It’s hard to predict anything but a good future for Apple. After all, the company has shown no signs of letting up and profits keep pouring in.
And truth be told, 2018 doesn’t look to be all that bad of a year for Apple (aapl). Core components in its business, including its iPhone division, seem poised for continued growth and there’s a strong possibility that its two weak spots—the iPad and its China unit—are back on the upswing. At first blush, 2018 appears to be ripe for growth.
But further inspection reveals some weak spots that could become more pronounced next year if Apple doesn’t address them. Apple Music is still in second place in the music streaming market and Apple has yet to deliver the HomePod smart home speaker. And the onus is still on Apple to keep growing its iPhone business each year, despite widespread popularity around the world.
So, what will 2018 hold for Apple? Here’s what I’m predicting:
The iPhone ‘Super-Cycle’ Is Real
We’ve been hearing for months that Apple is poised to benefit from an iPhone “super-cycle” of consumers around the globe who will buy new iPhones in droves after holding on to older devices for longer than they had in the past. That will happen next year. And when it does, expect iPhone sales—and Apple’s profitability—to soar.
An Even Bigger iPhone
With a 5.8-inch screen, the iPhone X is Apple’s biggest smartphone ever. I think next year Apple will offer a new model with a screen in excess of six inches. And when it does, expect that version to be wildly successful.
iPads Grow in Popularity
After several quarters of decline, the iPad is showing signs of life. And now, Apple is rumored to be working on a big update. Look for that update early in 2018 and for iPad sales to soar along with it.
Services Division Continues to Soar
Apple’s Services division, which includes the App Store, Apple Music, and others, will only grow in 2018. The Services division isn’t flashy, but it’s the unit that will keep Apple’s profitability up.
Apple Delivers a HomePod Surprise
We’ll see the HomePod early next year. And when we do, expect it to come with booming sound and perhaps better Siri integration than we might anticipate. Something’s up with that HomePod, and I’m looking forward to seeing what that is.
Apple Music Continues to Grow
Apple Music will continue to gain subscribers in 2018, but I’ve yet to see the feature that can finally take down the market leader Spotify. Is that coming next year? Probably not.
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Augmented Reality Takes Shape
Apple has been clear that it’s bullish on augmented reality, and there are reports it’s working on a headset that utilizes that technology. While I don’t think we’ll see that headset next year, I do believe Apple will enhance its iPhones and iPads with features that prove it’s getting more serious by the day about the future of augmented reality.
A Wildly Expensive Mac Pro
Apple has already promised a Mac Pro for power users. And chances are, that desktop computer will be its most powerful yet. But since this year’s iMac Pro starts at $5,000 and tops out at more than $13,000, look for the Mac Pro to be even more expensive. Is a $20,000 Mac Pro in the works?
Apple, the Political Machine
Apple hasn’t been shy about taking on President Donald Trump on everything from the environment to immigration. And I doubt that will change next year. I think Apple views itself as a cultural leader with a political voice. And it might get louder in 2018.
A Big Acquisition (or Two)
Shareholders worried about China, iPhone sales, and the Mac have been calling on Apple to make a game-changing acquisition for quite some time. But Apple has so far balked. I think that will change in 2018 and Apple could make one or two big acquisitions. My guess: A major acquisition in the entertainment and/or original content spaces.