Apple had an exciting 2018, but 2019 might be even more interesting. That's because Apple is investing more in becoming a services company, as opposed to one that primarily focuses on hardware.
In 2018, Apple introduced a new iPad in March, three new iPhones in September and several new Macs in October. Apple will certainly refresh many of those products in 2019, but it's also likely to introduce new services that will help boost revenue through recurring subscriptions. And Apple has already confirmed that its most powerful Mac ever is on the way this year.
Here's what you can pretty much count on from Apple in 2019.
What initially appeared geeky quickly became trendy.
Apple's AirPods are the company's most popular accessory ever, according to TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, and a new model is expected in 2019. Kuo, who has a good track record for accurately predicting Apple product launches, said in December that Apple will launch new AirPods that include wireless charging and are smaller than the current model. In June, Bloomberg said they'll also support noise cancellation, will be water-resistant and will work further away from an iPhone. AirPods have the potential to become a better fitness tracker than the Apple Watch, though there's no indication Apple will add health-tracking features yet.
Apple is also expected to announce new "over the ear" headphones that are similar to what it already sells through its Beats line, though the new ones will be "higher end," Bloomberg said, noting that Apple also plans to release a new version of its HomePod smart speaker.
Reports have long suggested that Apple will someday enter the TV business with more than just a hardware product that offers up services from other companies. In October, CNBC's Alex Sherman reported that Apple will launch a digital video service in 2019 that mixes Apple's original movies and TV shows with subscription content from services such as Starz and HBO.
The idea is that someone can pay for and watch content from a service such as HBO right from Apple's existing TV application without having to also download and open a separate app for each service. It sounds similar to what Roku will begin doing in late January. It might be win-win for Apple and its partners, too, particularly if Apple gets a share of revenue from new subscriptions while directing users of its new TV app to new paid content from its partners.
Apple already lets you subscribe to paid news publications through the Apple News app that now ships on all iPhones, iPads and Macs, which combines premium and free news stories. It's one of the best apps Apple offers, and it may soon offer more premium options.
In 2019, Apple will take advantage of its Texture acquisition and offer an all-you-can-read magazine subscription plan, according to Bloomberg. Texture costs $9.99 a month for unlimited access to more than 200 magazines, and Bloomberg said Apple will bring all of that content right into Apple News. Again, this is an area where Apple can generate recurring revenue from millions of people who use Apple News on iPads, iPhones and Macs.
This one is already confirmed, but you might have missed it. Apple told TechCrunch in April of last year that it will launch a new Mac Pro in 2019. The Mac Pro is Apple's powerful cylinder-shaped desktop computer that doesn't ship with a monitor attached, like the iMac and iMac Pro do.
Apple confirmed the new model's existence because it said it knew a lot of power users weren't sure if they should upgrade or wait for a new model. Little is known about what the new Mac Pro will look like (that's the old one pictured above), but Apple suggested to TechCrunch that it's listening to consumers who want a more "modular" computer, or one that can be easily upgraded.
And then there's the obvious, like new iPhones.
Apple usually refreshes the iPhone in September, so expect to see new ones around that time this year. iPads are expected, too, though there hasn't been any indication that Apple has anything planned for March, as it did last year. Also expect iOS 13 sometime in June during WWDC 2019, as well as refreshes to Apple's Mac, Apple Watch and Apple TV software.