The Rumor Mill: Amazon & Apple

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So the internet rumor mill has been going crazy the last 2 weeks. With CES behind us, earnings calls for Apple, Samsung, Google and many others happening this month and Mobile World Congress approaching February 24-27, analysts and speculators are stirring up the pot. Backing themselves with patent filings, statements made by the companies themselves, leaks, and just hunches and intuition, these sources have arrived at some pretty interesting conclusions. 

Apple

The iPhone 6 approaches. Chinese analyst Sun Changx in an interview with QQ Tech, a Chinese tech blog, that she expects production on Apple's next-generation iPhone to ramp up as soon as May in preparation for a debut at the company's Worldwide Developers Conference in June. The so-called "iPhone 6" would sport a 4.7-inch, 1136 pixel-by-640 pixel display, with a higher-resolution 5.7-inch "phablet" variant to follow. She specifically mentions these new screens have specific product codes already. Whether this pans out or not is all speculation. For my part, I don't believe this to be entirely true. Apple usually uses the Tick-Tock methodology of product improvement, which means we are due for a major product advancement at WWDC this year, as iOS 7 was the Tick cycle. A 4.7" screen with 1136X640 resolution would be a downgrade, as the current iPhone 5 is already at that resolution. Increasing the Diagonal screen size significantly would mean a need for a significant increase in resolution, in order to maintain the "Retina" quality resolution Apple prides itself with.  I would not, however, be surprised to see a larger screen iPhone. It is time. Apple makes an amazing product in terms of quality, reliability and ease of use. The miniscule screen size is one of the only detractors for many customers. A larger screen gives Apple the chance to remain competitive in a market of increasingly large (often excessively so) cell phone form factors. 

The iWatch. 2 years of rumors and leaks from very trusted sources, competitors already coming to market, rumors of problems with UI and form factor, and reports of a shift of staffing resources to the project to get it ready have all been culminating for this years WWDC. I firmly believe we will finally see the iWatch announced at this year's WWDC. The timing is right, to be announced alongside the iPhone 6 as a companion product, and it again fits with the Tick-Tock philosophy Apple uses with product launches and development. 

iPad Air 2 - A VERY safe bet. And given Apple's landslide loss to Samsung in tablet marketshare this last holiday season, there is also a good chance that we will see a larger iPad as well. Possibly an iPad Air 2 AND a larger 12" model, or possibly that the Air 2 itself will be a 12" tablet.  64-Bit processors, more RAM, and new UI innovations are a given. 

Siri Eyes Free - considering Apple managed to get 18 car manufacturers including BMW, GM, Mercedes, Audi. Honda, Volvo, Nissan and Ferrari to sign on to put Siri's new car mode tech into their vehicles in 2014, it's a solid bet we will hear more about it this year. Given that Ford's Microsoft based Sync already sells like hotcakes though, this will be a hard push. Especially since several of those manufacturers together do not match Ford's annual sales. 

Cheaper new Macbook Pro - According to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities, whose predictions have been pretty reliable in the past, Apple is working on a brand new MacBook Pro that harks back to the much-loved 12-inch Powerbook: it'll have a twelve-inch Retina display and be thinner and lighter than a MacBook Air thanks to a new clamshell structure. Apparently it's going to "redefine laptop computing" just like the MacBook Air did.

 

Amazon

Amazon’s Kindle New Initiatives (KNI) team is reportedly prepping a new revolutionary V1 product, which is still a mystery what it is, or at least for the public. The retailer giant will unveil it during an event to be held in Boston on January 30. This is confirmed by an official invitation sent to press media, which contains the details of the event.

In the invitation, it’s not immediately clear what Amazon plans to unveil, except a terminology V1, which will deliver digital media content “in new ways and disrupt the current marketplace.” Some believe rumors that Amazon is about to launch a new range of tablet with a bigger screen than the current Kindle Fire lineup. Other rumors say it will be Amazon’s much rumored set-top-box. This device would actively compete against a variety of products including the Chromecast, Roku or Apple TV, and offer access to a huge collection of video content and live stream. Like the Kindle Fire tablets, it also likely run a forked version of Android. We will see....