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

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



1. AppleConspiracy

Posts: 637; Member since: Oct 18, 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.

2. MichaelHeller

Posts: 2734; Member since: May 26, 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.

5. AppleConspiracy

Posts: 637; Member since: Oct 18, 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...

7. MichaelHeller

Posts: 2734; Member since: May 26, 2011

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

9. AppleConspiracy

Posts: 637; Member since: Oct 18, 2011

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

10. MichaelHeller

Posts: 2734; Member since: May 26, 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.

11. AppleConspiracy

Posts: 637; Member since: Oct 18, 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.

19. e.wvu unregistered

I wonder what kind of conspiracy this guy is in.

29. JGuinan007

Posts: 699; Member since: May 19, 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?;-)

32. actura

Posts: 8; Member since: Nov 15, 2011

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

34. AppleConspiracy

Posts: 637; Member since: Oct 18, 2011

Good point JGuinan!

53. bvalde09

Posts: 191; Member since: Nov 22, 2011

And we all know that Apple will sue : )

36. bbblader

Posts: 590; Member since: Oct 24, 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?

38. AppleConspiracy

Posts: 637; Member since: Oct 18, 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.

42. jbash

Posts: 345; Member since: Feb 07, 2011

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

45. AppleConspiracy

Posts: 637; Member since: Oct 18, 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...

47. Pdubb

Posts: 250; Member since: Aug 08, 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.

46. deago78

Posts: 172; Member since: Oct 08, 2009

I think your aggravated that its effective labeling.

6. ardent1

Posts: 2000; Member since: Apr 16, 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

8. AppleConspiracy

Posts: 637; Member since: Oct 18, 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.

14. gallitoking

Posts: 4721; Member since: May 17, 2011

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

30. JGuinan007

Posts: 699; Member since: May 19, 2011

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

31. ardent1

Posts: 2000; Member since: Apr 16, 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.

35. AppleConspiracy

Posts: 637; Member since: Oct 18, 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...

48. Pdubb

Posts: 250; Member since: Aug 08, 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.

3. tacohunter

Posts: 408; Member since: Nov 06, 2011

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

4. POSthenoodge

Posts: 3; Member since: Jan 06, 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.

20. corporateJP

Posts: 2458; Member since: Nov 28, 2009

True, but off topic.

43. jbash

Posts: 345; Member since: Feb 07, 2011


12. aztaxia12295

Posts: 272; Member since: Nov 22, 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

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