Business professionals understandably seek to avoid surprises and focus energy on fulfilling professional obligations and responsibilities, but any time the tools they depend on to do so change, they need to be prepared. Here are three predictions professionals using Apple technologies should remember in 2019.
SEE: Hardware purchasing task list (Tech Pro Research)
1. Wireless charging
Apple's AirPower wireless charging pad is overdue, so it's an easy bet 2019 will see the technology introduced. While it's no paradigm-shifting innovation, recharging an Apple Watch, iPhone, and even AirPods simultaneously should prove even easier and more convenient with the ability to simply lay these items on the corresponding charge pad.
Originally announced in September 2017, the product has fallen behind schedule. While Apple has worked to deflect attention from the delays, references to the recharging technology remain evident, such as in reference manuals for the iPhone Xs. If Apple is going to challenge for wireless recharging relevance, look for 2019 to be the year it introduces its own charger instead of having to hawk more limited third-party solutions from Mophie and Belkin.
SEE: Apple tries to wipe AirPower from the history books (ZDNet)
2. New Mac Pro
High-end Mac users needing demanding video, processor, read/write and memory capacity haven't received significant updates to Apple's Mac Pro (Figure A) for years. Look for that to change in 2019, when Apple should introduce an updated Mac Pro for the most demanding of professional users.
Current models ship, by default, with six-core Intel Xeon E5 processors, 16 GB RAM, dual AMD FirePro D500 video cards with a total of 6 GB GDDR5 VRAM, and a 256 GB SSD. Look for Apple to kick all those specifications up a notch, including SSD storage, with an updated 2019 Mac Pro model.
However, it's also possible Apple could introduce an entirely new chassis for its flagship high-end production Mac. The high-performing models focus on delivering demanding performance capabilities, so it should come as no surprise if Apple introduces innovations designed to aid cooling, accelerate disk read/write performance, and improve processor throughput, all while lowering power consumption.
3. Updated workhorse models
The iMac desktops and the 12" MacBook laptops last received processor (Kaby Lake) upgrades and faster SSDs in 2017. Look for Apple to reinvigorate both lines, which have become staples within the daily production Mac lineup for so many businesses, in 2019.
It's only natural that the high-end Mac Pro and iMac Pro models capture attention and headlines, but down in the trenches of day-to-day activity, it's the iMac desktop and 12" MacBook (Figure B) that so many accountants, marketing reps, data entry personnel, administrators, legal contacts, HR professionals, and others are using to perform daily activities. With pricing beginning at $1,099 and $1,299, respectively, these machines are the common workhorses that not only perform well but that don't bust the bank, either.
Don't anticipate significant innovation, such as new form factors or a new chassis; instead, watch for improved processor performance, potentially larger drives that shade to entirely SSD within the iMac lineup, and enhanced graphics performance. While these aren't the types of improvements that generate wildly enthusiastic headlines and stock-price moving momentum, they're important developments that will help ensure these workhorse systems remain relevant and capable of fulfilling daily production demands.
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Erik Eckel owns and operates two technology companies. As a managing partner with Louisville Geek, he works daily as an IT consultant to assist small businesses in overcoming technology challenges and maximizing IT investments. He is also president of Eckel Media Corp., a communications company specializing in public relations and technical authoring projects.