It’s that time of year again! As summer begins to fade into autumn, Apple traditionally holds an event to unveil the newest crop of iPhones and perhaps surprise us with something unexpected. Gazing into my crystal ball, which has been polished by 35 years of following and writing about Apple, I’m going to let Rocket Yard readers in on what to expect at Apple’s “By Innovation Only” event on September 10 at 10 AM PDT.
Somehow, I have a funny feeling that Apple CEO Tim Cook will begin the event by touting how many people have begun using the recently-released Apple Card. I’d venture to say that there are already well over a million people using the innovative credit card.
Just about anybody could have guessed that new iPhones are going to be announced at the event; after all, it is that time of year. Based on leaks and solid guesswork, it’s expected that Apple is going to introduce three new iPhone models known as the iPhone 11, the iPhone 11 Pro, and the iPhone 11 Pro Max.
Each Pro model should have a new 3-camera cluster on the back of the phone, including a telephoto lens, wide-angle lens, and new super-wide-angle lens. The super-wide-angle lens gives the camera a wider field of view, and the new cameras will most likely improve on the low-light abilities of the iPhone. The base iPhone 11 model will gain a two-camera cluster similar to that seen on the iPhone Xs and Xs Max models.
It’s believed that the iPhone 11 will be an LCD model with a 6.1-inch diagonal LCD display, while the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max will both feature OLED displays — the Pro measuring 5.8-inch and the Pro Max at 6.5-inch diagonal.
Of course, the new iPhones will most likely move to Apple’s latest A-series silicon, with a boost in both speed and battery efficiency. Other changes that we expect to see include the ability to recharge other devices from the iPhone wirelessly (similar to a feature on Samsung’s flagship phone this year), the removal of 3D Touch from all of the phones, and a mute switch that will be a slider rather than an up/down switch.
Pricing? Who knows. Just expect that the prices will be similar to those for the iPhone Xr, Xs, and Xs Max. Availability? Based on past experience, we’d venture to say that pre-orders will begin at 12:01 AM on Friday, September 13 for delivery and in-store availability on September 20.
The rumor mills have been exceedingly quiet about the Apple Watch, which usually receives an upgrade about this time of year. Two rumors that have been floating around deal with case materials — there may be a ceramic model again, as well as a titanium model.
Other than that, we haven’t heard any juicy news. I’d love to see Apple introduce an Apple Watch model that continuously monitors blood pressure, or an Apple Watch band with a built-in camera for FaceTime calling and selfies.
With new iPhone models comes the next generation of iOS — iOS 13. It’s been zooming through beta testing, even sporting a beta of iOS 13.1 before the first version has been released.
How about macOS 10.15 Catalina? If Apple decides to introduce new or upgraded Macs at the event (see below), then Catalina will probably be released as well.
Will iPadOS make its debut at the event? That’s all dependent on whether or not Apple announces new iPads at the event (see below). If Apple delays announcing new iPads for a month or two, we might not see iPadOS until that time.
watchOS 6 should be released at or slightly after the event, bringing such new features as Calculator, Voice Memo and Audiobooks apps; decibel level, signal strength and rain probability complications; and an on-Watch App Store.
tvOS 13 is also about ready to hatch. It will bring Apple TV owners things like a new Home screen, Picture-in-Picture, a new Control Center, multi-user support, game controller support (including the Xbox Wireless Bluetooth Controller and PlayStation DualShock 4 Controller), and new screensavers.
iPad and iPad Pro
Apple seems to be making a more concerted effort to place the iPad line at the forefront of tablet computers, and the move to iPadOS — which brings more powerful features for multitasking and new gestures — may be tied in with the announcement of new iPads.
Apple had registered seven new iPad models with the Eurasian Economic Commission in July 2019, none of which correspond with existing devices. However, I think that Apple will wait for a separate event in October to focus on the devices.
Will new iPads be radically different? Probably not, with just upgraded cameras and faster chips. The big changes are expected in 2020, with such features as the triple-lens camera that will be in this year’s iPhone and a rear-facing time-of-flight camera system that would give iPad Pro the ability to capture 3D models.
Apple is also rumored to be working on a more powerful low-end iPad as well that would bring Face ID and a bezel-less design.
I’m a lot more optimistic that we may see new Macs during the event. Apple analysts, supply chain rumor and even some reliable news sources expect that Apple is going to release a 16-inch MacBook Pro. This computer would be about the same size as the existing 15-inch model, but have a larger display due to a very small bezel around the screen.
I’m not going to speculate on the display technology used, the chips that will be used (although they’re likely to be the same as those used in the MacBook Pro upgrades earlier this year), or keyboard tech. Rumor has it that Apple will give up on the troublesome butterfly keyboard design and go back to the old reliable scissor switch design.
At another blog that I used to write for, we enjoyed “Zaprudering” (over-analyzing) the logo used on the invitation to the event. I found it fascinating that the logo (at left) uses translucent colors similar to those featured on the original iMac. Even though Apple did a spec upgrade to the iMac earlier this year (March, 2019), the design has been the same since 2012. I’m going to go out on a limb and speculate that the translucent colors might be a hint that a totally redesigned iMac — perhaps in colors — might be introduced on September 10.
Many other computer manufacturers now make all-in-one desktop designs that are much thinner and lighter than the iMac (see image below), so why not create a thin, bezel-less iMac series encased in a choice of colors? The rumor mill has been deathly quiet on any word about a new iMac so I’m probably wrong, but I can hope, can’t I?
Of course, the new “cheese grater” Mac Pro could finally get an official release date at the event, along with the Pro Display XDR. Apple’s website had at one point noted a September release date, so that’s not entirely out of the question.
All is speculation until the end of the September 10 event. Be sure to join us at The Rocket Yard for our meta-liveblog of the event as well as in-depth articles about any product or OS announcements that are presented.