With just a few days left until Apple’s big reveal on Tuesday, speculation as to what the company may or may not announce has pretty much approached fever pitch. Without further ado, this is what we expect at Apple’s landmark September 12 Steve Jobs Theatre event.
This is the easiest thing in the world to guess because Apple usually unveils new phones in September, barring a few exceptions. Aside from the iterative iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus device with LCD screens and updated internals, most of the rumours revolve around the so-called tenth anniversary iPhone (the original iPhone debuted in 2007).
Here are some of the key features we think are coming to iPhone 8:
- New design—The device is said to be thoroughly redesigned around an almost full screen face without any form of a physical Home button out the front, with a glass backside to optimize wireless charging performance and prevent overheating.
- OLED display—With deeper blacks, higher contrast and increased pixel count, the iPhone 8 screen won’t just look sharper but will also consume less power because OLED pixels are illuminated individually and don’t require a power-hungry backlight like LCD technology. We’re also hoping for the iPad Pro’s True Tone screen feature and Promotion technology for double the refresh rate at 120Hz.
- Inductive charging—While we don’t expect a true wireless charging (the technology just isn’t there yet), iPhone 8 should have inductive charging like Apple Watch. You should be able to charge your iPhone via any Qi-compatible charging mat at about half the speed of the latest Qi 1.2 standard because the inductive charging module will apparently use a slower charging profile running at 7.5W.
- No Touch ID—Apple hasn’t integrated a fingerprint sensor underneath the display and is thought to have ditched early prototypes with a rear Touch ID. Rumour has it that Touch ID will be supplanted by advanced 3D face scanning and good old’ passcode.
- 3D sensing—Both cameras will be accompanied by depth-sensing sensors based on infrared light invisible to the human eye, capable of scanning objects in 3D even in low-light environments. We’re expecting this to be used for facial scanning and unlocking, Apple Pay, 3D selfies, improved augmented reality tracking and more.
- A11 chip—We can guarantee that the next iPhone will use a faster Apple-designed chip, like all prior iPhones. Because it will have dual-lens camera out the back, the phone should have at least 3GB of RAM like iPhone 7 Plus.
- Better cameras—The selfie camera out the front could receive a major upgrade with 4K video capture at 60FPS and increased resolution. The rear cameras should stay at 12 megapixels, but expect super-fast laser autofocus (courtesy of the new 3D sensor), optical image stabilization on the telephoto lens and other upgrades resulting in better low-light photos and prettier images. The rear camera system should also capture 4K video at twice the frame rate.
- Storage—Apple is rumoured to double the current storage tiers to 64GB/256GB/512GB. While 512GB of storage on a phone sound like an overkill, 64 gigabytes in the baseline storage should be just about enough for average users.
- New name—It’s unclear if Apple will stick to its current naming scheme or brand the OLED iPhone as iPhone 8, iPhone X, iPhone Edition or some such. If it’s not going to be called iPhone 8, then the iPhone 7s/Plus updates may be marketed as iPhone 8/Plus.
- High price—Though the top-of-the-line iPhone 7 Plus model retails for almost £1,000, the baseline 64GB OLED iPhone is said to start at that price. If you need more storage, expect to pay a £100 more for each storage increment.
Aside from the aforementioned goodies, Apple may surprise us with a one more thing, a feature no one saw coming.
If we had to make an educated guess, we’d say that perhaps the company would build on the tremendous AR Kit momentum by previewing a dedicated augmented reality glasses for iPhone 8, which is rumoured to arrive in 2018.
Apple Watch Series 3
The next Apple Watch won’t look radically different than Series 1 or Series 2, and we don’t expect it to get any thinner. That’s because Apple will add LTE connectivity, meaning it will have to squeeze more chips in an already tiny device. The band mechanism should not change in Apple Watch Series 3 so all your existing straps should work like a charm.
While Apple Watch Series 3 might lack cellular phone calling at launch, this feature should be added later via a software update. Aside from cellular connectivity, expect increased dust and water protection, a faster Apple-designed S3 chip, updated display and touch technologies and maybe some new casing materials and colour options.
What to not expect from Apple Watch Series 3: A FaceTime camera.
4K Apple TV
The fourth-generation Apple TV was released two years ago and it’s now overdue for update.
The biggest news should be a major resolution boost to support 4K video output and several wide colour video standards such as HDR, HDR10 and Dolby Vision to make it compatible with a wide range of HDR-certified television sets.
Like wide colour photography on the iPhone 7 series, HDR video brings higher contrast and a richer set of colours capable of reproducing finer detail than the traditional HD (1080p) standard. Apple is actually catching up to competition here because even Google’s Chromecast supports 4K while other media streamers, like Roku, also support HDR video.
The upcoming tvOS 11 software update packs in only a few minor improvements, but Tim Cook hinted at WWDC 2017 that we’ll be hearing ”a lot more about Apple TV later this year”. What exactly that might entail is anyone’s guess, but we like to think that Apple may have a few surprises up its sleeve (for what it’s worth, Siri Remote is now on a serious backorder in many countries).
For instance, the next Apple TV could also sport an all-new form factor, built-in Microsoft Kinect-like motion sensors and beefier graphics with a lot faster CPU with more RAM (to support console-quality gaming in 4K), but don’t quote us on that.
OS Release dates
As is its wont, the Cupertino giant during iPhone events usually announces precise release dates for its major OS updates. iOS 11, macOS High Sierra, watchOS 4 and tvOS 11 are all currently advertised with a vague release date “this fall”.
New iOS updates always drop ahead of new iPhones and this time should be no different.
That doesn’t mean all OS updates will release simultaneously: iOS 11 and watchOS 4 should hit on the same day (because Apple Watch requires a paired iPhone), but tvOS 11 and macOS High Sierra could arrive at a later date, especially if we’re looking at another event in October dedicated to the next Apple TV and maybe some new Macs (Mac mini, anyone?).
As always, your guess is as good as ours and your opinion does matter.
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Image: Tim Cook speaks during the September 2015 media event in San Francisco, California. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images