So, it’s bad enough that I had to make my views of quarterly Apple announcements public. But now I’m going to take it even further and peer into my crystal ball and talk about what I think we are likely to see this year. As always, I am not a paid analyst. I do not work for Apple. I am NOT privy to any information of their plans. This is all guess work based on years employed in a career that hinges on my paying attention to what Apple does and more importantly doesn’t do.

Short form: This is all theory based on rumour. Do not blow a gasket at (or sue) me if you lose money based on my opinions.

Apple’s been on a good Year over Year growth trend now for a few years with last Q3 being a standout due to the shift of the iPhone ship date. Whether this was a calculated move to balance their yearly deliverables over the medium term, or the first slip in a very long time… we likely will not know. However, each quarter this year… seems to have something packed into worth tracking.

For the purpose of this post there will be far more detail in the early calendar quarters due to how those quarters play out on the rest of they year.

Calendar Quarter 1:

We’re already hearing rumours of there being an iPad event and potentially an earlier “Unusual” event. In my previous post I commented that Q1 would be the Pro laptop/desktop quarter. I now think we’re going to be pushing more of the Mac into Q1. Mac hardware has been moving more and more into speed bump announcements. There have been no real revolutionary form changes in quite some time. The addition of Thunderbolt means that expansion is on a pro level for any machine that has it.

One of the rumors I’ve heard that I like is that the MacBook will be replaced with the MacBook Air. The Air in 11, 13, and 15″ sizes will be the Mac Book. The Pro in 13, 15, 17 will be as is. All systems will get Thunderbolt, BTLE, and the MBP may see their first iteration of retina screens.

The Mac Tower has been a bit of a dying breed. With distributed processing, you can do as much with 2-4 minis as you can with 1 tower. And in pretty much less space. I think you’re going to see a mini-pro (sort of an extension of the mini-server). The biggest complaint becomes expandability. But with Apple trying to move out of the “External Hardware World” it may finally bite the bullet and EOL the Macintosh Tower. If you want a modifiable box, stick with Windows or Linux.

Apple will finally say that Mac OS X 10.7 users exceed 10.6 users. There will be great statistical spin on how well 10.7 is doing.

I think the “unusual” rumour floating is that the dividend is going to roll or at least be announced this quarter. I’m not a financial whiz concerning how dividends work beyond you make $x each quarter based on earnings and your shares… But it will entice some investors who have been continually Bullish on Apple for hoarding its cash mound.

But none of this provides the quarterly revenue bang to carry into calendar Q2.

So, 2012Q1 will also deliver the iPad 3. Obviously there will be Retina and Siri. There will likely also be an announcement that it’s running iOS 5.5 which will offer developers a beta of the Siri SDK. Siri will continue to be a beta component. In the US the iPad will have 3G models that talk to AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile. I believe that the iPad3 will also be the first 4G product we see from Apple. BTLE will be standard. And a few other bells and whistles that may journalists will find completely underwhelming and yet it will still break sales records. And yes, I will have one on the day it ships. My loving spouse has already acknowledged this.

Calendar Quarter 2:

April brings spring, initial reports of lines and channel delays on the iPad 3, and of course… WWDC clamoring. Tickets for WWDC will go on sale this month and will sell out faster than the 1996 Kiss reunion tour. May will offer an iPod/iTunes event. The Touch will get Siri (and otherwise neglected), the Nano might get a camera (and otherwise get neglected) and the overly neglected iPod Classic shall head to that great Apple roundup in the sky and be EOL’d under the holy cloud of the Cloud. Journalists will find the announcements completely underwhelming and yet it will provide great sales. Stock prices will hit their low point of the year (barring issues from the fed, natural disaster, politics, the collapse of the European markets) during May-June. This will be the time to buy up more Apple Stock.

June will bring us WWDC. The pre-event schedule will have lots of iOS 5.5 stuff and a LOT of TBA. This assumes that a pre-event schedule gets distributed. 10.7.5 will be announced. It will be available in August. The earliest look at Mac OS 10.8 will surface. I’m going with “White Lion” as I must credit the genius of NetNewsWire’s Brett Simons for twittering after the release of 10.7.1, “I can’t wait for Snow Lion to come out.” White Lion won’t be feature rich, but it will show more integration between Mac OS and iOS. Expect more of the iOS store limitations to be announced for Mac OS. Expect better iOS/Mac OS integration. There maaaay be some Mac/Apple TV(2) interaction stuff. (Don’t hold your breath, but don’t be surprised) Expect iBooks for Mac OS 10.7.5. iWork will get more tripped out.

Then there will be the introduction of iOS 6. iOS 6 will have a tonne of surprises. One of the big surprises that is shared by iOS 6 and Mac OS 10.8 will be Core “Whatsis”. I’m not entirely sure what Core Whatsis is. It will have a lot of potential. It will seem like it really can do some killer things. But the applications will seem like there is something missing. We’ll come back to Core Whatsis. Many of the rumoured patent issues people have been thinking about will be rolled in. Parental controls/Corporate security refinements (Pretty much the same thing) will be greatly extended. Multi User will be in place. iOS 6 will run on the iPad 2 & 3, not the iPad 1. (First EOL’ing of an iPad) and (one more thing (This will be Phil Shiller’s first utterance of “One More Thing” which will bring a standing Ovation before he even announces it))

The iPhone 5 will be introduced. It will have a changed form factor. It will be 4G, It will have Near Field, There may be a size or colour addition. And other bells and whistles. The iPhone will be available around September with orders opening (yadda, yadda, yadda). It will ship with iOS 5.5. Samsung will fail to impress and continue to try to make fun of people waiting for iPhone’s in line. Core Whatis will make 5 % more sense but still be leaving more questions than answers. Apple will not provide them. They will provide a jacket to attendees that has pockets. Developers will still have to pay for the cooler annual t-shirt.

Calendar Quarter 3:

With the exception of the iPhone 5 Elephant in the room. Q3 will be quiet. Some Macs will see some speed bumps. 10.7.5 will release. In Late September there will be an event. iPad 3 will be the #1 back to school gift.

The iPhone 5 initial sales will be announced, lots of rehashing. If all goes according to plan, the Apple TV will either be announced or in a more surprising turn, be announced for purchase. The Apple TV will be running iOS 5.5 and will have the iOS 5.5 SDK available to Developers. (Though, expect an AppleTV Developer program, similar to the Mac, iOS, and Safari ones) At this point Core Whatsis will make a lot more sense. And all the other surprises. Here I will be vague as I haven’t really dived into Apple TV details yet. I will more likely follow this up after WWDC with whatever information I can share that’s not NDA to developers.

Calendar Quarter 4:

The holidays will come. Apple will sell a MFT of hardware. The Apple Halo effect will continue to grow both the iPad and Mac sales. The TV will be hailed by some and condemned by the rest. Everyone will have a strong opinion. Note: Everyone will have an opinion. (And for my own sense of humour. In Q4, RIM will declare bankruptcy).


This is just my personal view on Apple. When the year is over I will probably have far more wrong than right.

Here’s the summary. Go forth.

January: Apple Quarterly report
February: Annual Stockholder’s meeting / Special “Unusual” event

  • Macbook Air -> Macbook 11, 13, 15
  • End of the Pro Desktop?
  • iMac/Mini Pro
  • Dividend/Split?

March: iPad Event

  • iPad 3, (Retina, Siri, +)
  • iOS 5.5b, (Siri beta SDK)
  • Pre-Announce iOS 6?

April: Apple Quarterlies
May: iPod/iTunes event

  • iPod Changes (End of the classic),
  • iPod Touch + SIRI
  • iPod Nano w/Camera?

June: WWDC

  • iOS 5.5 release date announcement. iOS 6
  • Mac OS X 10.8: White Lion
  • iPhone 5 – Near Field, multi user, Siri no longer beta, Core Whatsis

July: Apple Quarterlies
Aug: Mac Book Pro. Mac Speed Bumps. 10.7.5
Sep: iOS 5.5, Apple TV (3), iPhone 5
Oct: Apple Quarterlies
Nov: Black Friday
Dec: XMas.

Special thanks to May Kim the Photoshop genius at my office for the assistance on the graphic for this post.

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