According to a report from AllThingsD, Apple will be taking the lid off of its new iPhone a month from today, on September 10th. Save the date for what should be a big day—especially if it's not the only debut Apple's got up its sleeve.
While Apple rumors are as Apple rumors does, AllThingsD is as reliable a source as you're going to get outside of Cupertino itself. But even if the date is certain, plenty of questions remain as to what, exactly, we'll see there. Here's our best bet for now.
If there's one thing Apple—and Tim Cook, in particular—is good at, it's squeezing every last ounce of utility out of the supply chain. That means that while other companies might switch up design (and with it, manufacturing processes) every year or more, Apple's generally content to stick with the same basic shape for at least two generations. Think 3G/3GS, 4/4S.
That means the headliner should basically be an iPhone 5 with better internals and a few key embellishments, and rumored leaked parts have so far backed that theory up. The biggest change for the vast majority of iPhone buyers will be iOS 7, which we already know pretty much everything about.
On the hardware side, you can expect to see a faster processor, better battery, improved camera; you know, the standard spec bumps. The one major change on the hardware side may be biometric security in the form of a fingerprint reader. Apple purchased a company that specializes in just that a year ago, and code indicating that fingerprint scanning is a strong iPhone 5S potentiality is hidden deep in the bowels of iOS 7.
All of which sounds fairly standard, not likely to make much of a splash. But you know what might?
Rumors of a "budget" iPhone have been escalating for the last two years; the WSJ has been one of its major proponents. But it didn't seem likely until more recently, when cheaper Android phones began to gobble up Apple's marketshare in earnest (particularly in the crucial Asian market). Enter the iPhone 5c.
Here's what we think we know about the budget iPhone: It will have a plastic shell. It will be cheap, but maybe not as cheap as you think. And it might come in a wonderful array of colors. As our friend Martin Hajek speculates:
As for internals, there are fewer credible sources. But it seems likely—given, again, Apple's supply chain cleverness—that it will have the same guts as at least an iPhone 4S.
One More Thing?
There are plenty of rumored Apple projects out there; an iWatch (someday!), a television (probably not!), an updated iPad and iPad mini. Should we anticipate seeing one of them in a month? Anything could happen—but these probably won't.
While an iWatch seems inevitable, it seems unlikely that Apple is far enough along in its development to have a product ready to announce in four short weeks. As for an Apple HDTV, it's far from likely that such a product will ever exist, but it certainly won't happen before Apple locks in meaningful deals with content providers—something it hasn't yet come close to.
As for the iPad and iPad mini, their release cycles have gotten unpredictable enough that they could show up now or next spring. If they do come along on September 10th, don't expect much more than a spec bump for either.
Still though, the iPhones should be more than enough—especially if there really is, for the first time, more than one of them.