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Apple rumours & predictions 2016 & 2017: New Apple products on the way

Nik Rawlinson | June 23, 2016
What to expect from Apple in the next 12 months.

We hope Apple is just waiting for the E5 V4 Broadwell chips that are set to launch in the first half of 2016, or perhaps integrating Skylake, so that its complete line-up is running on the same core hardware from end to end, so a WWDC launch could be possible.

Apple predictions for 2016 & 2017: MacBook Air

Back in 2015 the rumours were pointing to a MacBook Air with Retina display; what Apple actually gave us was a whole new MacBook with Retina display, in the 12in form factor. This has rather left the MacBook Air in limbo, but while the MacBook Air isn't as powerful as the MacBook Pro, it's a whole lot more powerful than the MacBook, and it's a lot less expensive. Many people still rate the Air as a reasonably priced, portable laptop.

But we suspect that Apple may be considering retiring the Air to the great Genius Bar in the sky. Spring 2016 saw the most perfunctory of updates to the MacBook Air - the company merely included in the base price a RAM upgrade that had previously been optional - and unless something more radical arrives in 2017 (spring would be the most likely time for the next refresh) the user base will drift away. 

If Apple does go down the 'radical update' route, the Air could finally get its Retina display (if that pushes the price up, mind you, people may be less keen). What the MacBook Air really needs is a performance boost and improved specs - it's currently using an Intel processor that's a few generations old and we are hoping Skylake processors will make an appearance in the new models - apparently the Skylake U processors that seem destined for the MacBook Air will ship in the early part of 2016. A physical makeover wouldn't go amiss either, with the laptop sporting the exact same design since 2010.

But we suspect that the MacBook Air, like the iPad Air, is on the way out.

Apple predictions for 2016 & 2017: Retina MacBook Pro 

The MacBook Air and 12-inch MacBook both got updates in spring 2016, but the MacBook Pro is still waiting. Something more substantial is surely on the cards.

We'd like to see a bit of a makeover, but it's what's inside that counts, and what's inside currently is the Intel Broadwell processor in the 13in model and inexplicably, the even older Haswell  processor in the 15in version. We say inexplicably, but part of that blame must lie at the feet of Intel, who was particularly lax at updating its chips in 2015. It seems likely that the MacBook Pro range will finally get the Skylake chips at some point in 2016. That will make a lot of professional Mac users very happy.


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