Apple – what and how?
Apple hasn’t exactly bet the farm on its Watch. It was launched with appropriate fanfare, but the company has played it slow and sure since then. In-store display areas are discreet, and overshadowed by its longer-established lines. Perhaps the company realises that a fair few of us are waiting for the first revision.
Expect that to come later in 2016. In April, the original model turned 12 months old, and although two major operating system updates have added a range of new features – watchOS 3 was unveiled at WWDC in June 2016 – it would be risky for Apple to wait more than 18 months between hardware updates to a product line as high-profile as its smartwatch. (Granted, Tim Cook may also have been wary about straying too far in the other direction. It would be galling in the extreme to spend £13,500 on a smartwatch, as some deep-pocketed Apple Watch Edition buyers did last year, and then see it rendered obsolete a few months later.)
The first revision will almost certainly be an extensive upgrade to bring it in line with its most ambitious competitors, so we’re expecting an Apple Watch 2, rather than an iPhone-style ‘S’ variant. We’re also expecting it to be an entirely stand-alone device, along the lines of Samsung’s Gear S2, which connects directly to the cellular network, bypassing the Galaxy Phone entirely.
One of the most hotly anticipated Apple products of the year is an update to the company’s MacBook Pro line. The current MacBook Pros have been on the market since early last year and still pack Intel’s older Broadwell CPUs, which makes this upcoming update a significant one.
A new report from 9to5Mac suggests that new MacBook Pros will feature a Touch ID fingerprint scanner integrated into the laptop’s power button. Previous reports have suggested Touch ID will be integrated into upcoming MacBooks in some way, although the actual location of the sensor was unclear. Integrating it into the power button, however, makes perfect sense.
9to5Mac is also confirming a previous rumor that stated new MacBook Pros will feature an OLED touch display above the keyboard that acts as the laptop’s function keys. This is an interesting and unique change, as it would allow the MacBook Pro to present different functions keys to users depending on the applications they’re using.
Alongside the inclusion of new functionality like Touch ID, the new MacBook Pros are expected to be slimmer and pack multiple USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 3 support. You can expect a hardware upgrade as well, possibly with Intel’s upcoming Kaby Lake processors if the companies’ release schedules line up.
The new MacBook Pros, both in 13- and 15-inch sizes, are expected to hit the market in the fourth quarter of 2016. They will be accompanied by an entry-level MacBook Air refresh, along with a new mid-tier 13-inch MacBook.