2015 was a busy year for Apple that saw the company introduce a number of new products and services, including Apple Music, new iPhone models, the iPad Pro, a sleek new MacBook, a completely revamped Apple TV, a new 21.5-inch iMac with a 4K display, and last but not least, the Apple Watch.
Still, Apple’s 2015, which was the company’s most profitable year to-date, was rather tumultuous. Specifically, a number of Apple products and services were uncharacteristically criticized for failing to live up to Apple’s traditional standard of excellence. As a result, we previously categorized Apple’s 2015 as a year in transition, defined in large part by new products and new technologies that the company will hopefully improve upon and refine substantially in 2016.
So while Apple isn’t likely to enter any new product categories in 2016, the company is once again poised to have a busy year, with a number of new products set to be released over the next 12 months. To give you an idea of what Apple has in store, we’ve compiled a list of the major new Apple products that will likely show up on store shelves in 2016.
iPhone 7 and 7 Plus
As Apple’s primary revenue generator, we of course have to start with the iPhone. Apple’s iPhone release schedule runs like clockwork and 2016 will likely be no different. It’s a safe bet that Apple in September of 2016 will release two new iPhone models, an iPhone 7s and 7s Plus.
From what we understand, these two iPhone models will incorporate the same 4.7 and 5.5-inch form factors currently found on Apple’s iPhone 6s lineup. As far as specs are concerned, the iPhone 7 may incorporate a number of interesting changes.
Most notably, you may recall some reports suggesting that the iPhone 7 may completely do away with the headphone jack and instead use the device’s lightning port for audio-out. Other rumors have indicated that the iPhone 7 will be waterproof and be much thinner than its predecessor. The iPhone 7 Plus, meanwhile, will reportedly include a number of features exclusively, including 3GB of RAM and a larger battery.
The only 4-inch iPhone currently available is the iPhone 5s, a venerable device to be sure, but one that’s still more than two years old at this point. In early 2016, in March to be exact, rumor has it that Apple will take the wraps off of a new 4-inch iPhone model that has been prematurely dubbed the iPhone 6c. While initial reports pegged the device as nothing more than a souped up iPhone 5s, more recent reports suggest that the iPhone 6c will be quite a compelling device. In addition to a blazing A9 processor, the iPhone 6c may also come with 2GB of RAM, a slightly larger battery than what Apple used in the iPhone 5s, a metal frame construction, and lastly, support for Apple Pay. Indeed, 3D Touch is probably the only flagship feature the iPhone 6c will lack.
Rumor has it that the iPhone 6c will hit store shelves in April, just one month after its unveiling.
Apple Watch 2
Apple is expected to unveil its next-gen Apple Watch during the same March event where it will introduce the iPhone 6c. Spec wise, the Apple Watch 2 is poised to deliver a number of improvements over the original, including a thinner display case, the inclusion of a FaceTime camera, enhanced Wi-Fi functionality, and perhaps new sensors. It’s worth noting, though, that any health-oriented sensor technologies that would require FDA oversight will likely not be included in the Apple Watch 2. It’s also a safe bet that the Apple Watch 2 will come with a new selection of band colors and designs.
As far as a release date is concerned, it stands to reason that Apple will roll out the Apple Watch 2 sometime in April, signaling that the company’s wearable will follow the same annual upgrade cycle as the iPhone.
iPad Air 3
Apple’s iPad roadmap went on a slight detour in 2015. Whereas the company typically rolls out iPad upgrades on an annual basis, Apple in 2015 opted to release a new iPad Pro rather than an iPad Air 3. That being the case, there’s a good chance Apple in 2016 will throw a new iPad Air model into the rotation.
Some of the early iPad Air 3 rumors suggest that the next-gen device may sport a 4K display, an A9x processor, and a slight RAM bump. One feature the iPad Air 3 will not incorporate is 3D Touch, though it’s a good bet that future iPad models will house this feature eventually. As far as a release date is concerned, early rumors pointed to a possible launch in March.
Even though the svelte new Retina Macbook introduced this year gives the MacBook Air a run for its money, the Air doesn’t seem to be on its way out anytime soon. This past November, a report out of China indicated that the MacBook Air will be updated with a thinner form factor and a new design that will lend itself to an overall lighter device.
Perhaps the most interesting rumor regarding Apple’s alleged 2016 MacBook Air is that the company will introduce a 15-inch Air model for the first time.
Products that may not get the upgrade treatment this year
Some products that may not receive any notable upgrades this year include the iMac, the Retina MacBook Pro, the iPad Pro, the Apple TV, and the Mac Pro.