CUPERTINO – Like clockwork precision, tech giant Apple sent out invitations to various tech media late last month with a simple message – “By innovation only” – for a special event at the Steve Jobs Theatre in its Cupertino campus Apple Park on Tuesday (Sept 10; Wednesday, 1am Singapore time).
Considering past Apple reveals in September, there is no doubt that Tuesday’s event will also be about new iPhones. But history has also shown that Apple will announce other products for its September event.
With the Apple rumour mill in high gear, here is what to expect on Tuesday.
Perhaps the only unknown about the 2019 iPhones is how they are going to be named.
According to leaks and rumours, there will be three new iPhones – dubbed by observers as the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone Pro Max – to replace the current iPhone XR, iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max respectively.
In terms of their design and form factor, the new iPhones will likely have no major changes, apart from probably having thinner bezels, smaller display notches, and slight changes in the position of the volume rocker and power button.
However, the rear cameras of all the new smartphones are expected to get an upgrade. The iPhone 11 is believed to get a rear dual-camera system, one up from the single rear camera in iPhone XR. The flagship iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max will likely get a rear triple-camera set-up, compared with the current dual-camera system in the iPhone XS and XS Max.
To accommodate the extra camera in the new iPhones, the rear camera module is will become squarish, which is similar to the set-up in the Huawei Mate 20 series phones. The iPhones’ third camera is believed to have a wider field of view for ultra-wide landscape shots.
The rear camera system will likely have a Night mode that is similar to the Google Pixel 3’s Night Side mode that allows for sharp and dynamic night photography.
The front-facing camera of the new iPhones is expected to get a megapixel count upgrade as well – from the current 7-megapixel to 12-megapixel – along with a new five-lens construction compared to the current four-lens structure.
And, of course, the new iPhones will use Apple’s latest processor, most probably the A13, for faster performance. But there will probably not be a 5G version of the handsets just yet, as rumours so far have set a 2020 release for a 5G iPhone.
In addition, there might be new colour options – green and lavender – for the iPhone XR successor. Pundits have pointed to the multiple colours of the Apple logo for the Tuesday event invite as a hint of the new colours to come.
Last year, the Apple Watch Series 4 was launched at the same time as the iPhone XS series phones. So this year, the Series 5 smart watches will probably be launched.
Like the new iPhones, the design of the Apple Watch Series 5 wearables is not expected to change. But according to assets found in the upcoming watchOS 6 operating system, the new Apple smartwatch might see the return of the ceramic case and a brand new titanium case option.
There was a more expensive ceramic case option for the Apple Watch Series 2 and 3 but it was not available for Series 4. It has also been a while since Apple used titanium for its products, with the exception of the new Apple Card credit card that is not available in Singapore.
So, it will be interesting to see whether the new titanium case will replace the existing stainless steel case, or be offered as another option.
Rumours are also rife that Apple might unveil its brand new 16-inch MacBook Pro laptop. This laptop might fill a void that has been vacant for years since the 17-inch MacBook Pro was discontinued in 2012.
At the same time, there are reports to the contrary which point to the current 15-inch MacBook Pro being replaced by a 16-inch model that has the same design but sporting a bigger display and a new scissor-switch keyboard instead of the current butterfly mechanism.
In addition, the 2019 iPad Pro might also see the light of day during Tuesday’s event. Details on this new iPad Pro are sparse. But according to Mac news site Macotakara, the new iPad Pro might feature a triple-camera set-up, similar to the rumoured iPhone 11 Pro.
Still, these two new products might be announced at another Apple event rumoured to happen next month or in November.
In March this year, Apple announced its Apple TV+ streaming service to compete against the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime. The tech giant also announced an Apple Arcade video game subscription service.
Apple then said both services are expected to be available by fall, or September, this year.
This means that it is highly possible that the details for these services, such as pricing and which countries the services will be available, might finally be made known to the world.