It's the first day of 2013, and while I did a bit of channel surfing, catching glimpses of the Rose Parade, the DIY Network, and the Science channel, I found myself wondering what the New Year will bring in the way of Mac development.
For better or worse, here are my predictions for what we'll see in Mac-related news in 2013:
Mac Pro - There will be a new Mac Pro to finally replace the ancient desktop Mac, but it may not look like the current model. I expect a new case design that will downsize the Mac Pro into something more streamlined. A reduction in the number of available drive bays would make slimming down the case easier, and with Thunderbolt, there wouldn't be a performance tradeoff to using external storage.
I also expect Apple to move away from the Xeon line of processors and instead offer something from Intel's desktop Core series of processors.
Retina Displays - Apple will continue to up the number of Macs that offer a Retina display, but I don't expect to see one in the iMac line or in a separate monitor. I think Apple would like to eventually offer only Retina versions of the portable Macs, but until cost drops on the displays, there will always be at least one non-Retina display in each portable lineup to ensure a low entry price point.
Time Capsule - Won't be going away, but you may see its demise as a separate product. Instead, it may just be an order option for the AirPort router. After all, it's basically just the AirPort wireless router with an internal hard drive.
U.S. Production - Apple is moving some of its Mac manufacturing to the U.S. These production facilities will probably be extremely automated, with robotic assembly being the norm. If the experiment with the Mac Pro and Mac mini, which I believe will be the two products initially destined for the U.S assembly facility, works out for Apple, then I could see other Apple products moving to the U.S., including consumer products like the iPhone.
Set Top Box - When I hear about Apple working on either its own TV or a set top box, I think of the Apple TV, which shows us the core of what Apple would want in a set top box: the iTunes Store for buying and renting music, TV shows, and movies. All that is left to turn the Apple TV into a set top box is the ability to tune cable and over-the-air broadcasts.
I don't see a DVR in the cards from Apple, although I'm sure some enterprising soul will find a way to offer it as a DIY with an Apple set top box.
Apple Television - How many years have we been hearing this rumor? Well, this may be the year an Apple TV finally makes an appearance, but I'm not holding my breath. One reason is that TVs, unlike the rest of the products Apple makes, don't have a quick re-purchase model. Most people buy TVs and expect to use them until they die, or at least for quite a few years. Few people buy a new TV every year or two, and that makes the TV business very different from the other products Apple sells.
Unless Apple can fundamentally change how TVs are sold, I don't see it entering the market directly. It could license other TV manufacturers to build Apple services into their TVs; you know, the iTunes Store for buying or renting content. That makes more sense to me.
What are your predictions for 2013? Click the Comments link below to share your thoughts.