What to expect from today's Apple launch
Autumn is coming, which means the weather becomes more bearable, the back to school, and, of course, new iPhones.
Apple has announced that its annual iPhone event will be later today on September 12. What will we actually see? Here's what to expect based on the rumours so far.
The iPhone XS, in two sizes
When Apple unveiled the full-screen, button-free iPhone X last year, it wasn't just announcing a product. The company was announcing the future of the iPhone—at least, if the current rumours are true. Reports from Bloomberg and 9to5Mac (both historically very accurate on Apple rumours), based in part on leaked information from Apple, suggest that we'll see three new phones this year, all of them in the general style of the iPhone X.
The two primary phones will be a pair of next-generation iPhone X handsets in small and large sizes. They'll have 5.8- and 6.5-inch screens, meaning they'll correspond roughly to the size of the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus despite having much bigger screens. It appears that one or both will be called the iPhone XS, although the large one may be the 'iPhone XS Max' as opposed to the iPhone XS Plus, for some reason.
It's unknown whether the larger of the two will have additional fancy features in the way that iPhones Plus have traditionally had better cameras than their daintier counterparts. Rumours also suggest that these phones will both be available in gold. As for features, and pricing, we'll have to wait and see, but obviously, the iPhone XS is not going to be cheaper than the iPhone X was.
A cheaper full-screen iPhone
As for the third new phone, reports indicate Apple will release a less expensive iPhone X-styled device to occupy the last-year's-model niche that would've been filled by the iPhone 8S. According to Bloomberg, the phone will have facial recognition tech, which it will need to make up for the loss of Touch ID, but will save on cost by using a relatively inexpensive LCD screen like the iPhones of yore instead of the expensive, OLED screens that the iPhone X and new iPhone XSes will use.
This phone also may come in various colour options, sort of like the old iPhone 5C, and may inherit the C suffix to become the iPhone XC. Details around the naming (as well as details around the price) are still unclear.
The Apple Watch Series 4
Leaks of what appear to be official Apple product imaging have shown the Series 4 in all its glory, sporting a slightly larger screen due to reduced bezels and a new watch face that would be tied to the inevitable next iteration of WatchOS.
While the iPhones and the Apple Watch are the main course for September 12, a few other gadgets that could peek out to say hello. Rumours of a Retina Macbook Air (which have been swirling for years) have picked up steam as of late after Bloomberg News reported a "cheaper" Macbook was in the works earlier this year. Apple may not apply the "Air" branding, but such a laptop would fit the same sort of entry-level niche that the Macbook Air settled into once Macbook Pros started becoming so small as to be practically the same size.
We could also see a new version of Apple's AirPods, which have been extremely popular despite the fact that their design is objectively inferior to Bluetooth earbuds that are connected by a wire. Reports, again from Bloomberg News, suggested earlier this year that the upgrade would include water resistance and a feature to use Siri by tapping the earpiece and saying the magic words.
A redesigned iPad with design cues taken from the iPhone X is also reportedly in the works for 2018, but it won't necessarily show its face at the upcoming September event. In years past, Apple has often (but not always) had a second Autumn event in October for additional hardware announcements, and this may fall into that territory.
Last year we found out about the HomePod, and this year we might be in for a HomePod Mini, along the lines of what we've seen Google and Amazon explore with their analogous gadgets. Apple's "Gather round" invite also seems to hint at HomePod news
Of course, as always, we won't really know what's in store until this evening, but it certainly sounds like we're in for a packed afternoon.