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What to expect at Apple’s iPhone 7 event

Reuters/Andrew Kelly
Probably a few of those.
  • Mike Murphy
By Mike Murphy

Technology editor

Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

On Sept. 7, we’re hopefully going to get answers to a lot of questions.

Rumors and speculation about the next versions of Apple’s iPhone and Apple Watch have been circulating pretty much since the last ones were introduced. Apple will be showing off its latest updates at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco on Sept. 7, which Quartz will be attending and covering live.

Ahead of the event, we’ve rounded up what might be announced, and come up with a handy emoji-based rating system for its likelihood:

🙏 – Not very likely

👍 – Possible

💯 – Pretty much a certainty

Here’s what to expect:

A new, similar iPhone


Apple has released a new iPhone every year for nearly a decade now, and the next model, likely called the iPhone 7, will almost certainly be the centerpiece of Apple’s presentation. There have been reports, however, that Apple is set to break from its tradition of revamping the iPhone every other year, and could well be releasing an iPhone that will look a lot like the last two did. The next phone is apparently going to have the same basic design as both the iPhone 6 and 6S, which may mean at least that you don’t need to get a new phone case.

The next phone is expected to have marginally better battery life, a better camera, a more powerful processor, and more storage space—Apple is reportedly going to start offering a 32GB model as its base model, finally upping the storage capacity from 16 GB, which many have suggested is just not enough space to adequately use the smartphone for multiple years.

But the biggest change expected from the next iPhone is that it will apparently not have a headphone jack, requiring owners to either use wireless headphones, or headphones connected through an adapter plugged into the Lightning port. It’s been reported that the removal of the headphone jack frees up space for other components and may well allow Apple to release the first waterproof iPhone. However, other companies, like Samsung, have had waterproof phones with regular headphone jacks for years, so something else may be at play here. Since all audio will now be digital, some are concerned Apple could be developing software so that digital music won’t play when users don’t have the rights to play it (think songs illegally uploaded to YouTube).

Apple has been known to make controversial decisions to kill ports in the past—from the disk drive to just about every single port on the MacBook—but this might be its most ambitious yet. Whether it proves to be a good move for the average consumer remains to be seen, but at least it’ll give Apple a chance to sell a few more dongles and maybe some more headphones.

An “iPhone Pro”


There are reports that Apple is either about to release three new phones—the iPhone 7, 7 Plus, and Pro—or just two, where a new “Pro” model would replace the current Plus. It appears that Apple has been working on a third model that would have two rear-facing cameras that would be able to take sharper photos than the cameras on the other two models, but there hasn’t been much information about what the Pro model would offer beyond the Plus. There have also been recent reports that Apple has struggled to source the cameras it wants for the Pro, so it could be entirely possible that it nixes the Pro and just announces two models.

Wireless headphones


Every iPhone has shipped with a pair of headphones, so it’s unlikely that Apple will stop that trend with its next model. But it’ll most likely include similar white earphones to the ones it’s shipped over the last few years, just with a Lightning port at the end, instead of a headphone jack. There have been rumors, however, that the company is also working on a set of wireless earbuds—not dissimilar from the ones that Samsung recently released—that could be released, either with the new iPhones, or as an accessory that’s sold separately. Unlike the iPhone and Apple Watch rumors leading up to next week’s event, there haven’t been many leaks to suggest that Apple has actually been working on a product like this—no surreptitiously shot photos from the production line, or leaked FCC applications—apart from a single filing from eastern Europe in 2015.

Apple Watch 2


It’s been two years since Apple has announced any new Apple Watch hardware. And given lackluster sales and confusing utility since its release, Apple will presumably want to show that the first entirely new product launched under CEO Tim Cook’s reign has not been a dud. Many Apple products hit their stride after their second iteration, and that may well prove to be the case for the Watch. Reports have suggested there will be better health tracking, a GPS chip, along with a thinner body and a bigger battery. But it remains to be seen just what a new version of the Watch could do (other than just being lighter and more powerful) that might draw in new users and pull people away from less pricey competitors like FitBit.

New iPads


It’s relatively unlikely that Apple will be updating its iPad Pro line, given that both models are less than a year old, but Apple’s other models, the iPad Air and iPad Mini, could see updates, according to Engadget. Most likely, the only mention of the iPad will be in any software updates Apple wants to talk about that it’ll receive with its next operating system, iOS 10, or to talk about how much customers love the iPad Pro—something Apple often does at the next event after a product is launched.

New Macs


Apple hasn’t updated most of its Mac laptops in years and it’s really starting to frustrate some people. Indications from Bloomberg are that Apple won’t be updating its computers at its September event, but will likely hold a separate event in October or early 2017 to refresh the lot. You might have to wait just a little longer if you’re looking to update your Mac.

A car


This is less likely than Apple agreeing to pay the EU its entire $14 billion tax penalty. But one can dream.

Other stuff


One more thing … it’s possible we could see an updated Apple TV, new accessories, or something entirely new. It’s happened before, so who knows what’s up Tim Cook’s sleeves. Who knows—Apple announced a new app called Home at its developer’s conference in June, to control smart home devices. It’s been teasing internet-connected home device management for years, and this event could well be the day Apple chooses to unveil some new hardware like Google’s forthcoming Home and Amazon’s Echo.

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