of the very best shareholder return. Ironically, giving the best value to the customer ultimately results in the best shareholder return. Steve Jobs understood that and lived by that mantra. Apple no longer does that, and recent market devaluations reflect this. Personally, I think this will continue as more and more of its customers either abandon the platform or hold off buying for as long as possible. For example, today I buy only when absolutely necessary and then get the least expensive offering. Why? Because I don’t see the value in current Apple products and it does not deserve my money. It’s really that simple.

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