Apple predictions for 2016 & 2017: 12in Retina MacBook update
Apple launched its incredibly thin and light 12in MacBook back in March 2015, and the MacBook's first birthday saw a solid if unspectacular update - various sensible specs boosts, and a rose gold colour option.
The third iteration of the 12in MacBook is likely to appear in spring 2017. Rumours are thin on the ground right now, but some of the wilder speculation has suggested that it might feature a 'Force Touch keyboard' - a keyboard, in other words, that doesn't actually move in response to your key presses, instead simulating presses through haptic feedback just like the Force Touch trackpad. Sounds pretty bizarre - not to mention difficult to use for touch-typing - but that's the sort of thing you tend to hear this far ahead of a launch.
Apple predictions for 2016 & 2017: Mac mini
The Mac mini missed out on being updated in 2015 so we are hoping to see a 2016 update to the machine that is currently using Haswell processors. Hopefully 2016 will see a new Mac mini with Skylake processors (which are apparently scheduled to ship in the first few months of 2016. Perhaps the Mac mini is another Mac update to look out for this Spring.
Apple predictions for 2016 & 2017: New iMacs
It's not been that long since the iMac was updated (although that update was long overdue). However, while the high-end models use Skylake processors already, the 21.5in models are still using Broadwell chips - however, it would appear that Intel has no plans to make Skylake chips that would be suitable for the iMacs as Skylake won't include the integrated Iris or Iris Pro graphics cards that are used with these Macs. If an update happens in 2016 we don't expect it to come until much later in the year.
Apple predictions for 2016 & 2017: Mac processor updates
Despite Apple's adventures into processor design it's unlikely we'll see the company rolling out its own chips in its desktop and laptop machines unless it can make them fully compatible with the current Intel line-up.
Wonderful though it would be to run iOS apps alongside OS X software, Apple would need to give developers several years' notice to update their applications to run on any new architecture, so expect to still be buying Intel-driven machines throughout the next 12 months, as the new Skylake processor line takes over from existing chips from spring.
Apple predictions for 2016 & 2017: Force Touch Keyboard
A Force Touch keyboard could be in the works, too - as a supplement to the Magic Trackpad 2 - if a recent patent filing is anything to go by. The switchless design would allow Apple to produce even thinner MacBooks, and also to take into account the force with which a key is pressed, which will be a boon for anyone making music on their Mac. In the opposite direction it should allow for haptic feedback, which could possibly be used to signify to vision-impaired users that they're correctly striking a particular key.
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