Apple is about to hold its biggest event of the year. It will show off the new iPhone – it’s most important product by some way – as well as a range of other things besides.
There are some things we know for sure: Apple will hold the event in its new Steve Jobs Theater. Tim Cook will spend some time showing off big numbers that demonstrate Apple’s success. There’ll be some light jokes and plenty of grand-sounding adjectives. And everything will kick off at 10am on Wednesday, 12 September.
But none of that will matter in the long run. What will matter are the products, and here’s what we think they might be. We’ll find out the definitive answer when Apple takes to the stage, which you can follow live with The Independent.
The big one, and the star of the show. It will literally be the big one, if leaks are to be believed: this year we’ll not only get an update to the iPhone X, but also a much bigger version of that same update, equivalent to the recent Plus models.
The features of that phone are largely unknown: while there have been snatches of information about the new model, they have mostly been minor and not especially interesting. That might partly be because Apple is being more secretive, but it might also be simply because there isn’t all that much to say.
But the outside, and its name, were spoiled last week, apparently by Apple itself accidentally making secret marketing materials available to the public. They showed that the phone will be gold, and called the XS.
Little else was revealed. But it was also interesting in what it didn’t show: there was no radical redesign, no changes to the display, no special new features on show. All of that appeared to suggest that it will be very much an “S” year for this phone, packing in everything that’s new into the inside and doing little to the outside.
The 8S – or whatever it is called – is a little more of an unknown quantity. What we do know is that it will take the general design of the iPhone X but remove some of its more premium features such as its rich OLED display, that it will be roughly in the middle of the XS and XS Plus in terms of size, and that it will be the cheapest of the new devices.
We don’t know what it will be called, or how Apple will position the strange little and cheap phone. All that remains to be seen next week, pending any more embarrassing leaks from inside Apple.
Apple Watch Series 4
The Apple Watch might be the real dark horse of the event: it won’t get the attention of the iPhone, of course, but it looks set for much more extreme and interesting redesign.
Leaked images show that the screen could wrap across the entire front of the phone, allowing it to pack in vast amounts more information. In a year of such a redesign, its unlikely there will be any more radical changes to the inside or the features – it will get faster, probably, but not get anything much besides that – but it will be the first time the Watch has been redesigned since it was first introduced, all the way back in 2014.
The real innovation might not be in the big products at all, but the accessories that go alongside them.
The most exciting will be AirPower, Apple’s long-promised and lesser-spotted charging mat for iPhones and Apple Watches. That was first revealed at the iPhone 8 and X event, with the promise that it would be coming soon – but it’s not turned up. It should arrive at this event, and if it doesn’t and isn’t mentioned at all it might be time to assume that it isn’t coming at all.
As well as that, there could be updates to the AirPods wireless earphones. At the very least, they’ll need a new case that will allow them to charge through the AirPower mat, but it’s possible that they will have extra features as well.
Keep an eye out for the usual updates too: new cases for the new iPhones, and updates straps for the Apple Watch.
Updated iPad Pro
Apple’s tablet line is set for an upgrade, too, and it seems likely that one will arrive very soon.
There have been clues that Apple is readying a new version of its tablet, even in Apple’s own software. That has brought the tablet more towards the way the iPhone X works – borrowing some of the ways users navigate around without a home button – leading many to suggest that the company will inevitably bring the same design changes to the iPad as well.
That will mean slimming down or completely getting rid of the bezels around the screen, and dropping the home button.
But this might have their own event, next month, at least if Apple’s previous form is anything to go by. The iPhone launch might get a bit busy with all of these products, and Apple might instead opt to give them their own chance to shine at a smaller event in a few weeks.
Apple’s pro users have long been waiting for new computers. But if there is an October event, then these will be left until then too.
Whenever they arrive, the updates will be plenty. There have been rumours of an update to the MacBook Air – still incredibly popular and remarkably cheap, but at this point severely lacking in updates including the Retina Display – as well as a new version of the Mac Mini.
In the longer term, there’s the promise of a new Mac Pro, too. But that’s unlikely to turn up at this event, or the October one, or for quite some time after that. Apple has however been unusually transparent about the development of this machine, so it wouldn’t be a complete surprise if they decided to mention it.
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