Fall is here, a fact made obvious if not by the weather than by the rapid proliferation of pumpkin spice-flavored products, the legion of cottage core enthusiasts knitting scarves and mounting excitement among the Apple fanboys and girls for the big annual product release event scheduled kick of virtually on Tuesday (Sept. 15), live-streamed out to the entire Apple World.
The fact that it will be online-only as opposed to online and in-person won’t be the only big change spectators to the annual device pageant can expect. But in some ways, the event will be notable for Apple watchers for what isn’t there than for what is.
That’s because the long-anticipated iPhone 12 — Apple’s first 5G release — isn’t expected to take the stage to get its formal introduction to the world. Due to COVID-related delays to final testing of the new 5G models earlier this year, mass production of the product is running behind schedule, according to Bloomberg.
The iPhone announcement is currently expected in October, making it the latest such reveal since the iPhone X was announced in October 2017. Talking to CNBC, TF Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo forecast that the new iPhones will be ready to ship by next month, and that the latest released could include four different models with varying screen sizes working with various iterations of 5G service.
Only some iPhones will support speedy millimeter-wave networks, which are the fastest type of 5G networks, according to Chi, and those phones can be expected to ship behind other models.
It should be noted that there has been buzz in the Apple blogosphere that the iPhone 12 could make a surprise guest appearance at Tuesday’s event. But most serious news outlets and analysts have ruled out the possibility.
So now that what (probably) won’t be there is out of the way, what about the things that will? Those will likely include:
New Apple Watches And iPads
There might not be a new iPhone, but the Apple Watch Series 6 is expected to make it into the presentation. Additionally, the expectation is the company will also release a lower-priced Apple Watch model, putatively to fend off the growing threat Fitbit presents to the Apple line’s relative domination of the consumer’s wrist. Wearables as a segment generated $24.5 billion in fiscal 2019, almost doubling their 2017 take.
This year will also likely be the first time since 2016 that two Apple Watch models are released at once. The lower-priced model, according to Apple watchers, will likely be called the Apple Watch SE and will have a look and feel similar to the Apple Watch 3.
Apart from new wearable tech, the other big upgrade to Apple hardware is expected to come care of the iPad line, specifically the iPad Air which has not been modified since its March 2019 relaunch. Rumors thus far indicated the new model with have a larger, bezel-free screen, much like the iPad Pro.
However, the new device will reportedly not replace TouchID with FaceID. Rather, it will incorporate a touch sensor into the side button.
Apart from hardware on display during Tuesday’s event, reports from CNET and others indicated Apple will take the opportunity to roll out additional expansions to its services menu.
The big rumor ahead of the event is the launch of a new fitness service offering guided workouts, direct integration with the Apple Watch and Health app, and live-streaming over Apple devices. Most experts forecast the offering will be similar to the Fitbit Premium offering currently available to consumers for $10 a month.
Rumor also has it that Apple, which as rolled out a lot of subscription services a la carte over the past year, will begin bundling them up into a single subscription service called Apple One.
That rumor seems to be buttressed by reports in 9to5Google that a reference to Apple One has been found hidden in the code of the Android version of Apple Music.
Reports about Apple One first began to circulate in August, when unnamed sources from within Apple began leaking accounts of the bundling package to media outlets. It seems Apple One was initially intended to be paired with the announcement of the latest line of iPhones, but delays to 5G phones could push Apple One out the door earlier.
Will the September event hold onto its buzz, even with the new iPhone MIA? We imagine so, since there are plenty of other eye-catchers likely going on display. And Apple is good at getting buzzy attention when it wants to.
But we imagine that coming out of Tuesday’s, event even the most die-hard Apple enthusiasts will still be wondering about the iPhone — even as they cheer (or jeer) the tech giant’s other new offerings.
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