The big day has finally almost arrived. In just about 24 hours, Apple CEO Tim Cook and company will take the stage at the Steve Jobs Theater to unveil all of the new things we’re going to be putting on our holiday wish lists. And we’ll all be able to watch the Apple event live as it happens.
But what are those new things? As usual, the By Innovation Only invitation offers few clues as to what Apple has in store for us, but thankfully that’s not all we have to go on. A steady stream of rumors, a couple iOS 13 ciphers, and some good, old-fashioned intuition give us a pretty good idea of what we can expect from the big show tomorrow, in order of likelihood.
Well, duh. It’s the second week in September, a slot that Apple has used to unveil the new iPhone ever since the iPhone 5 in 2012. Even if we didn’t have a lengthy list of rumors about it, we’d bet everything we have that iPhones are arriving tomorrow. But we do have a lengthy list of rumors, so we pretty much know everything about them already:
Name: Likely iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max.
Design: The design is expected to be the same as the current iPhone XR, XS, XS Max with one exception: a frosted glass back.
Sizes: Identical to the current lineup.
Camera: This is likely the marquee new feature. All three models are expected to pick up an extra lens, with the iPhone XR replacement getting a second lens and the upper models getting three, including an ultra wide lens.
Performance: As always, the new iPhones will get a new chip, the A13, which will bring speed and graphics boosts. There are rumors of a “matrix” co-processor that will handle AI and AR-related tasks as well, which will free up the main processor for phone-related tasks.
Charging: All three models will obviously have both wireless charging (which debuted two years ago), but they’re also expected to gain reverse wireless charging. That means you’ll be able to use the back of the new iPhones to charge an old iPhone or a pair of AirPods in a wireless charging case. Apple is also expected to finally include a better USB power adapter in the box, so you’ll be able to charge your phone quicker.
5G: The new iPhones will most likely not have a 5G modem this year.
Colors: There are rumors of a new green and lavender colors making an appearance.
Apple Pencil: With the presumed launch of a pro model, the new iPhone 11 Pro models might gain Pencil support, as well as a smaller stylus made for the iPhone.
Price: Likely the same as the current lineup, starting at $740 for the iPhone 11 and $999 for the iPhone 11 Pro.
For the past three years, Apple has used its September event to update the Apple Watch, so you can bet some stage time will be devoted to the next generation of Apple’s best-selling wearable. How much time is the question. After bringing LTE with Series 3 and a larger screen with Series 4, there aren’t too many obvious upgrades for this year’s Apple Watch.
The more persistent report is sleep tracking, an overdue feature that has been rumored to be in the works for a while. However, without a bigger battery, you’ll likely need to either charge your watch before bed or keep a second around just for sleep tracking. That’s not exactly a key selling point, so it’s possible sleep tracking launches in beta or is teased for watchOS 6.1.
There are also reports of new materials such as ceramic and titanium, but it’s unclear whether the new cases will warrant a fill Series 5 designation. It’s looking very likely that Apple keeps the Series 4 branding for another year.
It’s been six months since Apple officially unveiled Apple TV+, its long-awaited streaming service, and with a November launch looming, there’s still a lot about it we don’t know. So Apple could use this event to tell is a few things about it, most notably how much it’s going to cost. We’re also hoping to hear about which shows will be available at launch, whether seasons will arrive all at once or weekly, and whether there will be any bundle discounts.
The other service that’s ready to launch is Apple Arcade, but like Apple TV+, but we still don’t have a full list of games or a price. We expect that to change on Tuesday.
The Apple TV device hasn’t received an update since the 4K model landed two years ago, so it’s possible that a new model arrives this week. There hasn’t been much in way of rumors about it—except for one recent vague rumor about a new designation—but a new processor will certainly help run Apple Arcade, and we wouldn’t be mad about a new remote either.
There’s enough smoke to suggest that Apple is developing a Bluetooth tracker to compete with Tile. Some code inside iOS 13 shows pictures of a circular tracker with an Apple logo in the middle, as well a new “Items” tab in the Find My app. Along with Bluetooth, Tags could also use ultra Wideband technology to be more accurate at pinpointing the location of a lost item indoors, as well as tap into the network of iPhone users around the globe to find things out go Bluetooth range.
While we know that an iPad Pro update is in the works, it’s not likely that it makes an appearance at this event. Apple generally holds a second fall event in mid- to late-October that’s dedicated to the iPad and Mac.
Every Apple event brings the hope that we will be surprised with something that we didn’t see coming, but the bigger Apple gets, the harder it is. However, there’s a glimmer of hope at this event. Twitter user CoinX, who’s 14 posts since November 2017 have nailed Apple rumors like the iPad mini revival and the weight of the iPhone XS Max, posted a cryptic tweet on Sept. 4 that simply ready, “but there’s one more thing” – Steve Jobs”. Whether that means there’s a surprise in store or it’s one of the things we already know is anyone’s guess, but make sure you stay tuned until the end of the event.
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Michael Simon has been covering Apple since the iPod was the iWalk. His obsession with technology goes back to his first PC—the IBM Thinkpad with the lift-up keyboard for swapping out the drive. He's still waiting for that to come back in style tbh.