What to Expect From Apple's Big 2019 iPhone Event

Screenshot: Apple

We’re days away from Apple’s big annual iPhone party. It’s safe to assume we’re about to learn a whole lot more about this year’s models. But what else is there to learn? This Apple event doesn’t have the massive groundswell of hype September Apple events usually do. We know we’ll get phones with a big camera bump that will probably be as divisive as the notch, and we know that Apple is rolling out its new TV+ service in October, so there’s bound to be some news about that. What else could there be?

The event kicks off Tuesday, September 10, at 10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET. I’ll be at the show in Cupertino, and we’ll be liveblogging the whole thing starting about an hour before.

Here’s what we think we know about what’s coming.

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New iPhones

As noted earlier this week, we’re probably not getting an iPhone SE until next year. But that’s okay because it seems like we’ll be getting three new phones. The previous generation models were called the XR, XS, and XS Max, with the “X” pronounced “ten” in each case. The biggest mystery related to the phones might be their names. X1 is a possibility. So is 11, or XI.

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As in 2018, there will be one phone with a 6.1-inch LCD, as well as 5.8-inch and 6.5-inch OLED phones. The OLED phones are also expected to come with a telephoto, wide-angle, and super-wide-angle cameras on the back, and be half a millimeter thicker than the previous models according to Bloomberg.

These would be the first triple camera phones from Apple—nearly 18 months after Huawei launched the first triple camera phone, the P20 Pro. Apple’s has felt like its been lagging in the camera department, especially in the last year. Huawei launched the P20 Pro in April 2018, and Google released the innovative Night Sight feature back in November 2018. Both features took computational photography to impressive new places.

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As before, the LCD phone will likely cost less. It will only have a telephoto and wide-angle camera, according to an earlier Bloomberg report. That would still be an upgrade over the XR, which only has a single camera on the back. All three phones will have a new A13 processor.

MacRumors and analyst Ming-Chi Kuo both claim that all three phones will supposedly drop the glossy finish and opt for a matte finish that could be more durable. But the matte finish shouldn’t disrupt the phones’ ability to charge wirelessly, and Kuo claims that the phones will also charge AirPods in a pinch.

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Face ID will also supposedly be improved, according to Kuo. Bloomberg and Kuo both claim Touch ID will almost certainly not be present.

9to5Mac claims Apple will kill 3D Touch as it reportedly contributes to phone thickness. In its stead, we should see a new haptic system based on the one first introduced iPhone XR.

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New Apple TV

TV+, Apple’s new streaming service, and Arcade, its new game subscription service, are both expected to launch in the fall. So it makes sense that the company would launch a new Apple TV that can be used to enjoy both services.

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The TV typically uses processors deployed in relatively recent iPhones. The current high-end Apple TV, the TV 4K, uses an A10 processor from 2016. According to MacRumors, leaker @never_released claims a new TV will be launched this year and have the A12 processor launched in last years iPhones.

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TV+ Pricing

We have a good idea of how much Apple Arcade will cost ($5) thanks to a 9to5Mac report, but there’s still a big question mark when it comes to TV+. Bloomberg reported it will cost $10 a month. Which makes sense given that’s the pricing of News+ and Apple Music.

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The service will be competing with more mature fare, like Netflix, and new services with enormous back catalogs like Disney+ and HBO Max. It will also be dealing with a widely reported issue of puritanical self-censorship. In the absence of really compelling content or a deep catalog, aggressive pricing might be one of the levers Apple can pull to get people to buy in.

With the expected TV news, it makes sense that Apple would drop the price at the Apple event. And who knows, it might even tell us when these services are going to launch.

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Ceramic Watches

The Apple Watch got a significant update in 2018 with a splashy new ECG feature. So far there aren’t many rumors suggesting the Watch will change much in its 2019 refresh. Bloomberg even claims the changes will primarily have to do with the OS, which was already announced back at WWDC.

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The only thing that seems both likely and notable is that there could be a new ceramic model.

16-inch MacBook

We’ve been hearing rumors of a 16-inch Macbook for a while now. Digitimes claims it will fit the same dimensions as the current 15-inch MacBook Pro, which would likely mean Apple is finally embracing super-slim bezels on its laptops.

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An IHS Market report published by Forbes claims the display will have a 3,072 by 1,920 resolution, while 9t05Mac seems to think it will share the same H-series 9th-gen Intel processor that the current 15-inch MacBook Pro has. Ming-Chi Kuo also claims that it will launch this fall and include new key switches.

But it’s not clear if the laptop will launch at the iPhone event or be reserved for an event later this fall instead.

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New iPads

The idea of a second event starts to make sense when you consider that Apple is also planning to launch new iPads. So the September event could be for iPhones, Watches, and TVs, and a theoretical future event could be for laptops, tablets—and maybe even a proper launch for the new Mac Pro.

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The $330 iPad got a lovely refresh in March 2018, but rumors point to a new iPad, which expands the screen size from 9.7 inches to 10.2 inches. Bloomberg claims that the iPad should come this fall.

It also claims that the iPad Pro will get a refresh too—but that will likely just be updated cameras and processors. This one’s supported by regulatory filings spied earlier this year.

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Have a good idea of what’s coming at the Apple event? You can always drop me a line at alex.cranz@gizmodo.com or via SecureDrop. Otherwise, I’ll be at Apple’s event on Tuesday, September 10, and Gizmodo will be covering all the news coming from the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino.

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About the author

Alex Cranz

Senior Reviews Editor. Trained her dog to do fist bumps. Once wrote for Lifetime. Tips encouraged via Secure Drop, Proton Mail, or DM for Signal.