Apple is supposedly is preparing to overhaul its key product trifecta: the iPhone, the iPad and iMac, as well as the MacBook Air in 2012. The report, based on the tech giant’s “upstream supply chain,” echos existing chatter the company will unveil new versions of its products in the coming year.
According to the Taiwan-based industry publication DigiTimes, there will be enough next-generation iPad parts for 2 million tablets by the end of 2011. Suppliers are asked to provide flat panel modules and LED light bars for two prototypes for now codenamed J1 and J2.
New versions of the iPhone and iMac won’t be seen until the second half of next year, according to the report.
Much of this can be filed under ‘duh,’ having already been the topic of much speculation. An updated iPhone will almost certainly appear in 2012, especially given the ho-hum reviews of the iPhone 4S, a near clone of the existing iPhone 4. This should also answer those consumers who bought into the flood of rumors that Apple would unveil an “iPhone 5” that was a top-to-bottom remake of the iconic smartphone. The same goes for the iPad, which many have predicted will receive a new Retina Display.
However, 2012 could be the year the iMac overshadows the MacBook Pro, a category increasingly marginalized with the growth of both the desktop iMac and the MacBook Air. The new iMac could ditch its optical drive, which often becomes nearly useless after a few years thanks to construction issues, other reports suggest. Not only would this remove a support headache, but it would further align the product with Apple’s growing cloud-centered vision. As more and more apps are delivered by downloads, rather than via DVD or CD, an optical drive becomes like an appendix — no longer needed and just a pain.
All-in-all, no unexpected news and much to be welcomed by Apple consumers. Which product overhaul are you most excited by?.