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Tim Cook looking at the Mac Pro.
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APPLE NEWS

Apple’s big September event will be about a lot more than new iPhones

By Mike Murphy

Apple will be hosting its annual autumn event at its Cupertino, California headquarters on Sept. 10. Much like in years past, the company is expected to unveil new iPhones, Apple Watches, and perhaps a few other gadgets. The event will take place at 10am US Pacific time (1pm US Eastern time, 6pm London time). Here’s a quick rundown of what we’re expecting to see:

New iPhones

It pretty much goes without saying at this point that Apple will release a new iPhone come September. This year, the rumors have it that we should be expecting three new phones, much like last year. According to Bloomberg, there’s going to be two large phones similar in design to last year’s iPhone Xs and Xs Max, but this year featuring a “Pro” suffix (much like the MacBook Pro and iPad Pro), as well as a successor to the lower-cost iPhone Xr.

The new Pro phones are expected to have a few new features that will put them on par with the top offerings from many Android phone makers, such as an additional rear-facing camera that will allow the phone to capture wider-angle photos. The new phones will apparently be able to wirelessly charge other devices stacked on top of them, much like Samsung’s newest phones. There will be other minor updates as well, including better video taking, a wider angle for the FaceID sensors, faster processors, and better waterproofing. There are also rumors swirling that the Pro phones will be able to take advantage of Apple’s Pencil stylus.

All three phones are expected to be roughly the same shape and design as last year’s iPhones, which were roughly the same as the year before’s. The successor to the Xr will also likely come in new colors, as suggested by the event’s invite:

New Apple Watches

Apple is planning to launch a fifth generation of its wearable, based primarily on the design released at last year’s event. It seems that the biggest changes will come in the software, which will apparently allow the wearer to track their sleep and manage battery usage better, and in the finishes on the watches. Rumors suggest the new watches will come in titanium and ceramic finishes.

New iPads

The redesigned iPad Pro, first announced last year, is expected to get a few internal upgrades at this year’s event, Bloomberg reported. Much like the new iPhones, the devices won’t be changing much aesthetically, instead receiving faster processors, more battery life, and better cameras. The standard iPad, which Apple now primarily pitches to schools, will also be refreshed with a slightly larger display.

AirPods 3

Usually when you have a successful sequel you wait a little while longer before releasing another one. Not Apple, apparently. Even though it released a second version of its AirPods wireless earbuds in March, it reportedly plans to announce a third version at the event. The new versions, which may not be available until 2020, are rumored to be water-resistant, noise-canceling, and may even come in black. They’ll likely cost more than the current versions, too.

A bigger MacBook Pro

Apple is planning to release a 16-inch MacBook Pro, with smaller bezels and a compact design that will make it feel closer to the current 15-inch models, according to rumors. The new laptop would also feature slightly faster processors, and hopefully a reprieve from the terribly finicky keyboards Apple has been putting in laptops since 2015 which have been the impetus for a class-action lawsuit.

We’ll also likely hear more information on when the Mac Pro desktop and Pro Display, announced this summer at Apple’s developer conference, will be ready to ship.

One more thing?

It’s pretty unlikely that we’re going to see anything truly transformative at this year’s event (even with all the money Apple is spending on research), but it’s possible we’ll see some updates to other Apple products. The company hasn’t released a second version of its HomePod yet, which was first released in February 2018, and there’s some speculation that it could release a smaller version at this year’s event.

Apple also hasn’t updated its Apple TV streaming box in two years. Given that we’ll likely hear more info about Apple TV+, the company’s new streaming service that’s set to launch… soon…it wouldn’t be completely surprising that a new box might be on the way. Its new games service, Apple Arcade, is also expected to launch this fall, and the company recently extended support to popular games controllers from Sony and Xbox to work with iOS and Apple TV devices.

The company is also reportedly working on developing small tracking devices, like the ones produced by Tile, that owners could affix to their personal belongings that they tend to lose. Users will apparently be able to use their iPhone’s camera and augmented reality to walk around looking for their misplaced items.