Apple’s Monday event, at the time of this writing, is expected to focus primarily on software and features, rather than new devices or major surprises. Some of the expected announcements and talking points include a look at iOS 10, changes for Siri, improvements for Apple Pay, and possibly a largely reinvented Apple Music platform. In short, there are going to be a lot of adjustments made to help existing devices perform at their very best. There won’t be any breakthrough new devices announced, though there are some rumors about a home assistance device to rival Amazon Echo, as well as a new Macbook Pro. Exciting enough, though there’s no new iPhone on the way this week barring a massive surprise.
Those who pay close attention to the changes from one iteration of software to the next understand that it’s these smaller adjustments that tend to keep Apple’s products performing at or above the level of the competition. It’s not as sexy to hear about iOS 10 as it is to see an iPhone 7 for the first time, but these are necessary improvements and they’re often more exciting than they initially seem. Nonetheless, with 2016 proving to be a major year in tech innovation, and with Samsung in particular making a few interesting moves to interest new customers, there are a few “sexier” announcements it would be nice to hear from Apple in the coming months.
1. Waterproof Device Casing
Though loyal Samsung users would likely dispute the statement, it can be argued that most advances in Samsung smartphones have been a step behind Apple over the years. Generally, Apple leads the way and competitors follow. But with the Samsung Galaxy S7’s waterproof (or at least strongly water resistant) casing, Samsung actually took the lead on a pretty intriguing feature. Mobile phone users love the idea of a device that won’t be ruined if it’s dropped in the sink or used near the shower. while there aren’t conclusive numbers regarding customer migration just yet, it’s not hard to imagine Apple losing a few customers to Samsung purely as a result of this feature.
The interesting thing is that a report from Engadget indicated last year that Apple already made a water-resistant phone and simply didn’t tell anybody. Evidently, the iPhone 6s and 6s-Plus are both far more water-resistant than their predecessors, which is not to say you should go dunk your iPhone in water. The thing is, the company didn’t advertise the adjustment. If this is all true (and a look inside the phones seems to indicate it is), then it stands to reason that the iPhone 7 ought to be even more water-resistant. Or it should at least advertise that it’s able to withstand a given amount of contact with liquid. This would put a damper on any advantage Samsung has gained, and it would naturally excite Apple loyalists. Even better would be if the same degree of resistance could be boasted for iPads or even computers (which is less likely).
2. A VR Headset
If Apple were going to shock the world either this week or in the near future, a VR headset would be the best way to do it. Virtual reality is the headline tech development of 2016, and Samsung is already in on the action, with the Gear VR device working with Galaxy smartphones to create arguably the simplest VR headset on the market. A similar device compatible with an iPhone would quickly catch Apple up in the one area of in-home tech it frankly seems almost uninterested (at least publicly) in engaging with.
Some might view this as too big an undertaking to be announced as a surprise, but the truth is some VR development is actually quite simple. The games being released for Samsung Gear VR are effectively apps, and even in a more general sense there are ready-made games for VR. Consider for instance that Gala Bingo seeks to provide an authentic casino experience by offering a range of games that simulate virtual reality for mobile and computer players. Themed slot machines and jackpots are the simpler games, but from video roulette to live dealer poker games, there are numerous experiences that are designed to make players feel as if they’re seated at real casino tables. Games like these or any number of Samsung-compatible apps could quite quickly be brought on board for an Apple VR, if such a thing existed. And the latest iPhone would do the rest.
3. A Nike Watch Partnership
Early this year, Macworld published an updated list of predictions for Apple in 2016, and it was the section about the Apple Watch that was arguably the most intriguing. The writer suggested that a second edition of or major improvement for the Apple Watch could be on the way. It was also mentioned that Apple could look to partner with Nike to enhance the device.
This makes some sense given that Apple and Nike have worked together before, and it also could be the thing that puts the Apple Watch over the top. Right now the watch is still viewed largely as a gimmick or luxury. But with wearable fitness technology becoming more popular, and competitors facing new questions of inaccuracy, an Apple-Nike partnership could take the lead in a growing tech category. With some genuine effort and a few top-notch features, it’s easy to imagine Apple and Nike combining to make an Apple Watch 2 more of a necessary tech gadget than a frivolous luxury.
For the most part, these suggestions are based in speculation. However, there is some evidence to suggest that all of these developments are not only possible, but potentially hugely beneficial for the tech giant.