What's Up With Apple: Next New Products, Chip Shortage and More

Now that the Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) 2021 fall event is in the books, it’s time to begin speculating on what new products the company will launch next. After all, what has Apple shown us lately?

The odds-on favorite is an already-rumored 27-inch iMac display that includes mini-LEDs and Apple’s ProMotion technology. Ross Young, CEO of Display Supply Chain Consultants (DSCC), tweeted that the 27-inch screen “is going in an iMac in Q1’22, not an external monitor.”

Both the iPhone 13 Pro and the new MacBook Pro launched this week use Apple’s ProMotion technology, and the company already has released mini-LED displays under the XDR brand.

A new rumor, first reported by The Verge’s Tom Warren in a tweet and cited at 9to5Mac, suggests that Apple Music is coming to gaming consoles. Warren cut-and-pasted a portion of a page from Apple’s website that contained the following answer to the question, “Where can I listen to Apple Music?”:

You can also listen to Apple Music on many popular streaming devices, smart TVs, and gaming consoles if they support the Apple Music app.

Apple later removed the reference to gaming consoles, but too late.

Speaking of Apple Music, Manish Singh at TechCrunch thinks that Apple’s $4.99 voice-only Apple Music tier is an effort to beef up the company’s Siri voice-control software: “I think it’s reasonable to speculate that the iPhone-maker is lowering the price barrier and persuading more people to use Siri because it wants to gather more voice data to train and improve its voice assistant.”

Singh compares voice-only Apple Music to Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant:

If you want an example of what can happen to voice-powered assistants when you require that users treat it as a voice-first or voice-only service, look at Amazon’s Alexa. Out of the gate, Alexa had to be accessed by voice. This allowed Amazon to not only collect massive amounts of training data for its Alexa algorithms, but also helped train users about how to use it to maximum effect.

Briefly noted:

Analysts at JPMorgan cut its forecast for iPhone sales in the December quarter by nearly 4% according to Reuters. JPMorgan expects Apple to sell 58 million units in the quarter. Last week, Needham analyst Laura Martin cut her estimate of iPhone shipments for the quarter by 10 million units to 80 million. Both firms cite supply chain issues (that is, chip shortages) for the lowered projections.

Target stores are doubling the number of locations that include Apple pop-up stores from 17 to 36. Target launched the pop-ups in February. New pop-ups will be located in Florida, Texas and Minnesota.