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Apple 2020 Predictions
Friday, 2020 February 7 - 6:00 pm
Huh, I forgot to do my usual January 1st predictions. I guess it's not too late.

Let's see how I did in 2019:
1. New Mac Pro. Yeah. It wasn't a Mac mini on steroids, but instead was an expensive behemoth tower. But still, 1 point.
2. No New MacBook. Correct; the 12Ē Macbook was discontinued in favor of MacBook Air. 1 point.
3. iPhone 8 forever. Correct; the iPhone 8 continues to sell for now. 1 point.
4. iPhone 2019. They called it iPhone 11, but yes, cameras and performance were the selling points, and there was no 5G. 1 point.
5. iPad mini 5. Thereís a new mini, but itís not entry-level; itís a smaller version of the flagship. 0.5 points.
6. Streaming TV Service. Yes, a streaming service, but only $5, not $10, and no library content. 0.5 points.
7. Noise-cancelling AirPods. AirPods Pro came, and were a huge hit. 1 point.
8. HomePod mini. Nope. 0 points.
9. Smart Fashion. Nope. 0 points.
10. 2019 closing stock price: $170. Closed at nearly $300! 0 points.

Total score: 6.0/10. Slightly above my average.

Okay, on to 2020:

1. 5G iPhone 12. Rumors point to a lineup of anywhere from four to six different phones. At the minimum, I think you'll still have two sizes of "iPhone 12 Pro" phones (5.5-ish and 6.5-ish inches) and a standard-level 6-inch "iPhone 12" phone. Having two sizes of the standard-level phone is possible, but I'll vote against it: there's an advantage to making fewer types of phones, when it comes to R&D and production costs. I think then we'll also see the rumored "iPhone SE 2", which will probably be a very iPhone 8-like phone but with improved internals.

2. A new wearable category of some kind. This is my perennial prediction of some kind of AR headset, or smart rings, or a smart necklace, or something. Wearables have become a huge business line for Apple, thanks to the success of AirPods. And they're self-marketing to boot. The tech for glasses still might not be mature. But there are all kinds of ways to embed tech into other bits of apparel.

3. All MacBooks get new keyboards.. Apple will be eager to get the butterfly keyboard fiasco behind them, and the best way to do that will be to stop producing them. So I think all the MacBook models get at least a minor refresh this year, in time for the back-to-school shopping season.

4. Bundled services. Apple's got some interesting services, but individually, they might not be gaining a lot of traction. We've got iCloud storage, Apple Music (and its lesser-known cousin iTunes Match), Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, and Apple News+. Collectively you'd spend something like $350 a year for all of that. Bundle some or all of it together for $129 and you've got a nice competitor to Amazon Prime.

5. TV service gains traction. I'm one of the few people I know who has AppleTV+, but I think that could change. The free-for-a-year promotion with the purchase of an Apple product might entice a lot of people to give it a try; and if the service can introduce just a couple more shows on the level of "The Morning Show" and "For All Mankind", I think that'll be enough to make the subscriptions stick.

6. New Apple Card Perks. Apple's thrown around various different promotions, at one point offering 6% cash back on Apple purchases during the holidays. It's not unreasonable to think that some retailers might get on board with cross-promotions, allowing Apple to give higher cash-back rates for purchases at certain stores. Target, maybe? Or airlines?

7. Home automation advances. I keep hoping Apple will actually do something with HomeKit, which seems to be languishing. There's a pent-up demand for home automation that actually works, and doesn't rely on cobbling together a bunch of incompatible parts. Apple's recent agreement to work on interoperability standards should help. There's also some talk of an upgraded AppleTV device, which might have enough beef to take on added functionality.

8. iOS 14. It should arrive this summer, and there's not a lot in the rumor mill about it. My hope is that the big feature will be a greatly improved Siri. If I were Apple, my long-term vision for the iPhone would be to make it a truly useful personal assistant, but one that respects your privacy instead of mining your data. That starts with AI features that are present on the phone, and not the cloud. But really, probably Apple's big push will be to make apps that are common between iOS, iPadOS, and macOS, and to allow handoff of functionality between all the platforms. That already works for some apps, like most of Apple's own apps as well as Apple Arcade games. Apple's trend seems to be moving towards platform-agnostic computing, so I think we'll see iOS proceed down that vein.

9. macOS 10.16. Similarly for the Mac, what we're seeing is a push towards this "Catalyst" thing where developers can make a single app that runs on both macOS and iOS. That's largely been a disaster so far, but there's no reason to think that it can't be made to work with some diligent scrubbing.

10. Closing stock price: $390. There's a ton of momentum in the stock right now. It's an election year; the trade war threats are lessening; the iPhone 12 5G upgrade cycle might be huge; services are booming; wearables are booming. Short of a war or a global pandemic (err, we should keep an eye on that coronavirus), I think Apple is poised for a banner year.
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Posted by Ken in: techwatch

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