Few companies provide better tea-leaf-reading fun than Apple, especially in the weeks before its annual fall product launch extravaganza. Apple is many things, but it is never unconsidered, and so you’re unusually likely to glean something interesting from the shape and color of a shadow in an event invitation, or learn something new about the company by analyzing the path and style of its corporate elevators.
That’s why all signs point to this year’s iPhone launch as potentially one of the most significant in the company’s history. It’s the 10th anniversary of the iPhone, the product that changed the world and catapulted Apple into the market-cap ionosphere. It’s the first event ever held at Apple’s new campus in Cupertino, and in the Steve Jobs Theater no less. Apple reportedly scrambled to make sure the space was ready, wanting to do this announcement there. And they’re hosting the event on September 12th, 2017, which is Louis CK’s 50th birthday. That might not be as important as the other parts.
If the leaks and reports are correct, Apple’s preparing a docket of announcements to mark the occasion larger than just about any it’s ever unveiled at one time. Here’s a handy list of everything we expect to see—much of it courtesy of Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman.
- A new iPhone, likely with a new name—no “iPhone 8” here. The new model will be virtually nothing but a gorgeous OLED screen wrapped in a stainless-steel case, save for a small notch at the top. It will use infrared facial recognition to unlock the phone, charge wirelessly, have improved and reconfigured cameras, and run on Apple’s latest software and hardware. It likely won’t have a home button, or Touch ID at all. And it definitely won’t have a headphone jack. It will be expensive, hard to buy, and probably the most desirable phone Apple’s ever made.
- Two updated iPhones, called the iPhone 7s and 7s Plus, including upgrades to the iPhone 7 without re-thinking the design. They’ll have better cameras, faster processors, and potentially even a new display similar to the higher-end model. These models should have wireless charging, too.
- A new Apple Watch, so the Red Sox can more easily steal baseball signs. The new model’s starring feature will likely be built-in LTE, so you can connect to the internet without needing your phone. The design appears unlikely to change, which means either Apple’s done something remarkable or the Watch’s battery will last about four minutes. It will, of course, run Watch OS 4, which improves the Siri experience and leans even harder into fitness.
- A new version of the Apple TV supporting 4K and HDR content. Apple’s bidding for Bond, has $1 billion in its content-buying coffers, and really would very much like for you to watch Planet of the Apps. Apple’s huge, game-changing TV play appears stuck in the “wouldn’t it be great” phase, but your shows will definitely look better now.
- More details on the HomePod, Apple’s high-fi answer to the Amazon Echo and Google Home. Apple first announced the device at WWDC in June, but offered little in the way of details. Finally we’ll learn what Siri can do on the HomePod, and what that funky little screen on top is actually for.
- A release date and final pitch for iOS 11. The new iPhone and iPad software brings big improvements to Siri, new features in Live Photos, a brand new notifications and lock screen setup, a redesigned App Store, and enough new iPad features to make your tablet feel brand new again. After a long string of betas, iOS 11 should be ready to go.
- A release date for High Sierra, the latest Mac software. It’s not as exciting as iOS 11, but it does make Safari faster and more secure, revamps the whole file system, and helps you sort through your photos and emails. You’ll want to update, eventually.
- More augmented reality fun. After Apple launched the ARKit developer tools, people spent the summer building awesomely weird stuff in AR. Expect some funky demos, new tools and features, and a lot of talk about how your big-screen new iPhone could be the window to a whole new mixed-reality landscape.
One thing to watch carefully for during the event: As Apple continues to explain its entire universe of products, how does it plan to make them work together? Apple’s always bet on the idea that it can make your computing life better with every subsequent device, which makes the connections between those devices incredibly important. How do the Mac and Watch work in tandem? What good does your HomePod do your iPhone? Apple’s made big strides in syncing Siri across devices, unifying file systems, and helping you move from one device to the next. Look for Tim Cook and the other Apple execs to try and make the holistic All Apple Everything case, for why you should dive head-first into Apple’s view of the world.
As always, there could be a few surprises, too. Like a car! (Not a car.) Apple’s lost its secretive mojo a bit, but still manages to keep some things under wraps. No matter what, we’ll be riding that twisty elevator down into the Steve Jobs Theater at 10 am on Tuesday, September 12th. You can watch the livestream, and should definitely hang in our liveblog. We’ll be there, Watches on and AirPods in, ready for whatever’s next.