Apple had a quiet 2023–but it could be the calm before the storm

Another trip around the sun, and for Apple, this year felt like the calm before the storm. Next year, the Vision Pro will arrive, Apple will reportedly unleash new operating systems powered by next-generation AI, and the entire iPad product line will probably get updated.

Every year in this space, I try to predict what will happen during the next year. And just to be fair, every year in this space, I also grade my past predictions. (Be honest: how many pundits call attention to their prior year’s punditry?)

Last year I “predicted” the future in not one but two different articles. I’m going to say that I got more right than I got wrong, but I had hoped that 2023 would be a bit more earth-shaking than it turned out to be.

The Mac surprised

Reading the tea leaves (and various news reports), I correctly anticipated that new MacBook Pros would arrive bearing new Apple silicon processors. The question is, should I get double points for this prediction? The answer is no because I don’t think anyone predicted that Apple would update the MacBook Pro twice in a single calendar year. But that’s what happened, thanks to the early arrival of the M3 chip.

Apple issued not one but two MacBook Pro updates in 2023.


A year ago, Apple still had an Intel-based Mac mini on its price list because it had only replaced the low-end model with a low-end M1 chip. I correctly predicted that the M2 Mac mini would rectify matters by shipping with both an M2 chip and an M2 Pro chip, blowing Intel off the price list.

The other Intel Mac that was still kicking around was the Mac Pro, and I predicted that it would also be replaced by an Apple silicon model, thereby closing the books on the Apple silicon transition. Yep, that happened–and better yet, I described the Mac Pro as being more like “a really, really big Mac Studio,” which is exactly what it turned out to be.

Unfortunately, all this talk of a new Mac Pro made me positively giddy. One of the first rules of predictions is never, ever predict a new Apple display. Apple displays are never late–like wizards, they always arrive precisely when they intend to. I’m pretty sure Apple is working on a new, cutting-edge external display with extended dynamic range, but it certainly did happen in 2023, much to my chagrin.

In other Mac news, I correctly guessed that the newest Mac model would be a 15-inch variation on the MacBook Air and that the iMac would get an update. Sadly, I missed my guess that the new iMac would have new colors, and I utterly failed in my prediction that there would be a larger “iMac Pro” model. Instead, we got an Apple statement declaring that there was no 27-inch iMac in development! Ouch.

Feel the excitement

This was a big year for the iPhone, with the new iPhone 15 models featuring USB-C (as I predicted), the Dynamic Island coming to non-Pro models (also my prediction), and the iPhone 15 Pro Max having a new camera “the likes of which we haven’t seen before” (my prediction). My only real prediction failure: I thought that the largest iPhone would also look a little different, with some “new design flourishes.” I know a lot of people were hoping for an iPhone Ultra, but that’s not quite what we got.

This was not a big year for the iPad, and that’s an understatement. Literally, the biggest new hardware announcement for the entire iPad line was Apple’s release of a new Apple Pencil that sort of falls in between the first- and second-generation models and charges via USB-C.

Who has two thumbs and predicted such a dull year for the iPad? This guy! In fact, my predictions column referred to 2023 as “iPad: The Quiet Time,” and wow, that was right. Unfortunately, I couldn’t just take the win and accept that an entire calendar year would pass with no new iPads. So I climbed aboard a unicorn, threw some glitter in the air, and wishcasted myself into predicting a new 15-inch iPad Studio.

What part of ‘The Quiet Time’ did you not understand?!

The only noise the iPad made in 2023 was with the release of a third Apple Pencil.


I pretty much struck out when it came to wearables and home, predicting a new AirPods Max model that didn’t arrive, suggesting the new Apple Watch Series 9 would pick up an Action Button, and perhaps most boldly predicting that Apple “will actually do something new in the home.” Apple did nothing at all new in the home.

Ready, headset, go!

Did I say Apple would announce an “augmented reality headset”? Yes, indeed, and I’m going to give myself credit for that. Unfortunately, I was way too enthusiastic about all the details of what would become the Vision Pro.

First, I completely missed the timing of the product announcement: It was summer, not spring. And I thought the product would ship during the summer–when, in fact, as all of us in late 2023 are well aware, it’s not arriving until early 2024.

But perhaps my biggest failed prediction of all was a complete betrayal of my understanding of how Apple prices its products. I always tell people to imagine the absolute most they’d pay for an Apple product, then round up, then tack on a little bit more. Buying a new Apple product hurts. It’s always a little more expensive than we’d like.

The Vision Pro headset will cost more than anyone thought.

Petter Ahrnstedt / Foundry

But even I couldn’t accept the rumors that the Apple headset could cost as much as $3,000. I just… it… it’s impossible that it would cost that much, right? So I blithely predicted that Apple would shock us all, announcing a headset that cost “less than $2,000.”

Just to be clear: The Vision Pro absolutely won’t cost $3,000. I got that part right. Unfortunately, I went the wrong way. It’ll start at $3,499, roughly twice as much as I thought it might. I’m happy to take credit when I’m right, but I have to admit it: when I’m wrong, apparently I’m really wrong.

Source : Macworld