Carolina Milanesi, writing for Techpinions:

There is a lot of speculation about the "iPhone 8" and what Apple should be focusing on in 2017 in order to stay ahead of the game or, for some, barely keep up with competition. Despite some safe bets on the new iPhone features that can be extrapolated from supply-chain clues, guessing, even correctly, what Apple will do is almost as unlikely as winning the lottery. I thought, however, that looking at the 2016 acquisitions would give us more than a clue as to where Apple will focus in the future and I share my wish list of what I would like to see come out of Cupertino.

She goes through Emotient, LearnSprout, Flyby Media, LegbaCore, Carpool Karaoke, Turi, Gliimpse, Tuplejump, and Indoor.io. One of the parts that sticks out to me most, though, is this:

Artificial intelligence is probably the best example of how different the expectations vs. what Apple delivers might be. For many, artificial intelligence simply boils down to how smart Siri is. However, intelligence in devices is expressed in many different ways. Learning which color emoji is your preference, learning your most likely route at a given time of the day, understanding a reference to a time and a place in an email and setting up an appointment for you are all examples of how "intelligence" can be used to make our experiences better.

There's an ongoing thread in the community that Apple is somehow late, behind, or hamstrung when it comes to Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (MI). No one with any actual knowledge of Apple's AI/ML efforts thinks this, of course, but because Apple has been so tight-lipped in the past, competitors putting it center-stage in 2016, made that the easy if pessimistic take.

Tim Cook let something slip last year, though, about how Apple AI was already doing things like improving battery life.

When you think about the stack Apple controls, from interface down to silicon, it makes Siri literally only the tip of the iceberg. What's buried in the chips, I think, will turn out to be even more important over the next few years.

The rest of Carolina's list is just as interesting. Give it a read.