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I am one of those folk who like to occasionally speculate about the future and what it might bring. Of course, as regards Apple products this is not something that gets just my brain cells stimulated. It’s almost an industry in itself and the rumour mill is pretty busy at the moment as regards the release date and specification of the upcoming iPad 2.
Well, all this talk of the iPad 2 has made me look into the metaphorical ‘crystal ball’ and wonder what might be coming in the year or so ahead from Apple.
Others may think about the iPhone 5 but my mind turns to the Mac. After all, it was what started the whole Apple thing off in the very beginning. How far we have come too. Back in 1992, I was working with a Mac Classic and a Laserwriter mono laser producing publicity for a charity I worked for. We later acquired some Mac LC II versions. When we got a Quadra 700 we thought we were so cutting edge!
It’s easy now to take for granted the amount of processing power we now have so readily available and it’s somewhat sobering to realise how much we managed to achieve with the little we had in those early days. We have indeed come a long way. So, bearing this in mind and the venerable Moore’s Law, what can we expect to see as regards the Mac in the year or so ahead?
Well, despite it’s current hiccups, Intel’s Sandy Bridge CPU will probably find it’s way into the next update to the Mac platform. However, if the problems with the new CPU architecture prove to be more serious this may offer an opening for AMD to get a foot in the door. Apple showed with it’s switch from Motorola to Intel that it is prepared to jump ship if it feels there is a danger it’s going to lose ground in a significant way. However, until we see what AMD’s Fusion platform is really ‘made of’ it’s probably safe to say that the next generation of the Mac platform will be based upon the Intel architecture.
If so, we can certainly expect to see performance make a significant leap. When we think of the Mac Pro, we could see Apple regain some of the high ground as regards the desktop. Currently, Intel and to a lesser extent, AMD have definitely got the edge in terms of powerful desktops, if only because they offer a better price to performance ratio than the Mac Pro. It would be great to see Apple bring out some powerful multi-CPU Mac Pro desktops soon and even better if they were more competitive on the price side of things.
What about Apple monitors? Currently Apple sells it’s 27-inch LED Cinema Display. Will we see any additional models or an upgrade even to the 27-inch? Unlikely some would say. Personally, I think we will see an upgrade to the current model at the very least and possibly a larger model joining it, perhaps a 32-inch version. Certainly, I can see such a model being popular with graphic professionals, who are the ones most likely to be able to justify the price of such a monitor. When you consider that the likes of Samsung and LG are selling large computer monitors up to and beyond 32-inch so there is no reason why Apple couldn’t manage this too, if it so desired.
So, apart from the iPad 2, iPhone 5, new Macs and possibly additions to its Cinema Display range, what else can we expect to see from Apple? My guess is that we will see further developments in the multi-touch arena and this may even include touch-screens on the iMac range as Apple moves it’s desktop OS closer to iOS as found on the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. However, I see this as coming in late 2012 or even 2013.
As for the software side, other than the OS, will we see developments in the applications Apple sells? There was a time when Apple seemed to be innovating on a regular basis with the likes of Shake, Final Cut Studio and Logic Studio. Recently, it seems almost like Apple has lost interest in the software side of it’s business, with some parts of its portfolio seemingly neglected. Apart from iPhoto and Aperture, its almost like not much is happening in that arena. Could we see something new from Apple in the near future on the applications side of things… I truly hope so but have my doubts, at least in the short-term. Maybe once the iPad 2, iPhone 5 and Lion are out of the doors Apple may have the inclination to surprise us all like the old days.
Now that they seem to have fallen out with Adobe over Flash in particular, could we see Apple enter the professional DTP market and compete with Adobe and Quark? After all, it is rich enough to almost not care what the likes of Adobe think and its got no reason to fear Microsoft or Quark for that matter either. That would be my suggestion for the least expected announcement from Apple in 2012. You heard it here first!