Apple 2017 year in review: All of the products Apple announced that won't ship until 2018

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 1
This year was somewhat uncharacteristic for Apple in terms of product announcements, as the company unveiled or preannounced a number of new devices that didn't actually ship in 2017. Rather than needing to rely on rumors or guesswork, we can tell you with a greater degree of certainty that these products are officially on the horizon from Apple.




Editor's note: This is the latest installment in AppleInsider's 2017 Year in Review series, recapping the biggest trends for Apple that carried throughout the year.

Mac Pro modular desktop redesign (probably)

In perhaps the most surprising admission from the company in 2017, it revealed that an all-new Mac Pro with modular design is in the works. According to Apple, the company has taken the years since its cylindrical Mac Pro debuted to "completely rethink" the desktop machine.

Apple didn't get into specifics on release dates, only saying back in April that the new Mac Pro would not ship in 2017. Whether that means 2018 or beyond, only Apple knows, but preannouncing a product nearly two years in advance would seem extremely unlikely for a company that ships new iPhones only days or weeks after they are unveiled.

Why the change in product secrecy strategy for Apple in 2017? At least as far as professional-grade machines go, pro Mac users were extremely worried that Apple might be abandoning them with its consumer-focused hardware lineup. By preannouncing upcoming products, and abandoning its flair for the dramatic, Apple sought to reassure its devoted customers.

Apple-built external Retina display (probably)




Alongside the new modular Mac Pro, Apple also revealed that it will build its own Apple-branded displays. This would mark a return to the market that Apple abandoned in 2016, when it discontinued the Thunderbolt Display.

Apple had hoped that it could rely on preferred third-party partners to fill the void, but the LG UltraFine displays that were intended to replace the Thunderbolt Display had hardware quality issues that led to picture degradation.

Facing further alienation of pro users, Apple preannounced both the new Mac Pro and Apple displays in April of 2017. And again, as with the Mac Pro, no specific date was given, so it's possible the displays won't ship until 2019 or beyond. But two years between announcement and launch might send those nervous pro users into fits of rage, so we think these will probably ship before the year is out.

HomePod smart speaker (almost certainly)




It's extremely unlikely, however, that the HomePod would slip until 2019.

Originally scheduled to launch in December of 2017, the smart speaker was delayed until early 2018, with Apple saying it needs more time to finish the device. The $349 Siri-equipped HomePod will serve as a high-end speaker with personal assistant capabilities, targeting a much more premium market than Amazon's Echo lineup.

Given that Apple rarely misses product launch deadlines, particularly for consumer products, any further delays for the HomePod would be a shock. You can expect this one to arrive in early 2018, as Apple promised.

When exactly "early" is, however, is anyone's guess. Our best guess would be the first quarter of the calendar year, meaning the HomePod could ship before the end of March. If the shipment does somehow slip beyond that, don't expect it to arrive past Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference, which falls in early June.

AirPower charging mat (almost certainly)




Unlike the HomePod, which was originally scheduled to launch in 2017, the AirPower charging mat was never intended for release this year. Apple plainly stated when it took the wraps off of the hardware in September that the wireless charging mat -- which supports the iPhone 8, iPhone X, Apple Watch Series 3, and new AirPods case -- will arrive in 2018.

Unlike current Qi charging mats available on the market, the AirPower mat is a unique implementation of the wireless charging standard, allowing up to three devices to charge on one mat at the same time. This is akin to how the W1 chip uses Bluetooth technology with a unique Apple twist.

While the AirPower mat is scheduled to arrive in 2018, we still don't know when during the year, nor how much it will cost. One rumor pegged the price at $199, but that seems questionable considering the AirPods themselves (sans wireless charging case) are $159, and other wireless charging pads on the market are well under $100.

AirPods with wireless charging case (almost certainly)




While the AirPods themselves will remain the same, Apple will offer its completely wireless headphones with a new, Qi-capable wireless charging case. Existing AirPods customers will be able to update to the new case, while new purchases can come with it -- though pricing options remain unknown.

One rumor claimed the case would arrive in December for $69, but that failed to come to be.

For its part, Apple's website simply advertises that the "optional wireless charging case" is coming in 2018, with no specific window for launch.

Official eGPU support in High Sierra (extremely likely)




This one is somewhat of a technicality, as High Sierra users can currently test external graphics card with their Mac. But at the moment, support is spotty, and the only hardware Apple provides through its own storefront is intended for developer testing.

Official, public support for eGPUs in High Sierra is scheduled to arrive this spring. At that time, we'd expect that consumer-facing graphics card hardware -- and perhaps even Apple's own external Retina display -- could hit the market to take advantage of the new capabilities.

It would also make sense to see new virtual reality hardware and software available, as such devices are driven by eGPU support.

While you can test these things now, it's probably best to wait on such a considerable investment in hardware until it's out of beta. Expect eGPU support in High Sierra to exit beta by mid-2018 --hopefully before macOS 10.14 is announced at WWDC.

Mac mini (maybe, but don't count on it)




While Apple didn't say anything is definitively on the roadmap for the Mac mini in 2018, the company did signal that its cheapest and smallest Mac desktop is not dead.

In October, Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook said the Mac mini remains an important part of his company's product lineup. Marketing chief Phil Schiller made similar comments back in April.

It remains to be see what, if anything, Apple has in store for the future of the Mac mini. But the comments from Apple executives in 2017 would seem to suggest that some sort of refresh is in the works. Whether we'll see it in 2018 (or ever) is an open question.

But given that the current Mac mini has not been updated in 3 years, fans would be ill advised to hold their breath. Unlike the HomePod, AirPower and eGPU support, which are almost assuredly arriving this year, the Mac mini remains an unknown.
«1

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 38
    hypoluxahypoluxa Posts: 621member
    This will be an interesting year for Apple. Possibly a new MacPro, as well as a few other items. I'm looking forward to any new MBPro updates and what they might have to offer. 32GB of RAM option? Hopefully. Maybe a return of some IO ports? Doubt it, but we can always wish...I realize wireless is where it is all headed. 

    What are your thoughts?
  • Reply 2 of 38
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 2,109member
    Thanks for the roundup. After reading the title of the article, I tried to guess how many I could remember. Surprising how many I didn't catch  :'(
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 3 of 38
    Hopefully Apple hasn’t forgotten iMessage in the Cloud. That was supposed to ship with iOS 11.
  • Reply 4 of 38
    Ummmm does AppleInsider know what the word “announced” means.

    I don’t think that word means what they think it means.
  • Reply 5 of 38
    pakittpakitt Posts: 135member
    iMessage in the Cloud is still missing....iOS12 like People iCloud syncing with iOS10 but came with iOS11.....???!?
  • Reply 6 of 38
    A Mac Mini in 2018 is my biggest wish and a newly revised Apple Watch would be next on my list. I guess I’m a little greedy. Robert Kraft already gave me Jimmy GAROPPOLO for Christmas. 
    baconstangsans
  • Reply 7 of 38
    So  for the MOD Mac Pro Please apple at least 4 "internal" expansion areas or slots.  I figure that Thunderbolt 4 may be the bottleneck technology.

    For the mini this is a place where ARM could make its debut as a mainline apple computer.  Or at least a lower end mini with ARM as its CPU. T3 or T4 could cover the ext GPU to extend the mini.

    The HomePod in the $300's seems kinda high to me but who knows.

    Surprise us.
  • Reply 8 of 38
    GG1GG1 Posts: 160member
    A Mac Mini in 2018 is my biggest wish and a newly revised Apple Watch would be next on my list. I guess I’m a little greedy. Robert Kraft already gave me Jimmy GAROPPOLO for Christmas. 
    Yes, please, a Mini with TB3 supporting eGPU!

    You got a steal with Garoppolo. Did Kraft not realize what they had? Maybe Brady is immortal.
  • Reply 9 of 38
    Was really hoping for the HomePod to be released in December, but when it was delayed, I gave in and bought Amazon's Echo and Echo Spot. Now I know firsthand why their Echo line has been having blockbuster sales. These are truly excellent devices. Will still be getting the HomePod whenever it comes out, but Apple had better realize Amazon isn't Samsung. Amazon isn't a copycat and the company knows exactly what it's doing and how to do it right.
    The sooner the HomePod is released, the better.
    edited January 1 dtb200
  • Reply 10 of 38
    Waiting impatiently for 2 HomePods & AirPower (and Watch LTE in my country). Once Apple releases HomePod, my audio setup will be completed & next year I will concentrate on video setup by replacing my Sharp Quattron with Sony OLED. Very looking forward to all of these. :smile: 
  • Reply 11 of 38
    I think a new Mini this year is somewhat likely. The Mac Pro can only be unveiled at some sort of developer event, they won't want to talk about new iPads or Airpods or any nonsense at such an event, an updated Mac Mini would roll into such an event nicely.
  • Reply 12 of 38






    This would definitely look dramatic, like the monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey, if I couldn't see the rather generic room reflected on the Mac Pro!


    On my list this year is a new MBP, probably a new iPad if it gets some dramatic overhaul and the next iPhone, of course!

  • Reply 13 of 38
    bluefire1 said:
    Amazon isn't a copycat and the company knows exactly what it's doing and how to do it right.

    True however, they are just as bad as Google for wanting 'you'. by that I mean every possible bit of data on you that they can get so that they can use Alexa to sell you more tat that you don't really want and/or can't afford.
    Sadly, IMHO the HomePod will be DOA. That ship has sailed.
  • Reply 14 of 38
    SoliSoli Posts: 7,041member

    [image]

    This would definitely look dramatic, like the monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey, if I couldn't see the rather generic room reflected on the Mac Pro!

    On my list this year is a new MBP, probably a new iPad if it gets some dramatic overhaul and the next iPhone, of course!

    Can anyone make out the shirt or have any better tools than Preview to adjust the image to a more normal view?




  • Reply 15 of 38
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 2,109member
    So  for the MOD Mac Pro Please apple at least 4 "internal" expansion areas or slots.  I figure that Thunderbolt 4 may be the bottleneck technology.

    For the mini this is a place where ARM could make its debut as a mainline apple computer.  Or at least a lower end mini with ARM as its CPU. T3 or T4 could cover the ext GPU to extend the mini.

    The HomePod in the $300's seems kinda high to me but who knows.

    Surprise us.
    I would see an ARM in a MacBook.  But any ARM powered desktop would be significantly underpowered and kind of pointless.  Essentially it would be an iPhone connected to a keyboard and monitor.
  • Reply 16 of 38
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 2,109member
    bluefire1 said:
    Amazon isn't a copycat and the company knows exactly what it's doing and how to do it right.

    True however, they are just as bad as Google for wanting 'you'. by that I mean every possible bit of data on you that they can get so that they can use Alexa to sell you more tat that you don't really want and/or can't afford.
    Sadly, IMHO the HomePod will be DOA. That ship has sailed.
    For Apple, that's a non-issue.  They do not try to be first, they do try to put out great products that make people's lives better.

    The question is not whether they can compete with Amazon & co.   but whether that type of product will actually make people's lives better.
    colinng
  • Reply 17 of 38
    price drops in all of their product line, please... 😬
  • Reply 18 of 38
    gustavgustav Posts: 819member
    I fear this modular Mac Pro is going to be another over-architected marvel, artificially increasing the price, when all people want is the aluminum case with modern innards. I do like the trash can Mac Pro but it's more of a high performance G4-Cube resurrection than a Mac Pro.

    My wish:

    Mac mini with a 4-core modern i7 option. I don't even care if it's not upgradeable. It's a mini after all.
    Mac Pro - stop with the gimmicks. Gimmicks artificially increase the price and limit the market.

    My expectation:

    Mac mini with modern innards, non-upgradeable, but limited to 2-core i7, like the 13" MBP.
    Mac Pro - overly fancy modular connection system with modules for additional drives and video cards. Modules will be proprietary and expensive. I hope I'm wrong here, but it's taking a long time to release this - so I'm skeptical.

    I am excited about the HomePod though - I'm expecting it to sound much better than the competition.
    edited January 2
  • Reply 19 of 38
    pakitt said:
    iMessage in the Cloud is still missing....iOS12 like People iCloud syncing with iOS10 but came with iOS11.....???!?

    What is iMessage in the Cloud?  (I have no idea what the second part of that means.)
    edited January 2 dtb200
  • Reply 20 of 38
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 29,068member
    Even if they merely brought back the “cheese grater” Mac Pro, I think it would be an improvement.
    tallest skilrandominternetperson
Sign In or Register to comment.