Apple fans got much of what they asked for and more in 2014, and Apple in 2015 looks like it's going to deliver even more for lovers of iPads, iPhones, Macs, and all things Apple. There's very little that's set in stone for 2015, but if you know where to look, you could probably suss out a few things you definitely should expect to see come out of Cupertino this year.
Apple's first entry into the wearable technology segment is probably the company's most anticipated release for 2015. We know a bunch about the Apple Watch – the sensors built into it, how apps will work, how Apple Pay will work – but it's the things we don't know about it yet that are the most interesting. What kind of battery life will the Apple Watch get? How much will it cost? All will be revealed later this year, though, when the Apple Watch hits shelves.
Just when will that be, though? That's a bit harder to say. So far, Apple has only pointed toward early 2015, which could be any time between now and June.
iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, and Maybe an iPhone 6s mini
Apple made a big splash late in 2014 by finally going with a bigger screen for its bestselling iPhones, introducing the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. For the 2015 iPhones, it seems likely that Apple is going to stick to the pattern that's been raking in the dollars for years now. That means we're unlikely to see any big design changes from the iPhone 6 model. Instead, we'll probably see the 6s line debut later this year, with faster processors than last year's models, as well as improved cameras.
The other potential big news for the iPhone concerns Apple's low-end devices. Rumor has it that Apple could well introduce an iPhone 6s mini, a smaller form factor iPhone that would hearken back to the device footprint of the iPhone 5s. That would allow Apple to satisfy customers who aren't too enamored of the larger iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus sizes.
iPad Air, iPad mini, and Maybe an iPad Pro
Rumors that Apple's iPad line of tablets is struggling are a bit overblown. The tablet segment on the whole is struggling, but that's simply because observers have been expecting that consumers would be upgrading their tablets in the same manner that they do their smartphones. Tablets are more expensive and longer lasting, so they don't get replaced as often.
That said, the iPad will almost certainly see less in the way of big developments this year than most of Apple's other products. Current rumors for the 2015 line of iPads hold that Apple will probably just issue the requisite processor upgrade for the iPad Air and iPad mini. The iPad mini will likely get the processor seen in 2014's iPad Air 2, while the iPad Air 3 will probably get the same A9 processor that Apple will likely put into the iPhone 6s.
One possible big development for the iPad could be the rumored iPad Pro. If Apple does indeed push out a new, larger-screened iPad at some point this year, it could be part of a big push to see its iOS devices heavily adopted within the enterprise sector. Current rumors surrounding the iPad Pro, though, only center on it being a larger iPad, and they give no real indication what besides its size would make it "Pro," per se.
MacBooks, MacBooks Air, and MacBooks Pro
Apple's line of portable Macs will see updates this year, but the rumor mill predicts very little that will be groundshaking, at least in terms of the MacBook Pro. Those powerhouse notebooks will get a processor bump, likely adding Intel's Broadwell chips. They could also see a redesign from the form factor they've had for the last few years, but Apple may well choose to leave well enough alone.
In terms of the MacBook Air, that's where the rumor mill has been churning. Apple is said to be preparing to release a new, ultra-slim 12-inch Retina MacBook that would totally revamp the MacBook Air line. That device would reportedly use a Core M Broadwell processor, an ultra low-power chip that allows for notebooks that don't need fans.
What that translates into is a super-slim MacBook that rumormongers think would wind up replacing the MacBook Air as we currently know it. There's been no word as yet that Apple has even started production on it, but it's almost certain that Apple will be using Intel's newest low-power chips when it refreshes the MacBook line, so you might want to hold off until later in the year if you're in the market for a notebook refresh.
New iMacs, Mac minis, and Apple TV
The big update for Apple's all-in-one line of iMacs came last year with the introduction of the 27-inch Retina iMac. For 2015, Apple will likely bring the high-resolution display of the 27-inch model on down to the 21-inch model, while the whole lineup will probably see a processor boost.
The Mac mini has been a weird part of Apple's lineup since its introduction. It's meant to serve as an entry-level machine for people new to the Mac ecosystem, but Apple only updates it once in a blue moon. It's been about two years since the Mac mini last saw an update, so 2015 may be the mini's year.
The Apple TV has been a "hobby" of Apple's for quite some time, and it's sold pretty well. Apple still, though, hasn't capitalized on its popularity to the extent that some observers believe it should. Word around the web has it that this is because Apple is tied up with a ton of licensing negotiations with cable companies and content providers. That's not likely to be resolved any time soon, but if it is, we could see the introduction of a refreshed Apple TV that would see Apple offering users the option to get channels and shows a la carte. Don't hold your breath though.
OS X and iOS
Of course, one of the biggest reasons that Apple is so monumentally successful is that it controls both the software and hardware for the devices it produces. This year will no doubt see the introduction of new iterations of the Mac OS X software that powers Apple's Macs and the iOS software that powers its iPhones and iPads. Just what we'll see with the introduction of those new OS versions, though, is open to speculation.
Apple will likely introduce some cool tweaks to iOS and OS X that take advantage of the newly released Apple Watch. We could see options such as an instant unlock if a user is wearing a paired Apple Watch, or Apple could introduce features that allow users to control their devices through the Apple Watch.
On the iOS end, it seems likely that we'll see some sort of split-screen multitasking feature introduced in Apple's mobile OS. Such features have already been spotted in iOS 8's code, but Apple has yet to take them live. It's likely, though, that we would only see such features on larger-screened iOS devices. That means you'd be able to multitask on your iPad Air, iPad Pro, and maybe your iPhone 6 Plus, but not necessarily on an iPhone 6, iPhone 6s mini, or iPad mini. Alas.
The Rest Is Unknown
Apple CEO Tim Cook has made good on his promise to double down on secrecy at the company, so not a ton has been leaking out regarding just what Apple has in the works for the near future. Cook has already said, though, that Apple had new products and services in the works for both 2014 and 2015, and not just the iPads and iPhones we've grown used to.
Will we see the introduction of compelling new products in Apple's Beats line of audio devices? Maybe some headphones with Siri built in? Who knows? What's certain, though, is that Apple fans will have a lot to look forward to over the next 12 months.
[Lead image via Epoch Times]