What to expect at Apple’s iPhone event

What’s next?
What’s next?
Image: AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast
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It’s that time of year again, where Starbucks starts selling pumpkin-spice lattes, when the US weather (theoretically) starts to cool, and Apple holds its annual September event. The consumer-electronics giant traditionally holds an event early in the month to show off its latest gadgets, including the newest iPhone.

The event will take place at its new $5-billion spaceship campus in Cupertino, California, Sept. 12, at 10am US Pacific time (1pm US Eastern time, 6pm London time).

Here’s a quick rundown of all the things we may expect to see:

So many new iPhones

Last year, Apple confused its own naming conventions by following up the iPhone 7 with the iPhone 8 and the iPhone X (pronounced as “ten”). If rumors are to be believed, we might not be getting an iPhone 9 at all. Instead, Apple appears set to launch three different-sized followups to the X, including one called the iPhone XS, meant to be the successor to the X, and one supposedly called the “XS Max.”

It’s unclear what the third device will be called. Reports suggest the smallest device (maybe this will be the 9?) will feature a 6.1-inch LCD screen and will be the cheapest of the new offerings. The XS will apparently look much like last year’s X, and the bizarrely named XS Max will feature a 6.5-inch screen. All three are expected to feature a notch at the top of the device, like on the X.

There have been reports that the new phones will come in some new colors, that they’ll have new USB-C chargers, and that the phones won’t feature the 3D Touch technology Apple first introduced on the iPhone 6s as it hasn’t proven particularly popular.

There are also conflicting reports about whether Apple will be updating its most affordable phone, the tiny iPhone SE, or whether the new notched 6.1-inch phone will be its cheapest option.

Additional information about the cheaper iPhone leaked out over the weekend. Apple’s 6.1-inch phone may be called the “XC,” start at around $700, and come in grey, white, gold, and red. It also appears that the new phones will be the first iPhones to support two SIM cards, a boon for international travelers and those who have more than one cellular data plan.

The Apple Watch Series 4

Apple news site 9to5Mac got what appears a rather clear look at a leaked Apple Watch last week. If this is indeed Apple’s latest iteration of its wearable, it seems like the new watch will feature a larger, sharper screen, reportedly about 15% bigger than those on the first three models. Mercifully, for anyone who has accumulated a bunch of watch bands over the last few years, it appears they’ll still be compatible with the new model, And at first blush, it doesn’t look like the body is much thinner than its predecessors’.

Reports suggest that the device will be faster than older models, feature a bigger crown, and have better wireless connectivity, along with and software enhancements. Beyond that, not much is known: It’s unclear if it’ll be any more waterproof (you wouldn’t want to go diving with a Series 3), have better battery life, or if Siri will be any faster on it.

New iPads

Apple, which had an iPad-focused event in March for its lower-end tablets, didn’t introduce a new iPad Pro model this summer, as it did last year. Recent leaks suggest that a new, more angular iPad Pro, with a large screen and no home button, could be around the corner. It apparently will feature the same FaceID unlock feature and lack a fingerprint scanner, much like the iPhone X.

New computers

Reports earlier this summer suggest that Apple will reintroduce a few old computer favorites, including a new Mac Mini desktop, and a revamped MacBook Air. Apple watchers had suspected that the company was effectively killing off the thin, affordable Air when it introduced the new MacBook in 2015. Yet it received a minor refresh last summer and it seems that the device popular with creative professionals will be getting a few much-needed upgrades this September, including new ports, faster processors, and an HD screen.

It’s possible that Apple will also update its iMac desktop and MacBook laptop (Both haven’t been refreshed in over a year.)

New TV things

Last year, Apple unveiled a minor refresh to its Apple TV box, bringing 4K streaming to the device. It’s possible the company has something far grander in store this year.

Apple has been slowly acquiring talent and scripts to develop its own original content—primarily TV shows—and it could be planning to give it all away to Apple device owners for free. Analysts suspect that Apple’s forthcoming shows will be accessible through Apple’s TV app and may well be free for anyone with an Apple TV. This would be quite a large departure in the business model of a company that charges for just about everything it can. Then again, Apple started giving away its operating systems for free in 2013 to showcase what its computers could do. So it’s not entirely beyond the realm of possibility that Apple would give away TV shows to sell more Apple TVs or other devices.

One more thing?

Even wth so many leaks and rumors , there’s always the chance that Apple still will have something else up its sleeve. It announced AirPower, its wireless-charging dock that can charge up to three devices at once, last year, but hasn’t given any indication of when it will ship or how much it would cost. Apple also hinted at a wireless-charging case for its AirPods headphones last year, so perhaps a new model will be unveiled Sept. 12.