Apple predictions 2018

Wondering what new products Apple will launch in 2018? We explore the rumours for Apple's 2018 product launches and company announcements, from new iPhones and Macs, software and services, to companies that Apple might buy.

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We're nearing the end of 2018 with the iPhone event scheduled for 12 September and rumours about a new Apple Watch, updates to the iPad Pro coming soon, and hope for new Macs and more before the year is out. The year got off to a flying start with the launch of the HomePod and then the new iPad with support for the Pencil, and in July the new MacBook Pro... but what else does 2018 have up its sleeves for Apple fans?

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Well, here at Macworld we've donned our prognostication hats and investigated every rumour and trend we could find to bring you our predictions for 2018. Read on to find out what could be in store, from new iPhones, iPads and Macs, enhancements to software, and some exciting news in terms of music and TV. 

Read on to find out more...

iPhones

Let's start with Apple's biggest money-maker: its smartphones.

iPhone Xs & iPhone Xs Plus

To be honest we've got no idea what the follow-up to the iPhone X is going to be called, but all the rumours are pointing to it being called the iPhone Xs.

We are hearing that Apple is also planning to launch a 6.5in version of the iPhone Xs - but rather than being called the iPhone Xs Plus, it might be called the iPhone Xs Max. We think that using Max might sound a bit like Macs so we are taking that rumour with a big pionch of salt, but who knows!

When? Sept 2018

Read more here: iPhone Xs rumours

iPhone Xc

There are also reports that there will be a cheaper version of the iPhone X with an LCD screen, so the price of entry to the world of Face ID should be lower very soon. This phone is though to be called the iPhone Xc - like the iPhone 5c.

When? Sept 2018

Read more here: iPhone Xc rumours

iPhone SE 2

Not everyone wants a humongous phone and there are still calls for Apple to upgrade the 4in iPhone SE model to the iPhone SE2, replacing the existing (and rather popular) SE that was introduced in March 2016.

Everytime we think that its days are numbered a new rumour surfaces about the new iPhone SE, so maybe it has a future. If the new model launches it is likely to keep the existing, classic design, but feature upgraded internals such as the A10 chip found in the iPhone 7 and a more powerful camera.

There are even reports that it could get an iPhone X-style look, but we're not sure Apple is ready to bring Face ID to its entry level iPhone just yet.

Read more here: iPhone SE 2 preview

When? Spring 2019, maybe...

iPads

Next we'll look at what's in store for the iPad in 2018.

iPad mini

Speaking of iPhones that may soon disappear, the same fate may await the iPad mini, which isn't even the cheapest iPad now (starting at £399/$399, compared to the iPad at £319/$329). Given that the iPad mini 4 was last updated in September 2015, it's clear that Apple isn't too focused on its smaller tablets and Apple does state that the most popular tablet size is 9.7in.

As with the iPhone SE, there are rumours that the iPad Mini could still be upgraded, perhaps with a new thinner, tougher aluminium chassis, and the inclusion of a Smart Connector to match that of the other iPad Pro devices. We think that's unlikely though...

Read more: iPad mini 5 new feature rumours

When? Probably never...

iPad Pro

Speaking of the iPad Pro, it's looking like Apple will be bringing iPhone X-style looks, along with Face ID to the iPad Pro in 2018.

This new iPad Pro could have smaller bezels allowing for a bigger screen - reports suggest we could see an 11in screen on the iPad in 2018 (up from 10.5in) while the 12.9in iPad Pro could shrink in terms of size and weight, rather than get an even larger screen.

We expect to see a A11X Bionic processor in the new iPad Pro models.

When? Possibly September, probably October

Macs

These days Apple's marketshare of the computer world is growing while the rest of the industry languishes (although in recent quarters we've seen a year-on-year decline in Mac sales - the lack of new Macs hasn't helpped matters particularly).  Here we will look at what Apple could have up its sleeve in terms of the Mac.

MacBook Air

The MacBook Air has had little attention over the past few years. In fact we have been fully expecting Apple to discontinue the MacBook Air. However, we are now hearing rumours that a new, even cheaper, model could be on the way soon.

The reports state that a 13in MacBook is in the works and that it will cost less than £1,000/$1,000. The 13in MacBook Air currently sells for £949/£999 while the 12in MacBook starts at £1,249/$1,299.

The most popular theory seems to be that this will be an update to the MacBook Air. Although, it could be a remodelling of the MacBook (which we'll discuss next).

Read more in our new MacBook Air rumours article.

When? Maybe September, probably October

MacBook

As we mentioned above, there might be a new MacBook coming from Apple - and it may have a lower price and a bigger, 13in screen.

Alternatively, the new MacBook might just see the latest Intel Coffee Lake processors and an improved keyboard (there are currently lawsuits being filed against Apple relating to the keyboard on the MacBook and MacBook Pro which are claimed to be faulty, read about the keyboard problems on the MacBook here). Apple has already updated the keyboard in the MacBook Pro so it looks likely that the MacBook will gain a similar update soon.

Read about the rumoured update to the MacBook here.

When? Maybe September, probably October

Mac mini

Like the MacBook Air, the Mac mini has had little attention over the past few years. After being hobbled in 2014 by what can barely be considered an upgrade, Apple has left the Mini to fall fallow. Now we don't know whether 2018 will see a resurrection of its fortunes, but all here at Macworld are rooting for the little guy - and Apple has even said that the Mac mini is still important, so maybe there is a small chance it won't be forgotton in 2018.

To give us some hope respected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has said that he thinks that the Mac mini will be updated.

Read more in our new Mac mini rumours article.

When? Maybe September, probably October

iMac

2018 is actually a big year for the iMac - it's now 20 years since the first iMac launched! Will Apple celebrate this anniversary with a new design? Probably not, although we have seen the suggestion that by removing hard drive options and making a few other tweeks to the internals the iMac could lose it's 'chin'.

Despite the big birthday, we're not expecting a big change in terms of the iMac in 2018, but we are excited about the prospect of more cores. Thanks to the new Coffee Lake processors from Intel (which we've already seen in the MacBook Pro), we could see the top of the range iMac ship with 6-cores or maybe even more!

Read more in our iMac 2018 rumours article.

When? Maybe September, probably October

iMac Pro

As for the iMac Pro,which arrived in December 2017, we might see an update towards the end of 2018, but Apple might hold fire on that model while it prepares to launch the next Mac we will discuss...

Read more about the new iMac Pro here.

When? Not until 2019

Mac Pro

The Mac Pro is long overdue a refresh, as it hasn't been updated since the launch of the 'trashcan' Pro model in 2013. The once-futuristic device now looks a little long in the tooth, having been bypassed by generations of Intel chips that never made it into the chassis.

There wasn't a new Mac Pro in 2017, but a new machine is on the horizon.

In April 2017 Apple broke its silence and discussed the Pro's future with a small group of journalists, first apologising for the lack of updates and then acknowledging that the trashcan design didn't work out the way it had hoped. The triangular structure that hides inside the cylinder was designed with the thermal requirements of twin-GPU setups in mind, but the industry went in a different direction; most pro users prefer to use a single more powerful GPU, something that the Mac Pro cannot cope with. And so the machine ended up being very difficult to upgrade.

Then in April 2018 Apple revealed even more about its radical redesign of its Mac Pro line. However, the company confirmed that we won't be seeing the new Mac Pro until 2019.

Read more in our new Mac Pro rumours article.

When? We think WWDC 2019 is most likely for an unveiling, but perhaps Apple will hold a special event in April 2019

Software

iOS 12

iOS 11 was released to the public on 19 September 2017. The next update to Apple's mobile OS, iOS 12, was unveiled at WWDC in June 2018, and will be rolled out later in September.

Apple says it's focussing on stability in this update, but there are some other nice features coming.

You can read more here: iOS 12 rumours.

When? September 2018

watchOS 5

Like iOS 12 - and Apple's other major OS updates - watchOS 5 was first unveiled in the summer of 2018, before the public launch in September.

You can read more here: watchOS 5 release date & new features rumours

When? September 2018

macOS 10.14 Mojave

Following its usual pattern, Apple revealed and demoed macOS Mojave at WWDC in June 2018, before a series of beta versions were released in the run up to the eventual public rollout in September.

Mojave will bring new features such as a proper Dark Mode that will turn your Mac emo, Dynamic Desktop that changes the wallpaper depending on the time of day, Mark Up tools in Quick Look, new ways to screengrab and video capture, and new apps making the transition from iOS including News and Home.

Read more here: MacOS Mojave release date & features

When? September 2018

tvOS 12

The last and least heralded of Apple's OSes, tvOS is nevertheless a Pretty Big Deal for everyone with a fourth-gen or 4K Apple TV. tvOS 12 will be unveiled in summer and launched in autumn.

One big change coming to the Apple TV in 2018 coud be the new subscription movie and TV series service that Apple is said to be planning on introducing. The company is already making it's own shows so something is definately in the works, read about Apple's plans for a TV and film subscription service here. However, it seems like this won't actually launch until 2019 - we might hear more at the iPhone event in September though.

Read more here: tvOS 12 release date & new features rumours

When? September 2018, although it may take until 2019 for Apple to start distributing its own content

Other Apple Software

How about a redesign of iTunes? As one of Apple's most bloated pieces of software the iTunes interface on the Mac could certainly use a few tweaks or a complete overhaul.

And the TV app - that really needs to bring back some of the functionality of the older Video app (namely being able to auto play the next episode!)

Unfortunatly the fact that Apple didn't mention this at WWDC suggests it won't be happening in time for the Mojave and iOS12 launch, but perhaps we could see an iTunes overhaul when Apple launches it's streaming TV service mentioned above.

When? 2019 maybe

Other Apple Products

Apple makes more than iPhones, iPads and Macs. The company has already introduced the HomePod in 2018, what else is in store?

StudioPods

Apple's now launched the HomePod smart speaker - you can read all about the HomePod here. But there could be more *Pods on the way.

The company is said to be working on over-the-ear headphones to accompany its AirPods and the EarPods - the other earphones Apple makes. Apple's drive into wearable technology could also eventually mean we can buy Apple Glasses or a VR headset, but we don't expect to see them in 2018. 

Read all the news about the StudioPods here.

When? Maybe October, probably 2019 though

AirPower

As part of the iPhone 8/8 Plus/X announcement in September 2018, Apple revealed that it's going to make its own wireless charging pad to go with the new phones (which have glass backs, and are thus able to support wireless charging). The pad is called AirPower.

AirPower will be able to charge multiple devices (an iPhone, an Apple Watch, a pair of AirPods and a new wireless charging AirPods case all at once). And it can apparently manage the charging of these multiple devices intelligently, analysing their charge levels and maximum capacity and then telling them each to 'take' the most efficient proportion of its power.

Fancy features mean a fancy price, most likely, but this is probably going to become the best wireless charger on the market - for owners of recent iPhones, at any rate.

Read more: AirPower release date rumours

When? September 2018 (or frackly, we're embarrased on Apple's behalf!)

Apple Pay Cash

At WWDC 2017 Apple unveiled a new, person-to-person application of Apple Pay that works through Messages. Apple Pay Cash eventually rolled out in the US as part of the iOS 11.2 update in Dec 2017, but we're still waiting for the worldwide (and especially UK) launches.

We have already seen Apple Pay Cash appear on some of our iPhones so we are hopefully that a UK launch will happen soon.

When? Maybe in September 2018

Mergers & acquisitions

Apple has got quite a lot money, and armchair pundits love to spend the company's money for it. Buy Tesla! Buy GoPro! Buy Sonos!

What Apple has done already in 2018 is buy Shazam - although that deal wasn't cleared by the regulators until the beginning of September 2018.

However, it hardly needs stating that the company isn't in a hurry to divest itself of that cash cushion. Any merger & acquisition activity is likely to be comparatively conservative: rather than going for the big names that crop up in prediction articles like this one, Apple is far more likely to pick up smallish but promising firms on the way up and take their products in house - just as it did with Siri.

We do know of a few big deals that Apple has considered, though. The Financial Times reported that in May 2016 Apple sat down with Time Warner, one of the biggest entertainment companies in the world, and spoke seriously about an acquisition deal. The deal never got beyond the exploratory phase, but this does strongly suggest that Apple is in the market for an acquisition that will give it a foothold in video content - something that would prove valuable when its rumoured TV-streaming service finally comes to pass.

With Time Warner apparently out of the picture, some analysts started to suggest that the next target could be Netflix, but we wouldn't bet your live savings on that deal happening.

But don't expect…

The Apple Car was the hot rumour of 2016, but it's since emerged that Apple has scaled back its ambitions on this front but somethign is definately happening in the motoring field. The company is said to have had up to 1,000 developers working on the so-called Project Titan, and to have set up various different front companies, including Faraday Futures and Sixty Eight Research.

Industry chatter suggests 2020 is a more likely date for a launch. If this is correct, it might not be worth holding back on upgrading to your existing run-around until then.

We don't think you'll see an Apple car in 2018, then, but you can expect the rumours to continue.

Apple's AR glasses are another rumour that won't go away, but they probably won't be coming out any time soon either. Read about the Apple AR headset here. Yes, it certainly sounds like Apple's working on some sort of virtual reality/augmented reality device, but we probably won't be seeing that one until 2021.