According to Bloomberg, Apple is set to have a busy year of launches, but the fact that the US manufacturer wants to enter other markets where it doesn’t yet have an official presence will affect the year-on-year progress of other products. Going forward, the company seems to be planning to release its new virtual reality device, but the 2023 laptop, PC and smartphone models will be hardware upgrades without much new capability. Here’s what we can expect in the next 12 months from Apple.
The Apple Reality Pro/Reality One(?) VR/AR device will debut sometime this spring, but it will only be announced, not officially released. The launch could come later, but the company seems to want a launch similar to the first iPhone, which was first demonstrated, and only then brought to market. realityOS or xrOS will debut at WWDC 2023, a few weeks away.
Apparently some of Apple’s partner software developers already have Reality Pro devices and have already started developing games, apps and experiences for the device. The launch could happen in the fall of 2023.
MacBook Air, MacBook Pro
Among the first new product launches for 2023 from Apple are expected new MacBook Pro laptop models. Last year, the company launched the 13-inch MacBook Air and MacBook Pro with M2 processors, and this spring, 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro models with M2 Pro and M2 Max processors are expected. These will retain the design and functionality of the models released in the fall of 2021, and the performance won’t be much better, as going from M1 to M2 isn’t that big of a leap.
A new MacBook Air model with the M2 processor could be released this year, equipped with a larger display for the first time in the lineup. The larger Air model would use a 15″ screen.
It looks like 2023 will also be the year that the Mac Pro series of computers will move to Apple Silicon. This is the last lineup still running Intel processors, but the transition won’t be very easy for some users. Primarily because the professional tower computer won’t offer significantly better performance than the Mac Studio. That’s because it will use an M2 Ultra chip, meaning two M2 Max chips “bonded” together, for a total of 48 cores for the CPU and 152 cores for the GPU.
The only real advantage over Mac Studio, however, will be the ability to add components over PCI-Express and Apple’s proprietary port, as well as the ability to install extra storage. RAM will remain glued to the processor and will not be changeable by users. The processor will also be glued to the motherboard. The exterior design won’t get an upgrade from the 2020 Mac Pro either.
iMac and iMac Pro
The larger-screen iMac Pro is in the plans, but it’s not yet clear if it will be released in 2023. It could be delayed alongside a new 24″ iMac model, which might not get a hardware upgrade until 2024, along with a new Apple M3 processor.
Apple Watch, iPad, HomePod, Airpods
The 2022 iPad Pro models will most likely remain on the market through 2023, and won’t be updated until 2024 with slightly larger OLED screens. The Air, Mini, and “standard” models will receive, at most, minor hardware upgrades, such as an older processor in the same current-generation casing.
The Apple Watch isn’t expected with a significant upgrade either. The Series 9 will likely be identical in design to the Series 7 and 8, with a newer processor and perhaps extra sensors.
AirPods aren’t expected to get significant updates in 2023 either, but the HomePod in the large version could return to the market. This model would come with a lower price tag than the original model, an Apple S8 chipset, the same one used on the Apple Watch, and a changed touch interface on top.
The iPhone won’t get any major upgrades either, but the differences might be enough to convince users who don’t yet have iPhone 12, 13 or 14 models to finally trade in their phones. All four variants (Standard, Plus, Pro and Pro Max) will be equipped with Dynamic Island displays, and the Lightning port will be replaced with USB-C.
The Pro models, however, will now be constructed of titanium instead of steel, and the volume and power buttons will no longer be physical, but will offer haptic response via vibration. Of course, a new A17 processor and a new iOS will debut with the new models.
It seems that Apple has invested so many resources in Reality Pro development that the other devices have lagged behind in hardware development. 2023 thus looks to be a year of incremental improvements for Apple.