It’s that time of year again, y’all, for new iPhone 13 releases. Prepare yourself.
Apple will hold a live virtual event on Sept. 14 at 10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET to show off its latest flagship phones as well as at least one or two other major goods, such as a likely AirPods upgrade. We have a general idea of what to expect, but we won’t know for sure until the dust settles and we have all the details right from the horse’s mouth.
While we wait, let’s take a look at what Apple is most likely to discuss on Tuesday.
Apple’s iPhone 13. Duh.
This is the simplest and most obvious of all the slam dunks. On Tuesday, Apple will unveil new iPhones, most likely dubbed the iPhone 13. Apple is expected to deliver four new iPhones this year, with the basic iPhone 13 being joined by the Mini, Pro, and Pro Max variants.
In terms of features, it doesn’t appear that this year’s new iPhones will be particularly game-changing. According to some reports, Apple may reduce the size of the notch that houses the front-facing camera, but we don’t expect any substantial aesthetic modifications to the phones. According to the same speculations, at least one of the new iPhones (likely the most costly, given Apple’s track record) would finally include a 120Hz refresh rate. Apple has slipped well behind the competition in recent years by sticking with 60Hz displays, so this would be a welcome shift.
Furthermore, according to those reports, Apple will introduce a “always-on” display, which will display information such as the time and battery level on the iPhone’s screen even when it is not in use. A purported satellite communications capability that could let users to send texts or make calls in emergency scenarios when there isn’t a cell tower nearby is something we’re less sure about. It’s almost likely coming, but it might not make it into this year’s phones, according to rumors.
Again, 2017 could be a transitional year for iPhones as Apple prepares for more significant, far-reaching changes next year.
Apple Watch Series 7
The next model of the Apple Watch, most likely dubbed the Series 7, is another topic we expect Apple will discuss on Tuesday. The rumor mill hasn’t been churning as vigorously for this as it has for iPhones, but based on what we’ve heard, 2018 could be a lean year for Apple Watch updates as well.
According to sources, the new Apple Watch will have a somewhat different appearance, with reduced bezels and a thinner display, though the watch’s shell could be bigger. That extra space might very easily be used to accommodate a larger battery, which would solve a major issue with the current line of Apple Watches.
The Apple Watch Series 7 could, and most likely will, include a new chip. Furthermore, expect to see ultra-wideband technology similar to that found in Apple’s AirTags. Regrettably, the same leaks that said Apple would introduce a larger battery and reduced bezels also claimed that the company’s health sensor portfolio would remain unchanged this year. New sensors aren’t expected until 2022.
Are there any new AirPods?
It’s not a given that Apple will unveil new AirPods, but given that we’ve been hearing rumors about a refresh to the entry-level AirPods for over a year, it’s reasonable to assume that Apple will do so at its presentation on Tuesday.
According to sources, the new AirPods will appear more like the higher-priced AirPods Pro, maybe with shorter stems and silicone ear tips. It’s unclear whether Apple will include active noise cancellation in the entry-level AirPods or keep it reserved for the AirPods Pro. Not including ANC in the cheaper AirPods would be a very Apple move, but it would also place the device in direct competition with similarly cost (or cheaper) competitors like the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 or Nothing Ear (1) earbuds, both of which have good ANC.
Macs and iPads
Apple has staged two fall events in the past, one in September and one in October or November. We don’t know if that will be the case this year, but by the end of 2021, we expect at least some new iPads and Mac computers, and Apple doesn’t usually talk about those items at its iPhone 13 events.
That’s why we’re not promising to hear about these on Tuesday, but in case you’re curious, here’s what we know: This fall, Apple is expected to release a new iPad Mini with an overhauled design. It’s also possible that the normal iPad will be updated. In addition, new versions of Apple’s in-house M1 CPUs could be used in MacBook Pro and MacBook Air upgrades.
Even so, don’t put your money on them showing up on Tuesday. Don’t put your money on any element of an Apple press conference. It’s just a lousy idea in general.
Whether it’s due to supply chain challenges caused by the COVID-19 epidemic or the general rhythm of Apple’s upgrade cycle, all indicators point to this year’s iPhones and Apple Watches being a bit of a letdown. However, you never know when Tim Cook and his team will surprise you, so join the rest of us on Tuesday to find out for sure.