So it’s official: Apple is hosting its first fall event of 2022 – Apple’s iPhone launch event will take place on September 7. The tagline is “Far Out,” but does Apple still have the capacity to really think different?
At this point we’re reasonably sure that iPhone 14 models and new Apple Watches will be the keynote’s headline announcements. But this is standard stuff: given that this will be the seventh fall in a row we’ve had a new watch from Cupertino, and the twelfth we’ve had a new phone, it’s hard to see how either of those would qualify as the dictionary definition of Far Out.
There are other items on Apple’s list that could feasibly be announced in September: the second-gen AirPods Pro, the tenth-gen iPad, or the next version of the Apple TV. But none of these would be especially Far Out either. They’re simply the next installments off the conveyor belt for three of Apple’s most popular product franchises. Those wouldn’t surprise anyone.
Part of the problem is that Apple’s every move is analyzed within an inch of its life. There’s an entire Apple-focused media ecosystem to feed, and the slightest hint of a plausible prediction or a reliable supply-chain leak leads to numerous articles and endless social-media speculation. In that context, it’s virtually impossible for the company to launch something completely unexpected.
Still: there are a few long-shot possibilities that would make watching journalists say things like “gosh!” and “scoop!” and “stop the presses!” None of these are likely, mind you. In fact, if the company announces any of the first four, we will eat our (metaphorical) hats. But here are five Apple products that would genuinely qualify as Far Out.
Foldables are big news at the moment, with Samsung having recently unveiled the fourth generation of its Z Flip and Z Fold handsets to rapturous reviews. But as we’ve explained on many occasions, Apple seems happy to let this trend pass it by.
But maybe the company has merely been biding its time? Imagine the uproar if Tim Cook introduced the iFold as One More Thing at the end of the keynote.
Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry
This really was a curious one. Normally Apple believes in secrecy, announcing products then launching them within weeks. But AirPower was announced so prematurely that it never actually launched at all, with insurmountable technical problems believed to be the cause.
There have been rumors since that AirPower will be resurrected in some form. And what could be more Far Out than releasing a product five years after it was announced?
A gaming console
The success of the App Store made Apple arguably the biggest games company in the world, yet it’s never seemed to really understand the sector. Even Apple Arcade has been beset with problems, and gaming always seems to be an afterthought in Apple’s plans.
But maybe that’s about to change. The company’s last gaming-dedicated hardware was the Pippin 25 years ago, but rumormongers continue to predict the launch of a new Apple games console. Perhaps we’re about to see it for the first time.
We know that Apple has been working on a car project: it’s the worst-kept secret in the tech sector. But we’ve got very little idea when the Apple Car will actually appear. Indeed, given the project’s manysetbacks, we have to face the fact that it may never appear at all. Apple may end up settling for a software role, working on its second-gen version of CarPlay for other firms’ vehicles.
So we wouldn’t expect Tim Cook to drive the Apple Car on stage on September 7, or any time before the end of next year. Still, it would be pretty Far Out if he did.
The AR/VR headset
Let’s finish with one possibility that has a (small) chance of actually happening. Apple is fascinated by AR and VR, and will almost certainly launch a headset across one or both areas in the next couple of years. It could even happen before the end of 2022, or very early in 2023–which might just about suit a teaser in September.
Would Apple squeeze it into the same event as the iPhone 14 and Apple Watch Series 8? That seems unwise, given the risk that each would cannibalise the others’ news headlines, and we’d expect a separate event instead. But in terms of possible announcements that qualify as genuine Far Out surprises, this is by far the most plausible we can think of.