AMITIAE - Saturday 6 July 2013
Cassandra: Apple Expectations - Devices and Directions (edited)
By Graham K. Rogers
When Peter Oppenheimer and Tim Cook have finished their respective presentations and announcements at the Q3 Conference call on 23 July, they will face questions from the audience. Some of these will attempt to tease from Cook, especially, some indication of future product announcements from Cupertino (there is a high likelihood that Gene Munster will ask about the Apple TV as he always does). As he always does, Cook will hedge, sidestep or fudge and most will be none the wiser.
I had looked at the implications for the use of 802.11 ac in my original report on Schiller's WWDC presentation and I made some more comments a few days later. In both I referred to a CISCO paper on the wifi standard and what its design would allow.
Consider this for a moment: the new MacBook Air and the new 802.11ac capable Airport Express router are not much use alone. To make an effective use of either (or both) users need other devices that are also capable of data transfers using the same wifi standards. The announcement of the future MacPro indicated that this device was so equipped. This suggests that part of Apple's plan in the next few weeks will be to release a number of updated devices (and perhaps some new ones) that will all be capable of accessing the new wifi standard: more data, and faster.
With iOS7 due for release in September (which is in Fall by my reckoning) this would tend to align with the projected release of a new iPhone. Many analysts and commentators insist on calling this the iPhone 5S, but despite what they insist, they do not know. It may be an iPhone 5S or an iPhone 6; or even a new name entirely. We will not know until it is announced.
As Cook himself has said to the retail staff that iOS and the devices (iPad, iPad mini, iPhone) are critical to Apple's strategies for the future. But in those comments he also included Macs. As the MacBook Air was recently updated with the Intel Haswell processor which improves battery life no end, it is expected that other notebook computers will be equipped with more powerful versions of Haswell as they become available:
There are currently a number of versions depending on processors used as well as upgrade options for each. It is rumoured that the the Pro MacBooks will only be offered with Retina display. As above, the MacBook Air has already been updated (11" and 13") each with processor options. Like the MacBook Air, it would be unimaginable for any updated MacBook Pro to be offered without 802.11ac.
I would also anticipate that, along with a new iPhone, the iPad and iPad mini would also be updated and that all of these devices would also be 802.11 ac capable.
The strategy appears aimed at a far better integration of devices within the home (or office) with an almost seamless transmission of data between any iOS device or Mac that connects to the high speed network. The seeds are already to be seen in the pre-release (WWDC) versions of OS X 10.9 Mavericks and iOS 7.
The real missing piece in the equation is the television. It is possible to stream video TV using the Apple TV box, which also uses a version of iOS. Although these are no longer sold officially in this neck of the woods, they are sold in many other countries, including the US of course. Whether by wifi (802.11a, b, g, or n) or a cable connection, the device would also be updated if it is kept in its current form.
While some still dream of a real Apple large screen television set, some feel this is unlikely but analysts still focus on the comments of Steve Jobs that he had "cracked" the problem: a number of fantastic solutions have been posited.
An interesting article by Christian Zibreg on the iDownload blog re-examined an Apple patent filing of a remote control containing fingerprint sensors: a sort of magic wand. Another blog posting (I have lost the link) put forward the idea of a small device connected to a data port of a TV that would receive wifi data, presumably from other devices within the immediate area.
Whatever the solution that eventually appears, there is little doubt that integration of devices will play a major part in Apple's future strategy.
Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand where he is also Assistant Dean. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs.
For further information, e-mail to