As the new year approaches, there are plenty of rugged devices we know we’ll see in 2023: new iPhones, iPads, Macs, and Apple Watches will appear throughout the year. But there will certainly also be some surprises that no one saw coming but us. Here are three totally unexpected products that could debut in the early months of 2023.
Apple security key
Apple has announced that it will introduce support for physical security keys for Apple IDs to add extra protection for users concerned about their iCloud data being hacked. We’ve already seen the feature in the iOS 16.3 beta, which is expected to release early next year.
If you choose to use it, it essentially replaces the current two-factor authentication method that sends you a code to enter on the device you want to access. Instead, you can plug in a dongle-style security key, such as Yubico’s popular Yubikey, which handles authentication on your behalf.
But what if Apple made its own key instead? Security key usage will probably be small, but Apple could change that if it releases its own key. We’ve already seen people rushing at the $19 Polishing Cloth, and a security key like Google’s Titan Security Key would be a great way to get more people interested in advanced security.
Security keys provide even more security for your Apple ID, especially for those whose data is at high risk of being compromised. As Apple describes, “Security keys reinforce Apple’s two-factor authentication by requiring a hardware security key as one of the two factors. This goes even further with our two-factor authentication, which prevents even an advanced attacker from getting a user’s second factor in a phishing scam.”
An Apple NFC key would be a fantastic surprise to promote the new feature – and we’d love to see Apple try to design one. Maybe glossy white, or brushed aluminum, or matte black with a small embossed Apple logo.
AirPods Max 2
Apple first introduced its over-the-ear headphones in late 2020, and there haven’t been any updates to Apple’s premium (both quality and price) AirPods Max headphones since then, nor have there been many rumors. But we think a new version is on the way.
And there are several indications that a new model could appear soon. At the time of writing, delivery times in the Apple Store are 1 to 2 weeks, meaning the product will not arrive until the second week of January. And at Amazon, where AirPods Max is always on sale, several colors are out of stock. Compare this to the third-generation AirPods or AirPods Pro that are readily available and it suggests that Apple is either having supply chain issues or keeping inventory levels low ahead of the release of the second-generation model.
Hopefully this time Apple will address the concerns we had with the first generation, mainly the absence of a 3.5mm headphone jack for zero latency when editing audio or listening to lossless files, the heavy weight of the headphones themselves and the god-awful “Smart Case” that Apple somehow managed to escape its design lab. There are also a number of features introduced with the 2nd Gen AirPods Pro that could appear: improved noise cancellation, Adaptive Transparency, better battery life, and touch controls. Oh and we wouldn’t mind having a USB-C port instead of Lightning.
Apple Pencil for iPhone
OK, we admit that this is the longest recording. But listen to us. We reported earlier this year on rumors that Apple had planned to release a stripped-down stylus at the iPhone 14 event that would have worked with the iPhone’s screen (and would have been a neater solution for the 10th generation iPad ( 10th generation) and its dongle). Now you probably know that Steve Jobs famously opposed the idea of a stylus for the iPhone, but the success of the Apple Pencil, combined with the larger screens, means that an iPhone Pencil isn’t such a crazy idea anymore.
The iPhone Pencil was rumored to be similar to the Samsung S-Pen, in that it didn’t require direct charging and instead drew power from the phone. It was smaller so it was easier to use with an iPhone, didn’t have the pressure sensitivity of the iPad’s Apple Pencil and was expected to cost around $49/£49, perfect for people who wanted to take notes on their iPhone. Apparently, the device even started its mass production before Apple suddenly canceled the project.
So why would Apple release it in early 2023? For the past two years, Apple has launched a new iPhone color to boost mid-cycle sales – green in 2022 and purple in 2021 – so it’s not uncommon for Apple to give some mid-cycle attention to the iPhone. And with production issues plaguing the iPhone 14 Pro line during the holiday season, Apple is looking to get as many iPhone sales as possible in the first quarter. And a cheaper and smaller stylus made specifically for the iPhone could be just what you’re looking for.