Analyst Offers 2013 Apple Product Roadmap Predictions

The majority of new Apple products in 2013 will launch in the third quarter of the year, according to a report sent late Tuesday by KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, as first reported by MacRumors. Mr. Kuo’s predictions address launch dates, and he states that Apple will introduce or announce “many” products during a very busy second quarter.

KGI Apple 2013 Product Predictions

Late First Quarter: Mr. Kuo predicts that the Apple TV will receive a minor update by the end of the first quarter, although he provides no details on what consumers can expect in terms of new hardware, capabilities, or design. He also makes reference to the much-rumored Apple Television, stating that it should not be expected in 2013 due to difficulties in securing agreements with companies in the television industry.

Late Second Quarter: Apple’s MacBook Air will likely receive an update at the end of the second quarter, Mr. Kuo predicts. Consumers should expect a move to Intel’s Haswell platform for improved performance and battery life, but should not anticipate any significant form factor or display upgrades. The Retina display, which has already made it to the MacBook Pro line, is too thick in its current form to fit inside the Air’s ultra-thin chassis, so Retina upgrades will have to wait for another year.

Third Quarter: If Mr. Kuo is correct, the third quarter will be very busy for Apple with numerous product launches. Mr. Kuo discounts reports of an early spring launch for the next iPad and iPad mini, instead predicting a third quarter update for both products. The iPad mini will receive a Retina Display upgrade along with corresponding component processor and GPU upgrades in order to support the increased pixel density, and the full-size iPad will see a noticeable reduction in thickness and weight, and may even adopt the thin side bezels of its smaller sibling.

Of note, Mr. Kuo suggests that the iPad mini will receive the same resolution Retina display as the full-sized iPad, with a resolution of 2,048-by–1,536, ensuring that app developers won’t have to create yet another version of their app to support the updated device.

Apple’s flagship iPhone will also receive an upgrade in the form of the iPhone 5S, featuring a faster A7 chip, fingerprint sensor, and camera improvements. As for the talk of a low-cost iPhone, Mr. Kuo predicts that Apple may launch such a product in the form of a redesigned iPhone 5 made with a slightly thicker plastic body. He anticipates that such an iPhone will come in multiple color options similar to the iPod touch line.

KGI Apple 2013 iPhone Predictions

The iPods touch and nano will also get updates in the third quarter, with a new sixth-generation model and a reduced-cost fifth-generation model that will replace the outdated fourth-generation touch that Apple currently sells as an entry-level option. The nano will receive just a minor refresh.

Finally, the MacBook Pro line will be updated, and Apple will eliminate the non-Retina models that still occupy its product lineup. As a result, consumers can expect a new line of tweaked Retina models at slightly lower prices.

Fourth Quarter: Apple will launch minor refreshes of the iMac and Mac mini in the fourth quarter, according to Mr. Kuo. Although the new iMacs are still in short supply, manufacturing issues will be resolved by the fourth quarter and Apple will stick with the same design, simply upgrading internal components to the Haswell platform. There is no mention in Mr. Kuo’s report of any updates to the neglected Mac Pro, although Apple CEO Tim Cook did specifically mention in June 2012 that the Mac Pro, or a new product in the same category, would arrive “later next year.”

Teaser graphic via Shutterstock.