Since Apple never discusses new products before announcing them, it’s impossible to know exactly what to expect coming down its 2023 pipeline. But certain devices tend to arrive around the same time every year, providing possible clues about what to expect. Leaks and rumors also paint a picture of potential gadgets we may see throughout 2023, such as Apple’s long-rumored “mixed-reality” headset.
If the reports turn out to be accurate, 2023 could mark several firsts for Apple’s product lineup. We may see the company’s first AR/VR headset, the first iPhone with USB-C and the first 15-inch MacBook Air, for example. As for other products like AirPods, the Apple TV and the iPad, Bloomberg reports we likely won’t see major changes to those product lines this year.
The debut of a mixed-reality headset would signal an entirely new product category for Apple, while the other updates suggest Apple is further optimizing its devices to compete with Android and Windows competitors that offer bigger screens and universal USB-C charging.
In minor launches already in 2023, Apple has released a new yellow version of the iPhone 14, an updated HomePod, a Mac Mini with the M2 and M2 Pro chips, and MacBook Pro computers with the new M2 Pro and M2 Max.
Here’s a look at what we’re expecting in 2023 based on Apple’s previous launches, rumors and leaks so far. Apple did not respond to a request for comment for this story.
iPhone 15 lineup
Apple usually launches new iPhones in September, and this year will likely be no different. Among the most significant changes we’re expecting to see in the iPhone 15 is the switch from the Lightning charging port to USB-C. That’s because there are new rules requiring tech products sold in Europe to support USB-C by 2024. Still, it’s unclear whether Apple will fully embrace the transition to USB-C across the entire iPhone 15 lineup, or if it will make a region-specific model for Europe.
Another potential update could include the Dynamic Island’s arrival on standard non-Pro iPhone 15 models, Ross Young, CEO of Display Supply Chain Consultants, tweeted in September. At the same time, Apple could add more features to the iPhone 15 Pro that differentiate it from the base models. Such features could include a new periscope camera with better optical zoom for the iPhone 15 Pro Max and solid-state buttons for both Pro phones, according to TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.
Apple AR/VR headset
Apple’s long-anticipated mixed-reality headset could finally make its debut in June, according to Bloomberg, marking Apple’s first major expansion into a new product category since the Apple Watch. The headset is expected to blend elements of augmented reality, which lays digital graphics over real-world environments similar to the smartphone game Pokemon Go, and virtual reality, which envelopes users in 360-degree graphics like the $400 Meta Quest 2.
But don’t expect Apple’s headset to come cheap. The device could cost $3,000 and will run on a new type of software that’s essentially a 3D version of the iPhone’s interface, Bloomberg reports. Expect it to be powered by Apple’s M2 chip, which can be found in its current MacBook lineup, the report says.
Tech giants from Meta to Sony to Microsoft have all tried their hand at virtual or augmented reality. But there’s an expectation that Apple’s first VR product could popularize the technology, since the company has a long track record of doing so with other products.
“I think Apple is going to be a big help to the market kind of like it has with, let’s face it, smartphones, tablets and smartwatches,” said Ramon Llamas, a research director at the International Data Corporation.
Apple Watch Series 9
Like clockwork, Apple typically releases new Apple Watch models alongside its new iPhones in the fall. This year, however, we may see a more modest update than usual. Bloomberg reports that we shouldn’t expect to see significant changes to the Apple Watch this year. What that means is unclear, but it’s possible the watch could include routine updates like performance enhancements rather than significant new health-tracking features.
That falls in line with the pattern that Apple has followed in recent years. Other than the addition of temperature sensing and car-crash detection, the Apple Watch Series 8 is very similar to the Series 7. Apple has also introduced more new features through software updates rather than hardware changes in recent years, such as the ability to track sleep stages that arrived in WatchOS 9. But I’m hoping the Series 9 inherits some features from the Apple Watch Ultra, especially its handy Action button, which makes it easier to jump right into a workout.
There haven’t been many rumors or reports about whether to expect updated Apple Watch SE or Ultra models in 2023. But since Apple doesn’t always release special-edition products on an annual cadence, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Apple skip those updates this time around.
A new iMac
Fans of Apple’s colorful all-in-one computer may have something to look forward to this year. The company’s next iMac is at an advanced development stage, meaning it could arrive in the second half of this year, according to Bloomberg. The refreshed computer will likely run on Apple’s rumored M3 processor, which would be a step up from the M2 chip powering the current MacBook Pro and MacBook Air. It’ll have a 24-inch screen like the 2021 edition and will be available in the same color options, but will have some internal design changes, according to the report.
Mac Pro with M2 Ultra
Apple is also readying a new version of its top-of-the-line Mac Pro that would run on a chip called the M2 Ultra processor, likely a successor to the M1 Ultra, according to Bloomberg. That would mark a departure from the current model, which debuted in 2019 and runs on Intel’s Xeon processors. The chip will reportedly have 24 CPU cores, 76 graphics cores and 192GB of memory.
The $5,999 Mac Pro is Apple’s high-end desktop computer aimed at professionals. It’s the last remaining Mac in Apple’s current lineup that doesn’t include the company’s own silicon. The report suggests it will launch between late spring and summer, meaning we might see it at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in June.
A 15-inch MacBook Air
Apple’s lightweight laptop will reportedly be available in a 15-inch size for the first time this year. Bloomberg reports that a 15-inch MacBook Air is in Apple’s 2023 product roadmap, although it’s unclear whether this machine will run on the company’s expected M3 chip. A new 13-inch MacBook Air is also said to be in the works.
These two laptops are also expected to arrive in the late spring or summer, so we should be hearing about them in the coming months if Bloomberg’s report is accurate.
All told, the rumors, leaks and reports suggest 2023 could be a pivotal year for Apple’s computing lineup. If Apple does announce its first mixed-reality headset, we’ll get a glimpse at the company’s vision for the future of computing. Apple CEO Tim Cook has been vocal about the potential he sees for augmented reality, but we haven’t seen dedicated Apple hardware for providing those experiences yet. The arrival of Apple silicon in the Mac Pro would also mark the completion of Apple’s transition to its homegrown Mac chips within its current lineup.
Read the full article here