Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) may have made this year a tough act to follow with the recently announced Apple Pay and Apple Watch and the larger iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. So will 2015 be rather quiet for Apple? The company’s watchers don’t think so, pointing out that the company is starting out the year strong with a new piece of hardware and a new service.
But will they take off, or will they flop? And what else will Apple do next year?
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Apple may launch bigger iPad
We’ve been hearing rumors about a 12.9-inch iPad for some time, and Mashable‘s Lance Ulanoff thinks 2015 will be the year when it will be launched. CNBC‘s Cadie Thompson reports that some analysts think the sales slump in the iPad will reverse this year, although others don’t expect it. The naysayers point out that the replacement cycle on tablets is longer. However, it’s possible that a 12.9-inch iPad could reignite growth or at least stabilize the numbers.
Ulanoff notes that Apple announced an enterprise-focused partnership with International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM) this year. The company is planning custom apps for enterprise customers and clearly wants to move deeper into the space. Apple hopes IBM can help it get the iPad into even more businesses and a 12.9-inch iPad might be the perfect product for enterprise customers, particularly if it’s sort of a hybrid tablet-laptop device, as most expect it to be.
Ulanoff doesn’t think there will be much else in terms of new hardware from Apple in 2015, other than the iPhone 6S and the iPhone 6S Plus.
What about smart home hardware?
While speculations about an Apple smart TV have been circulating for some time, it does seem unlikely that it will finally arrive next year. Thompson reports that the experts she spoke with also aren’t expecting an Apple TV set in 2015.
Ulanoff doesn’t expect 2015 will bring any new hardware for the home in spite of Apple’s roll-out of the HomeKit API this year. Some of the analysts he spoke with do think there will be some kind of smart home product next year, while others don’t. He seems to think HomeKit is about laying the foundation, however, with products coming in the years beyond 2015.
What to expect for the Apple Watch, iPhone 6
Apple was off and running with the launch of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus this year, and most analysts agree the momentum will continue into next year. The analysts Thompson spoke with say Apple’s real challenge is going to be in the second half of this year though. Some think the iPhone 6S will be just a disappointment because Apple delivered in a big way this year. Nonetheless, analysts still expect 21% more iPhone revenue in 2015 than it did this year.
Apple unveiled the Apple Watch a few months ago, and analysts expect to see the smartwatch on sale in high-end stores in addition to Apple retail stores. They suggest that jewelers and luxury retailers may carry the device, as Apple is focusing on the fashion industry instead of just the technology industry. Also there’s a wide range of options for the Apple Watch, including a gold model, which just screams high-end luxury.
Apple Pay not a big deal
There’s a lot of debate right now on just how successful Apple Pay will be, and some analysts think it’s just too early to expect mass adoption of mobile payments, even of one offered by Apple. They see it as a multi-year process that will take consumers time to accept and retailers time to adapt so that support for Apple Pay becomes more widespread.