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"Predictions" that need to stop in 2012 - Part 1: Apple

Posted: , by Michael H.

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Given how easy it looks to be an analyst for the mobile tech industry, after reading Shaw Wu's iPhone 5 predictions, we thought we'd try our hand at some predictions for the coming year, though we'll be doing something a little different: we're backing up our predictions with logic. Of course, logic is the only real tool at our disposal, since we don't have spies in the Asian supply chain, or sources who play Rock'em Sock'em Robots with Larry Page or Tim Cook on a regular basis. Still, we're pretty confident in these predictions, because while we don't have inside sources, we do have a (borderline unhealthy) passion for technology coupled with a hatred of baseless rumor. So, we're going to try to stay away from anything too far-fetched, and leave it in the realm of what's likely. 

Essentially, we just want to run through everything that we already know is going to happen, so we don't need to bother with any more rumors on each subject (although we will anyway.) We're going to kick things off today with predictions about Apple hardware for this year, and in part two we'll tackle Google's release outlook. We may add in "the field" (aka RIM, Microsoft, et al) in part two, but it seems more likely that those will get bumped into part three. 

iPhone predictions

The iPhone 5 will be released in the fall, and it will have most of the features that everyone has been clamoring for, but will still lack some things that others think should be standard. Thus, the iPhone 5 will make many people very angry, prompting calls of it being overrated, but the public at large and Apple fans will buy the phone in droves. 

The logic: Apple has settled into a cycle of updating the design of the iPhone every two years. If we take the OG iPhone for what it was, a first generation device, and toss that out of the mix, every two years starting with the iPhone 3G, to the iPhone 4 and this year the iPhone 5, we've seen a physical design change to the device. Apple fans nearly rioted last year when the iPhone 4S stuck to that schedule and didn't change the design. Keeping the same physical design for a third iteration is not only ridiculous, but it simply isn't the Apple way. We know it will happen, it's just a matter of how it will happen. 

The teardrop idea design has been tossed around enough to be believable, but we don't have any proof that it will happen. A larger screen is a definite, but we wouldn't expect a drastic bump in screen size (like say 4.3" or larger) because it seems unlikely that Apple will abandon the bezels that Steve Jobs seemed to love so much, and getting a screen that big without adding too much to the device itself means stripping the bezel to the minimum, like the Galaxy Nexus has. Some people find larger screen phones to be cumbersome, but it seems that is mostly only in limited use (like playing with a phone in a store), and prolonged use leads to what you'd expect - adaptation. People just hate change, once that change becomes the norm, people stop complaining, and that theory definitely applies to the size of a smartphone. 

The iPhone 5 will feature LTE and faster HSPA+. With the rollout starting up on AT&T and Verizon already covering most of the US in LTE, releasing an iPhone without LTE would not only anger customers, but it would probably annoy carriers quite a bit too. The major block to having LTE in the iPhone so far have been battery life concerns, but with a bigger screen comes more space for a bigger battery, so that shouldn't be a problem, though we'd still expect that the battery life for the iPhone 5 may not be as good as previous models.

We do expect Apple to move back to a mostly aluminum case, since it has figured out the tricks to using aluminum without losing antenna signal, unlike Asus, but that's one rumor that will persist, no matter what. 

The logic for the last part of the prediction is quite simple: Apple is a company that is all about focus. It focuses on certain changes and updates and makes sure every detail works right, and then completely ignores other features until the same focus can be allotted for that work. To that point, Apple will be working very hard on the physical design for the iPhone 5 and making sure that LTE doesn't completely kill the battery life, and in doing so other features that people may want, like an Applefied widget of some sort, or live wallpapers, will probably be pushed to 2013. 

Of course, haters are gonna hate and fanboys are gonna love, that's just the way the world works. Apple haters will use the same arguments, that Apple is behind on features or specs or is losing market share, while fanboys will stick to their standbys that the iPhone is less buggy, better designed, and prettier than the competition. And, both sides will be right. Apple will be losing market share, but it won't matter because the overall smartphone market will still be growing (as will Apple's revenues), and the iPhone will likely be a beautifully designed device which will be prettier than most of the competition, but at the top level, it's all personal preference anyway. If you love Apple, you'll say that the iPhone is elegant and easy, while Android is complex and fragmented. If you hate Apple, you'll say that the iPhone is simple or behind, while Android has more power and options. If you can see both sides, you'll understand that those are two valid choices, because some people can't be bothered with the learning curve of Android. 

iPad and other iOS hardware

The iPad 3 will be released. That's really all we need to know, right? The iPad will obviously see tech boosts from a higher res (non-retina) display, better cameras, and new CPU (likely the quad-core A6). We're certainly interested to see what updates come to iOS, because the iPad will likely get more powerful content creation tools, but it will still be more likely to be used to read or play Angry Birds on the toilet than it will be to make movies or music. The thing is that the iPad 3 just isn't a compelling story, it's a routine upgrade. 

The real story is whether there will be an addition to the iPad line. Namely, we want to get some confirmation of the rumored iPad mini that everyone and their mother has been predicting since the original Samsung Galaxy Tab was launched. It is possible that reports are correct that the iPad 3 will launch in March, with an even more impressive iPad 4 in October, but that just doesn't seem very likely to us. It would seem far more likely that the iPad mini launches in March with the true 10" iPad update coming later in the year (in time for that lucrative holiday season.) Apple has always spaced out its releases so as to not cannibalize its own sales, so releasing two 10" iPads just 6 or 7 months apart seems incredibly unlikely. 

Apple's iTV will be released, and Roku, Google TV, and Boxee users will scoff because for years their products have done everything that iTV does except have Siri built in. New iTV users will ask, "What's a Roku?" and ultimately everyone will win. The market may exist, but the casual consumer doesn't know it yet, and as is customary, Apple will bring a lot of attention to that market. The big question is in the apps that will be available. It is almost certain that the iTV will run a version of iOS, so apps are a must. Google has had a hard time getting compelling apps on its Google TV, but Apple has always had a far better relationship with content makers than Google has, so we'd expect a fair number of apps and games, not to mention some big name additions from media giants. 

Next up: Google, Android and all of the Android partners

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posted on 06 Jan 2012, 16:57 20

1. AppleConspiracy (Posts: 636; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)


Please, will you stop calling screens "retina" or "non-retina"? For the love of god, this is just marketing name for iPhone 4 screen, and its reason is marketed also. They can name "Retina" everything they want, it doesn't have anything to do with actual retina on your eye. It's just that this is high-density screen without visible pixels, they choose to call it retina but someone doesn't see pixels even with 250 PPI and someone can see it above 300 PPI.

iPad 3 will have below 300 PPI and they will probably call it Retina, or maybe they won't, it's their arbitrary decision, you are not someone who can call something else than iPhone 4 screen Retina or non-Retina, you are reviewer, not salesman.

posted on 06 Jan 2012, 17:10 18

2. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2693; Member since: 26 May 2011)


The term began life as a marketing term for Apple, but has since been appropriated for use in describing any screen with a 300+ PPI. If Apple attempts to use the term on the iPad 3 and it doesn't meet that standard, we will continue to call them out on it.

posted on 06 Jan 2012, 17:22 5

5. AppleConspiracy (Posts: 636; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)


Imagine this example: many HIFI sound equipment manufacturers use THX label to assure that this equipment meets certain technical criteria. The THX label is actually a brand name (ex- George Lucas') that uses this criteria as an excuse to market those products - manufacturer, except meeting this criteria, must pay for using this brand name THX on his product.
However, many manufacturers meet and surpass those criteria by far and they still don't pay for THX label.

So, what's the moral of this story? When you are tester and/or reviewer, you don't call something "THX" or "non-THX" when somethig meets this techical criteria or not. You would be in big trouble if you did, however in Apple's Retina case, that doesn't seem to bother you much...

posted on 06 Jan 2012, 17:27 16

7. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2693; Member since: 26 May 2011)


Unlike Lucas Arts and THX, Apple has no trademark on the term Retina display.

posted on 06 Jan 2012, 17:29 6

9. AppleConspiracy (Posts: 636; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)


This only excuses you from going to court, not from being professionally confused.

posted on 06 Jan 2012, 17:32 13

10. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2693; Member since: 26 May 2011)


Not professionally confused at all. If you'll notice, the term "non-retina" is only used in reference to Apple products that don't meet the criteria, not for any other devices.

posted on 06 Jan 2012, 17:39 8

11. AppleConspiracy (Posts: 636; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)


I noticed it. The same rules apply. If something still isn't called "Retina", you can't guess anything about that. They will probably call iPad 3 display Retina, below 300 PPI, however you have decided that it will be "non-retina".

Do you realize that you are playing with arbitrary brand names of some company as if they are standardized descripitive terms? It is only the best marketing capable of seducing even a good reviewer.

posted on 06 Jan 2012, 19:11 10

19. e.wvu (unregistered)


I wonder what kind of conspiracy this guy is in.

posted on 06 Jan 2012, 22:05 8

29. JGuinan007 (Posts: 641; Member since: 19 May 2011)


So does that mean Samsung could sell a device with over 300ppi and call it a "retina display" and Apple can't sue them?;-)

posted on 06 Jan 2012, 23:48 2

32. actura (Posts: 8; Member since: 15 Nov 2011)


who knows ? maybe if the device is booming, apple may try to use this oppotunity

posted on 07 Jan 2012, 01:17 1

34. AppleConspiracy (Posts: 636; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)


Good point JGuinan!

posted on 08 Jan 2012, 22:31 1

53. bvalde09 (Posts: 172; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)


And we all know that Apple will sue : )

posted on 07 Jan 2012, 04:44 1

36. bbblader (Posts: 583; Member since: 24 Oct 2011)


so what you are saying is that the Nokia E6 has a retina display because its pixel density is the same as the iPhone 4/4S?

posted on 07 Jan 2012, 06:53 5

38. AppleConspiracy (Posts: 636; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)


If you would follow MichaelHeller principle, E6 has retina display and so had it Sony Ericsson Xperia X1 from 2008, way before Apple decides to brand their display "Retina".

I think this illogical labelling, guided exclusively by Apple seduction, is pretty obvious, even among reviewers and journalists.

They should know that brand name and descripitve technical term is not the same thing, even when they are using it within same company.

When folks say "put some Hansaplast on this cut wound, they actually mean any sticky tape for healing and protecting wounds". It's not illegal, however professionals should stay away of this naive labelling, which they practice so often, and therefore unconciously advertising some companies, adding to the hype and market dominance.

posted on 07 Jan 2012, 11:01 2

42. jbash (Posts: 342; Member since: 07 Feb 2011)


it is the same as "xerox this" or "hand me a kleenex." a brand that becomes a household term

posted on 07 Jan 2012, 12:44 2

45. AppleConspiracy (Posts: 636; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)


Exactly, something that is normal for mass culture, but professional who is dealing with precisely that type of products should not mix up things.

Apple is extreme phenomenon - almost every product they launch rapidly becomes synonym for that type of product - it's like they have some sort of subscription to it. And they are loved and adored "a priori", especially by professional reviewer, who cannot make a difference anymore. Talking about conspiracy...

posted on 07 Jan 2012, 14:16

47. Pdubb (Posts: 239; Member since: 08 Aug 2011)


This is not a brand it is from a brand. It is different. He also said he only uses it for Apple products so we as consumers(the ones that want Apple products) will know if it meets a certain standard established by that company.

posted on 07 Jan 2012, 13:29

46. deago78 (Posts: 157; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)


I think your aggravated that its effective labeling.

posted on 06 Jan 2012, 17:24 4

6. ardent1 (Posts: 1999; Member since: 16 Apr 2011)


The retina display is more than just marketing, it's based on science. Retina display involves both the number of pixels per inch and the distance from the device. 300 was a magic number if you held your device about 10" to 12" from your eyes. As for the iPad, if you hold the device more than 10" to 12", then you don't need 300 PPI, you will need less.

The marketing part is people believe 300 PPI as the magic bogey for retina display.

Check out this link more for info:http://theelaborated.net/blog/2011/4/13/consider-the-retina-display.html

posted on 06 Jan 2012, 17:28 4

8. AppleConspiracy (Posts: 636; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)


It doesn't really matter on what science is Retina based, it is question of understanding the key difference in labeling something, the differentiation of brand name and descriptive term. Using the word "Retina" for above-300 PPI screens is just as same manipulating Apple thing as calling every MP3 player "iPod", every smartphone "iPhone" and every tablet "iPad".

You would excpect that "ordinary people" would be manipulated, but not the reviewers - however, even they are. Sad, but true.

posted on 06 Jan 2012, 18:06 5

14. gallitoking (Posts: 4690; Member since: 17 May 2011)


so when you call people to 'google it' ..they better use google search engine.. got it.. thank you..

posted on 06 Jan 2012, 22:11 2

30. JGuinan007 (Posts: 641; Member since: 19 May 2011)


Gallitoking If I tell you to "Google it" ..you better use Google.. got it.. your welcome

posted on 06 Jan 2012, 23:11 2

31. ardent1 (Posts: 1999; Member since: 16 Apr 2011)


> It doesn't really matter on what science is Retina based

Okay, it only matters to you (AppleConspiracy) --are you happy now?

Also, don't underestimate the consumers given the internet age, people have access to the internet and verify facts from fictions in a heartbeat. Your assertions are specious as best and thin to the point of being invisible.

posted on 07 Jan 2012, 01:37 5

35. AppleConspiracy (Posts: 636; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)


I don't underestimate consumers - it's the well known fact they they become even more uninformed and inert in more informaticized medium. For example, most of people who use the phrase Retina doesn't know what it technically represent, they believe that this is some magical Apple invention of some kind for better picture. Despite having lots of available information, people just avoid being properly informed. They are informed mostly by advertising and paid reviews, and serious info is actually really hard to get. So, can you easily find on Internet some details about LG producing "retina" for Apple iPhone 4 and some details about conditions? Please, try...

posted on 07 Jan 2012, 14:25

48. Pdubb (Posts: 239; Member since: 08 Aug 2011)


Except it really is a marketing term only used by Apple. You are saying that as if Nokia should not use the "clearback display" term in their marketing for their screens. Almost every company gives a feature a name to differentiate its technology. Apple has only tried to give this feature a snappy name that people will think of quickly. Thus a marketing term not a brand name.

posted on 06 Jan 2012, 17:11 7

3. tacohunter (Posts: 408; Member since: 06 Nov 2011)


Good article can't wait for part 2 !!!

posted on 06 Jan 2012, 17:13 2

4. POSthenoodge (Posts: 3; Member since: 06 Jan 2012)


I bet if POS "thenoodge" keep on going the way he is with is 200+ gig worth of prono streaming a month every good thing will come to an end.

posted on 06 Jan 2012, 19:12 2

20. corporateJP (Posts: 1844; Member since: 28 Nov 2009)


True, but off topic.

posted on 07 Jan 2012, 11:07

43. jbash (Posts: 342; Member since: 07 Feb 2011)


lol..

posted on 06 Jan 2012, 17:44

12. aztaxia12295 (Posts: 266; Member since: 22 Nov 2009)


iTV isn't a lock at all, just buncha speculation. lets just see how the year plays out then we'll see what we can say O_o

posted on 06 Jan 2012, 17:44 1

13. -box- (Posts: 3878; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)


The "Retina" displays are made by LG anyway, aren't they? And I thought they were branded Retina by LG, who have since moved onto the HD "Nova" class.
Correct me if I'm wrong, not able to research any of that right now

posted on 06 Jan 2012, 18:14 2

15. fraydoe (Posts: 57; Member since: 27 Dec 2011)


Very nice write, I enjoyed reading this article, how many parts do you plan on doing?

posted on 06 Jan 2012, 19:32 1

22. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2693; Member since: 26 May 2011)


Most likely it will be a 3 part series with part 2 covering Google/Android, and part 3 covering all the other mobile players.

posted on 06 Jan 2012, 18:19 2

16. remixfa (Posts: 14168; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


Nice article but I highly doubt the spring ipad mini/3 will have quad core. Extremely unlikely. That would be held for the fall big update.. otherwise what would they have left to upgrade too. Also its not in apple's track record as they tend to let tech "mature" before using it. Using a quad core in the spring would make then cutting edge. I still give it a 50\50 chance at best in llanding in the fall update as there is little benefit to it for ios.. a 22nm dual core would be more cost edfective.. still better on battery.. and more likely.

posted on 07 Jan 2012, 04:45 1

37. WakaFlakaD (Posts: 372; Member since: 30 Apr 2011)


Totally agree on your point

posted on 06 Jan 2012, 18:26 3

17. ILikeBubbles (Posts: 304; Member since: 17 Jan 2011)


idk i think that the iPhone 4/s body style is very sexy...

posted on 06 Jan 2012, 19:18 14

21. corporateJP (Posts: 1844; Member since: 28 Nov 2009)


Women are sexy.

Have you ever seen one?

posted on 07 Jan 2012, 11:42 3

44. remixfa (Posts: 14168; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


on his iphone. :)

posted on 06 Jan 2012, 18:50 2

18. CX3NT3_713 (Posts: 2010; Member since: 18 Apr 2011)


Mane ... who gives a chit... apple will always have a 3.5" "retina" screen... period

posted on 06 Jan 2012, 20:41 3

25. Johnny_Mnemonic (Posts: 240; Member since: 05 Oct 2011)


Yea , Apple won't change its screen cause it knows it can't compete against Samsung super amoled

posted on 06 Jan 2012, 21:08 4

27. maier9900 (Posts: 272; Member since: 17 Dec 2011)


3.7" ..

posted on 06 Jan 2012, 19:42

23. Arpad (Posts: 39; Member since: 05 Jan 2012)


Nice read, anticipating part 2.

posted on 06 Jan 2012, 19:51 1

24. nnaatthhaannx2 (Posts: 820; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)


why would apple call the 6th iphone the "iPhone 5"

posted on 07 Jan 2012, 22:37

50. networkdood (Posts: 6326; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)


because APPLE is still on a 4....

posted on 06 Jan 2012, 21:07 1

26. maier9900 (Posts: 272; Member since: 17 Dec 2011)


Holly Crap... this was another Breaking News!!!

posted on 06 Jan 2012, 21:20 2

28. Johnny_Mnemonic (Posts: 240; Member since: 05 Oct 2011)


You said it wrong it's crapiphone

posted on 07 Jan 2012, 00:53

33. maier9900 (Posts: 272; Member since: 17 Dec 2011)


it fits you best...

posted on 07 Jan 2012, 08:38 2

39. Bluesky02 (Posts: 1439; Member since: 05 Dec 2011)


Amazing article Michael H, you have clearly describe the Love and Hate of Apple and Android fanboy very well like a headshot.
I wonder what you think of Windows Phone Love and Hate Fanboism?
So far for WP Lovers,
- its cool, fast, smooth, fluid, get right information, user friendly, beautiful tiles update, it performs well on single core processor.
For WP Hater,
- No LTE, No Dual Core, bad specs, 512MB Only? Boring tiles, Limited customization!, its windows it will crash, oh?, its made by microsoft, you know the evil company?
Interface to kiddish, too simple.
This is from users themselves. Aint no personal opinion. I'm looking forward to Apollo update.

posted on 07 Jan 2012, 09:01 3

40. InspectorGadget80 (Posts: 6737; Member since: 26 Mar 2011)


What APPLE NEED TOO do for 2012 IS STOP SUING EVERY MOBILE MANUFACTURER. Its bad enough as it is and for us the consumer.

posted on 07 Jan 2012, 09:30 3

41. Adianshadows (Posts: 66; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)


Michael you are the man! You had me at "haters are gonna hate"!!! Great read and you did it by explaining both sides :D

Droid is better tho... jus sayin...

posted on 07 Jan 2012, 18:17 1

49. Forsaken77 (Posts: 552; Member since: 09 Jun 2011)


I don't really think Android has much of a "learning curve" at all. It has settings like all phones have settings. There's just setting under different applications of the phone. It's not like it's super tricky to find them. You use a certain application and hit the menu button to see if it pulls up any options for that program.... pretty straight forward I feel.

posted on 07 Jan 2012, 22:38 1

51. networkdood (Posts: 6326; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)


Android is so easy a use.... A CAVEMAN can DO IT.

posted on 08 Jan 2012, 21:54 1

52. Boti95 (Posts: 162; Member since: 05 Sep 2010)


Phonearena, you do the same predictions too. Look whos talking.

posted on 08 Jan 2012, 22:37

54. bvalde09 (Posts: 172; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)


Mmmm Apple wont change the size of the screen. They have kept the same size since 2007. Why change the size now? They will surely change the design but they will not increase the size of the screen.....

posted on 11 Jan 2012, 14:19

55. tbar (Posts: 34; Member since: 18 Jan 2010)


For context, let me say I have had an iPhone, an Android phone and currently have a WP7 phone. In the interest of full disclosure, I don't really like Apple products or their cultural philosophy. However, I'm glad they are successful and hope they, Google and Microsoft all end up with 1/3 of the mobile market so the innovation will continue. Having said that, I have to disagree with one thing. The quality of their products has not been all that great. Apple has had some significant bugs in their devices. They have just developed such a loyal fanbase (fanatical in my opinion) that they get away with it. The latest really gets me. If Microsoft made a phone where there was a problem hearing the call, Balmer would be taken out and summarily executed in public! With Apple, the users (not Apple - they haven't even admitted a problem exists) have just accepted it and figured out a workaround in many cases.

Anyway, each to his own. I still haven't decided where I'll land - maybe back on Android; maybe sticking with WP7. There are pros and cons to both. Like I said, I hope they are all wildly successful because the customer benefit the most when that happens.

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