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Apple 2012 - What's Ahead

January 19, 2012 - Dave Hecei
So, it’s time to get back to work on the Mac Blog. Took a brief time off but it’s time to post again.
Most would say Apple had their best ever year in 2011. The good news is that they might have an even better 2012. The iPhone 4S is selling like mad and is now starting to be available globally. The Mac is making a mark for itself helping Apple move into the 3rd position in PC sales, according to research firm Gartner. Dell is 2nd and HP is 1st. Earlier in 2011, HP had announced it was thinking of getting out of the PC and tablet business but later retracted. This move did hurt their sales of PC – not a smart move. HP is ahead of Dell by less than 1 percent.

For the coming year, Apple has nothing to announce, yet. There is an event on Thursday January 19th in New York City. This is understood to be an education related event that will likely have to do with textbooks on the iPad.

Of course, most of the tech media know that there will be a new iPad and iPhone this year. There will also be updates to Mac desktops and laptops. These updates will likely only be bumps in speed gained from new Intel processors. The Mac lineup will likely not change significantly this coming year. The Apple rumor engines are starting to ramp up the RPMs. Let’s take a look at some of the more believable ones out there.

Big Air. Sometime soon it’s possible that Apple will release a 15-inch version of the MacBook Air. The Air is Apple’s ultra-thin but powerful laptop. The 11-inch Air that was released back in late 2010 was a huge hit. Then Apple revamped both the 11 and 13-inch models with fast SSD drives and the new Thunderbolt port and they become even more popular – if that was even possible. The obvious next step is to create a 15-inch version. This would likely be just a slightly bigger version of the 13-inch. The extra size needed to fit a 15-inch display would allow Apple to have better sound, longer battery life, and (dare I say it) more ports.

iPad 3. The next generation iPad is due to be announced any day now. Rumors are flying everywhere about how the factories in China are already producing them to have enough lead time to start selling them in the next month or two. The rumors are that it will have the same screen size but could use the same Retina display technology used in the iPhone 4/4S. This could mean that an iPad would handle HD content. It is also likely that the iPad 3 will have a new quad-core processor, jumping it ahead of the current dual-core iPad 2. Some rumors put the new iPad 3 slightly thicker, which could mean several things – larger battery, 4G data capabilities, other connectivity options.

iPhone 5. The latest iPhone, the 4S, is off to a phenomenal start. It did however arrive much later in 2011 than all other iPhone releases. Whether this was intentional or unavoidable only Apple knows. Remember, they did release the 4 for Verizon at the beginning of the year. Let's hope that they will get back to a summer release schedule. As for the next release, most agree that it will be the much rumored iPhone 5 that was on everyones lips last year. The iPhone 5 will likely be larger with at least a 4-inch display (the iPhone 4S has the smallest screen of current smartphone models at 3.5-inches). It will also likely have the same three carriers and add 4G data access. Siri will likely be expanded to allow voice control over more of the phone functions and Apps.

Mac Pro. This is a sore subject for some professional Mac users. They are the ones that need lots of RAM, extra storage space, card slots for extra features (HD video capture for one), and professional video output. The Mac Pro is also the only Mac that was not updated in 2011. There were new Mac Pros in 2008, 2009, and 2010. The rumors for the Mac Pro go two ways, depending on your glass being half empty or half full. The half empty crowd thinks the Mac Pro is going to be removed from the Apple desktop line. This would make the 27-inch iMac ‘top-dog’. The half-full crowd thinks that the Mac Pro will be released sometime very soon when the new Intel ‘Ivy Bridge’ processor is available. The one thing that both groups feel is that the Mac Pro may not live too much longer on Apple’s product list.

What I'd Like to See.  Now that I’ve filled your head with the rumors I’ve heard and read, now I can fill it with my own nonsense. There are a few things that I’d like to see Apple do this year. First is the bring back a mini with an optical drive. Make it an option, or whatever, but bring it back – please. Why they got rid of the optical drive is ridiculous. Yes, maybe in two or three years we won’t have any need for an optical drive (how often do you use a Zip disk?), but I still use mine all the time.

Keep Final Cut Studio Pro 7 in the Apple Store for 2012. After enough video pro users cried murder, Apple re-released FCS 7 through its phone sales channel. It is not currently in the Apple Store, and I couldn’t confirm that you could still buy it at 1-800-MY-APPLE. While Final Cut Pro X is an amazing pieces of software at an amazing price (trying to get as many ‘amazing’s here as possible), it is not FCS 7. I used to use iMovie 6HD, but then switched to Final Cut Express when iMovie changed. I have dropped my FCE for the new FCP X, but I’m not a ‘pro’ editor. The real pros I know and others I’ve talked with have a proven workflow with FCS 7 for broadcast video production and they felt that Apple had abandoned them completely.

If Apple drops the Mac Pro tower I’d like to see a bigger mini. Apple needs to make a desktop solution that isn’t built into a monitor. Yes, the Apple monitors are great. We have several 21.5-inch iMacs here at work and I know several people who have the 27, which is amazingly gorgeous. But there are those out there that want a Mac desktop that’s not an ‘all-in-one’. I’d kill to see a Mac mini tower that has the power of a mini or iMac but is the size of a toaster – just a box that could hold 2-3 hard drives and a good video card. Having a couple more slots for expansion cards would be ideal. It could run the same processors in the iMac or mini (core i5/i7). I wouldn’t care that it didn’t have server-class processors. I know this is only a dream and will never happen.


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