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Apple – what can possibly be left for 2023?

We’ve started the year off at a sprint, but does Apple have anything left in the tank for the rest of the year?

apple-what-to expect-for-2023

Passing quickly

Apple has already been busy this year.

The first month of 2023 has passed by in a flash, a month, that was oddly filled with Apple news and products. In the first thirty-one day of the year, we have been ‘bestowed’ with M2 Mac mini’s, M2 MacBook Pros, and a new, version two, full-blown HomePod (which I have coming!)

So, today, we’ll explore whether Apple has bolted the stable door, or, if they have some reserves left in the tank for the rest of the year.

A quick re-cap

Before working our way through the rest of Apple’s product line-up, let’s just take time to check out what we’ve had so far.

We have already had M2 MacBooks in 14-inch and 16-inch variants, with both M2 Pro, and M2 Max chips. We also had an update to the perennial Mac mini – now with M2 Pro inside.

Most basic configs are available for immediate collection or delivery, and even the higher spec models are available within two to three weeks. As I’ve written before, rather than that being an indication of Apple being back in control of their supply issues, I think it, far more likely, that these Macs were originally due sometime late last year.

The HomePod, on the face of it, doesn’t seem to be much of an upgrade from the original model…but I’ll be able to tell you more when mine arrives.

So, I think it’s safe to say we’ll probably not see any further upgrades on these machines or the speaker this year. If you are in the market for a MacBook Pro, now would be a good time to grab your credit card, and go shopping.

As for the rest of Apple’s line-up…let’s take a look…

Mac Pro

Surely, surely, this cannot be far from coming to launch now.

It has been three years since the big-boy of the Apple line-up has been refreshed. It’s the last Intel Mac on the market, and they need to get the job done, if only to complete their transition to Apple silicon.

I firmly believe that if the spring event goes ahead, that will purely be for their headset. The Mac Pro, will either debut at WWDC, or via press release.

I know it seems strange to think the Mac Pro could come out quietly from the pressroom, but it really does not look as if there will be much to shout about, with the Mac Pro.

Externally, it will remain virtually identical. After much back-and-forth, Apple will now wait for the M2 Ultra, and use that as the basis for the Mac Pro. It’s always been a niche machine, and with the advent of the Mac Studio, it’s almost a dinosaur now. They’ll need, in some way, to address the thorny issue of modularity for the hardcore Mac Pro users. But, I just don’t see, based on the Apple silicon architecture, how it can be as user-upgradeable as before.

MacBook Air

The MacBook Air continues to draw praise from all that use it. Small, lightweight, powerful, and affordable…it’s a joy to use.

For many, it is the ‘entry’ Mac – it certainly was for me, and, as such, is massively important in the Mac lineup. I know it seems only yesterday, since the M2 MacBook Air was launched, but there is good reason to think that another MacBook Air will join the ranks later this year.

A 15-inch model is strongly rumoured to be coming. It would fill a gap in the current array of Macs, meaning, a Mac would be available as a 14-inch, 15-inch, and as a 16-inch option. For many, a 15-inch MacBook Air seems like a sweet-spot. Still ultraportable, and lightweight, but with that little bit more screen real-estate…perfection!

If it comes out after the iPhone event in September, then I think it will be the first of the M3 Macs, and will probably also offer some zingy new colours as well. As long as their supply chain issues are in order, then I reckon a new M3 MacBook Air seems a racing cert!

Mac Studio

When the Mac Studio came out last spring, it caused quite the stir. The first new Mac category in many years, and it has proven to be almost too good.

The Mac Studio heralded the M2 Ultra processor, and gave us a very good look at what Apple silicon could truly handle.

For most, this proved almost to be the Mac Pro, but more affordable. Who knows, maybe it was born out of confusion over the Mac Pro. Bringing out the Mac Studio, certainly bought them some much-needed time, whilst they planned a future for the Mac Pro.

As it turns out, though, it has done so much more than that, and has become hugely popular. Even this Mac is almost too powerful for most. Certainly, last year, as I deliberated on whether to go desktop, or laptop, I looked at it, and thought it out-did my requirements. That said, as my video edits get ever more intricate, and taxing, one day, I may end-up going the desktop route again.

The 2023 model of the Mac Studio could well see the ‘base’ version of the M2 Ultra, which would then pave the way for that processor to be fettled, and used in its bigger cousin, the Mac Pro.

13-inch MacBook Pro

This is an odd little machine. Who’s it for?

It now houses an M2 chip…and a touchbar! I reckon they know this MacBook is now superfluous to requirements, and it may take it’s final bow when the 15-inch MacBook Air comes out. There just seems no need for it.

It is now squeezed by the MacBook Air from one side, and the 14-inch MacBook Pro from the other.

Its days are surely numbered.

iMac

Why, oh why, has the 24-inch iMac been so overlooked?

Believe it or not, this is now the second-oldest Mac in the range…after Mac Pro. First introduced in March 2021, the 24-inch iMac uses the M1 chip and, a first for iMac, it comes in various colours.

Oddly, even with the unusual January frenzy that we’ve just experienced, iMac still got left behind. I guess now, it’s so late in the day, that they’ll wait until that M3 chip is ready – the one they’ll use in the 15-inch MacBook Air – and refresh it then.

Actually, it makes sense, as both the MacBook Air, and iMac fall in to the same category. They’re both very much consumer grade Macs, made for students, businesses, and domestic users. Because of Apple silicon, that’s not to say that these Macs are not super competent. If I needed a living room Mac, iMac would be my go-to.

As for a new iMac Pro, or 27-inch iMac, it seems unlikely to me. The price-point, and user needs for both these Macs has been filled by the Mac Studio, and the Studio display.

That Mac Studio really has plugged some gaps, huh!

iPhone 15

Clearly, we will be getting this year’s iPhone 15 in September, as normal. The biggest news on that will be the enforced adaption to a USB-C port, and the introduction of a new model nomenclature – iPhone 15 Ultra. The camera will stay much the same, save for the improved telescope-zoom lens on the pro phones.

iPad

It’s more than possible that the ever confusing array of iPads, could yet become even more confusing. Who knows, but again any ‘improvements’, will only be dropping in new processors – nothing radical is expected. Today, as I researched this blog, I noticed that stories are again circulating about a foldable iPad.

Even if this does turn out to be true, that won’t be until late next year at the earliest.

AR/VR Headset

This will happen. I am currently working on a video all about the latest on this, with some juicy exclusives too…get subscribed here, so as not to miss it later this week.

The spring event, which will take place on either Monday 20th, Tuesday 21st, Monday 27th, or Tuesday 28th March, is intended to be all about their entry in to the AR/VR world.

All resources, time, manpower, and brains possible, are currently being thrown at this, in its last push for launch. They are near, and finished pre-production devices have been seen by the board.

This is Apple’s first new category since Apple Watch in 2015, and they know everyone will be watching – but equally, they know it won’t be perfect on release.

They’ll make sure to market the heck out of this headset – pointing out that the first owners are trailblazers – at the cutting edge. They’ll stress to emphasise that this first iteration is a platform to test the very latest of technology that this headset represents, and they’ll be keen to get customers involved.

Don’t forget, this is the new, caring, sharing, post butterfly keyboard Apple – the ones that gave us back the SD card slot – so they are now all about listening these days.

That will help them to justify the high price point, while managing expectations about it being a fully formed product with a set market position.

If there are any last moment snags, I reckon the spring event will be pulled.

Wrapping up

Despite the frenzy with which Apple came out of the gate in 2023, there are still some highlights to look forward to.

The remainder of ’23 is really all about getting that headset out to the baying public, and hoping this year, they can keep up with demand for iPhone 15.

Whilst new, exciting, iterations of existing devices may be thin on the ground this year, I think we still have plenty to look forward to.

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