8) An iPhone SE 2
Apple's smartphones keep getting bigger and bigger, and the biggest yet could come later this year – but the iPhone SE (shown) remains a welcome respite in the lineup. It's a properly compact phone, and downright tiny compared to the other iPhones.
But it's been more than two years since the iPhone SE released, and it's still running the same tech from some time ago. When will we see an update? Rumours started surging earlier this year, suggesting a revision with a similar overall approach albeit with glass backing, more power, and a better camera.
However, when WWDC came and went in June without an announcement, the growing hype certainly deflated a bit... and that's doubly true now that the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR all shipped without an SE 2 alongside. Is it time to say R.I.P. to tiny iPhones?
9) New iPod Touch
Everyone today has a smartphone, right? So why, then, would Apple make another dedicated iPod? It's a fair argument, yet rumours are swirling around a supposed update. It's been four years since the last one.
Why bother? Well, the iPod Touch can be an ideal gateway device for kids and anyone who doesn't want or need a smartphone, and it could be the cheapest Apple device for accessing the App Store, iTunes, and Apple's other profitable digital services. We'd be a little surprised to see it surface, but again, it makes reasonable business sense…
10) A phone with a stylus
Steve Jobs famously slammed stylus-driven phones, saying, "If you see a stylus, they blew it" – but in the post-Jobs era, Apple has gone against its late founder's whims at times. And this could be the most significant example of all.
According to Korean publication The Investor, Apple has been talking to stylus makers about a partnership to build an iPhone with an included stylus. Why Apple wouldn't just make a smaller Apple Pencil to work with the iPhone is a bit perplexing, but hey, that's what the report claims.
It suggests that we could see the result by 2019, but we don't know… Apple has done plenty fine with its smartphones without needing a stylus, and Samsung's Galaxy Note 9 (shown) still seems pretty niche.
On the other hand, an August 2018 report claimed that the new OLED iPhone models will support the Apple Pencil, which - portability aside - might make this whole thing moot. Or maybe that's what this whole thing was about in the first place.
11) A streaming TV service
For years, Apple was rumoured to be creating its own streaming TV service to complement its set-top box, and the rumours flared up again in 2015. Reports said that Apple would cobble together a cheaper package of channels like Sling TV or PlayStation Vue, and sell it for much less than the average cable or satellite subscription.
But the plan hit some snags, it seems: channel operators pushed back, and wouldn't give Apple the prices it wanted to be able to deliver cheap bundles. Still, Les Moonves, CEO of American broadcast network CBS, seems confident: "This will happen," he said in December 2015. (It still hasn't happened.)
Rumours are heating up again in early 2019, especially following Apple's spending spree on original content over the last year or two. The Information suggests that the service will now launch this spring.
12) An all-seeing HomePod
And that one, reportedly, will be able to see you. According to Nikkei Asian Review, Apple's HomePod supplier Inventec Appliances says it expects home speakers to pack in facial recognition in the future, allowing them to automatically adjust settings based on who's in view. Analysts suggest they're talking about a future version of the HomePod.
Of course, the iPhone XS has Face ID, so this could be an extrapolation of this. And at £319, the first-gen HomePod is already in premium pricing territory. We're not sure there's significant value in facial recognition on a home speaker, but anything's possible.
13) A 3D sensor for iPhones
Now here's an Apple augmented reality move that seems a lot more sensible. According to Bloomberg, Apple plans to outfit iPhones with a new 3D sensor that'll help improve mobile AR experiences. The report pegs 2019 as the year Apple rolls out this feature with new iPhones.
What's the plan? Well, supposedly Apple is working on a laser-centric approach, with the sensor firing off loads of lasers and then building a 3D picture of your surroundings based on how long it takes for the lasers to bounce off of objects. You won't see these lasers, though… and they won't destroy everything around you (presumably).
It's actually not far off from how the True Depth camera system works on the iPhone X, and with both equipped, these new iPhones will be AR masters from the front and back. Neat.
14) A self-sealing iPhone
The iPhone XS and XR are thankfully water-resistant, but Apple is reportedly working on some next-generation weatherproofing powers. That's according to a patent application discovered in 2015.
That application shows Apple's concept for "self-healing" rubber port enclosures, which split apart when you insert a headphone jack or Lightning cable. When removed, they expand back to their normal shape, thus closing up the holes. Granted, the headphone port is now long gone with the last couple iPhone models, but adding something like that to the Lightning port could save some accidentally-submerged phones from the scrap heap.
15) A gaming subscription service
A report from Cheddar cites multiple sources claiming that Apple is in the early stages of preparing a gaming subscription service, in which App Store users could pay a monthly fee to gain unlimited access to games, or perhaps special content or privileges within.
Apple makes heaps of money off of iOS games these days, but the company has long seemed incredibly indifferent towards gaming. The App Store has a pretty strong gaming focus now, however, so maybe Apple has turned a new leaf on gaming… but we're still pretty skeptical that this will ever materialize.