Oct 22 2013 Event: The Mele-a at Yerba Buena

19 October 13

First things first, I need to evaluate how I did on my last round of predictions. Which is to say I need to find things to blame why I was so wrong.


No, no, no: Right

Apple TV

No announcement, but let’s roll this over to the October 22 event. Wrong for now.


Fingerprint ID: Right. 12-megapixel camera: wrong. Thinner: wrong. Battery at 10 hrs: right. Upgraded LTE: right. No payment system: right. Price: right. Name: right. No gold: yes gold. Wrong.

iPhone LC

I was wrong all around here. I was hoping for a low-cost phone, and what we got was a candy-coated iPhone 5. I still think the 5c could become a low-cost phone later in life, but the 2013 iPhone 5c is not that phone.

I was right about the 5 being completely discontinued, and right about the color scheme of the 5c. I was wrong about the 5c taking the 4s free price.

iOS 7

Something new: wrong. It was just what we saw at WWDC. Not even the highly debatable icons were changed. But a new home-screen app could debut when the iLife apps get updated, which may happen on Oct. 22. I was right about the iLife apps becoming free (not including GarageBand), and the iWork apps were thrown in, too.

Next Event

I did call for a late October event, but I was a week off. Wrong.

Some observations

The fact is, if I had just held myself to predictions that followed the leaks exactly, I would have been 100% right. The event got duller as time went on when you realized nothing new or surprising was coming. Tim Cook has said previously that Apple was “doubling down” on security and stopping leaks. Either they are doing a horrible, pitiful job, or Tim was blowing smoke. I’m not sure which explanation I’d rather believe.

I ordered and received a Space Grey iPhone 5s 32GB, upgrading from a 4s. The lighter weight is amazing and the screen even brighter and better than before. I don’t get much out of the taller screen, and I can’t say I like the feel of the Touch ID button. I’d like to have more of a “piston” feel when I press it. It swivels around on a center pivot point and it feels delicate.

I’ve had iOS 7 since it was released, and I like the core features like the control panel and security features, but the interface remains a huge issue for me. I find the interface changes made to iOS 7 nearly useless and purely done for nonessential reasons. In some cases, they make the device harder to operate. I’ve turned off the parallax effect because it was a bit too jumpy. Almost all animations jump and stutter from time to time. The button-less interface takes closer observation to work correctly, and creates more problems than it solves. I have little doubt it will get better, but I have to look forward to iOS 8 to see if what I don’t like about it gets resolved or I just have to lump it.

My general take on the iOS 7 design is that it’s over-designed and under-tested. It feels like a college design project that puts idealist theories into practice and ignores the practical. It also feels like whoever called the shots wasn’t taking outside advice. As I’ve said in the past, Apple needs to get a new senior VP in charge of “No.” They’re not saying it enough.

The Oct 22 Event Predictions

The plate is full here, and the title of the event, “We Still Have a Lot to Cover,” hints that this may be a dense presentation. It also hints that there’s a new iPad cover. Which must mean…

iPad with Retina Display (5th Gen)

I have a standing prediction that Apple will introduce an iPad Pro at some point, but this probably isn’t the time. Without that, what do you do to improve the iPad? The basic features of the iPad are the case, the display, the touch sensors, the camera, the speakers, the memory, the speed and the battery.

Every leak regarding the iPad 5 shows a “iPad mini inspired case” which is to say rounder edges instead of tapered edges and thinner bezel sides. I don’t like the idea of thinner sides, and I honestly think that’s a bad design choice. I frequently grip those bezels and now I won’t be able to without triggering something on screen, something I do too much already. Now I think I’ll have to handle it differently. I also rest it sideways on my chest when I’m lying down, and I lose some of the display in the folds of my clothes. Now I’ll lose even more. Where does thinner side bezels benefit the user in any way?

The display could be brighter, but I don’t see a point to increasing the resolution. If it can be done without a price increase, they’ll do it, but there’s no push to do it. The touch sensors could stand for an upgrade to make it touch-sensitive, though I think that’s part of an iPad Pro. The camera could also stand for a bump to at least 8 megapixels. It would be tough to hold on to 5 megapixels for another year.

The speakers will be a little better because of the squarer case, and we may get stereo. Memory hasn’t gotten sufficiently cheaper, so I think that remains the same. The battery can and should improve a smidge, bumping it another two hours of life. The processor should be called an A7X, based on the new A7.

So, an incremental upgrade. But what about the Touch ID sensor? I have no doubt Apple wants it in the iPad, and a Touch ID feature would be a big sales point for many businesses who value security. It must be a priority, but is it something they can produce at a decent cost and at volume? I think if they could get it into the iPhone, then yes, they can get it into the iPad. My call is that it’s going int the iPad 5th gen.

As for case colors, I think we’ll see the same as the iPhone 5s. In terms of price, it’ll be the same as current, and the iPad 2 will be dropped, to be replaced by the 4th-gen version.

iPad mini

So many people are expecting a retina display on a new Mac mini, I’m not sure where reasoned analysis ends and rampant speculation begins. My take on it is that Apple wants the base model to go to $299 from the current $329. That would spike sales and make it a spectacular Christmas item. But can you do that, go to a retina display at retain the same margin? I don’t think you can. So what I think Apple will do is keep the A6X iPad mini and price it at $299, then introduce a new A7X iPad mini with Retina display that starts at $329 or $359.

I do think that this will come in the 5s colors (including gold) and be priced either at current levels or at $x59 for the WiFi models.


Rumors point to an iLife and iWork refresh, or at least new icons, so that’s a possibility. It would be a good match to an iOS 7.1 upgrade, which is expected sometime soon.


Is it even possible to introduce two different line of Macs at an iPad event? I don’t think we’ll see it. The Mac Pro is a known, and it’s reached it’s deadline date of “Fall.” The Mac Pro may not be ready to roll, but we’ll definitely get a date.

The absence of a MacBook Pro update to the Haswell-generation processors is an obvious omission, and I’d even say it’s suspicious. The only reason Apple would not have upgraded them to Haswell alongside the iMac upgrade would be if there’s another shoe to drop. I can only assume that a case redesign is the reason. If so, I’m not convinced this is the event to release them. Christmas is not the prime season for the MacBook Pro, and if the plate is full, moving this release to 2014 might be the smart thing to do. That can give the best-selling Mac the spotlight it needs. You could do a Mac mini refresh at the same time.

OS X Mavericks

As someone who lives in California, the name “Mavericks” sounds completely natural to me, and I’m kind of irritated that people keep making an issue of it. Next year, I propose we call it “OS X Nob Hill” and let people’s heads explode.

No shock here. We’ve had over five months of betas to see what OS X Mavericks is, and it’s about time to get the damn thing released and move on. After all, the iOS 7 design team needs as much time as possible to ruin the Mac interface for 2014.

I’d love to see refreshes for the Mac iLife and iWork apps, but my impression is that they’re in maintenance mode, and any development is happening on the iOS side.

Apple TV

As noted above, I think there is a significant content upgrade coming for Apple TV, and that could be a part of this event. I don’t expect a real hardware upgrade, but it is possible that an Apple TV refresh with an A7 processor might happen.