Apple’s Next Big Thing(s)

September is fast-approaching, which means we are weeks or days away from Apple’s Fall Product event.  Every year, Tim Cooke and the guys take center stage to announce a new iPhone and sometimes, at least one more thing.  This year should be no different, except this year marks a pretty big anniversary: the iPhone’s tenth anniversary. What should we expect and not expect from the big event?

New iPhones

If the rumors prove to be true, we should be seeing three new phones this year: iPhone 7S, iPhone 7S Plus, and the new iPhone Tenth Anniversary phone (iPhone Pro?). With corporate leaks becoming more prevalent and the pervasive internet, we can feel pretty comfortable on the new phones offer.

Normally, the S iteration of the iPhone ushers in one major new feature into the iPhone, and this year it is a pretty safe bet that feature will be wireless charging.  Featuring a rumored 7.5W Qi wireless standard charger, this is a much-welcomed feature that is one step closer to “cutting the cord” apparently we all dread.  Early rumors had Apple using a beam-formed wireless tech that allowed your phone to be charged in your hand across the room, but this technology is not ready for prime time with Apple yet.  Apple notoriously baby steps us into new tech, and the standard wireless charging on the cradle tech is just the first step; 2018 should intro beam-formed charging that will allow your phone to stay charged in any room you have a wireless beam adapter.  We can all drool, and wait for 2018 for that.

We don’t expect the form factor to change for the 7S and 7S Plus, and we expect Touch ID will remain intact on these two phones.  Other changes should be speed and possibly memory bumps, and the introduction of some new iOS 11 features that aren’t available in beta testing right now.

The iPhone 10th Anniversary (or potentially iPhone Pro or iPhone X) will be the talk of Apple’s announcement.  The new rumored phone has an OLED screen in a shift away from current LCD-TFT technology, as well as an all-new form factor.  The screen will be bezel-free on the sides, and no home button on the bottom, as well as a notched up section on the top for the ear piece and sensors.  The screen will likely be 5.8”, the biggest iPhone screen yet but on a body not much bigger than an iPhone 7 body due to the bezel-less design.

Also expected with the new flagship phone is FaceID, Apple’s replacement for TouchID since the new phone doesn’t have a home button.  This new 3D augmented camera technology will allow for almost instantaneous unlocking, even in the dark or with your phone laying down on a table.  The new camera technology on the front should also be capable of 4K video and photos, and the new vertical dual camera array on the back side is designed for augmented reality and Apple’s new ARKit.  Big things are happening with iPhone this year.

Apple TV 4K

Thanks to Apple leaving a ton of information in the Apple HomePod beta firmware, we know a new Apple TV is most likely on the way.  It should be a similar form factor, but with a much faster processor supporting both 4K resolution and HDR (High Dynamic Range) video.  Other new features are not known since the new TVOS Beta contains no new features intentionally.  Most likely, HomeKit will be further integrated, as well as AirPlay 2, which means you should be able to turn on your Apple TV and in effect, your television, utilizing Siri.  Much of the iTunes movie catalog has apparently been encoded now in 4K HDR, and is ready for primetime thanks to the super-efficient HEVC encoder.

Apple Watch Series 3

Following suit with last year, Apple will be unveiling Series 3 of the now hugely popular Apple Watch.  The form factor should remain virtually unchanged, but this year we expect LTE integration on the watch.  This should help free the watch’s dependence on the phone, making working out a lot less cumbersome allowing you to leave your phone in a locker or in your car or at home.  We do not think, though, initially that phone calls will be supported without the phone, and most likely no Apple Pay without the phone either.  But phone calls should happen in further software releases, and Apple Pay more than likely in another iteration of the watch down the road.

Odds and Ends

Apple will surely unveil more details and a release date for its much-anticipated HomePod Alexa competitor.  We saw a lot on this at the WWDC in June, but since we are getting closer to the winter release, expect a windfall of information to hit.  Rumors point to AR glasses, but my guess is that will be at a separate event, more likely at the WWDC 2018 in June. September is going to be a huge month.  Loosen those wallets.

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