What to expect from Apple in 2023: AR, Mac Pro and iPhone 15
2022 has been an interesting year for Apple, with price rises affecting much of its product portfolio across Europe and minor refreshes to flagship products like the iPhone.
We have had the long-awaited redesign of the MacBook Air arrive, along with the second generation of the Apple-designed M-series chipset. The base iPad also got a fresh coat of paint and the notch finally started its road to redundancy, with the Dynamic Island on the iPhone 14 Pro. We also saw the Apple Watch line expand, with a very good Ultra model.
But, many of Apple’s 2022 releases have felt like stop-gaps. The iPad Pro got a chipset upgrade and, well, nothing else – no Mini LED display on the smaller 11-inch model, no wireless charging features and no upgraded Pencil. The iPhone 14 arrived with the same internals as the iPhone 13, and the AirPods Pro 2 improved the audio but didn’t add any of the rumoured fitness features many were expecting.
And then there were the upgrades we just didn’t see. No iMac or Mac Pro; no AirPods Max 2; No M2 Max or Pro MacBook Pros and, probably more predictably, no Apple Car. With that in mind, let’s have a look at what we could see from Apple in 2023.
iMacs and MacBooks
MacBook Air redesign aside, 2022 was a fairly slow year in terms of Mac upgrades. This likely – or least, hopefully – means we’ll get plenty of them in 2023.
According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, Apple had planned to release the Mac Pro with Apple’s Silicon by now, but it has been delayed for various reasons. Gurman even suggests there have been multiple shifts in the company’s plans for the machine so we’re very much in the dark here. Still, 2023 feels like the year Apple Silicon shifts to the high-end market.
A Mac Pro with an M-series chip could also be joined by an M-series iMac Pro – another product that feels like it’s been rumoured and touted for a while. As good as the iMac M1 was, and still is, its small display and lower-end internals made it much more a machine suited to a family rather than a pro.
Both of these pro-focussed models need a powerful version of the M2 chipset to go with them, so we’ll likely see them both when that is ready.
An M2 version of the more consumer-friendly, and colourful, iMac also seems like a given and we’re a little surprised we didn’t see that this year. Expect refreshes of the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros too. We might also get a new 15-MacBook Air; the first time Apple has upped the screen size of its most popular laptop.
In the same report, Mark Gurman also said Apple is currently working on a new slew of external monitors, including an updated Pro Display XDR
iPads and iPhones
It’s a little too early to really get an idea of what form the iPhone 15 series will take, but we can speculate it’ll arrive in multiple sizes in September. With the arrival of the Apple Watch Ultra this year, there’s always the chance we could see an Ultra iPhone join the Pro and standard models.
The biggest likely change for the 2023 iPhones is a switch from Lightning to USB-C, though rumours have suggested it might be the Pro models that really benefit from faster charging. We’d also hope the lower-end iPhone models pick up the Dynamic Island – currently a Pro-only feature – and it’s probably time for a design refresh, too.
Considering we’ve had updates to the iPad Air, iPad Pro and iPad this year there’s every chance we won’t see much movement in the iPad space next year. If we do, a Mini LED version of the iPad Pro 11-inch would be welcome, and we won’t be surprised to see an M2 refresh of the iPad Air.
The iPad that wasn’t updated this year was the Mini, though, like the iPhone SE, this doesn’t feel like a product that will ever be truly popular enough for yearly refreshes. With minimal competition, the iPad Mini 6 isn’t crying out for a refresh and could stick around for a few more years.
AirPods Max 2
2022 saw updates to both the base AirPods and AirPods Pro, but the AirPods Max – Apple’s ANC-toting over-ear headphones – lacked a second version.
As good as the AirPods Max sound, there are certainly some areas that need a rethink (where’s the power button?) and considering we’ve heard nothing since the original pair’s release, 2023 makes sense for a second go.
Apple’s first crack at VR/AR
Apple hasn’t entered a new product category since the launch of the Apple Watch, but that could change in 2023.
Rumours have been suggesting for a while now that next year will finally see the release of the first VR headset from Apple, possibly running software called xrOS. What kind of form this device takes is still very much up in the air, as is the price, but it’ll likely be the biggest Apple release of the year if it comes to pass.