Ming-Chi Kuo from TF International Securities has a solid track record at predicting what Apple is planning. His success is based on looking at supply chain information and tracking what's going on in the Asian manufacturing hubs Apple use to produce all the gear that bears the "Designed in California" tagline. This time around, Kuo says almost every product will be revised including the Mac mini which is closing in on four years since it was updated. So, what can Apple fans look forward to this year?
We've already looked at what we can expect from the 2018 iPhone range but we can add a couple of new tidbits to the previous list. As well as a new, less expensive device that looks like the iPhone X, Kuo says we can expect different coloured versions with grey, white, blue, red, and orange colour options on the cards.
There's also speculation that Apple could be looking to further leverage their 2014 acquisition of LuxVue, a company that made Micro LED displays. While most analysts agree that the Apple Watch would be the first product to get that screen, it's possible Apple is considering this for one of the three new iPhones we expect later this year.
iPad Pro to get more screen
The current iPad Pro range includes the gargantuan 12.9-inch model and the smaller 10.5-inch model. If Kuo says the smaller iPad Pro could lose its Home button and get FaceID. That would allow the display to expand to 11 inches without a substantial change in size and weight.
The larger iPad could get a similar tweak as well.
Bye Bye MacBook Air?
When Steve Jobs slipped the first MacBook Air out of an office envelope it was a revelation. Sure, it was filled with compromises but it lead the way when it came to slim and light computers. It could be argued that the emergence of that device was the first nail in the coffin for Netbooks.
But the MacBook Air, which ditched the cute 11-inch version in 2016, is getting long in the tooth and Apple's MacBook is a far better machine, albeit far more expensive.
Kuo says the cheapest portable Mac is likely to be a new MacBook which will mean the end of the Air.
Mac mini - No Longer The Forgotten Child
It's been almost four years since the Mac mini was updated. I've had one running as my main desktop workhorse for most of that time. It's had an upgrade, thanks to a speedy SSD replacing the slow 5400 rpm hard disk it shipped with, and it's a solid machine.
But it's time for a revision. The form factor could do with some slimming down. Intel's NUC has shown you can pack a lot into a very small body and were have been a couple of major processor generation updates since the Mac mini was first introduced.
The Usual Suspects
The MacBook, MacBook Pro and iMac should all get their near-annual speed bump wth updated CPUs and perhaps a move to SSDs as the standard for the iMac, rather than the Fusion Drive. Having said that, I'm using an iMac with a Fusion Drive at the moment and it's a speedy computer, with disk access a non-issue for me.
[TK International Securities via 9-to-5 Mac.]