What Does Apple Have in Store for 2013?

With 2012 winding down and Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) entering the holiday shopping season with all sorts of new toys to tempt consumers, it's about time to start wondering what the Mac maker has in store for 2013. Before his death, Steve Jobs had reportedly left Apple with a solid four years of products in the pipeline. That leaves us with three more years of gadgets that Jobs had already cooked up for Tim Cook to execute on.

Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster is always up for offering up some predictions. Let's see what Munster thinks Apple has up its sleeve for the next year or so.

March iMadness
As if Apple didn't already infuriate some buyers of the third-generation iPad by releasing the fourth-generation model just six months later, Munster thinks that the company will release an iPad Mini in March that features a Retina display.

The smaller tablet's biggest weakness is easily its lackluster display, especially when compared to the panels on the competing (NASDAQ: AMZN  ) Kindle Fire HD and Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL  ) Nexus 7, so there is plenty of reason to address this common complaint sooner rather than later. The only problem is that updating the product so quickly risks angering early adopters that promptly snapped up the first-generation model that may have expected annual upgrades.

Rumors have already surfaced that Apple has tapped AU Optronics (NYSE: AUO  ) for 7.9-inch Retina panels with a 2,048 x 1,536 resolution. With Apple's six-month cycle for the fourth-generation iPad, it's conceivable that the company would do the same with the iPad Mini.

Munster also thinks that Apple will finally open up its Apple TV platform for third-party developers, which would allow it to begin bolstering its TV app ecosystem ahead of a full-blown Apple TV set. Google TV is ahead in this respect, as Big G opened up its TV platform to developers long ago.

Apple might also launch an iTunes radio service, which could be a big threat to Pandora (NYSE: P  ) . Pandora shares got crushed by 20% in September just on speculation that Apple was working on such an offering. As a first-mover with a large following, Pandora has a lot to lose if Apple steps into its ring, especially since it's not even consistently profitable yet.

Summertime, and the livin' is easy
Apple hosts its Worldwide Developer Conference, or WWDC, every June and should outline major operating system updates. At this year's WWDC, Apple updated its entire notebook lineup with the newest chips from Intel (NASDAQ: INTC  ) . Munster thinks Apple will unveil MacBook Airs with Retina displays along with iOS 7 and the next version of OS X.

Intel's next-generation Haswell architecture is due out in early 2013, which should bring major improvements in its integrated graphics performance that can better handle Retina-caliber resolutions without the assistance of a discrete graphics processor. With Scott Forstall's departure, iOS 7 will probably begin to show Jony Ive's influence on the platform's design.

Autumn's tock
There should be no more lingering doubts that Apple has borrowed Intel's tick-tock strategy for iPhone launches, which puts 2013 as a "tock" year for the iPhone. The iPhone 5 saw an industrial redesign so the next model launched next September should expectedly be the "iPhone 5S."

Munster thinks the iPad Mini will also see a spec bump at the same time. That would be another iPad Mini upgrade just six months after a possible Retina model. That's a dangerous path to embark upon, because acclimating consumers to six-month product cycles is a tall order to fill.

This is about the time that Munster thinks Apple will launch a fifth-generation iPad, which should also see an industrial redesign to resemble the iPhone 5, iPad Mini, and iPod Touch. The full-sized iPad's product cycle is completely up in the air at this point, so the timing of this one is anyone's guess.

Thankful for an Apple TV set
Munster's educated guess is that Apple will launch its long-heralded Apple TV set in November, giving investors something else to be thankful for. The television set may come in sizes ranging from 42 inches to 55 inches and could cost in the range of $1,500 to $2,000.

The biggest unknown on this front will be the go-to-market strategy and content negotiations. Apple's obstacle to entering the TV market has never been about technology or vision, according to Steve Jobs. This is where Eddy Cue will earn his keep as Apple's online services head and current negotiator.

New Year's resolution: Hit $1 trillion
Next year may even be when Apple finally hits a $1 trillion market cap. That's a long way to go and Apple will need to execute on several of the opportunities it currently faces to get there. Meanwhile, it also faces some challenges on its way to making stock market history. That's why the Motley Fool has outlined all of it for current or prospective Apple shareholders in this premium report. We've continued to add bonus reports, and you can grab them all by clicking here.

Read/Post Comments (11) | Recommend This Article (30)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On November 23, 2012, at 10:27 AM, maniladad wrote:

    Poor Apple! Their critics say that they're not innovative enough, that their competition is outrunning them on technical progress. Now they're being faulted for updating too frequently. Looks like a no-win situation except at the cash register. Apple's laughing all the way to the bank.

  • Report this Comment On November 24, 2012, at 12:14 PM, haysdb wrote:

    "That's a dangerous path to embark on"

    Anyone who believes one data point constitutes a new trend shouldn't be offering stock market advise.

  • Report this Comment On November 24, 2012, at 1:25 PM, MasterOTUniverse wrote:

    To get to $1tn J Ives needs to invent something as groundbreaking and revolutionary as the original iphone, I don't know if a new TV set is going to be it.. everyone else is still following Apples lead so the ball is in their court, be a shame if the new new thing wasn't by Apple..

  • Report this Comment On November 24, 2012, at 8:36 PM, 48ozhalfgallons wrote:

    Apple fans are no more than subscribers to a very expensive service.

  • Report this Comment On November 28, 2012, at 6:20 PM, wrxman wrote:

    I think cementing their platforms is always goal number 1 . I would like to see innovation but not at the cost of qaulity and secure operating systems.

  • Report this Comment On November 30, 2012, at 10:56 AM, charliestyr wrote:

    Apple won't be releasing a new iPad mini in March that is verging on absurd. The only reason there was a short update time with the "big iPad" was because they wanted to get it in line with the connector.

    Basically what they have done is stretch out the "big iPad" and got the product release times in line so that both iPads can be updated at the same time in October/November. We will not see new iPads until that time and it will thus be that time always, the new yearly cycle. They will only annoy the early adopters that one time to get the products lined up neatly for future updates.

  • Report this Comment On November 30, 2012, at 1:01 PM, Peak2Trough wrote:

    "Munster thinks that the company will release an iPad Mini in March that features a Retina display."

    I'll take that bet.

  • Report this Comment On November 30, 2012, at 1:05 PM, 48ozhalfgallons wrote:

    Here's what Apple needs to offer. An iPad mini with a pull-out or collapsable screen. The alternative: a full size iPad with a wireless hand set.

    Go get 'em Stupidos!

  • Report this Comment On November 30, 2012, at 11:56 PM, allyoucaneat1012 wrote:

    Apple will come up with something big in 2013 for sure. Get ready for it.

  • Report this Comment On December 01, 2012, at 11:05 AM, ade61 wrote:

    My April, May assessment in regard to Apple's inflated and manipulated stock price is correct.

    Apple’s profitability is likely reaching a plateau do to market saturation, competing products and to the enormous income currently generated by Apple which cannot be increased by double digit percentages annually anymore.

    In addition to this, where is the innovation? The main stars i.e. products are essentially the same but with different names and slightly different packaging -- Iphone = Itouch = ipad = ipad mini.

    The escalating competition for market share and the millions of products being manufactured by Apple, is creating to large of a price premium for Apple 's products and their prices will have to be lower to increase sales. This will cause profit margin compression and Apple net income will stagnate and possible decline in coming quarters.

    The economies of scale along with substitution are in play. The principles of substitution states when a several similar or commensurate commodities, good or services are available, the one with the lowest price will attract the greatest demand and wide distribution. Apple‘s products are not immune to these principles.

    The belief that Apple can maintain its price premium and expand it sales by 20% a year for the next 5 years is a deception. This myth has allowed institutional investors which own 70 percent of Apple’s stock the ability to manipulate its price, hence the volatility and its inflated stock price.

    If this myth were true than Apple’s stock price would be legitimate and keep rising to a least a $1000 a share as so many fraudulent analysts have forecasted.

    Just as computers, big screen TVs and many other electronic devices have been commoditized, so will apple products if they wish to generate more sales. Apple products will be commonplace and just other commodity with significantly lower pricing which will affect Apples profitability and income.

    To get a clear picture of why Apple Stock is a inflated, see

  • Report this Comment On December 06, 2012, at 3:25 PM, INoFoolin wrote:

    The stock is undervalued by any financial statistic. You would have to believe there is an imminent decline in revenue and profit to be selling shares now!

    This company has defined the key products in the consumer mobile space- music, smart phones, pads. The anticipated Apple redefinition of the TV will be a game changer in the video space, just like the other markets. They have differentiated products with defensible market advantage.

    Apple is also the best retailer in the history of the world.

    But, the hidden gem, for all you fools, is the incredible software development platform and infrastructure that is the source of all the content. The products and the content all play together seamlessly. "They just work". Nobody will be able to replicate or attack this ecosystem.

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