Two of the best minds that follow Apple got together and worked out what we can expect to see during Apple's March 9 media event. Jeff Gamet and Kelly Guimont, with some inspiration from Chris Breen, (and me, not in that class) take their best shot at predicting what else we might see besides a major Apple Watch palooza.
The first thing we know is that this is going to be an Apple Watch event. Nothing much can get in the way of that, and it will be the central focus of this proceeding.
However, March 9 is still quite a long time before the Apple Watch likely becomes available in April, even early April. And so the thought came to me that there might be a mention of some other Apple products that will be ready right away. These other products, long rumored, wouldn't be a long laundry list of things we've been waiting for. Instead they'd be strategic, and maybe even related to the Apple Watch itself.
Here, in order of probability, highest first, is what the team is thinking.
1. 4th Generation Apple TV. The last major release of the Apple TV was March 7, 2012 with a minor "Rev A" update on January 28, 2013. That makes this device very long of tooth. Very.
With the emerging popularity of UHD/4K TV, one might suspect that it's time for the next generation Apple TV. This is the thinking of Kelly Guimont inspired by a podcast with Chris Breen (@BodyofBreen). The idea is that if you can control the new Apple TV with the Apple Watch, then they are a match made in heaven and should be introduced together.
The allure of having a 4K capable 4th Generation Apple TV on March 10, followed in a few weeks, by the ability to control it with the Apple Watch makes good sense to me. Plus, it contributes to roping users into a cozy, interoperable ecosystem. As Apple is wont to do.
2. [Less Likely]. iPad Pro. There have been rumors for quite some time now that Apple would seek to boost iPad sales by coming out with a 12.9-inch iPad Pro. The predictions I saw last year were for early 2015, and here we are.
I really, really want a larger iPad, and that probably colors my thinking. But I also want iOS to exploit the larger screen in order to make me more productive. Otherwise, all we have is a giant iPhone. And that may require iOS 9, something we're likely to see at WWDC in June. So, while I'm eternally hopeful, I'm not counting on this larger iPad on March 9th.
3. [Far out]. MBA. Here's where I got, to put it mildly, course corrected by Kelly Guimont (@verso) and Jeff Gamet (@jgamet) in the TMO Daily Observation Postast for February 27. My initial thinking was this: Apple is seeing a lot of companies copying the design of the MacBook Air. In addition, the basic design hasn't changed since inception in January 2008. Apple would like to step it up.
We've heard consistent rumors about a MacBook Air with a Retina display. The reason it hasn't happened so far is because it would raise the price of Apple's incredibly popular entry-level notebook and take the low price wind out the product's sails. However, there comes a time, eventually, when the efficiencies of scale allow Apple to move forward at an acceptable price point.
Another thing Apple would like to do is bring Touch ID to the Macs. See: "Apple Rumored to Bring Touch ID to Macs," by our Bryan Chaffin (@TMOBryan). Not only would this help with login security but also give Apple Pay (online) a boost.
Finally, a delicious rumor I saw at 9to5Mac, suggests that Apple will differentiate the new MacBook Air (with or without a Retina display) by making it available in space gray or gold. The gold model, in my opinion, would likely be gold anodized and not add much cost at all. (There's a $20 premium for the BrydgeAir keyboard in gold.)
However. While something like that is probably coming, it's not likely to be allowed to distract from the Apple Watch focus of the March 9 event. In the past, MacBook updates have been announced at WWDC. It was a fantasy for March 9, and I have put it out of my mind.
In summary, after the usual introductory material, Tim Cook will introduce the 4th gen Apple TV (with 4K support), and then move on to the Apple Watch announcements. In addition to some amazing Apple Watch demos, he'll spice up the new Apple TV by showing how it's controlled by the Apple Watch. We expect that, given the proximity to release, Apple will finally lay out the details and prices of the Apple Watch line—along with various wristband options and prices. Plus we'll get the details of availability and how we walk through the purchase process in Apple retail stores. And then? An-ti-ci-pation.
That's what this group is thinking right now. Now it's your turn. Tell us what you think in the comments below.
Next page: the tech news debris for the week of February 23.
Page 2 - The Tech News Debris For the Week of February 23
Steve Jobs was born on February 24, 1955. Had he lived, he would have turned 60 last Tuesday. Jonny Evans pays tribute to the co-founder of Apple and one of the most inspirational people of all time. "Remembering Steve Jobs, who would be 60 today."
Ken Segall made some sharp observations when he compared the Oscar night ads of Apple and Adobe. "Adobe vs. Apple: the Oscars ad shootout." The verdict? Well, you just have to go read the article.
This article at 9to5Mac cites sources and explains: "Apple to overhaul Genius Bar, changing appointments and using phones as pagers." The fine hand of Apple's SVP Angela Ahrendts seems to be finally making an appearance.
Do you have a MacBook? Do you also have an iPad? Have you ever wanted to use the iPad as a second display for the MacBook? This product, the fruit of some former Apple engineers, is called Air Display (from Avatron). The product has been around for while working with Wi-Fi, but now, at version 3, it works with USB and is much smoother and faster. This iOS App is so cool, I just had to bring your attention to the review at ZDNet. "Hands on with Air Display 3: Using iPad as second monitor over USB."
How is Apple going to sell an Apple Watch, whose basic electronic guts, case and modest strap will sell for US$349, which when made of gold will cost many thousands of dollars. Neil Cybart takes a look at the psychology of the Apple Watch pricing. "Don't Focus on Apple Watch Edition Pricing." Notable:
The Apple Watch experience isn't dependent on price. Apple Watch Sport provides the same technological capabilities as Apple Watch Edition; both show notifications, monitor daily activity, and accept incoming tap messages. Instead, the three Apple Watch collections contain different materials, which help give the Edition a more luxurious status with precious metals and greater craftsmanship, compared to the Sport's anodized aluminum and Ion-X glass watch face. By focusing on materials variance instead of feature variance, Apple is hoping to be able to sell a product that appeals to the mass-market and luxury circles at the same time."
And there you have the Apple Watch challenge in a nutshell.
We're very familiar with Apple's plans for a new HQ, called Campus 2. Apple has earned the right to build a campus like that not only because of its need for expansion, financial success but also its commitment to the environment. Now, it seems, Google, wants to have its own exotic campus. Time will tell if Google really merits a project like this. "Google unveils plans for futuristic new headquarters."
Finally, You know from my review that I am no great fan of iTunes 12. I hate it. Our Kelly Guimont (@verso) won't mind me telling you she thinks it should be fed to a wood chipper. And last, but not least, Kirk McElhearn (@mcelhearn) has launched a series on the things he things he would fix in iTunes. So far, he's published Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3. I'm looking forward to more. Thanks Kirk.