What will 2014 hold for Apple? With the new year approaching, Macworld makes its predictions for Apple's next round of product launches, beginning with the iPhone. 2013 was the year of the iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s - will 2014 bring the iPhone 6?
Apple in 2013: The year of two iPhones
2013 was a major year for the iPhone. The introduction of two new devices was a first for Apple, and the resulting record-breaking sales of nine million units in the opening weekend proved that the desire for iOS devices is as strong as it's ever been. The iPhone 5c brought a welcome touch of colour to the traditionally black and white iPhone range, while the iPhone 5s added important, premium technological touches in the shape of the M7 motion coprocessor, 64-bit architecture, and the TouchID fingerprint sensor. The big question now is: how does Apple follow this up?
Traditionally the iPhone is redesigned every two years, with the following year bringing an S model that upgrades the internals. This pattern has been consistent for several generations - with the 3GS following the 3G, and the 4S succeeding the 4 - but altered slightly this year with the two new models. In many ways the 5c is very similar in spec to the iPhone 5, with only the casing, upgraded Facetime camera, slightly larger battery, and extended 4G support differentiating the units.
The cause for this sideways step could be that Apple usually offers the previous year's model as its lower cost option. Manufacturing the iPhone 5 was difficult due to the precision machining needed to make the body, but the 5s should be less of a challenge thanks to the polycarbonate structure. It also gave Apple the chance to respond to the Samsung advertising campaign that portrayed iPhones as uncool devices that only your mum or dad would use.
Whatever the reasoning, Apple is now in the position to have the 5s as the mid-tier device in 2014, with the 5c - most likely humbled to 8GB of internal storage - dropping down to the free option on contract when the new model arrives.
Apple in 2014: What will the next iPhone look like?
As you can imagine, speculation has been intense ever since the initial iPhone 5 was announced about how Apple approaches the new model. It will be very interesting, with the mobile market maturing quickly and rival manufacturers building very high-quality alternatives to the once all-powerful iPhone.
One of the most popular thoughts is that Apple will increase the screen size on the new handset. The iPhone 5 did see an increase to 4in from the diminutive 3.5in of the iPhone 4s, but this is still the smallest screen of any premium smartphone on the market. It's a difficult one to call, as Apple has consistently promoted the iPhone as a one-handed device, even making a TV ad called Thumb which highlighted the fact. Looking at the wider mobile industry, though, the iPhone does seem a little cramped now, especially when placed next to the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S4 which is probably the iPhone's most direct competitor and sports a massive 5in screen.
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.