Apple Sep ’17 – Let’s Meet At Our Place – Expectations

UPDATE: Based on a lot of recent leaks in the past few days, the post has been updated to reflect the changes. Rumours that the 7s/Plus will actually be called the 8/Plus due to the change in design with the glass back and the OLED iPhone will be likely either iPhone X or iPhone Edition, of which I still prefer the later.

Apple is holding their usual September yearly event next week on the 12th at 10am local time in Cupertino.

The event this year is held for the first time at Apple’s the new campus (the spaceship one) with the Steve Jobs Theatre being used for the first time.

This theatre named after the late-CEO has a capacity of 1000 seats, which is more than 3x the size of the 300 seat Town Hall at Apple’s original campus which has recently been used to announce the iPhone 5s, iPad Air 2 and even the most recent MacBook Pro with Touch Bar.

The invite itself says the following:

apple_sept_2017_event

Now from this invite alone all I can think of that makes any sense:

  • Confirmed notch based on white in logo.
  • Colours will represent wider colour range and HDR support.
  • Colours in side it being Orange, Light Blue, Ecru and Dark Blue, spells out OLED display for the iPhone everyone wants.
  • They want to make a big deal of the first event held at the new campus, when you look back at it in history.

It’d be stupid for me to not mention that anybody reading this between time of publishing and the event, will likely be reading it regarding the next iPhones, but in this post, I’m going to go over what I expect to happen at the next Apple event from start to finish, almost creating a challenge as to how predictable I think this event will happen. So let’s get started:

Opening:

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Tim Cook will come out on the stage, likely after an opening video based around the construction of the new campus.

He will briefly explain how big of a project the new campus was and will likely dispense with the usual updates saying “everything going’s great!” and will jump straight into the Apple TV with Eddy Cue.

Apple TV:

Screen Shot 2016-06-17 at 8.37.38 PM

Eddy Cue will come out and announce the following:

  • New Apple TV called Apple TV 4K.
  • It supports 4K video at 60FPS.
  • Support for HDR video will be added, based off the leaked code in the HomePod firmware in the future. Likely HDR10 support.
  • They will explain like they did at WWDC how the new Apple TV and tvOS now supports H.265/HEVC which is a more efficient video format for smaller file sizes to stream 4K content over the internet.
  • I am anticipating the Siri Remote will remain the same or have very minor cosmetic changes.
  • Will come with double the storage capacities at the same prices as before because of recent hardware getting double the storage at same prices. This means US$149 for 64GB and US$199 for 128GB. This extra storage is also important with larger apps with larger artwork sizes due to 4K support.

Eddy Cue will also announce alongside the new Apple TV that iTunes will be upgraded to support 4K movies and TV shows and announce the initial partnerships and pricing for the launch of it, and the launch date itself for both.

HomePod:

homepod

It is not known at this stage if Apple will do an event in October as well, but if they do, I anticipate the HomePod will be saved for that event, otherwise more details would be announced at this point.

Whether it is in September or October, I expect them to announce the following for HomePod:

  • Briefly go over the sound details they explained at WWDC in June.
  • Do an on-stage demo of Siri on the HomePod.
  • Explain how to setup process works.
  • Reiterate the price and maybe a more specific release date, like early December.

Apple Watch:

applewatch2

Tim Cook will take back over the stage and talk briefly about Apple Watch before handing it off to Jeff Williams to announce the updates on the watch like he has the past two years in September. He will likely announce:

  • Apple Watch Series 3 being the official name of the new watch.
  • Watch will be available as an tethered and LTE versions separately.
  • The LTE watch will sell for roughly US$100 more likely due to the extra components and benefits it brings.
  • The LTE watch won’t support regular phone calls as it would cannibalise iPhone sales, but it will work for audio calling apps such as Skype Audio and Facetime Audio.
  • Watch updates will have S3 chip which has a faster CPU, smaller nanometre chip and as a result probably improved battery life, or same battery life for LTE models.
  • Potentially Bluetooth 5 support for more reliable connection with new iPhones, especially for internet reliant 3rd party apps, such as Shazam.
  • Possibly the addition of optional smart bands that could even be used for glucose monitoring, but I’m suspecting that will be next year as there’s not many rumours on it this year and they’ll want to focus on selling the benefit of the LTE model this year and keep some more changes up their sleeves for future years.
  • Apple Watch Series 1 will be replaced by Series 2 at the same price.

iPhone 8/Plus:

iphone7

Tim Cook will then announce the new iPhone 8/Plus and hand off the Phil Schiller who goes over the details on every new iPhone since the 3GS (except 4 which was Steve’s last).

The iPhone 8 will likely have the following changes:

  • Modified design with a glass back.
  • No antenna lines on the back but still barely visible on the sides.
  • Faster RAM inside for better Augmented Reality (AR) performance (not announced on stage).
  • Support for Wireless Charging (not fast) at 7.5W.
  • Updated Lightning port to support fast charging and work with Lightning to USB-C cable included with the phone.
  • A11 Chip, which will be a 10nm process and have significant performance boost and battery efficiencies.
  • Camera will likely get improved software such as a better Image Signal Processor, Optical Image Stabilization for both rear cameras on the 8 Plus and maybe slightly better cameras to work better with ARKit apps.
  • Bluetooth 5 support, which they’ll explain is better for listening to Bluetooth headphones and any peer-to-peer like functions.
  • Slightly improved water resistance with probably IP68 rating.
  • Slightly improved stereo speakers with louder volume.
  • Same front bezels as previous iPhones with Touch ID on the front.
  • Anything could happen to pricing but I expect all pricing to remain the same as the iPhone 7/Plus at the same storage configurations.
  • Pre-orders will start on 15th of September and be available in stores and delivered from the 22nd of September.

iPhone X/Edition:

Tim Cook will be handed back the stage after pricing for 8/Plus has been announced giving the illusion of that is it.

But Tim Cook will do a one more thing… explain how this year is the 10th anniversary of the iPhone and they wanted to make the best possible device today.

The 3 biggest questions of this device that everyone online has discussed are:

  • What will the final name be?
  • How much will it cost?
  • Will it have Touch ID in any form?

The 2nd and 3rd I’ll answer shortly, but for the name I’m going to take a risk and say it will be iPhone Edition for the following reasons:

  • UPDATE: (If the LCD Models are called the 7s/Plus): Why would Apple announce an iPhone 8 at the same time as an iPhone 7s/Plus. That’s like saying a car manufacturer brings announces and launches the 2017 and 2018 model of a particular car at the same time and name them like so, it doesn’t make sense.
  • iPhone Pro is a bit of a funny term, because if they do call it iPhone Pro, I will go as far as to say that Apple executives will need to explain during interviews outside of this keynote, why it’s Pro and will likely describe as though the term Pro for Apple stands for “a more advanced version”. Also what kind of tasks can you do on this new iPhone for a professional that you can’t on a regular phone. It makes more sense on the iPad because of the smart connector and Apple Pencil support, but neither are likely on this iPhone this year.
  • Phone would be a very Tim Cook thing to do, but the brand of the iPhone is something they probably can’t risk tampering with. It will be far safer for branding and financially make sense to just worry about the term/number/letter that comes after the word iPhone. It’s like Samsung going from the Galaxy S8 to the Universe S9, it doesn’t make sense unless it is substantially different, like more so than this phone will be to the 8/Plus, especially when it comes to software. What I mean by that is the 8/Plus and the bezel-less iPhone will both run iOS 11 but the later will have a slightly modified version to work with the new screen.
  • Apple could of called it special edition because it is almost like an additional line of phone they are bringing out on the 10th anniversary, but that is already the iPhone SE which is the 4.0inch device.
  • iPhone X (pronounced iPhone 10) would only make sense because it is the 10 anniversary, but:
    • Would provide confusion with why they skipped 8 and 9.
    • What would happen when the regular iPhones catch up to the number 10 in many years down the line? Or would Apple by then announce it as a just iPhone and iPhone Plus.
  • Finally with iPhone Edition like I predict, I believe it is a name that could either be used as a one-off for this year or could we used long term because the Edition name gives it an impression that it is a step up from the regular version.
    • This is true with the iPhone SE (Special Edition) as it is a step up from the 5s.
    • It’s also true with the Apple Watch Edition with the better materials, with Series 0 having 18 karat gold and Series 2 having ceramic.
    • UPDATE: Only factor of calling this Edition is that Special Edition sounds better than just Edition.

In short, I am hoping it’s called iPhone Edition and the am 50/50 on whether the other iPhones announced will be called 7s/Plus or just called iPhone and iPhone Plus, which would depending on what they do with the iPhone 7, would then or in the future remove all numbering from their iPhone lineup.

UPDATE: It’s looking likely the 7s/Plus will be the 8/Plus and OLED will be X or Edition, but still reckon dropping the numbers would be better long term.

Anyways, Tim Cook will use an opening video to unveil it, then hand it back to Phil Schiller to go through the rest of the details, which I am expecting the following:

iphone-8-prototype-dummy-mkbhd-hands-on-video

  • Named iPhone X or iPhone Edition (I predict the later)
  • Design
    • Top Notch like in all of the leaks will be real.
    • Remaining front bezel will be in black for Black model and white for the silver and gold/bronze colours rumoured.
      • UPDATE: Rumoured to now have all black fronts, like the Galaxy S8 and Note 8, which I would honestly prefer.
    • Longer lock button will be marketed mainly around making it easier for single handed use but also work for scenarios like camera shutter and invoke Siri.
    • The sides of the black model will be black and others will be glossy silver like back of an iPod Classic.
    • Device will use Gorilla Glass 5 for increased durability on the front and back.
  • Larger Display
    • 5.8inch Display
    • Display will be visible to the left and right of the top notch.
      • Time in Top Left
      • Phone Signal, Wi-Fi and Battery in the top right.
      • Status bar being customizable for what appears where etc. to some degree.
    • Display will be 2436×1125 in resolution, with the same 461PPI as the Plus models.
    • OLED Display which will work have:
      • Wider Colour Gamet
      • HDR Video Support (maybe HDR10).
      • Advantages of black pixels requiring less power.
      • Dark Mode API being announced, which will require all developers to setup in their apps manually, but will perform far better than Smart Invert which is more of a guessing feature and Dark Mode will be exclusive to iOS devices that have an OLED Display (ignoring Watch, TV and Mac).
        • Will work either via code or via Interface Builder in Xcode.
        • Toggle for Dark Mode and scheduling feature in settings and via Control Centre.
        • Dark Mode and Night Shift may not work together at the same time.
      • They may announce on stage during pricing/availability stage that the OLED display is one of the main reasons due to limited availability at launch.
      • Hope to hear something with improved battery performance if content is all white, because OLED displays with white pixels use the most energy.
    • Screen will have rounded corners like a lot of 2017 flagship phones with an 18:9 display.
    • Display will support ProMotion with variable refresh rates to save battery with refresh anywhere from 24Hz to 60Hz as previous phones all the way up to 120Hz.
    • Display will also support True Tone Display thanks to the improved cameras.
    • Video played back on device in 16:9 display will be centred and have a black border on either side.
    • Any video in 18:9 ratio or larger in landscape will take up all of the display, but will have a black bar inline with the top notch and black bar before the curves on the bottom of the screen.
      • Screen resolution suggests it’s a 19.5:9 aspect ratio, so an 18:9 video can be displayed perfectly inside it with black borders on each side.
    • iPhone apps not designed for this display, will be shown in a 3x mode like how original iPad had 2x mode for previously made iPhone apps to ensure Day 1 compatibility.
  • No Home Button
    • Replaced with a thin bar at the bottom of the display that will take up 2/3rds of the width of the screen.
    • Combination of swipe gestures used to replace the Home Button:
      • Short swipe up for Dock designed like iOS 11 iPad Dock.
      • Medium swipe up for App Switcher & Control Centre like iOS 11 iPad.
      • Long swipe up from bottom to go to home screen and not add app to App Switcher (later may be a toggle).
      • Tap and hold on thin bar to invoke Siri or via toggle on lock button.
      • Possible lock button combinations, but not sure of all combinations. Possibly:
        • Single Click to lock device.
        • Double Click for Siri.
        • Triple click for Apple Pay.
        • 5 Clicks for Emergency SOS mode.
        • Single Click in camera mode to take a photo or hold for burst.
        • UPDATE: Looks likely now that the following will at the very least happen:
          • SOS Mode will be Volume Up + Lock Button (might also be to power device down).
          • Single click to lock device (assumed based on other details leaked).
          • Double click for Apple Pay (like the Watch).
          • Long click for Siri.
          • Triple Click remaining for accessibility options.
          • Options to adjust the speed for double and triple click actions.
  • A11 Chip:
    • Same as the 8/Plus model, but Slightly higher clock speed for faster loading and to handle more pixels on the larger display.
    • Include the Apple Neural Engine to handle AI and machine learning tasks to help with battery life and improved performance, similar to the Motion Co-Processor announced a few years ago.
  • Rear Cameras
    • They will explain the advantage of having it in portrait mode on the back compared to landscape mode, when the phone is held upright. They might have statistics that the majority of photos taken are sideways.
    • VCSEL system on the rear camera with laser which will be:
      • Faster for autofocusing when taking a photo (or video).
      • Provide better depth measurements for AR apps.
    • Support for 4K Video Recording at 60FPS for the first time on an iOS device.
    • New Smart Camera mode based on scenes:
      • It will adjust settings such as shutter speed and focus to take photos in certain scenarios better, such as fast motion and for fireworks.
  • Front Cameras
    • Support for new facial recognition system called Face ID.
    • Use it to unlock the device.
      • Pick up device or press lock button will invoke Face ID and scan your face faster than you can blink. Rumours say 1 millionth of a second (0.000001-0.000009 of a second), which is a amazing on paper but won’t have any impact day to day compared to say a thousandth of a second (0.001-0.009 of a second).
      • To go past the lock screen, you would swipe up from the bottom of the screen, like if you had pulled down Notification Centre in iOS 11 and push it back up.
      • They may add an optional setting to skip the lock screen on device wake up if you no notifications on the lock screen.
    • Face ID system will use some form of algorithm system to determine if it is you based on a number of points on your face and be required to reach a certain number for it to authenticate.
    • Face ID will work if face up flat on a table if it is how I like to put it, within not quite an arms reach, likely also with help of lasers or even wide-angle lenses, which the later, would also be better for selfies.
    • Apple Pay support will work via Face ID and they’ll claim it is exactly or more secure than Touch ID.
    • Face ID will also be used in apps including:
      • iTunes for purchases.
      • App Store for purchases.
      • Notes to unlock secured notes. UPDATE: This may not be available at launch based on recent leaks, but sure hope it is.
    • Front Camera will have a laser to scan your face in the dark and be just as quick.
    • If Face ID knows you are looking at the display and a notification comes in, it will not play a sound, which is great when out in public, or on public transport or even in the car with family.
    • UPDATE: Face ID will work by moving your head around in a circle, so it can scan all parts of your face including depth sensing, so a static image won’t work.
    • UPDATE: New form of Emojis will be added called Animojis, which are selected Emojis that move and talk based on your facial expressions recognised by Face ID.
    • Dual Cameras on the front which are required for Face ID, will also allow Portrait mode from 7 Plus rear camera to come to the front of device as well.
    • Front Cameras resolution likely upgraded to a 12MP sensor on the front so it can capture more detail for selfies and more details for Face ID.
    • Front Cameras resolution will also support 4K video recording at 60FPS based off the code in the HomePod firmware.
      • Slight possibility that it may also have improved Slow-Mo Selfies in some shape or form.
    • iOS 11 support for Depth API on front cameras.
  • Power / Charging Methods
    • Wireless Charging support included.
    • Wireless Charging will work at 7.5W which is up from 5W charging via cable on 7/Plus.
    • Apple will announce a wireless charger (even if it’s not at launch) which may even charge faster with it compared to other chargers, as an MFi certified charger, which is how they’ll justify the premium cost.
    • Device will support fast charging via cable, and could be marketed as a Lightning 2.0 port, which still works with regular lightning cables but will allow a higher wattage for charging.
    • 10W USB-C Charger will be in the box.
    • Lightning to USB-C cable will be in the box.
  • iOS 11
    • Addition of ability to tweak status bar icons for positioning/priority in some shape or form.
      • UPDATE: Looks like time and location status will be on the left and right will show cellular signal, Wi-Fi and battery. Battery will also enlarge when connected to power in the status bar to have a more visual cue of recognising it’s charging.
    • OS will be adapted to work with swipe gestures like on iPad but in a way that helps remove the home button.
  • Miscellaneous
    • I anticipate that the Lightning to 3.5mm adapter will also be included in the box this year, for users that did not upgrade to the 7/Plus last year but they will drop it next year at the earliest, as they’ll say then that the transition period is over.
    • From what I understand, Touch ID was always planned to be under the display for this iPhone, but due to manufacturing issues they dropped it and will rely on Face ID. So I expect Touch ID will be missing entirely on this iPhone and be added back via under screen tech next year or the following. If Face ID is just as useful as it claims to be, then I don’t see this as an issue.
    • UPDATE: 
      • The Taptic Engine may get an update (proper 2nd generation).
      • On a separate note, AirPods might also get an update, which based on leaks will move the charging indicator to the outside of the case and not inside the top lid. They may bring out an additional colour at the same time, but I doubt there will be a 2nd generation and that’ll be likely this time next year, with the W2 Chip.
  • Pricing/Availability
    • Like the iPad Pro in June, they will double the storage tiers to the following.
    • Prices
      • 64GB = US$999 or AU$1,549
      • 256GB = US$1099 or AU$1,699
      • 512GB = US$1299 or AU$1,999
      • To give you a comparison, when the iPhone 7 Plus 256GB was launched it was US$969 before tax and AU$1,569 inc. GST., based on the then exchange rates.
      • I have done the calculations and these are the prices I got from it, using the current exchange rates.
      • Apple also acknowledged during an earnings call within the past year about struggling sales in Australia and other countries, so pricing may be more aggressive, but I somehow doubt it.
      • Everyone is rumouring about the inclusion of AirPods or Apple Music or iCloud storage with a purchase of this phone. I will say:
        • AirPods will definitely not happen, but there’s a chance they may announce a new colour of AirPods.
        • Apple Music may be included for up to 6 months at most (but likely 3 months like they have bundled with Beats headphones).
        • Free 50GB iCloud storage instead of US$0.99 or AU$1.49 per month for life, could happen and is probably the most likely of the 3 to happen, but I still have my doubts it will happen.
    • Availability
      • Pre-Orders will be on 15th September and start at 5:00pm in Australia.
      • The device will be available in stores and online orders delivered on September 22, but they will have very limited quantities at launch.
      • UPDATE: Persistent rumours that availability is about a month behind schedule, but I still reckon it will be available at launch but in extremely limited quantities.

And that is finally, all that needs to be said for the iPhone X/Edition.

Conclusion:

This has the potential to likely be the most important non-WWDC keynote at the very least since iPhone 6 and Apple Watch launch, in September 2014.

And this leaves me to ask you to answer in the comments below or on Twitter:

  • Will you buy the iPhone X/Edition?
  • How much do you expect it to be?
  • If there is one feature not rumoured that you want in the iPhone X/Edition, what is it and why?

For me, I have an iPhone 5s and have waited for a major update like the iPhone X/Edition so I’ll be getting it and likely the 256GB model if the prices I said above are accurate.

The one feature I do want that may or may not happen, but could in the future is an Always On Display (AOD). My Dad recently got the Galaxy S8, and the AOD is easily one of the better features of the device, that I wish the iPhone had in some way. Even just the time is better than nothing.

And that is all that I am expecting for this keynote. If you learnt something or enjoyed reading, this please leave a like.

 

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