As it has done for the past few years, Apple is gearing up for a major media event this month. In late August, the company sent out invitations for an event taking place on Wednesday, September 9, at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco.
The teaser tagline on the invite reads “Hey Siri, give us a hint,” but otherwise, Apple has been silent regarding its plans for the keynote. Never fear, though, as months of rumors, reports and component leaks have given us a pretty good idea of what to expect.
Purported iPhone 6s faceplate showing larger FaceTime camera
First up is the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, and we think we have a pretty good idea of what they’ll look like. As with previous S-model iPhones, the external hardware will largely resemble that of their predecessors, except the devices will be slightly thicker and made of the lighter, tougher 7000 Series aluminum alloy used in the Apple Watch Sport. Additionally, Apple is expected to introduce a new “Rose Gold” colorway.
Inside the new iPhones, however, is a different story. We’re expected broad updates to the handsets’ internals this year, such as a much faster A9 processor, 2GB of RAM for improved multitasking, and enhanced NFC and LTE chips. Headlining features include Force Touch, which will allow the iPhone to to use the force of a user’s touch on its screen as an input method, and better cameras. It’s been reported that the iSight (rear-facing) camera will have a 12MP sensor, capable of recording in full 4K video, and the new FaceTime camera will sport a 5MP sensor with support for panoramic shots and other capabilities.
Otherwise, we’re not expecting any major surprises. We believe we’ll see the same storage options and price points (starting at $199 subsidized, $650 full retail) as last year, and the rumored iPhone 6c model is said to have been delayed until sometime in 2016. Read more about the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus below.
- iPhone 6s is 0.2mm thicker than iPhone 6, leaked industrial design diagram indicates
- Analysis of ‘iPhone 6s’ logic board suggests improved NFC, 16GB base model and more
- Stress-testing claimed chassis: iPhone 6s less susceptible to bending under normal usage?
- New purported details about next iPhone and iPad’s ‘A9’ chip emerge
- Force Touch code discovered in iOS 9
- iPhone 6s said to bring 12MP sensor, 4K video recording, and improved FaceTime camera
- Rumor: iPhone 6s sports animated backgrounds inspired by Apple Watch’s Motion face
- Claimed iPhone 6s parts show larger FaceTime camera, Force Touch
- iPhone 6s front camera has panorama and slow-mo modes
- KGI confirms iPhone 6s has 5MP front camera
- September 9 tidbits: no iPhone 6c, renamed Force Touch and no sapphire screen on iPhone 6s
We’re also expecting Apple to introduce a new set-top box on Wednesday, and it could be a showstopper. Although the external design is believed to resemble its predecessor, with a little extra heft to fit new components like the A8 processor, the remote control has been significantly overhauled. The new remote reportedly features a built-in touchpad, Siri button, and Wii-like motion sensors for navigation and playing games.
In fact, gaming will be a major focus for the new Apple TV. Apple is said to be preparing an App Store for the device, as well as a full blown SDK with support for Bluetooth gamepads. This means developers will be able to create native apps and games for your television, and if it all goes according to plan, there will be plenty of both available at launch.
A new interface with support for universal search and Siri round out the device’s headlining features. Users will be able to navigate most of the operating system using simple voice commands, and search for content across iTunes, Netflix and other apps. We’re also expecting some tighter integration with Apple’s just-launched HomeKit smart home platform.
We’ve seen multiple reports that the new Apple TV won’t support 4K video, at least out of the box, so don’t get your hopes up for that. It also seems very likely that we won’t see the long-rumored TV service Apple has been working on, as knowledgeable sources have revealed that slow licensing negotiations have pushed its launch back into 2016.
The new Apple TV is expected to be available sometime in October, with a starting price of $149. Read more about the device below.
- New Apple TV coming in September with full App Store, report says
- Apple said to currently not have 4K plans for new Apple TV
- New Apple TV to feature redesigned remote with touchpad
- New Apple TV remote expected to feature Wii-like motion sensors
- Bloomberg: Apple to delay TV service until 2016
- New Apple TV expected to launch in October for under $200
- Next-generation Apple TV gaming prowess detailed in a new report
- New Apple TV has universal search, $149 priced reaffirmed by credible report
- Report: Apple TV lacks 4K video streaming, 8/16GB prototypes tested and more
iPad Pro with stylus concept via Martin Hajek.
We’ve heard conflicting reports on whether Apple will introduce its new iPads at this week’s event, or at a standalone event in October, but the majority opinion seems to be in favor of the former. The company is expected to unveil a revamped iPad mini (fourth generation), and a brand new ‘iPad Pro’ tablet with a larger, 12.9-inch display.
Part and schematic leaks indicate that the iPad mini 4 will feature a thinner design, largely inspired by the iPad Air 2. New internals will also bring the tablet more inline with its larger sibling, such as a faster A8 or A9 processor and 2GB of RAM, so it can handle iOS 9’s new Split View multitasking feature. The front and rear cameras should also see upgrades, with the iSight moving to at least an 8MP sensor.
As for the iPad Pro, it’s said to feature a 12.9-inch display with a resolution of 2732 x 2048. It’ll look like a larger iPad, with FaceTime and iSight cameras, but feature two speakers on both the top and bottom of the device for a stereo effect. There have been rumors that the tablet has a secondary USB-C port for horizontal docking, but we’ve seen little corroborating evidence. What will really set the device apart is its Force Touch tech and stylus. The stylus will be wireless, pressure-sensitive, and won’t look like other styli.
The larger iPad is expected to launch in November with the usual Smart Cover/Case accessories, and a recent report claims that Apple also has a new keyboard accessory in the wings. The iPad mini 4 should also launch around that time, if not sooner, and it sounds like the iPad Air 2 isn’t going to get an upgrade this go-round. Read more about the new iPads below.
- NYT corroborates revamped iPad keyboard
- iPad Pro and iPad mini 4 allegedly in tow for Apple media event next Wednesday
- iPad Pro with 2,732-by-2,048 screen reportedly appears in iOS app analytics
- KGI: iPad Pro with optional Force Touch-enabled stylus accessory entering production this fall
- Apple expected to debut new iPhones, iPads and Apple TV on September 9
- Rumored iPad Pro appears in new rendering
- iPad mini 4 expected to support iOS 9’s Split View multitasking feature
- Leaked CAD drawing and claimed chassis video show radically thinner iPad mini 4 design
Apple Watch Sport bands in unreleased colors shown off at Milan Design Week
Since the Apple Watch just launched in April of this year, we’re not expecting to see any upgraded hardware on Wednesday. There have been reports, however, that Apple plans to unveil new colorways for its Apple Watch Sport bands, such as red and purple. Additionally, the New York Times claims that the company has come up with a new, less expensive gold-colored Apple Watch as well.
- NYT says less pricey gold Apple Watch coming
- Apple planning to introduce new colors for its Apple Watch Sport band
Of course, there’s more than enough here to fill out a two-hour keynote, but there are a few other things we expect to see this week. For starters, there’s software. When Apple introduced iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan in June, it said the final releases would be ready by the fall. Now we may not see the latter until October, but we should at least get more definitive release dates for the updates, along with watchOS 2. Additionally, it’s likely Apple will provide updates on Apple Music and possibly offer up web/Android app launch dates.
As for hardware, it’s tough to imagine Apple cramming anymore introductions into the event, although rumor has it the company has been working on a new 21-inch iMac with Retina display. But honestly, all signs point to Apple waiting until October to show it off.
- Apple could be prepping 21.5″ iMac with 4K screen & touchpad-based remote with Siri support
- Apple admits Apple Music needs more work, Android app and Sonos integration coming
- OS X El Capitan and iOS 9 developer betas now available for download
And that should just about cover all of our expectations. Of course, while it seems like we know a lot about what’s going to be announced on Wednesday, it’s possible this is all way off. Apple is known for secrecy and misdirection, so it’s hard not to expect surprises.
The keynote begins at 10am Pacific Time on September 9, and a live stream will be available on the Apple TV, and iOS and Mac devices via Safari. We, of course, will be covering the event live on iDB, as well as all subsequent announcements throughout the day.