iPhone 11, Apple Watch Series 5, software updates, and more
It’s iPhone time already, and Apple is set to take the stage on September 10th to announce the new iPhone 11 lineup.
Of course, Apple doesn’t just make iPhones, so we also expect news on the Apple Watch, Apple TV, all the new software Apple announced earlier this year, and maybe even a MacBook Pro-shaped surprise or two.
Here’s what to expect at the upcoming event:
September is practically synonymous with iPhones in the tech sphere, and this year is no exception. Apple is expected to announce three new iPhone models at its event on Tuesday: the iPhone 11 Pro, the iPhone 11 Pro Max, and the iPhone 11, replacing the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR, respectively.
Despite the numerical change, this year’s updates look similar to the iPhone 6S to iPhone 7 transition; Apple is keeping the designs largely the same as the previous generation and focusing more on spec boosts and an overhaul to the camera. That means that larger updates — like an in-display fingerprint scanner, 5G, or a less intrusive notch — will likely wait until next year’s models at the earliest.
Here’s what to expect:
iPhone 11 Pro / 11 Pro Max: The direct successors to the XS and XS Max, the 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max, will keep largely the same design, with a 5.8-inch OLED display on the smaller model and a 6.5-inch panel on the larger one.
The biggest change is the camera: Apple is putting a new triple-camera system in a massive square module. Details are still slim as to what Apple will use the third lens for — currently, Apple offers both wide-angle and telephoto lenses on the XS line — but presumably, it’ll be the big push for why customers should upgrade. The new cameras are also said to be higher resolution and offer better low light performance and video recording.
Apple is also expected to upgrade Face ID, allowing it to work at multiple angles (including lying flat on a desk); add better waterproofing and shatter-resistance to the new phones so that they’re harder to break; and add a new matte finish to the hardware. Also new is a reverse wireless charging feature, similar to Samsung, that will let you juice up a pair of AirPods on the go using your iPhone.
There’s also the expected upgrade to Apple’s next-gen A13 processor, which will presumably make the new models faster than the old ones. And like the iPhone XR last year, Apple is said to be closing the door entirely on its haptic 3D Touch experiment. It won’t be in the new models.
iPhone 11: Also possibly called the 11R (rumors are back and forth), the XR upgrade is a little more lackluster than the flagship line. It’ll have the same middle-of-the-road 6.1-inch LCD size and overall design as last year’s model with a few changes.
The big update here is a better camera. In this case, it’s going from the single-lens system on the XR to a dual camera (also, sadly, in a giant square module) that adds optical zoom capabilities. Also expected are some new colors (including a green option) and the same faster A13 processor as its pricier siblings.
Apple Watch Series 5
The Apple Watch just got a big redesign last year, so the Series 5 is expected to be a bit less dramatic of a change. Presumably, Apple will be upgrading the processor to an S5 chipset that will be faster and more power-efficient than before. An early leak has revealed new titanium and ceramic case options.
Another rumor claims that Apple could be adding sleep tracking to the Apple Watch this year, which is one of the main health-tracking features that the Watch currently lacks.
There are also some bigger changes coming to the entire Apple Watch line in watchOS 6, which were announced at WWDC earlier this year: a standalone App Store that will allow Watch apps to be installed and run independently from a tethered iPhone and the long-overdue addition of menstrual cycle tracking.
Oh, and there will probably be some new strap colors.
Rumors have been swirling for months that Apple is working on its own Tile-esque Bluetooth tracking tag, and we could see a formal announcement on Tuesday. There’s plenty of evidence, both circumstantial (like Apple’s rebranded Find My app) and blatantly obvious (like the leaked code in iOS 13 explaining how the feature works).
Apple’s iteration is said to use AR to help find your lost items, which could be an interesting twist on the formula. And given that products like Tile rely on a local network of hardware to find lost items, the sheer number of iPhones in the world could give Apple a very solid foundation to build off.
New Apple TV hardware
Apple’s overdue for an update to the Apple TV, and rumors suggest it has one in the works that could feature a faster A12 processor. Given that Apple Arcade games are meant to be cross-platform, a better processor could help the Apple TV keep up when the service launches later this year.
We already have a pretty good idea of what to expect from Apple’s 2019 software updates, but expect to get release information for iOS 13, iPadOS, watchOS 6, tvOS, the HomePod, and macOS 10.15 Catalina. Apple also occasionally has a surprise feature or two that’s limited to its new hardware, which might show up as well. Otherwise, expect the big news mostly to be elsewhere in the presentation.
Apple is betting really heavily on subscription services as iPhone sales have started to wane, and earlier this year, announced several new services, including its Apple Arcade game subscription and its own streaming service, Apple TV Plus.
We still don’t have some crucial details for either of those services: specifically, when they’ll launch and how much they’ll cost. Rumors have suggested that Arcade will launch alongside iOS 13 (which should get a release date at the event as well) and that it’ll cost $4.99 per month. Apple TV Plus, meanwhile, is rumored to cost $9.99 per month and launch sometime in November. Apple has been ramping up the release of trailers for shows in the past few weeks, including For All Mankind, The Morning Show, Dickinson, and the animated Snoopy in Space, so some sort of news would make sense.
It’s also possible that Apple could use Tuesday’s event to announce some kind of bundle: right now, the company offers Apple Music ($9.99 per month), Apple News Plus ($9.99 per month), iCloud storage ($0.99 / $2.99 / $9.99 per month, depending on storage), AppleCare Plus (price depends on device), and the aforementioned video and gaming services. Add those together, and it can get pretty pricey, so it’s possible Apple might announce some sort of combined bundle for access to its services, similar to what Disney is doing with Disney+ / Hulu / ESPN+. There’s a precedent, too: Apple’s monthly iPhone Upgrade Service already includes AppleCare, so the idea of bundling isn’t totally foreign to the company.
16-inch MacBook Pro
Apple’s current MacBook Pro design has no shortage of detractors, and the company is said to be working on a new 16-inch model, which is set to debut an all-new design (with a less bad keyboard) as early as this year.
Mac Pro and Pro Display release dates
Announced at WWDC, Apple made some big promises for its most demanding pro users, but we still don’t have exact pricing for the Mac Pro or a release date for either the Pro or its accompanying display. We could get more details on Tuesday.
One More Thing…?
Apple, more than any other company, loves to break out surprises at its events. Could there be new iPads, which Apple traditionally holds for a separate October event? A reveal of the long-rumored AR glasses the company has been said to have in the works? A new, cheaper HomePod? Noise-canceling AirPods? On-ear, Apple-branded headphones? The triumphant return of the AirPower charging pad? Anything’s possible to show up when Apple takes the stage, so stay tuned.