My Apple-related predictions for 2016: Macs, OS X

I've stared into my crystal ball and this is what I see happening in regards to Apple in the coming 12 months when it comes to OS X and Macs.

The iMac will, of course, be revved with faster Skylake processors and get updated graphics (sorry, but no 8K display). I don’t expect the basic design to change (can Apple make it any thinner?). iMacs will continue to ship with either Fusion or flash drives. However, expect this to be the final year for the former. In 2017, all Macs will come only in flash drive models. I also think we’ll see Lightning and USB-C connectivity come to the all-in-one.

Although less likely, I’m going out on a limb here and predicting that, for the first time in years, the iMac will be available in a variety of colors: space, silver, and rose gold, and perhaps others. I also think — and I’m even further out on a limb here — that the iMac will gain the ability to charge Apple accessories by resonant charging. Apple has filed for a patent — “Wireless Power Utilization in a Local Computing Environment” — that shows an iMac-like device with a NFMR (Near Field Magnetic Resonance) power supply that charges nearby gadgets wirelessly.

Mac laptops will get 802.11ad support. Also known as WiGig, it isn't aimed at replacing your wireless network. Instead it's designed to aid your existing Wi-Fi by providing a fast, direct link between devices. See my report for details.

All Mac laptops will adopt the USB-C port introduced with the 12-inch MacBook. MacBook Airs and the next gen MacBook will have just one port. MacBook Pros will have two of ‘em, possibly three. (Thunderbolt 3, the new generation of the high-speed connection technology, will be plug compatible with USB-C ports.)

The Mac Pro introduced in 2013 will finally get a refresh. Though the controversial form factor won’t change, Intel should launch its next-generation Xeon E5 v4 processors, also known as Broadwell-EP, early in 2016, and they’ll pop up in new pro desktops. Also, Apple will, at long last, release a 27-inch, 5K Thunderbolt Display. As for the Mac mini, expect a minor update with the small desktop getting Skylake processors.

What of Mac OS X? In writing for Macworld, Jason Snell had the interesting thought that OS X might simply become macOS to fit in with the iOS, tvOS, and watchOS naming scheme. It’s an intriguing idea, but I don’t think it will happen (at least this year). I think the follow-up to El Capitan will be OS X Big Sur. With this release, OS X will finally get Siri support. 

I also expect Big Sur to get Mac ID-style unlocking/log-in capabilities via your fingerprint as iOS devices offer. Also look for refinements and improvements to Handoff and Continuity.

By the way, I expect The Time Capsule and AirPort Extreme will be revved with 802.11 ad (WiGig) support. They will also ditch the USB 2.0 and add some overdue USB ports.

Tomorrow I’ll offer my predictions for iOS and iOS devices.

The Apple crystal ball graphic accompanying this article is courtesy of .