Despite a recent fall in its share price, there is no doubt that Apple remains by a considerable distance the dominant consumer electronics company in the world. And its product range continues to attract more attention than the wares of any other competitor. So what does Apple have in store for us in 2016?
iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus
The first and most obvious product that Apple will release during 2016 will be the next generation iPhone. This will be arguably the highlight of the consumer electronics year, particularly as 2016 will yield an iPhone 7 that is a significant departure from previous units.
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Every two years, Apple significantly redesigns the product that is most responsible for its prominent position commercially, and this is due to occur with the iPhone 7. So the next generation Apple smartphone has been linked with a wide variety of innovations, including USB Type-C and wireless charging.
It is also reasonable to assume that Apple will significantly bump up the specifications of the iPhone 7 when it is released, and this could result in the first ever full HD Apple smartphone. By the same token, a quad HD iPhone 7 Plus is anticipated.
Apple is also expected to place a greater emphasis on health-tracking functionality in its product range in 2016, and this could result in an iPhone 7 that is significantly dustproof and waterproof.
The four-inch iPhone variant is one of the worst kept secrets in the world of consumer electronics, and the analyst community now believes that this smartphone will be named the iPhone 5SE. This can be considered slightly curious considering that the Apple iPhone has already reached the iPhone 6 generation, but it is perhaps a reflection of the fact that Apple wishes to separate the more compact model from the premium iPhone 7 smartphone.
Not too much is known about this next generation smartphone, despite the fact that it is expected to emerge in the spring of this year. What has been widely reported is that it will feature a four-inch display, which is an apparent nod to the wishes of the late founder and CEO of the company Steve Jobs. The Apple supremo reportedly believe that 3.5-inches is the ideal size for a smartphone screen; a notion which certainly goes against the trend of the industry today.
The general consensus, though, is that the specifications of this device will be somewhere between the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s. This would make the iPhone 5SE a very capable smartphone product for the more affordable marketplace, offering Apple greater market penetration in developing economies, as well as attracting a greater share of the Western marketplace as well.
iPad Air 3
Apple is also expected to release an iPad update in 2016, and the iPad Air 3 has already been linked with some extremely impressive specifications. It is believed that the iPad Air 3 will have similar capabilities to the iPad Pro, albeit featuring a significantly smaller display than the existing Apple tablet.
In particular, it is expected that Apple will arm the iPad Air 3 with a 4K resolution display, as this new technology becomes increasingly mainstream. This would actually ensure that the pixels per inch rating of the iPad Air 3 is superior to the existing iPad Pro.
It has also been suggested that the iPad Air 3 will include a quad-speaker setup with the intention of improving the music-playing capabilities of the device. This will be part of a general pattern in 2016, with Apple intending to improve the music playing capabilities of its software with the intention of making more of its Beats acquisition.
Apple Watch 2
The first Apple Watch was certainly not a disaster for Apple, but it also was not an outstanding performer, not quite the device that the consumer electronics giant imagined. Numerous features had to be shorn from the Apple Watch, after the corporation experienced difficulties with its health-tracking functionality.
Thus, Apple is expected to reinstate the features that it was forced to exclude this time round, as well as adding a new variant of the Apple Watch which is priced between the mid-range and exclusive Apple Watch Edition units. The Apple Watch 2 will be expected to build on the massive market share that Apple has already achieved with the initial release of the range, but also demonstrate to consumers that this smartwatch is a must-have item rather than a novelty.
Apple updated the Apple TV in 2015, but further enhancements are anticipated for 2016. This is particularly expected to include 4K resolution technology, which was rather disappointingly omitted from the last generation device. Apple may also extend the video game playing capabilities of the Apple TV in 2016, as the Balkanisation of the video game market continues to expand.
The streaming service which was expected to have been included with the Apple TV was also delayed last year, and Apple will expect to get this up and working during the calendar year.
Apple is also expected to update its extremely successful MacBook laptop range in 2016, with new MacBook Air and MacBook Retina Plus devices anticipated. Although Apple faces increasing competition from Microsoft and its Surface Pro range, there is no doubt that the MacBook has become an iconic device for Apple, and the corporation will be looking to strengthen its market position in 2016.
Finally, although Apple updated its desktops in 2015, it is anticipated that a slicker and faster version of both iMacs could emerge in 2016. This would certainly be expected to be towards the end of the calendar year, but analysts believe that Apple wishes to include Skylake chips across the board in its desktop range.
Some market observers believe that Apple may completely drop non-Retina 21.5-inch models this year. Falls in hardware prices make this possibility plausible, and Apple has certainly placed a lot of stock in its flagship Retina machines.