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September 1, 2017

Here are all the announcements we expect to see at Apple’s September 12 event

by John_A

It’s that time of year again. Apple will hold a press conference on September 12 to announce the new iPhone. The Cupertino, California-based company is no stranger to fall launch events. But rumor has it that the iPhone won’t be the only product on stage.

Here’s everything we expect to see at Apple’s September 12 event, which takes place at the company’s new Apple Park campus.

New iPhones: iPhone 8, iPhone 7S, and iPhone 7

iPhone 8 graphic found in HomePod software

If you’ve been waiting with baited breath for the next iPhone, you may have several to choose from. Apple’s expected to announce no more than three different iPhone models at its September 12 event: The iPhone 7S, iPhone 7S Plus, and iPhone 8.

The iPhone 8 may have a different name, such as the “iPhone X” or “iPhone: Decade Edition,” but it will be the headliner as it’s meant to pay tribute to the iPhone’s 10th anniversary. Expect a top-to-bottom redesign of the iPhone 7.

It might ditch its predecessor’s unibody for glass, ceramic, plastic, stainless steel, or a combination of the four. That’s  to accommodate a wireless charging feature that’ll recharge the iPhone 8 when it’s situated on a compatible pad, and to improve the phone’s overall water and dust resistance.

The iPhone 8 is also said to have an OLED (organic light-emitting diode) edge-to-edge screen that boasts deeper blacks, richer colors, and higher contrast than the iPhone 7’s LCD screen. A cutout near the top fits an earpiece, a front camera, proximity sensors — similarly to the Essential Phone — and a touchscreen “function area” replaces the iPhone’s physical home button with a virtual one. Gone is TouchID on the iPhone 8, replaced with a sophisticated facial recognition system that authenticates Apple Pay purchases, unlocks the iPhone, and mutes notifications when you’re gazing at the screen. The rear cameras have reportedly gotten an upgrade too — they’ll be vertically oriented on the iPhone 8’s rear instead of horizontally as they are now.

But all that technology won’t be cheap. The iPhone 8 is expected to retail for $1,000 for the lowest-end storage configuration, 64GB, and may go up to $1,400.

If that’s too rich for your blood, the iPhone 7S and iPhone 7S Plus are shaping up to be an attractive alternative. They’re rumored to retain the same design, dimensions, and screen size (4.7 inches and 5.5 inches), but sport glass backs compatible with the same wireless charging standard as the iPhone 8.

In any case, pricing of the iPhone 7 and 7S Plus is expected to start at $650 and $750, respectively — in line with the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus’s MSRP.

New Apple Watch: Apple Watch Series 3

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

New iPhones might not be the only thing Apple has up its sleeve — or its wrist. Apple’s expected to take the wraps off the next generation Apple Watch, tentatively called the Apple Watch Series 3. It reportedly won’t look all that different from the Apple Watch Series 2 or Apple Watch Series 1, but the devil’s in the details.

Cellular connectivity might be in tow, meaning you may find support for 4G LTE to at least one Apple Watch Series 3 model. This which would let wearers upload fitness data to the cloud1, stream tunes from Apple Music, and place and receive calls without the need for a tethered iPhone. It’s a feature that has already been available on several Android Wear smartwatches.

Modular wrist straps are another possibility. Along with an ultra-bright “micro-LED” display and longer-lasting battery, the Apple Watch Series 3 is said to support interchangeable bands with biometric sensors. One such prototype is a noninvasive blood glucose monitor that Apple CEO Tim Cook has tested personally, reportedly.

Pricing of the new Apple Watch isn’t rumored to change dramatically, but the LTE-enabled models could cost slightly more. We expect to see watches starting at $270.

4K Apple TV

The Apple TV, Apple’s Siri-touting set-top entertainment box, is getting a little old in the tooth. It’s not surprising the company is readying a follow-up.

The new Apple TV may be the first to support 4K and high-dynamic range (HDR) and the first with tvOS 11.0, the next major version of Apple’s TV-centric operating system. On a technological level, those are major leaps forward. 4K video is four times the resolution of 1080p, the current-gen Apple TV’s cap. HDR standards like Dolby Vision and HDR10, which the new Apple TV is rumored to support, meanwhile, are capable of delivering significantly more vivid, vibrant colors.

There might be more to the new Apple TV than support for 4K and HDR. It might have a larger hard drive, which seems especially likely given the size of 4K video files. A faster processor is a given too — the current-gen Apple TV uses the A8 chip, which launched on the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus way back in 2014.

iOS 11

It’s pretty much a given we’ll see iOS 11, the newest version of Apple’s iPhone and iPad operating system, officially released at the September event. After all, it’s been available in beta since early summer — but Apple’s likely to highlight iPhone 8-specific features.

One of the most notable is the “function area,” the bottom-center region of the touchscreen that replaces the iPhone 8’s physical home button. The latest rumblings suggest it’ll disappear from view when you’re not using it, expanding the screen’s height. When you pull it up by dragging from the bottom of the screen, you’ll get contextually-dependent buttons a la the Touch Bar on the MacBook Pro.

Other changes have to do with iOS’ status bar. On the iPhone 8, where it’s cut off in the middle by the phone’s “notch,” Apple has reportedly moved the Wi-Fi, cellular, Bluetooth, time, and battery indicators to the  right or left of either side.

iOS 11 has other tweaks reportedly designed to take advantage of the iPhone 8’s hardware. A redesigned video player shifts the position of the volume, exit, and size controls to the upper left and right corners, slightly inset from the edges so as to avoid intersecting with the iPhone 8 screen’s cutout. And a new calculator with a darker interface seems to be optimized for the iPhone 8’s rumored high-contrast OLED display.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Among iOS’s other headliners is Apple’s augmented reality (AR) platform, ARKit; a redesigned App Store; the ability to send payments to friends via iMessage; a new Apple Files app that ties into third-party services like Dropbox, Google Drive, and Box; and new multitasking features for the iPad.

Expect Apple to announce the official launch of iOS 11 on September 12, if not sooner.


Jeremy Kaplan/Digital Trends

Apple gave the world a glimpse of the HomePod, its Siri-equipped answer to Google Home and the Amazon Echo, at its WorldWide Developer Conference (WWDC) in June. It promised more to come in December, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see the HomePod make another appearance at the September event.

We don’t know much about the HomePod yet, here’s what we do know: It’s 7 inches tall and covered in acoustically treated mesh, and houses a 360-degree array of seven tweeters and a 4-inch, upward-facing woofer. An A8 processor powers its spacial awareness feature, which lets the HomePod automatically tune itself to any room. And if two HomePods are connected to the same Wi-Fi network, they’ll work together via Apple’s new multi-room AirPlay 2 standard.

Siri on the HomePod works just like it does on the iPhone and iPad. Six microphones pick up the wake phrase, “Hey Siri,” from anywhere in a room, and native HomeKit integration lets you turn on lights and trigger scenes with simple voice commands.

The HomePod starts at $350, and it isn’t expected to ship until the fourth quarter of this year. But Apple might announce pre-order availability during the event.

AirPods 2

When Apple did away with the 3.5mm headphone jack in the iPhone 7, it positioned its Bluetooth-enabled AirPods as an alternative to wired adapters. They might not be perfect, but that hasn’t stopped them from becoming some of the most popular wireless headphones on the market.

Apple could announce a follow-up to the AirPods during its September event, and if it does, they might have built-in biometric sensors. An Apple patent granted in July describes earbuds with EKG, impedance, and heart rate rate monitors.

The new AirPods might also improve on its predecessor’s sound quality. Another recent Apple patent shows a technique for minimizing occlusion, the booming echo effect you sometimes get when talking while wearing noise-canceling earbuds.

The jury’s out on whether or not Apple will unleash revamped earbuds on the world in September. But you can bet that when the second-gen Airpods eventually hit the market, they’ll sound better and do more than the current generation.

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