Apple 2023 Product Roadmap
As 2022 comes to a close, let’s turn the page and look forward to 2023. Although the economic outlook for 2023 doesn’t look good right now, life goes on and work still needs to be done. Although there’s a round of layoff in the tech sector, which to a degree affects companies like Apple, this doesn’t mean that Apple is going to slow down in their product announcements: products need to be updated, research is still being done on the next big thing and and in general, updates are coming.
Sales projection might be toned down a notch because of the global economic recession, Apple will still continue to make new products because there is still demand for it. Here is a complete list of the new products that we think Apple might release for 2023.
Apple Silicon As expected, Apple will continue to make evolutionary improvements on their Apple Silicon and incorporate new features based on lessons learned from fielding their first generation Apple Silicon. Early indication shows that performance improvements would be in the 10-15% range, which might be seen as disappointing at first, but knowing Apple, they would rather put some custom cores to excel at a specific, but well used task than be a benchmark champion. We have seen what they did with neural cores, media and display engines and AMX cores, which are by definition very hard to benchmark against.
Actual: The M2 Pro and M2 Max has released in mid-January, earlier than expected. Some news sites has shown that the video was to be released in October 2022 but Apple’s decided to release in January instead. This frees up March event to speculation that Apple might release a new major product like a MR glasses.
iPhone 15 Ultra Apple of course will continue to work on their cash cow until the market hates it. The age of smartphones has peaked and Apple already knows this, so they are working on offering niche smartphones where the market might be small but profit margins can be huge. There’s talk that Apple will leave the base iPhone 15 more or less the same, while making more tricked out features on the iPhone Pro. Based on the Apple Watch, we might see Apple fielding the iPhone Ultra which basically showcases Apple’s ultimate expression of what Apple thinks of the smartphone.
Apple MR Headset: One of the things Apple will always be looking for is the next innovative product that will define the tech landscape for the next few decades. The 80s and 90s show a lot of innovation in Personal Computing. 2000s and 2010s we saw the explosion of the smartphone which in turn morphs into tablets, smartwatches, and wireless earphones. Perhaps the next one would be VR or MR headsets, which would convey information over your vision all the time. Will 2023 where Apple will finally unveiled their VR headset? Rumours are coming out that there will be a launch in first half of 2023, so there’s nothing we can do and just wait.
As it has become a tradition now, Apple will make a major announcement through a media event for every season of the year. The most important season of course is Fall where they will unveil the iPhone just in time for the all important holiday shopping season, but there’s a lot of build up to reach the climax.
Below is a table of what we think Apple will unveil for every media event in every season.
|Season||Month||Expected items to be showcased*||Actual Event Date||What actually happened.|
|Spring||January||-||17 January||Surprise announcement.
M2 Pro, M2 Max, Updated MacBook Pro M2 Pro/Max chips, Updated Mac Mini with M2/M2 Pro chips, 2nd Gen HomePod and new hidden features activation for HomePod Mini
|Spring||March||-||Yellow iPhone 14|
|Summer||June||WWDC '23, Mac Studio (M2 Max, M2 Ultra), Mac Pro (M2 Extreme), Apple MR Glasses||June 5-9||Vision Pro, M2 Ultra, Mac Studio, Mac Pro, 15" MacBook Air, iOS 17, visionOS, iPadOS 17, macOS Sonoma, watchOS 10.|
|Fall||September||iPhone (A16) / iPhone Ultra (A17), Apple Watch 9, Apple Watch Ultra 2, AirPods Max||September 12||iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Pro, Apple Watch 9, Apple Watch Ultra 2, AirPods Pro 2 with USB-C port, environmental pledges|
|Winter||October||iPad Air (M2), iPad Mini (A15/A16), M3 SOC, MacBook Air, iMac (M3)|
For more detailed look at the future upcoming product, please take a lot at our dedicated page here
- Prediction: Apple bread and butter and the best selling product ever will be updated in September. A new color of the iPhone 14 lineup will be unveiled in Q2/Q3 2023. The base iPhone 15 will pretty much stay the same, but a lot more whizz-bang will be on the iPhone 15 Pro. The name might change to iPhone 15 Ultra.
- Actual: Apple added a Yellow iPhone / iPhone Plus to the lineup as a mid-lifecycle refresh in March 2023. iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro dropped during Apple September Special Event. iPhone 15 inherit a lot of features from iPhone 14 Pro while iPhone 15 Pro have improved camera, new 3nm A17 Pro chip and body made from titanium.
The iPhone is Apple’s best selling product in history and their ecosystem propelled Apple to be one of the largest and most valuable companies in the history of humanity. Since it is Apple’s most important product, it will be unveiled during the most important season for retailers: year end holiday shopping season. As tradition, it would be in September 2023.
Action Button: The most significant change in iPhone 15 will be the removal of the mute button, which was present since the first iPhone and replaced with a multifunction “Action Button”. It is rumoured that this button will be exclusive to the 15 Pro / Pro Max.
iPhone 15: The base iPhone 15 is not expected to have huge improvements over the iPhone 14. We expect a few of iPhone 14 Pro features will make their way to the iPhone 15. The 48 MP main camera and A15 Bionic chip might make it to the iPhone 15, which itself is already a huge leap forward. As for Dynamic Island and Always On Display, it might not make it to iPhone 15
iPhone 15 Pro or Ultra: The iPhone 15 Pro will have more tricked out features. If Apple managed to put 48MP on all the lenses, we might finally have 8K shooting capability. Although storage consumption would be a big issue on this. Apple might bring back titanium as a chassis on the iPhone.
What we expect the iPhone 15 Pro (or Ultra would be)
- More differentiation features in the higher end to separate the base and “Pro/Ultra” models.
- The Pro/Ultra feature will emphasis on photo/video feature and durability. Expect features like higher zoom capabilities or more HDR, even PhotoRAW / VideoRAW mode.
- A17 chip that is based on TSMC 3nm manufacturing process. A brand new manufacturing process that will also be the basis of M3 SOC
- The Port will finally be replaced from Lighting to USB-C because of an EU law. However, don’t expect Apple will make it like any USB-C port
- The side buttons will be for the first time, a solid-state style button instead of actual button. When you press the “buttons”, the haptic engine will buzz around to stimulate the feeling of pressing a button.
- Just like the Macs, the iPhone will support Wi-FI 6E for faster connectivity.
- Prediction: Apple will update the iPad Air to use the M2 chip as a “cheaper” alternative to the iPad Pro. iPadOS might have their leash loosen further as a viable laptop replacement. We finally might get Apple’s pro apps to the iPad as the competition is moving in.
Although Apple basically cornered the tablet market, the iPad has an identity crisis. As a media consumption device, Apple basically hit the ball out of the park. A used 12.9” 2018 iPad Pro which will be had for $500 basically knocks out almost any tablet out in the market as a media consumption device. However, the problem lies when Apple tries to market it as a productivity and laptop replacement device.
iPadOS unleashed: Will Apple further loosen their leash on the iPadOS or cut it all together this year? We see hints of it last year: multi monitor setup (with mouse support of course) and Stage Manager. Of course, we have yet to see Apple’s own pro apps like FCP and Logic on the iPad, but with competitors like DaVinci’s resolve coming, this might be it. Time will tell.
iPad Updates: Last year, we saw the M2 iPad Pro and the new iPad 10. This year Apple will update the iPad Air to use the M2 as the cheaper alternative to the iPad Pro. We might even see an iPad Mini update to use the A15 chip.
Prediction: Apple will basically introduce new features on the Apple Silicon based on lessons learned from the first generation Apple Silicon (M1-series). We might finally get the Mac Pro thus, completing the product line.
Actual: Apple launched M2 Pro and M2 Max Apple Silicons on mid-January through a video drop. During that event, Apple refreshed the Mac Mini (now have M2 Pro as an option) and the MacBook Pro. In WWDC ‘23, Apple launched M2 Ultra. It updated the Mac Studio and Mac Pro, marking the end of Intel Mac. Apple also unveil the 15-inch MacBook Air.
Apple Silicon Refresh
Apple Silicon refresh cycle: We expect that Apple will commit to a 18-month refresh cycle for the Apple Silicon line instead of 12-months typical of Intel and their own A-series SOCs. This is because unlike Intel and iPhones, Apple Silicon doesn’t have the volume that warrants spending multi-billion dollars on a new production line just for the silicon. However, expect bigger leaps in performance and features between generations compared to their peers as Apple has more time to integrate and test new features and optimizations.
Apple launched the M2 Pro and M2 Max in mid-January 2023. CPU core count increased to 12 from 10. GPU core count increased from 19 from 16 for the M2 Pro and 38 from 32 for the M2 Max. The chip itself is faster due to higher clock speed which Apple does not disclosed.
New MacBook Pro: Mysterious Macs have started to appear in gaming stats and benchmark sites. And if they are to believe, we think that new MacBook Pros will be unveiled in March, the first Apple event of the year. Based on the M2, the M2 Pro will support up to 48 GB of memory and the M2 Max will have a whopping 96 GB of memory, the most of any Apple laptop to date. This will be wild.
MacBook Pro was updated on mid-January 2023 with M2 Pro or M2 Max. Up to 96 GB or memory is supported. The HDMI port is updated to support 8K TVs and monitors.
New Mac Mini: Based on Mac Studio, we don’t expect Apple will change the design of the Mac Mini anytime soon. We do hope that Apple will put a M2 on the Mac Mini, giving it the best bang of the buck of any Apple product.
Mac Mini was updated on mid-January 2023 with options of M2 or M2 Pro chips.
New Mac Studio: The workstation class Mac Studio should be updated in WWDC 2023 if everything goes on schedule. Based on what we see in M2, we expect they will have the M2 Max with 96 GB memory support and the M2 Ultra with a crazy 192 GB memory support. Expect that Mac Studio can handle 99.9% of use case.
New Mac Pro: The Mac for the top 0.1% users might finally arrive. To be honest, Apple still sells a Mac Mini with a 8th generation Intel Core as brand new, so it would not be surprising if Apple will maintain a powerful Mac Pro for those who need it. If it is going to be unveiled, the most logical place would be WWDC ‘23 where most of the power users will be focused on.
News from the grapevine states that the new Mac Pro will be modular with ‘compute module’ appearing in macOS updates. You can read more here. However, for most users, a Mac with the base M2 is good enough for a lot of people and the M2 Pro / Max is good enough for a lot of professionals. But, there will always be the special 0.1 % top users which Apple might or might not cater.
New MacBook Air There are reports that Apple is testing a new 15" MacBook Air. This makes more logical sense since the MacBook Air is Apple’s best selling laptop. I expect this new 15" MacBook Air will replace the 13" MacBook Pro M2 which makes no sense at all.
Touch Screen MacBooks?: There’s rumour circling around that Apple is working on a Touch screen MacBooks. We think this might be Apple testing on bigger 15" iPad Pro or attempt to run macOS on the iPad Pro. However, these laptops won’t see the light in 2023.
- Prediction: Apple will capitalize the success of Apple Watch Ultra. Expect more features to come on the Apple Watch Ultra while the base Apple Watch will basically remain a stylish icon, just like an old Rolex.
- Actual: Apple dropped Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 during the September Special Event. The watches get a new S9 SiP both with UWB chips, one hand gesture control and brighter screens. The Apple Watch Ultra 2 gets new watch face.
Last year’s biggest surprise was the unveiling of the Apple Watch Ultra. With the mostly positive review and reception of the Apple Watch Ultra, expect Apple to capitalize their gains and introduce even more features on the Apple Watch Ultra 2.
If Apple is following the footsteps of other luxury watchmakers, Apple will have two lines of Apple Watch: the “base” iconic, stylish but highly functional Apple Watch and the “professional” bulkier but extremely durable and functional Apple Watch Ultra.
- Prediction: As a growing segment, of course Apple is looking for areas of growth. So expect better programming, more options and possibly new services.
Apple services has grown from an afterthought to the 2nd biggest contributor to Apple revenue base. So it is expected that Apple will continue to push to grow this segment of Apple business with new features and offerings.
Prediction: Most likely we will get new and improved AirPods Max and maybe the return of the full size HomePod speakers. A surprise would be Apple unveiling an AR/MR headset. An Apple Car is something so far away it might not happen.
Actual: 2nd Generation HomePod arrived in January with a larger screen, lower price, temperature/humidity sensor and integration with Matter. New update allows HomePod Mini to activate temperature and humidity sensor. Apple unveiled the Vision Pro, first spatial computer (VR headset) from Apple.
This would be the most fun thing to speculate because Apple being as secretive as they are, we have no idea what new device category that they will unveil this year, if they ever unveil at all. We go from the most likeliest to the least likeliest of Apple’s fringe products.
Music & TV
AirPods: Apple updated the AirPods Pro last year and AirPods the year before. We expect that Apple will update their AirPods Max line up especially with the mixed reviews that they got.
Apple TV: Apple updated their Apple TV device last year with a new wireless model and a slightly redesigned controller. Unless they are pushing the Apple TV to be a gaming console (which they did before), don’t expect any major updates in this space. 8K would be nice and all, but the problem is there’s no infra to suppose such a move at this time.
HomePods: HomePods flopped because of the $399 price tag which is very steep for a Smartspeaker which for most part is used casually. The $99 HomePod Mini on the other hand has been quite successful. With expanded colors, Apple might be tempted to introduce a proper HomePod with a more reasonable price tag. Time will tell.
AR/MR Headset: Based on patent applications, it is long known that Apple has been working on future VR/MR/AR headsets for at least 5 to 10 years now. The problem is, despite companies like Meta betting their future on VR, there seems no rush of people jumping on the bandwagon. Can Apple work their magic on AR? Time will tell
Jan 2023 Update: According to Bloomberg, Apple is planning to ship their MR glasses for WWDC with plans to ship it by end of the year.
Apple is planning to debut the Reality Pro mixed-reality headset this spring, ahead of WWDC, and ship it later in the year.— Bloomberg (@business) January 11, 2023
The push to launch — along with the economy — will lead to an otherwise muted 2023 for Apple https://t.co/ZRUJYIa2Nd
More Jan 2023 Updates: More info pointed out that the VR glasses might slip the introduction on WWDC 2023 and might move to Q3 2023
March 2023 Update: Apple annouced WWDC ‘23 will be held from 5 June to 9 June. Unlike the previous years, there is no tagline for WWDC this year. However, the poster looks very suspiciously like a VR headset. Or the stage at Apple Park. Who knows.
April 2023 Update The drum beat of the new mixed reality with more rumors pouring out from various news outlet. The latest being that the headset will run iPadOS apps, have an external batteries that is reportedly to last only 2-hours.
Apple Car: Every couple of months, we will hear rumors about the Apple Car. It is being shelved. It is alive. Apple is hiring major industry designers and engineers. Major industry designers and engineers are leaving the project. Then Apple dropped large hints like their totally revamped CarPlay interface which makes you think about a lot of things.