If you follow tech news, even if not as avidly as I do, you may have noticed Apple hasn’t received much buzz lately. Other companies like Samsung and HTC have already taken the wraps off their new flagship smartphones. For Apple fans the infuriating question that arises is, what about Apple?! Well, they actually had some exciting news of their own this April. And we anticipate many new and exciting announcements in the months ahead.
New Service Options
Will T-Mobile attract many iPhone buyers?
The iPhone 5 is finally available on T-Mobile’s 4G LTE network, going on sale April 12. T-Mobile is really touting the new “uncarrier” pricing and plans. The pricing story is a different affair over competitors. First, the starting price of the phone is $99.99 down payment, plus $20 a month for 24 months. This totals out to $580 before adding a data plan. T-Mobile is now officially a fully contract-free carrier, so you’re not locked to a plan for two years.
The plans are the cheapest in the business. All the plans are “unlimited” with one little catch. The two lower-tier plans are throttled, which means you only get a fixed amount of high-speed data. Afterwards, you can use as much data as you want without overages, but only on slower 2G network speeds. However, calling and texting are always truly unlimited.
The first plan is $50 a month for 500 MB of high-speed data. Add $10 more per month and you get 2 GB of high-speed data. The truly unlimited plan is only $70 a month. All plans include personal hotspot tethering. You need to add $30 a month extra for any plan if another person wants to join the plan. Afterwards, it’s $10 a month per extra person. Comparably, Sprint’s truly unlimited plan is a whopping $110 a month for one customer. T-Mobile’s low pricing alone might intrigue customers.
The one downside to T-Mobile is limited LTE coverage. So far, only seven cities support T-Mobile’s LTE, including San Jose, Baltimore, Houston, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Phoenix, and Washington, D.C. The carrier plans to add more markets by the summer and the end of 2013.
New Products on the Way
Apple is still going strong!
Admittedly, Apple has had a very quiet first quarter, but the recent April 23 Q2 Earnings Call show us sales are still going strong. They sold 37.4 million iPhones and more than half as many iPads, with 19.5 million in the first quarter. Mac sales, however, dropped last quarter, with only 3.95 million sold, versus 4 million year-over-year. Disappointingly, profit levels have dropped 18%, quite a hit over how Apple has been doing in the recent past.
Will the “iWatch” be Apple’s next big innovation?
Another point Tim Cook made was that Apple is ready to launch fresh products in the fall, continuing into 2014. There’s a lot to look forward to in the future, including an iWatch or a revolutionary new Apple TV. This demotes the ubiquitous summer launch rumor everyone had been anticipating with the upcoming iPhone 5S. Many rumors are floating around, with signs that point to delays in iPhone production, due to the fingerprint sensor coating. But don’t worry about holdups because this probably means Apple is taking their time in making the product just right.
What to expect at WWDC
WWDC is Apple’s biggest conference of the year. What will they deliver this year?
Finally, Apple already sent out tickets for its annual Worldwide Developer’s Conference. When WWDC tickets went live April 25, they managed to sell out in under two minutes, versus under two hours last year. This is partly because Apple announced the on-sale date of the tickets a day in advance. Even if you did want to go, you would have to be a registered Apple developer, which is $99 a year alone, and you’ll have to pony up $1600.
Jony Ive is expected to introduce a new take on iOS, which is becoming long in the tooth
What will Apple likely announce at the conference? The much-anticipated iOS 7 is highly likely to be revealed. There’s so much talk around this version because Jony Ive, the industrial designer at Apple, is now the iOS software chief as well. He replaces Scott Forstall, who was fired due to the Apple Maps fiasco. Ive is expected to give iOS a fresh new look, making it a worthy contender to other operating systems. He’s likely to drop the skeuomorphic design of the UI, long used in iOS, by imitating real objects less (such as removing the leather theme associated with the calendar app). The design is also slated to be “very flat”, giving iOS a contemporary look.
Will Lynx be the next cat after all?
Also, the next version of OS X, the desktop operating system, will be announced here. Specifically, OS X 10.9 is expected, which will be the successor to 10.8 Mountain Lion. We don’t quite know what 10.9 will be codenamed, but much of the speculation suggests Lynx will be the next cat designation. This operating system, along with iOS 7, will probably release in the fall timeframe because developers need some time to optimize their apps and take advantage of new frameworks and APIs. Some reports say refreshed Mac notebooks might make a return appearance this WWDC, with new Intel Haswell processors and further spec bumps.
Look for a Great Year Ahead
What does Apple have in store for us this year?
As we can see, there is a lot to be thrilled about in Apple’s future. T-Mobile may after all be the carrier that many people are motivated to switch to on iPhones. Sales of iOS devices are still going strong, which proves they their novelty remains strong. The next version of iOS, iOS 7, will likely be a big hit at WWDC, along with OS X 10.9, and possibly new MacBook Pros and Airs. I think this will be a great year ahead for Apple.
UPDATE 5/13/13: T-Mobile has now raised the starting price of the iPhone 5 to $149.99 downpayment on their website. It’s still $20 a month for 24 months, so the total pricing adds up to $630 now versus $580.