KGI Research analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes Apple is targeting Q3 2014 for a massive product rollout that will extend across most of the company’s product lines. Kuo and KGI are usually reliable, which lends some credence to their predictions for a big holiday quarter for Apple.
According to Kuo, Apple will update the iPad, the Apple TV and the members of its MacBook family. The only refresh we will see in the interim will be minor update to the company’s iMac line. There was no mention of the Mac mini, which is long overdue for a refresh. Also absent was any mention of an Apple-branded television, which has been rumored for years, most notably by Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster. A recent investor note from Munster offers hope for a full-size Apple TV in 2014, but he notes somberly that “each month that passes without credible feedback from the supply chain reduces our confidence.”
Apple also will be introducing two new products during Q3 2014, including the iWatch and the long-rumored 4.7-inch iPhone. The iWatch may debut in two sizes (1.3-inch and 1.5-inch) with a flexible AMOLED display, sapphire covering and biometric functionality. The 4.7-inch iPhone may include Apple’s A8 processor, 1GB of RAM, LTPS display panels, improved camera module with optical image stabilization, and Touch ID. The larger 5.5-inch iPhone may sneak in before the end of the year, but there is a good chance that the model may slip into next year.
Kuo also claims that Apple is working on a 12-inch Retina MacBook Air that will “redefine” notebook user experience,” reports MacRumors. The new Air will feature a thinner form factor than current models, with no internal fan, a buttonless trackpad and a high-resolution display. Kuo detailed this revolutionary notebook in an earlier prediction published in October 2013.
“We expect the unprecedented 12” model will boast both the portability of the 11” model, and productivity of the 13” model. The high resolution display will also offer the outstanding visual experience of the Retina MacBook Pro. The offering will likely be lighter and slimmer than the existing MacBook Air to further highlight ease of portability in the cloud computing era. We think the form factor will showcase a much improved clamshell structure, and that it will redefine laptop computing once again following the milestone created by the MacBook Air.”
Apple has already brought the retina display to its MacBook Pro line, but the current MacBook Air still includes a lower-resolution display. This refresh to a higher level display will bring the Air closer to the MacBook Pro, offering quality performance in a very portable 12-inch size.
Besides the 12-inch MacBook Air, Kuo also believes Apple will release a low-priced version of the iMac, which will compete favorably with similar all-in-ones from HP and Lenovo and expand the company’s market share in Asia. The new iMac will debut sometime this year, with the 12-inch Retina MacBook Air slated for release in late 2014, likely as part of Apple’s big product push.