With the launch of the iPhone 7 and MacBook Pro, 2016 has been a mixed year for Apple. The iPhone 7 was released without a headphone jack, an unpopular choice that's now been somewhat ameliorated by the launch of the AirPods, and the MacBook Pro has been plagued by battery issues, graphics problems, and complaints about the high price of the device.
Apple also saw its first decline in iPhone sales in 2016, but 2017 could potentially turn things around for the company. We're expecting the biggest iPhone revision we've seen since the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus launched in 2014, plus we're also expecting major iPad changes, refreshed desktop Macs, and software improvements.
iPhone 8 - September 2017
Rumors about the 2017 iPhone started ramping up before the iPhone 7 was even released, so there's a lot of information out there, and at this point, quite a bit of it conflicts, so it's difficult to get a clear picture of what Apple is planning for the iPhone's 10th anniversary.
If you read all of the rumors and suss out some common themes, there are a few concrete details that hint at what likely to see in the next-generation iPhone. We're assuming it's going to be called the "iPhone 8" due to design changes that are more radical than we'd expect for an "iPhone 7s," but it's entirely possible Apple will go with another name.
Apple's product lineup has expanded over the past couple of years with the addition of the Apple Watch, a third notebook line, and most recently AirPods, and while 2016 turned out to be a bit of a disappointment for some with the Mac in particular seeing many models go the entire year without an update, there were still a number of significant updates.
July 2016 mockups showing iPhone 7 and two variations of iPhone 7 Plus
In a post to an employee message board obtained byTechCrunch, Apple CEO Tim Cook assured employees that the company is still committed to the Mac and that "great desktops" are coming. Apple's desktop computers haven't seen an upgrade in at least 433 days.
Some folks in the media have raised the question about whether we’re committed to desktops,” Cook wrote. “If there’s any doubt about that with our teams, let me be very clear: we have great desktops in our roadmap. Nobody should worry about that.”
Cook says that the desktop is "very strategic" to Apple because the performance desktops can provide is "really important" to a lot of people and "critical" for some people. He says the current iMac is the best desktop Apple's ever made and its 5K display is the best desktop display in the world.
In regards to its future roadmap and how Apple employees can help push the company forward, Cook says that "you can rarely see precisely where you want to go from the beginning." Instead, Cook argues that "pulling strings" to see what's coming next is one of Apple's strengths, noting that the creation of Apple Watch led to the creation of ResearchKit, which lead to the creation of CareKit. Cook concludes the post by saying the company doesn't do things for a return on investment, it explores new things because it's exciting and might lead somewhere.
The lack of refreshed Mac hardware can be attributed to a combination of Apple waiting on chipmakers and suppliers to ship their new products and the Cupertino Company's renewed focus on iPad.
Apple's desktop Macs haven't seen upgrades in over a year. The iMac's last update was 433 days ago, the Mac Mini's last update was 795 days ago and the Mac Pro's last update was 1,097 days ago.
One month after debuting in the Netherlands, Apple's specialized Apple Support app has gone live in the U.S. App Store, reportsTechCrunch. The app gives Apple users an easy way to get support for their devices on the go.
The app is designed to mimic Apple's dedicated support website, providing a list of Apple devices owned by the user and giving them access to documentation for those devices. The app also allows users to schedule repairs in an Apple retail store or natively chat with Apple's support staff. Once they conclude their chat session, users can see their recent support history.
The Apple Support app was first rumored last November, when Sonny Dickson debuted screenshots of the app early in its development.
Apple Support is available in the App Store for free. [Direct Link]
Earlier today data from market research firm IDC said that Apple Watch's share of the wearables market fell to 5% as fitness trackers "reigned supreme." In an email responding to a Reuters inquiry about the report, Apple CEO Tim Cook said Apple Watch's sell-through rate hit a new high recently.
"Sales growth is off the charts. In fact, during the first week of holiday shopping, our sell-through of Apple Watch was greater than any week in the product’s history. And as we expected, we’re on track for the best quarter ever for Apple Watch," he said.
Cook added that Apple's data shows that the Watch "looks to be one of the most popular holiday gifts this year." The IDC report estimated that Apple shipped 1.1 million Apple Watch units in the third quarter, down from 3.9 million shipments last year during the same quarter.
IDC attributed the decline to an "aging lineup" and an "unintuitive user interface." Apple addressed those concerns with the Apple Watch Series 2, but the model's launch date in mid-September hampered its impact in the third quarter.
While Cook told Reuters that Apple's sell-through rate was high, he has not yet responded to Reuters' request for specific sales figures. Apple doesn't disclose Apple Watch sales figures, instead grouping it into its "other products" category, which also includes iPod and Apple TV, in earnings results.