Apple’s iPhone event is coming up fast, and we’re expecting Tim Cook and company to announce far more than just some new handsets. Here’s a quick primer.
The event kicks off at 1PM ET/10AM PT on Tuesday September 12 at the brand new Steve Jobs Theater. You can watch it live on Apple’s website, and as always, we’ll be liveblogging like maniacs starting about an hour or so before the event.
[Update 9/11 @ 8:45 AM] After a massive leak over the weekend, a lot more info has come out about the new iPhones and the Apple Watch, so we’ve updated our story with the latest details.
iPhone: Three new devices on the way
As 2017 marks the 10th Anniversary of the iPhone, the hype and anticipation for Apple’s upcoming phones have reached heights we haven’t really seen since Jobs passed away. Based on info found in a leaked version of the the final build of iOS, Apple is planning on refreshing its current models with the new iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, completely skipping the traditional “s” naming scheme that Apple’s past history would have suggested. These models will sport Apple’s new A11 processor, wireless charging, and glass panels in back, instead of the aluminum bodies we got on the iPhone 6 and 7.
But the iPhone that’s getting all the attention is the third, super premium model dubbed the iPhone X. Rumored features on the 5.8-inch iPhone X include a new portrait lighting photo mode, a bezel-less OLED screen, facial recognition, upgraded dual rear cameras, and more.
HomePod: How deep is Siri tied in?
Apple already announced its foray into the world of digital assistant-enhanced home speakers back at WWDC 2017, but at that time, the main focus of Apple’s HomePod preview was on its audio quality. On Tuesday, we expect Apple to announce additional info on how tightly the HomePod will be integrated with Siri, and what it can and can’t do before it hits stores later this December.
Apple Watch: Same basic design, but with one notable new feature
Apple keeps soldiering on with the Apple Watch, adding new features and functions to its wrist mounted iPhone companion. While reports haven’t mentioned of a completely overhauled model, there have been pretty substantial claims saying Apple will introduce the Apple Watch Series 3 with new 4G LTE connectivity. This would make the Watch much more useful when your phone isn’t nearby, especially for people hoping to use the Apple Watch as a standalone fitness tracker.
Apple TV: Now in 4K
We expect the big news for Apple TV to come in the form of an updated model with support for 4K video. This would be a welcome addition as the current Apple TV is limited to 1080p. Now that Apple reportedly has $1 billion earmarked towards the creation of original content, it’s even more important that Apple TV owners watch those new shows in ultra high-def.
iOS 11: Bringing augmented reality to the masses
After having been in beta for months, Apple will almost surely announce when the final version of iOS 11 will be officially available. iOS 11 includes a number of new features such as improved Live Photos, more room for storage thanks to better compression, a new version of iMessage, revamped notifications and more. But the most interesting thing about iOS11 could be its integration with ARKit, Apple’s new augmented reality platform. ARKit gives developers a powerful and easy way to build AR apps without all the stringent hardware requirements of Google’s failed Tango platform.
iOS 11 will also give iPad owners something to look forward to as it brings a number of welcome improvements including an expanded Dock, a new App Switcher and the Drag and Drop, which will finally let users copy and paste text, links and files between various apps. Apple Pencil support is also getting expanded thanks to new the Instant Markup and Instant Note features.
MacOS: High Sierra should be out soon
Apple is also giving its desktop OS a facelift with the cheekily named macOS High Sierra. Like iOS 11, High Sierra has been in beta since the spring, but we’re expecting Apple to announce an official release date for the new version of macOS on Tuesday as well.
High Sierra won’t include any huge upfront changes, but when it’s finally ready, you’ll be able to enjoy improved versions of Safari and Photos, along with a number of under-the-hood upgrades such as the new Apple File System (APFS) and support for Apple’s Metal 2 graphics API.
Airpods: Maybe a longshot, but a refresh would be nice
In 2016, Apple released its first wireless earbuds, and even though I think they look a lot like Apple simply cut the wires off its standard EarPods, over the past 12 months AirPods have become some of the most popular wireless headphones around. While there haven’t been a ton of rumors discussing the AirPods, a patent granted to Apple mentions biometric sensors built-into the buds. That could provide users with more accurate health and fitness tracking.