‘It’s been way too long’ since Apple updated these products

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Apple's new improved TV could be coming as early as this fall.
Will there be a new Apple TV next week? If so, it's been a long time coming. Photo: Robert S. Donovan/Flickr CC
Photo: Robert S. DonovanFlickr CC

The tagline for next week’s Apple media event is “It’s been way too long.” While that might be nothing more than a sarcastic nod to the fact that Cupertino announced the Apple Watch and iPhone 6 just last month, it could be a cryptic indication that we’ll see updates to some of the company’s neglected products.

Rumors suggest new iPads and Macs will share the stage at Apple’s October 16 event, and we’ll probably get OS X Yosemite’s release date and more talk about iOS 8 and Apple Pay, but what about the rest of the product lineup?

Here’s a look at Apple products currently languishing in update hell, along with some rumors and speculation about what the future might hold.

Thunderbolt Display

Thunderbolt Display
Apple’s Thunderbolt Display is seriously ready for an upgrade. Photo: Nick Heer/Flickr CC

Last update: 1,120 days

Rumored upgrades: Apple hasn’t refreshed its Thunderbolt Display in over three years. And what’s sad is that there really haven’t been many rumors to indicate that an update is imminent.

The unveiling of the new Mac Pro last year seemed like the perfect time for Apple to announce a new display, but nothing was said. Like the iMac, rumors of a Retina Thunderbolt Display have surfaced randomly, but there hasn’t been anything concrete reported about what to expect.

Last month, Digitimes reported that Apple is planning to launch a 27-inch monitor with a jaw-dropping 5,120 x 2,880 5K resolution later this year, but it’s unclear if the display will be put in the iMac or serve as a standalone peripheral. Interestingly, the latest DisplayPort specs are capable of powering such a display, which could mean previous connectivity bottlenecks have been solved.

Apple TV

Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Will Apple TV finally graduate beyond “area of interest?” Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Last update: 946 days

Rumored upgrades: No longer just a “hobby,” the Apple TV is in serious need of some tender loving care. Tim Cook and Co. have repeatedly said TV remains an “area of interest” for the company, and new channels have been steadily added to Apple TV for more than a year. The interface also got a face-lift with the release of iOS 8.

But that’s where the innovation has stopped, at least for those outside Apple’s labs. The Apple TV hasn’t seen a hardware refresh since January 2013. Spec-wise, the set-top box is due for faster Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and it would especially make sense for it to be able to stream 4K video if new displays are announced. On the software side of things, rumors have repeatedly said an app store and gaming enhancements are in the works.

We know Apple has been experimenting with a full-fledged TV set for years, but that project seems to be hinged on unsealed deals with Hollywood and other content providers.

Mac mini

Photo: Tiziano L. U. Caviglia
Apple’s tiny powerhouse needs some love. Photo: Tiziano L. U. Caviglia/Flickr CC

Last update: 716 days

Rumored upgrades: The smallest member of the Mac family seems to have been completely forgotten. But it looks like 2014 could be the year the Mac mini finally gets updated. An Apple support document referenced a 2014 Mac mini back in July, and reports from last month said Apple is planning a refresh alongside new iPads.

If Apple announces a new version next week, the new Mac mini would likely use Intel’s older Haswell processors and forego the more advanced Broadwell lineup coming next year. Shipping with slightly outdated specs would likely help Apple keep the price point below $1,000. Beggars can’t be choosers.

All the iPods

Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Change could be coming on the iPod front, but it’s doubtful. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

The iPod has been in a weird funk for the last couple of years. Seeing new iPods used to be a tradition around this time each year, but Apple’s focus (and margins) have shifted toward the iPhone. Now iPod sales aren’t even mentioned during Apple’s quarterly results.

The iPod nano hasn’t been updated in 394 days, and there haven’t been any rumors to suggest we’ll see a refresh next week. The fate of the iPod shuffle remains equally unknown, but it’s likely that both will go the way of the Classic.

And what about the iPod touch? Some minor spec bumps were introduced in June, but it’s been a while since we’ve seen any significant innovation to match the iPhone’s advancements. This time of year used to be iPod season, but those days are long gone.

  • Ali Fawaz

    The only reasonable one would be the Apple TV.
    iPods sales are declining and the product is nearing it’s grave, Mac-mini and Thunderbolt Display are minor products and won’t get an event of their own

    • jonathanober

      are they declining because of popularity or because they haven’t been updated in a long time and the people that wanted them have them? Seems short sighted to say the sales are declining when most everything declines after a certain life cycle and the initial sales have happened.

      • Ali Fawaz

        I would say they are declining because most people don’t need them anymore, adults have iPhones which do everything the iPod does (and more) and kids are using their (or their parents’) iPads for playing and doing whatever kids do.
        There are a few people who actually need an iPod, and their numbers are only reducing

      • jonathanober

        really? A few people and numbers reducing? There will always been teens in this world, which is where I see most of the ipod usage. They can slip them in their pockets, text on wifi and play games/listen to music. Unless we start killing teens at mass in the Hunger Games…their numbers will not reduce.

      • Ali Fawaz

        Right, but these teens are getting iPhones and iPads which take care of the job perfectly

      • jonathanober

        not the teens I work with. There’s 350 at my church in Junior and Senior High and 75% or more own iPod touches and not iphones. If they do have a phone it’s not a smart phone. Wifi is so prevalent that having the phone plan doesn’t make sense for them.

  • MegaTruthToday

    Apple does not have battery, see Samsung provides 23 percent Apple product battery……

  • ChickieBabe

    I have an IPod Touch, and a Mac mini, and the dollars I spent on them are as significant as the dollars spent on other Apple products. Also, I had a much better experience with my Zune, and the mini was just trading one set of problems (Windows) for a different set of problems. It will be awhile before I can afford to change out my system, but I will be abandoning Apple completely.

    • Good for you. Enjoy your Zune and Windows XP. :)

    • Brandon

      Great words. Congrats on the Zune.

    • I am not sure if its a joke so I can laugh, or not, so I would cry….

  • MaskedRacerX

    I’m a little surprised at the iPT not getting revised. I thought for sure it would at least go A6 last year, then maybe A7 once the new iP6 was announced. Maybe get the M7 and a camera update, but retain the same form factor (which is excellent). Now I’m wondering about the possibility of a new iPT with one of the [new] larger sized displays.

  • Ed

    it says “its been a long time” on the invite. I think everyone who has been waiting for a particular product will be happy

    • HashtagHEEL

      Thinking about the Apple TV (not the media box)? That won’t happen.

  • Drew

    iPods need a 4G module

    • Ali Fawaz

      there is a model that has one, its called the iPhone

  • I’m hoping Apple will at very least create a 27″ Thunderbolt display with the same anti-glare screen that is used on the latest iMac line. I’ve been sticking with my aging 20″ and 30″ aluminum Cinema Displays because I don’t like the reflectivity issues of the current displays. This would be a relatively easy switch out of screens to their existing product. It might be nice to bring back a 21.5″ model as well. I’d buy these new monitors in a heartbeat to connect with my new black Mac Pro. I think that the new displays coupled with a souped up Mac mini are long overdue, to make the “It’s been way too long” title make sense.

  • RyanTV

    Props on having Northern Exposure on the screen of the iPod. My favorite mix album of all time.

  • Cam Bunton

    Think you may have added an extra year on to your Apple TV “days since” figure. ;-) It’s only been a year and 9 months. Not 2 years and 9 months.

  • Jeff

    White Keyed Aluminum Keyboards and Mouse

  • I just want it there to be a 27″ Thunderbolt display with Anti-Glare coating, Thunderbolt 2 connectivity, MagSafe 2 and USB 3, dont like my chances, but hey we can all hope. Then just for the Broadwell Macbook Pro’s

  • Delphiglo

    I’m nervous now! I expected them to release the 6th generation along side the iPhone; also not expecting the Apple Watch… Now that the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus look kinda like the 5th generation’s design, what will the 6th generation look like? I have doubts they will release a new generation iPod, but they need to. An iPod is a great alternative to an iPhone, which I use to act like an iPhone, since they’re so expensive! Also, no other major blogs even mentions a new iPod, which makes me believe it might be true. They somehow knew an Apple Watch would be announced… Even though iPods aren’t racking up as much revenue as before, it still makes profit. I have an old 4th generation, and if they announce a 6th generation, I know I’m going to buy it.

    But will they have enough time to review Yosemite, announce upgrades to iPads and Macs, all while announcing new iPods? I can’t afford an iPhone, and an iPad won’t fit in my teenage pockets.

  • lala

    I think if they dont unveil a new ipod touch at the ipad event then you can be sure the ipod line will be killed next year.ipod sales are falling through the roof these days,they make up just 1% of revenue compared to mac(15%)

  • William Kosch

    What exactly were the spec bumps to the iPod touch 5? It’s still running an A5 processor and 5 megapixel camera and iPhone 5 display. Unless you’re counting the 16GB introduction?