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Apple innovations: What's around the corner

Now that the initial iPad furor has died down a bit, it's time to speculate about what comes next for Apple. Here is a round-up of the latest rumors and educated guesses about upcoming Apple tech.

No matter how many splashy product announcements Apple makes, there's always the promise of something new and game-changing around the corner. This is one company that doesn't rest much on its laurels, which keeps the rumor mill grinding. Below are a few of the latest whispers and speculation about pending versions of products and even brand new products.

MacBook Air

CNET Asia reports that rumors are flying about Apple finally releasing a 15" MacBook Air (currently, 11.6" and 13.3" models are available). If true, then it might change the plans of those planning to buy a new 15" MacBook Pro. There have also been rumors, off and on, about an even larger 17'' model. Most of this speculation is fueled by "anonymous sources" that are affiliated with companies making Apple components. The pundits seem to agree that it's pretty likely that we will see a 15" Air as early as April. And whatever the size, CNET's Dan Ackerman has already weighed in on the five things he thinks Apple needs to add or update on their MacBook Air line in order to stay ahead of the growing number of ultrabooks on the market, including: lower price, HDMI, USB 3.0, Ethernet jack, and improved screen resolution.

MacBook Pro

Most of the speculation surrounding the Pro line is the probable plan to merge with Air at some point in the future. Maybe it's just a matter of semantics whether the anticipated 15" MacBook Air is, in fact, just a "slimmed down" Pro that loses its optical drive, but technically retains the "Pro" label. The picture is pretty blurry right now, and we may not know until the official announcement from Apple actually occurs this spring, but both lines are due for refreshes.

iPhone 5

The latest thing here is the speculation that the new iPhone will have a 4.6" Retina Display (up from 3.5") that will allow more room to update chips.

New iPad: The heat

With so many reports that the New iPad was "too hot to handle," CNET labs in San Francisco and New York did extensive testing on this issue to see if it was really serious -- and to see if they should change their buying recommendations. While they continue to test various aspects, the initial word is that the heat is actually a non-issue:

The new 2012 iPad runs warmer than the iPad 2, but it's no hotter than many laptops under similar conditions.

iWallet

If you really want the early scuttlebutt, Patently Apple is the place to go for interpretation of patents actually filed by Apple. Some of it pans out and some doesn't, but it is a good indication of the kinds of technological innovation Apple is working on. The iWallet is pretty interesting -- an e-commerce solution that would provide real-time authorization of transactions by the cardholder. There are also figures illustrating an iTunes MobilePay interface. Here is the description in a nutshell:

Apple's invention covers an electronic device that will be able to deliver real-time authorization of cardholder-not-present transactions. The electronic device may be a handheld device, such as an iPhone or iPod touch, or it may be a computer such as an iMac or MacBook Pro. Regardless of the form the electronic device takes, the device may run an application enabling a cardholder to approve or decline cardholder-not-present transactions in real time, near real-time, or after the transaction is initially authorized or settled. That is, in addition to a card transaction being sent to an issuing bank for approval, details of the transaction may be sent to the cardholder for approval before the transaction is authorized. If the cardholder doesn't recognize the transaction, it may be declined immediately, thereby preventing the cardholder and the merchant from becoming victims of identity theft.

The patent also includes flagging options that can be set by the user/account holder, automatic approval options, and a new hand gesture to be used specifically for the new functionality. If you are interested in this level of detail, see the post, "Apple's iWallet: The One that will Rule the World," for full explanation and numerous figures, showing the designs.

About

Selena has been at TechRepublic since 2002. She is currently a Senior Editor with a background in technical writing, editing, and research. She edits Data Center, Linux and Open Source, Apple in the Enterprise, The Enterprise Cloud, Web Designer, and...

6 comments
Contradiction
Contradiction

The discussion is always the same, with the same results. I cannot convince anyone because everyone is a fan of their own gadgets. Just take a look at phones before the iphone, tablets before the ipad, and you will see how apple re-invented and re-innovated on these devices. Everyone is accusing each other of copying their technologies, but you cannot argue that after apple created their phone and tablet, everyone copied them. In hardware form, and operating system usage. My only concern is that Apple is to blame for thousands of people losing their jobs in RIM, Nokia and who knows how many other companies, because these companies could not keep up with the evolution of technology that Apple sparked. 600 dollars a share? 4 million iphones in a weekend? 84 percent of tablet share?700000 apps available? 100 billion in cash flow? Oh they innovated!

Contradiction
Contradiction

Innovation was discovering the wheel, or fire, or electricity. Saying that Apple is not innovating because they improved something is not accurate. What you are saying is that, just because a guy discovered the wheel a million years ago, and then someone discovered the combustion engine 100 years ago, the Ferrari 458 Italia is not an innovative car. The point is Ferrari did it best! Everyone wants one, so it???s innovating. If Skoda had done it first, since the technology was available, then they would innovate. This is a moo discussion. Resistance is futile. You shall be Apple???d :)

adornoe
adornoe

"innovations"? Take an ALREADY EXISTING product, give it some slight improvement or some slight upgrade, and, VOILA!, it's "innovation", just because, it's from Apple. Do the same with some other manufacturer's products or some other development company's products/services, and it becomes, the "same old tired crap", because, it's not from Apple. People need to start using the word "innovation" more accurately, and without a predefined bias for certain companies. The correct word for what the author describes above is "improvement", or "enhancement", not "innovation". Look up the words.

adornoe
adornoe

they just improved and enhanced, which is still a pretty good thing to do, especially if it can make you lots of dough.

adornoe
adornoe

and are "innovative" in nature, because, before they came to be used, they didn't exist in the realm of usable things by humans. Improving on ways to create fire, does not innovate on the fire itself. Improving on the wheel, does not innovate on the invention of the wheel. Creating a vehicle which takes advantage of the various inventions and innovations and discoveries, is innovation itself, even if the underlying components are not "new" or "innovative". A new type of engine would be innovation, but, once it's been innovated, it can be improved on, but not "innovated" on. Get the diff?

Xennex1170
Xennex1170

Have to agree with that.. The iPhone and iPad were innovations because they took EXISTING classes of devices and improved on them allowing more users to comfortably enjoy the technology. Apple will have to come up with something new, not just improve the devices already in their line-up to claim any 'innovation' in the future. I'd recommend Apple create a new cellular/wireless infrastructure company to get the current ones on the ball and improve the UX in that area. Now THAT would be an Apple worthy 'Innovation'.

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