"Let's meet at our place."
I'm a big Apple fan. I've owned and used a Mac for over 15 years, had an iPhone since the 3G, keep up with MacRumors stories, read and listen to John Gruber, watch the keynote presentations live, and (yes, I'm one those people) I have lined up at 5am to be one of the first to get an iPhone.
Every time an Apple event comes round, I say to myself: I should write something about this. I never have. Until now! So here's my take on the upcoming September event...
It could be quite an emotional event for those in attendance; the late and great Steve Jobs had a lot to do with the project to create the "spaceship campus", and the theatre at which the event is being held is named in his honour.
When there's an Apple event in September, the only one thing is certain: there will be new model of iPhone. That really is the only thing you can be certain of, as Apple still manages to keep their cards very close to their chest!
That being said, this year has seen a lot of apparent leeks of information, mainly from the Asian supply chain, but also (accidentally) from Apple themselves via a errant software update. These leaks point to two things:
- There will be the usual updates to the iPhone and iPhone Plus; and
- There will be a new iPhone with advanced features and new form factor.
The first point is predictable and becoming somewhat routine. These two models are likely to take the names of iPhone 7S and iPhone 7S Plus, receive processor and camera improvements, and look almost identical to the current iPhone 7 and 7 Plus.
The second point, however, is where it gets interesting... The aforementioned leaks and the resulting commentary, points to the following:
- A new design, with edge-to-edge display (except for a "notch" at the top of the screen for cameras and sensors), no Home Button, and an all-glass enclosure.
- A big bump in processor speeds.
- A completely different camera system, with a vertical alignment.
- A completely different security system, relying on facial recognition rather than fingerprints.
I would put money on all of the above being true and the leaks being accurate. I would also put money on the "new" iPhone costing over $1,000 (starting price). Why? Because Apple won't want this model to sell in high quantities; they will want it to stand apart, appealing only to those people who are likely to want/need the features, and those that can afford to have "what's next".
The most unknown part of all this is the "new" iPhone's name. The media seem to be going with iPhone 8. I would be very surprised is it's called iPhone 8. To release the iPhone 7S and iPhone 7S Plus alongside the iPhone 8 would be, in my opinion, confusing and un-Apple-like. What happens next year? iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone 8S? I don't see it.
My prediction is iPhone Pro. Then, next year, iPhone Pro. Then iPhone Pro. Just like the iPad Pro and every MacBook Pro... well, ever. This is a "pro" version of the iPhone, in just the same way as the MacBook Pro is a "pro" version of the MacBook. It does all the same things, just better, faster, and with more advanced features.
Whatever it looks like, whatever it costs, Apple will face the usual backlash from the media before it's supply constrained because so many people want to get their hands of the best iPhone ever made.
But, what else?
Recent September events have also included the Apple Watch, and I think this year will be no different. I expect only minor improvements to the Apple Watch Series 3 hardware, not a complete overhaul of the design. I, for one, would be more interested in buying the Apple Watch if they simply improved the processor, RAM and software (the latter already demonstrated with watchOS 4).
Apple also tends to discuss the Apple TV at this event. I have the latest Apple TV and, I have to say, it's one of the worst Apple products I have ever owned: it's buggy, difficult to use, and some of the apps (even major ones like Netflix) are poor. I had high-hopes for gaming; they were dashed.
If there was a better alternative for my family's viewing habits, I would sell the Apple TV and buy that alternative. Unfortunately, nothing quite fits the bill (yet). Apple needs to do something about the Apple TV now that it's not just the "hobby" it was.
Other than the usual business updates at the start of the keynote, which may well be cut short with Tim's "Everything's fine", I don't see Apple covering anything else. I hope for an opening video or a short presentation about Apple Park itself—I find the place fascinating, especially the theatre—and perhaps a few more details on the HomePod—also interesting—but I'm not convinced they will have the time: the iPhone, and especially the iPhone Pro, is going to dominate this keynote, for sure.
Make sure you tune in to see the future of the iPhone, whatever that may be. For those of us in the UK, the keynote will start at 6pm on Tuesday 12th September.