What can we expect to see Apple announce tonight?

Share

Tomorrow is arguably the biggest day in the tech calendar this year: the official unveiling of the iPhone 6. But what else can we expect to see?

timcook

You know the drill by now: Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, will get up on stage to the sound of some trendy music, and will give some statistics showing just how wildly successful Apple’s products are – and then he’ll take an iPhone 6 out of his pocket. Well, almost certainly anyway.

4.6″ iPhone 6

Likelihood: Dead Cert.

We’ve been following the development of the iPhone 6 now pretty much for the last year – but it has all been through rumours, leaked photos and some educated guesses. Tomorrow though, we’re definitely going to see the much leaked 4.6″ iPhone 6.

If you want to see it visualised – check out this incredible leak video, in which they assembled a dummy iPhone 6 from all of the various leaked parts. As you can see, it is much more rounded and slightly thinner. It is also larger than the iPhone 5S – in line with current trends.

5.5″ iPhone 6

Likelihood: Almost definitely.

The iPhone 6 is the first iPhone rumoured to come in two different sizes. In addition to the 4.6″, there has been an awful lot of chatter around a 5.5″ phablet-sized version accompanying it. This would make a tonne of sense given the trend towards ever larger phones: Most of the big Android competitors now have a large screen on their flagship handsets: the HTC One M8 has 5″ and the Galaxy Note 4 is a massive 5.7″. If Apple isn’t careful, people will be asking why would they want to poke around on something comparatively tiny – which is why this larger model is expected.

The reason we’re not fully confident we’ll see it tomorrow is because of supply chain rumours, suggesting that Apple is struggling to produce the hardware in time for tomorrow’s launch. The suggestion was that the 5.5″ could have been pushed into early next year.

Of course – Apple could still announce it, but not send it to shops until next year. Or perhaps the company will have sorted out the problems and iPhone phablets will be hitting the stores this month too?

An iWatch?

Likelihood: Quite possibly. We dare say probably…

Apple working on the iWatch is the biggest open secret in tech: It isn’t a question if “if?” but “when?”. So could it be tomorrow? Previously rumours had been pointing towards a launch either much later in the year, or early next year but today there’s the news that loads of fashion editors are being invited to the launch, and let’s face it – unless Apple’s new autumn collection features the iDress, they’re probably going to be there to see the iWatch.

Rumours have been divided on what we’ll be able to expect from the watch – we haven’t even seen any leaked hardware – but one prediction is that the iWatch won’t be a single form factor designed by Apple like the iPhone is, but will instead be a platform that can be embedded into a wide range of different devices. This will mean iWatches will (probably) have the same functionality, but you’ll be able to buy an iWatch that matches your outfit, if you care about things like that.

New iPads?

Likelihood: Maybe.

In addition to the deafening iPhone noises there have also been periodic rumours about new iPads. Grainy photos and blueprints for a so-called iPad Air 2 have been spotted, as well as plastic shells with space for Apple’s TouchID fingerprint recognition button on the bottom. Essentially, we’re sure the iPad will be getting an upgrade… but we’re not sure it will be tomorrow.

For the last few years, new iPads have been announced in November rather than September – which points to Apple hosting a separate event for them. Heck – if you were Apple, wouldn’t you want two days when the media is talking about your products rather than hide all of the new stuff in the same news cycle?

New Macs?

Likelihood: Hmmm. Probably not.

In addition to all of the iPhone and iPad chat, there have also been murmurs about Apple announcing new iteration of some of its computers. Whilst it would probably be about time to announce an upgrade to the iMac line (which last got a spec-boost in 2013), the MacBooks have all been refreshed this year with minor upgrades. So we wouldn’t count on it. In any case – it would be thematically awkward for tomorrow’s presentation to go from talking about phones and mobile back into talking about desktop apps. We’ll be surprised if they get a big mention.

New Apple TV

Likelihood: If we’re lucky.

The runes are pointing in the direction of a big future for Apple TV: There had been word earlier this year that the product had been elevated to a fully-fledged product up from a “hobby”, as Steve Jobs famously described it. More pertinently, a couple of months ago Apple cut the price, suggesting it is trying to clear out stock ahead of a new launch.

It is also easy to see why Apple should probably get its act together on Apple TV: The competition is much more fierce as Amazon’s Fire TV and Google’s Chromecast gain market share. Google’s Android TV is due to launch very soon too, which is a fully featured TV platform complete with app store – something that Apple TV currently lacks. Apple isn’t going to drop the ball on TV is it?

Some new hardware with Beats?

Likelihood: Surely… but is it too soon?

Back in May Apple bought Beats, the company behind the streaming music service and obnoxious headphones, owned by Dr Dre. Now that the two companies have had a little time to get to know each other, could new products be on the cards?

One interesting piece of speculation was that we could see new headphones that don’t plug into the 3.5mm jack, but plug into the iPhone’s lightning port. The upshot of this would be that the sound would be transmitted to your ears digitally, making it higher quality (as it would be lossless), and it could also
mean you could use an app to better configure the headphones how you want them. Similarly, because the headphones would be able to send more data back, you’d have more control over your device from the headphones.

It could be intriguing – but could it be too soon to announce something?

“iOS8 is available for download… Now!”?

Likelihood: Almost certainly.

The most exciting part of these events is when Tim Cook says “…and its available now”. iOS8 has been cooking for a couple of months now and after several betas with developers is surely ready for release. Not least because the iPhone 6 will be running iOS8 – so it’ll need to be available before the phone hits the shelves. So we’d say it is a fair bet you’ll be watching the progress bar crawl along as the latest update slowly downloads on Tuesday night.

James O’Malley