Apple’s 2022 was a bit slow on the Mac side, but there are better days ahead in 2023 if you ask me. But what about the iPhone, Apple’s flagship product? And what about the rest of Apple’s product line-up, including product lines not yet introduced? 2023 promises to be a big one. Here are my predictions for the iPhone, AirPods, HomePod and Apple looking for an AR/VR headset.
An all-new iPhone, sort of
By all rights, 2023 should be the year Apple does a makeover in the overall iPhone design language, as the current design has been around for three model years since the iPhone 12 line was introduced in late 2020.
But the iPhone line isn’t what it once was. Now there are two different iPhone model levels – the iPhone and iPhone Pro – and two sizes in each. The Pro models are gradually distinguishing themselves from the non-Pro line, and it’s worth considering whether Apple really intends to completely redesign four phone models in one cycle.
My guess is that won’t be the case. There may be some minor design changes to the iPhone 15 (all new iPhones have USB-C ports instead of Lightning, for example), but I suspect it will continue for another year and will be much like the current iPhone 14- fashion model . However, there is one iPhone 14 Pro feature that I think will make its way to the iPhone 15: the Dynamic Island.
The Dynamic Island is one of Apple’s most clever iPhone interface changes in years, and there’s certainly a case for it being reserved as a way to motivate people to buy the more expensive iPhone Pro models. But consistency across a product line has value, and Apple can add the Dynamic Island to the iPhone 15 without taking away most of the distinction between the lines.
I also wonder if the iPhone 15 Pro might not look different from the iPhone 14 Pro. You’d think this would be the year Apple would flip sales of redesigned iPhones — and you’d be right. But I think Apple will take the approach it did with the Apple Watch Ultra and introduce a new high-end model that shows off design flourishes that will eventually catch up with the rest of the line.
Down with the iPhone 14 Pro Max, in with the iPhone 15 Ultra, a new model that’s big, boldly designed and equipped with a new camera subsystem unlike anything we’ve seen on an iPhone before. (Rumors that Apple would be toying with a periscope-based system to increase focal length have been circulating for a while.) People who want the most advanced iPhones will have to seek the privilege. Guess what? A lot of people will.
Wearables, home and accessories
It’s hard to predict what changes Apple will make to its range of accessories. The AirPods line seems pretty solid, with the exception of the outdated and quirky first-generation AirPods Max headphones. So I’ll go out and predict that we’ll see a better-designed, more sensible set of AirPods Max headphones in 2023.
When I consult my Magic 8-Ball about the Apple Watch, it just says “Answer blurry, try again later.” I kind of expect the main line of the Apple Watch to get a little redesign to pick up some features from the Apple Watch Ultra, especially the action button. It feels like the design of the Apple Watch in general needs a refresh, but I’m not confident it will be in 2023.
And in terms of home technology, while I’ve been repeatedly burned at predicting Apple’s release of new home-based products, I choose to believe that Apple was simply bidding its time, waiting for the Matter spec to be completed so it could come out in action. (Give me this, okay?) So I’ll do it again: I predict Apple is really going to do something new in the house!
The question is, what? Perhaps it will be a new take on the original, larger HomePod. Perhaps it will be a home theater device that combines tvOS with speakers to create a great soundbar experience. Maybe it will be a HomePod with a screen for the kitchen. I don’t know which one is most likely, but it feels like Apple should somethingTurn right?
A good dose of reality
Finally the big one. After years of rumors and what seems like numerous 2022 delays, it feels like 2023 is when Apple finally, Finally takes the wraps off his new augmented reality headset.
My best guess: Apple will unveil the product at a spring event and ship it later in the summer after developers have had some time to dig into the details of how to build apps for a brand new Apple platform.
I’m also going to swim against the current with reports that the product will be extremely expensive and will only be sold in very small quantities. That just doesn’t sound like an Apple product rollout to me. Don’t get me wrong – I’m sure it will be pricey. But I suspect it will cost less than the $2,000+ price tag that some reports are discussing, even if Apple has to swallow its usual wide margins to get it there.
Apple will want to motivate people, at least adventurous people, to give this product a try. And to get developers excited and put in the effort to build apps, the product needs a market and an audience! Apple will be highly motivated to bring this first headset to market and build momentum, and an ultra-expensive developer kit isn’t how you do that.
Some of these predictions will of course be wrong. But I’m confident that many of them will be right, or close to it – and if they are, 2023 may be the most exciting year for Apple watchers in a decade. I can’t wait to see what’s to come – and of course to make all my predictions come true.