With Apple’s September 12th ‘Gather Round’ hardware event just around the corner, it’s that time of year again where we recap everything we’re expecting to see at the company’s annual iPhone keynote.
Specific devices like the iPhone XS and Apple Watch Series 4, for example, are almost certainly going to make an appearance, while other upcoming products, like Apple’s often-rumoured iPad Pro revamp and the mythical MacBook Air refresh, might be revealed at a later date.
It’s likely that Apple will hold a second hardware event at some point in October where the company plans to announce additional devices like the new MacBook Air, AirPower charging matt and possibly even a pair of upgraded AirPods.
The September event is set to take place on September 12th in Cupertino, California at the company’s new Apple Park campus. As more information surrounding Apple’s keynote inevitably leaks leading up to September 12th, this story will be updated with additional rumours.
Here’s what we expect to see at Apple’s fall hardware event.
What we’ll almost certainly see
Apple’s updated version of the iPhone X will likely be called the iPhone XS, according to a recent leak published by 9to5Mac. Similar to past years, Apple will announce and release the iPhone XS in two distinct sizes: 5.8-inches and 6.5-inches. What’s different this time around is that Apple won’t use a ‘Plus’ moniker to differentiate the 6.5-inch model and is instead rumoured to call the device the iPhone XS Max, according to a report stemming from 9to5Mac.
It’s also worth noting that since 9to5Mac’s first report regarding the name of the new iPhone, the publication has started using a lower case ‘s’ as opposed to an upper case ‘S’ when referring to Apple’s upcoming smartphone.
It’s unclear if there will be feature parity across the XS line, unlike in previous years where specific camera features like ‘Portrait Mode’ have been exclusive to the Plus version of the iPhone. Further, the 6.5-inch iPhone XS Max will likely include a bigger battery to compensate for its larger display.
Both versions of the smartphone are expected to feature OLED display panels, just like the iPhone X, along with a faster and more efficient 7-nanometer A12 processor. Other rumours indicate both phones will feature 4GB of RAM instead of 3GB like with last year’s iPhone X and iPhone 8 Plus. It’s also likely that Apple could add a gold colour option to the mix, according to reports.
Overall, the iPhone XS will also look very similar to the iPhone X, complete with the current phone’s recognizable notch, Face ID functionality, stainless steel sides, lack of a physical home button and gesture navigation.
Less likely rumours surrounding the iPhone XS include the possibility of the larger version of the smartphone featuring support for the Apple Pencil, as well as faster wireless charging and dual SIM functionality in specific regions.
Our best look at the iPhone XS yet, as well as confirmation of the smartphone’s often-rumoured name, dropped last week courtesy of 9to5Mac’s expertly-timed leak that directly followed Apple announcing its fall hardware event.
6.1-inch LCD iPhone XC
The latest news, which comes courtesy of leaker Ben Deskin ‘@VenyaGeskin1,’ as first reported by 9to5Mac, reveals that Apple will reportedly name its often-rumoured entry-level 6.1-inch LCD smartphone, the iPhone XC. This is the first time information regarding the name of the more affordable smartphone has appeared.
This LCD display-clad iPhone is tipped to feature the same depth-sensing camera, notch and A12 processor as its higher-end siblings, according to rumours. The phone will also likely feature 3GB of RAM and could drop Apple’s 3D Touch technology and wireless Qi charging functionality to cut cost.
iPhone Xc (6.1” LCD) clones/dummy models in new colors. pic.twitter.com/RybRhE7XSO
— Ben Geskin (@VenyaGeskin1) September 6, 2018
In many ways, the 6.1-inch LCD iPhone is set to be this year’s iPhone 8. Regarding the Canadian market in particular, it will be interesting to see what price point the device ends up hitting, especially given that Apple is expected to continue selling the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus.
Finally, unlike the iPhone XS, which is expected to drop towards the end of September, speculation points to Apple releasing the iPhone XC at some point in November. This strategy would make sense given Apple released the iPhone 8/iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X last year on different dates.
Apple Watch Series 4
If recent rumours are accurate, the Apple Watch Series 4 could end up being the most significant revamp to the smartwatch’s design since its initial launch back in 2015.
While not a complete re-imagining of the Apple Watch, the Series 4 is rumoured to bring a roughly 15 percent larger display to the wearable, resulting in smaller bezels but an overall bigger body. Given that the display is larger, the leaked render hints that Apple could have plans to add additional Watch Face complications to the smartwatch. Because of the larger build, it’s also expected Apple will utilize this space to equip the smartwatch with a more sizable battery.
The leaked render of the Series 4 also indicates that while the smartwatch’s display might be larger, the wearable will still be thinner when compared to its predecessors. That said, the Apple Watch Series 4 will almost certainly still use the same Watch Bands as its predecessors.
Another report stemming from Fast Company hints that the Apple Watch Series 4 will drop conventional buttons, including the Digital Crown and side button, in favour of haptic feedback, non-physical buttons that vibrate. This feature will likely be very similar to the MacBook Pro’s haptic feedback trackpad. The leaked render also shows off what looks like an additional mic placed between the smartwatch’s side button and Digital Crown.
Other improvements will likely include Bluetooth 5.0, 16GB of storage, a more powerful processor and faster LTE in the version of the watch that supports data.
Most of the news regarding the latest iteration of Apple’s smartwatch comes from 9to5Mac dropping a render of the wearable, along with additional details, following the confirmation of Apple’s ‘Gather Round’ event. Other Apple Watch related rumours indicate that Apple could have plans to launch a Watch Face store of some sort, opening the creation of the wearable’s customizable interfaces to third-party developers, along with possibly bringing an always-on display to the smartwatch.
Products we might get a glimpse of
New iPad Pro
While at this point it looks like Apple will likely save the reveal of its revamped iPad Pro for a still-unannounced October event, the latest rumours indicate that along with a more powerful A12x processor — an upgraded version of the silicon featured in the iPhone XS — the tablet will also feature smaller bezels and possibly a notch.
With this in mind, the actual display size of the 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch iPad is not expected to shift significantly, with the main change coming from the tablet’s body being sleeker.
Adding confusion to the rumours surrounding the new iPad Pro, some speculation indicates that Apple won’t bring the notch to this new version of its flagship tablet and will instead reduce the bezels significantly. It’s also possible Apple could drop the 3.5mm headphone jack from the iPad Pro, just like it did with the iPhone 7 a few years ago — a move that’s sure to stir up controversy.
Unlike other rumours included in this story, most of the information surrounding the new iPad Pro has been gathered from analysis of iOS 12’s beta code, rather than an unamed source.
AirPower and new AirPods
There’s a chance we could finally get a release date for Apple’s AirPower wireless charging pad, an accessory the tech giant first revealed back at the company’s September hardware event last year.
There likely won’t be any significant changes to the charging pad’s functionality, with it still being capable of simultaneously charging iPhones that support Qi inductive charging, along with the Apple Watch and new AirPods.
Speculation indicates that the AirPower charging pad will drop towards the end of September alongside the iPhone XS. It’s also possible that Apple could adopt a staggered regional release for the AirPower, which might mean that Canada will gets the accessory at a later date.
Speaking of AirPods, this new version of Apple’s surprisingly great wireless headphones aren’t expected to be that significant of an upgrade. The new AirPods will likely include hands-free ‘Hey Siri’ functionality, an improved wireless chip and the wireless charging case the company revealed roughly a year ago at this point.
Everything else: New MacBook Air, Mac Mini and iPhone SE
Reports that Apple is working on a Retina-display MacBook Air refresh that features a significant processor update won’t go away. Further, the fact that the source of these rumours is Bloomberg’s often-reliable Mark Gurman indicates that there is likely some level of truth to them.
This means that Apple is probably working on some sort of replacement for the current entry-level Air, though given how packed this September’s event is set to be, the eagerly anticipated laptop update will probably be revealed at an event set for a later date.
Apple is also rumoured to be working on a new, updated version of the Mac Mini, according to Bloomberg, though it’s unclear when the pint-sized desktop will be released.
There have also been fairly consistent, though sometimes incredibly sketchy rumours that Apple is still working on an iPhone SE revamp that features a notch and Face ID functionality. It’s likely that we won’t see this iPhone SE refresh until 2019 if it really does exist.
Update 09//10/2018: The round-up has been updated with information about the iPhone XC
Update 09/05/2018: The story has been updated with information about the iPhone XS Max.
Source: 9to5Mac, 2, 3, Fast Company, Bloomberg