It is 7 September and, with typical Apple showmanship and fanfare, the tech giant is set to unveil its latest generation of mobile devices. Here’s what you can expect.
At 10am PT, which is 6pm here in Ireland, the show will begin with CEO Tim Cook bounding onto the stage, and what will follow will be two hours of reveals and demos as Cook and top Apple execs cycle through the latest innovations.
This year, a host of conflicting rumours have suggested three iPhone devices could be revealed, we expect a long overdue overhaul of Apple Watch and possibly new iPad Pro devices.
Here’s what we are betting on.
1. Welcome to the iPhone 7
Okay, the rumour mill has been pretty frenetic about what shape or form the iPhone 7 will take. There have been rumours of a new category of devices, including an iPhone 6 SE to an iPhone 7 Pro with a dual camera.
The broad consensus is that the new iPhone 7 generation will be little different in look or shape from the iPhone 6 generation, except for one thing, there will be no audio jack.
The 3.5mm audio jack has been with us for 52 years now, since it launched with portable FM radios, and it is the oldest piece of tech you will find on a modern smartphone. This actually makes phones unnecessarily bulky. With the removal of a 3.5mm audio jack, the iPhone 7 devices could actually be the slimmest iPhones ever released.
According to Irish trademark lawyer Brian Conroy, Apple has filed trademarks for just two devices, an iPhone 7 and an iPhone 7 Plus.
All eyes should be really on what Apple does next year in 2017, the 10th anniversary of the launch of the iPhone.
2. Hark now hear the Airpods sing
Apple has been long overdue a new piece of hardware to launch and again, thanks to Conroy, we have learned that Apple has filed a trademark application for two kinds of new wireless listening devices called Airpods.
Apple isn’t shy when it comes to ridding itself of older connectors and adaptors, such as its move to a new kind of charger with the iPhone 5 back in 2012.
Ridding itself of the 52-year-old audio jack will no doubt require a wireless solution.
Motorola is already out of the gates on this one with its $200 VerveOnes, which were unveiled at Mobile World Congress this year.
Being Apple, the Airpods probably aren’t going to be cheap and it remains to be seen if they come included with the new iPhone models or will be sold separately.
3. Thunderbolt and Lightning, USB-C is frightening!
On the Mac front, Apple is already reaping the rewards of making the move to a USB-C Lightning connector because it doubles as a power adaptor and a data transfer lead, freeing up vital space for components in its Mac notebooks.
Many rival smartphone makers, including Samsung and Huawei, have already made the move to USB-C connectors because the main advantage is they enable speedier charging, for example.
It’s a bit of a wild guess, but it will be a case of when, and not if, Apple embraces USB-C on its smartphone devices. Imagine being able to charge your iPhone with the same lead you charge your Mac? Could it be today?
4. Now wear this: Apple Watch 2
It’s almost two years since Apple revealed a new form factor in the form of the Apple Watch and it is fair to say that the wearable device hasn’t really set the tech world on fire.
From a sporty version that costs around €300 up to a €13k-plus pure gold version, the devices are more expensive than the average watch.
Cost aside, the truth is most consumers haven’t really made their minds up about wearables.
It is expected that the Apple Watch 2 will look a lot like the original 42mm and 38mm Apple Watch but could be slightly slimmer and with a faster processor and location-aware capabilities.
Some rumours suggest the new Apple Watch 2 will also feature waterproofing that could allow users to swim while wearing it.
The device is, however, unlikely to boast a standalone LTE radio, which would allow the device to function independently from the iPhone.
As demonstrated at WWDC in June, the Apple Watch 2 will come with the new WatchOS 3, which allows users to launch and run several apps at once, unlike the current generation that allows you to just use one app at a time.
5. Picture perfect dual camera in iPhone 7?
It is almost a tradition at this point for someone to put a video in the wild suggesting a leaked iPhone model and, about a month ago, as if on cue, the fanboys went wild over a new design for the iPhone that suggested the next smartphone from Apple will have a dual camera system, as well as a re-engineered home button with haptic feedback.
Wait, dual camera? Yes, it has been rumoured that the larger iPhone 7 Plus will come with a dual camera system.
Dual cameras can produce brighter photos with more detail. They could also be used to add new effects. For example, the recently launched Huawei P9 smartphone uses two Leica 12MP cameras to give greater depth perception and achieve the so-called Bokeh effect of focusing on an object and blurring out everything else.
If there is one thing Apple loves the most, it is good photography.
6. Return of the MacBook Pro
Apple’s September events tend to be mostly around iOS devices, but don’t forget Apple launched its next-generation Apple TV last year.
Apple tends to keep its Mac launches distinctly separate from its iOS product launches, but you never know!
Reports have surfaced recently that the trusty MacBook Pro is about to get its most dramatic overhaul in four years, with a new keyboard, touchscreen for function keys, increased processing power and an ultra-thin digital screen.
Apple is under pressure due to consumers not replacing iPad devices as quickly as expected and has been criticised for not innovating enough in terms of stalwart devices like the MacBook Pro.
That could be about to change, if not today, certainly before the end of the year.
The most exciting change suggested is a secondary display above the keyboard that will replace the standard function key road.
Instead of physical keys, a strip-like screen will present functions on an as-needed basis using organic LEDs, responding to context, such as when iTunes is in use.
The new MacBook Pro devices are expected to have a smaller footprint and casing, with shallower curves around the edges.
7. iPad Pro gets smaller, maybe an iPad SE?
One thing the rumour mill has been extremely quiet about is what Apple is doing with the iPad.
Last year saw Apple launch two iPad Pro devices, a 12.9in version and a 9.7in version with an Apple Pencil.
It is debatable whether Apple will launch an iPad Mini Pro, but what about an iPad SE in line with the launch of the iPhone SE this year? The iPhone SE had the body of an iPhone 5s but the guts of a fully-powered iPhone 6s Plus.
Would an iPad SE with the body of an iPad mini but the horsepower of an iPad Pro be likely?
Who knows? Only Apple really knows!
But stay tuned for tonight’s proceedings, which we will be following here at Siliconrepublic.com
San Francisco image via Shutterstock
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