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Summary:

There are always rumors floating around about Apple’s next move, especially when it involves the iPhone and, more recently, the iPad. But what if we could see Apple’s calendar of what they intend to announce and release for the next six months?

iCal-apple-events

There are always rumors floating around about Apple’s next move, especially when it involves the iPhone and, more recently, the iPad. But what if we could see Apple’s calendar of what they intend to announce and release? Here’s an overview of what I imagine that calendar looks like for the next six months.

February

Public release of iOS 4.3. The latest beta of iOS 4.3 is beta 3, which has been available for around two weeks now. In the past, incremental upgrades to iOS have only had 3 betas before going to Gold Master (GM) and then on to the public release. I give it less than a week before we see the GM, and a couple of weeks after that, we’ll see the public release of 4.3. That puts the date around Feb. 28. Given there’s a press event rumored for this week, I’d say there’s a good chance the GM will be released then, with the public release date announced during the event.

March

MacBook Pro refresh. The MacBook Pro product cycle isn’t regular by any means, but the last major refresh was in April 2010. The average release rate for Apple’s portable Macs is between six months and a year, so March is a reasonable estimate. Plus, reports say supplies of the current MacBook Pros are dwindling, suggesting no more are currently being manufactured. There was a rumor that the recall of Intel’s new Sandy Bridge processors may affect new Macs, but Apple may have worked something out or held off on introducing the new chip architecture.

April

New iPad model. The current iPad was released in April 2010 after a January announcement, but this time, Apple won’t want to wait around. The new version may not be called the “iPad 2,” but an announcement in April followed by a release a couple of weeks or so later is in the cards. Of course, there’s no hard evidence of the iPad receiving yearly updates like its iPhone cousin, but it’s reasonable to expect that it will given Apple’s practice with its other hardware. We’ve also seen a lot of rumors suggesting a new iPad is being manufactured at the moment. Feature-wise, the new iPad will likely contain at least one camera, for FaceTime. There are as many rumors saying it will have a Retina Display as there are ones saying it won’t, but I don’t think it will. The iPad’s current display already looks better than those of its competitors, so Apple likely won’t bother boosting its resolution this time around.

May

Developer beta of Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion). When the latest iteration of OS X was announced, a vague “Summer 2011″ was mentioned as the expected release date. But with any new operating system update, Apple always releases beta versions to developers. With an upgrade as major as 10.7, Apple will want as long a testing period as possible in order to iron out as many bugs as they can. The original 10.6 beta was released around May 2009, so this backs up a May release of the 10.7 beta. In addition to the features we’ve already seen — Launchpad and Mission Control — we’ll also see some other new things not yet announced. Perhaps Lion will also include Game Center, so Mac App Store apps can take advantage of Apple’s social gaming features.

June

New iPhone model. We’ve seen a new iPhone released every year since its debut in 2007, and there’s no reason to believe this year will be any different. In terms of features, the new iPhone may contain an Apple A5 processor, the successor to the A4 found in the current iPhone and iPad. The camera may also be improved to 8 megapixels, and the new model could support both GSM and CDMA in order to cater for both AT&T and Verizon on one device. The phone may also support up-and-coming 4G networks. The new iPhone will also likely ship with iOS 5, but what iOS 5 will bring to the game is anyone’s guess.

July

iMac and Mac mini refreshes. The latest generation of Apple’s all-in-one was released in July 2010, but the iMac product cycle varies, as with the MacBook Pros, so the date isn’t set in stone. A new line of iMacs will likely include the Intel Sandy Bridge processor, and should also include improved graphics processors. Perhaps new models may even be quad-core, like the current high-end model, as standard. Mac minis may also see a refresh, since they’re usually updated around the same time as the iMacs. Expect the public release of OS X Lion to coincide with new Mac hardware, and for both to occur shortly following this year’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC).

Am I missing anything? Go ahead and suggest your own additions or alternate timelines in the comments.

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  1. Mine as well add in September when we will likely see an iPod Touch, iPod Nano and possible iPod shuffle redesign.

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  2. Any new information on MobileMe and the “Cloud” on Apple’s end? Microsoft is running ads promoting their “Cloud,” hopefully Apple is working something up…

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  3. Mac Pro re-fresh probably around 2nd-3rd Quarter. Xeon Sandy Bridge Chips aren’t for a while yet.

    Also, like mentioned above: The yearly re-fresh to the iPod lines.

    iWork ’11?????

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  4. Six months from now It would be August and by then you have all the new Ipods rolling out. It would be interesting what Apple wants to do with the Ipad vs. Ipod touch, the pricing could get close. Of course I think that just like the Iphone, The current Ipad will be offered along side the new and improved Ipad, perhaps around the $299-$349.00 price range. That would give Apple a two prong market for those who think the current model is just perfect and those who are looking for more. I would venture to see the Base model with 32gig plus a 128gig version. Indeed the market is going to a lot more competitive if they keep both Versions of the current and the anticipated new release. This would put extra pressure on the competition.

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  5. You are missing a preview of iOS 5

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  6. Don’t forget USB 3.0 in the new Macs. Safe to assume it’s a given at this point (?)

    As an HD video editing geek, I can’t wait to combine a new iMac/Mac Mini with my new 3 TB USB 3.0 external HDD!!

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    1. No. Not until Intel has it natively in their Chipsets. And even then, its a “probably.” Jobs has said “no” to USB 3.0 over and over. He wants LightPeak.

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  7. You forgot to mention the announcement and beta release of iOS 5. This event has occurred in the March time-frame for the last few years. I’m interested to see how the iOS 5 rollout will dovetail with the iPad 2 announcement and Lion. Judging by the basic premise of Lion, I think there will be some cool iOS5/Lion integration tricks up Apple’s sleeve. Also, will Apple really announce the iPad 2 with 4.3 on it and announce details of iOS 5 within weeks of each other?

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    1. I’ve been wondering this for a while. It’s hard to believe Apple would continue to release a bastardized version of the next iOS on the iPad every year and dub it as an incremental update to the current OS.

      At some point, it makes more sense to flip this, and release the iPad closer to the iPhone…maybe in June, announced at WWDC and available immediately with the iPhone debuting in July…so that the iPad can ship with the new OS as well. No more playing catch up with the iPad. I just can’t see it.

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  8. Do we have any reason to doubt a June release of the next iPhone? My semi-annual phone upgrade is up next week so I’m holding off on getting iPhone 4 in hopes that the next one will come out soon. Thoughts?

    Also, what the heck will they call it? iPhone 5? 4S?

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    1. It could be the iPhone 5, but if the new model supports the 4G network (unlikely), then it would probably be called the iPhone 4G, in the same way as the 3G.

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  9. So if we can expect a MacBook Pro refresh sometime in March, does that mean it would still have the Snow Leopard operating system? To me, it makes no sense to have Snow Leopard installed in their new MacBooks while the Lion operating system is soon to follow.

    I really hope they have it preinstalled in the new MacBook Pro.

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    1. macbook pro will have snow leopard obviously. Lion is not till summer, mbp very soon. no way lion will be in the macs in march. also, it makes sense to not have lion come out right next to new macs because they are both important money makers; spread the releases.

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  10. No Air? (I would love to see May but could live with July. As long as it is in Back to School territory, I will upgrade.)

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