Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Reading Between the Lines of Apple’s Latest Releases

Dan Moren, Macworld:

Apple chooses its public actions very carefully, so often trying to suss out what it’s up to is a matter of reading between the lines. Because the actions that the company doesn’t take are almost as significant as the ones that it does.

While it hasn’t been an uneventful spring for Apple watchers so far, it’s been informative to see which products the company has been shipping, because they start to point the way towards the areas where Apple may instead be marshaling its forces ahead of some more significant moves.

Apple is usually pretty quiet between autumn and WWDC in the late spring, but not this year. It has launched a few new products and refreshed others, and I could not be happier to see spec bumps and moderate improvements across the board. For a while, Apple seemed interested only in major updates, leaving products to sit unchanged for several years, but that thankfully appears to no longer be the case.

But Moren points to a few products that remain untouched. We can safely guess that flagship iPhone and Apple Watch refreshes are on the table for September, but there are a few other products that could use some attention:

  • The iPad Air and iPad Mini were updated in March last year. The sans-suffix iPad was given a bigger display in September and support for the Apple Pencil and Smart Connector accessories, which brings it uncomfortably close to the iPad Air in capability. The iPad Air may have a True Tone display, better front-facing camera, and newer processor, but I find it confusing to decide between them.

  • The iMac was updated in March last year, but it seems to be on a nearly two-year cycle. The iMac Pro, though, is screaming for a major update, as Moren notes. It’s positioned nicely between the highest-end iMac and Mac Pro and, given that the latter has moved upmarket, I think it’s worth keeping in the lineup.

  • The Mac Mini hasn’t been meaningfully updated since 2018.

  • Neither has the HomePod.

  • The current Apple TV hardware lineup will turn three years old in September. If no changes are made before September 15, it will be the longest gap in the product’s history.

There was a time when every Mac model was updated roughly once a year. That pattern collapsed in the mid-2010s, but it shows signs of recovering. Most of the stuff Apple sells right now is as recent as you would expect it to be.