Watching for new products from Apple is often like gathering and analyzing intelligence for one of the clandestine services. First of all, Apple is highly secretive and closed about their plans. They have to be. If the PC box making rabble get wind of exactly what Apple is planning, they will rush to get their own versions out ahead of time. Apple’s business is built upon creativity and originality.
Often this doesn’t mean actually inventing anything, but coming up with a better way of integrating existing technologies. Consider the mobile phone. Mobile phones existed and hand held computers existed. Apple developed a hand held computer, that happened to have a phone included, and when it became clear that Apple was indeed about to introduce a mobile phone, nothing on the market looked like the iPhone. Once the iPhone was introduced, suddenly copies started churning out left and right. Had people seen demos of the iPhone before hand, competitors could have beaten Apple to market.
Even with the concepts and design of the iPhone clearly leading the market by many months, Apple has still had to go to court defending their intellectual property. Imagine if they had shared their intentions openly before the iPhone was ready to ship.
Consequently, in order to get a feel for product announcements, you have to approach Apple like you would gathering intelligence on an enemy. You have to watch troop movements and supply chains, or who is Apple hiring and how many MacBooks are left to purchase? What’s going on with their allies? Are there any conspicuous sales of existing product? In particular you have to pay attention to the chatter.
The best chatter for monitoring Apple comes from Apple bloggers, news sites, and Twitter. Web server logs are important also. Apple bloggers are all watching everything and each other, so they tend to report when something is up. News sites will claim to have inside information (some do and some don’t). Supply chain websites monitor what manufacturers like FOXCONN say. Twitter is a constant stream of information from which to cherry pick. Web server logs are fantastic because once they start reporting a new mysterious device, you can be pretty sure that the new device is in the hands of actual Apple employees. At this point, a new product introduction is extremely likely. You also start to get reports from MSM (Mainstream Media) such as FOX, FOX Business, WSJ, and CNBC. These guys start giving actual product announcement dates. At this point the Internet chatter reaches a feverous pitch. You can be fairly sure something is about to go down. You can dispatch a seal team to a nearby Apple Store to hold a place in line for you.
For this reason I developed my copyrighted StrategicMac Apple Advisory System, that looks a bit like our old terrorist advisory system only its cooler, and it’s just as accurate. Take a look at the scale. We are currently in RED LEVEL! PRODUCT ANNOUNCEMENT(S) EXTREMELY LIKELY!
Internet Chatter indicates that at WWDC (June) a new MacBook Pro 15″ will be announced. This new MacBook will likely have a slimmer form factor. It will not taper like the MacBook Air. It will probably get rid of legacy technology like the optical drive. (Who uses that anymore anyway except slow to adapt to the always-on-connected-world College professors.) It will likely be built around new Intel Ivy Bridge Processors. It will probably have USB3.0, as well as multiple (2) Thunderbolt ports. Chatter indicates NVIDIA graphics (possibly the GeForce GT650M), and a good but not certain possibility of a Retina display. Chatter concerning a liquid metal enclosure does not appear to be true at this time.
It is also EXTREMELY LIKELY that OS X Mountain Lion’s shipment date will be announced in June at the WWDC (World Wide Developer’s Conference).
YELLOW ELEVATED Level chatter indicates a new iPhone, probably called the iPhone 5 around October of this year as well as the probability of updated iMacs before end of year. iOS 6 is likely to appear along with the iPhone 5.
There are those who say that Apple does controlled rumor leaks. I don’t buy it. I can’t figure out why. It isn’t as if we aren’t all beating our heads on the wall trying to figure out what Apple is going to do next anyway. What do they have to gain unless its to squelch ridiculous rumors that start to float on occasion. I believe long time professional sites like 9to5Mac have informants and do a good job of sifting through chatter to create streamlined more accurate chatter, but I don’t believe Apple is creating their own rumors.
One thing is for certain. NO ONE outside of Apple knows anything for sure until the day that Apple announces a new product. Even people who work for Apple, like the retail store people, don’t know anything until the last minute, and usually by that time we all know. Most chatter from most sources, up until the last minute usually contain more hot air than a presidential campaign speech.
I hope Apple keeps their air of mystery and secrecy. I worry that CEO Tim Cook in his apparent zeal to create a kinder, friendlier Apple might open things up a bit too much. Stay mean Tim. Make’em beg.