Apple confirmed Monday that it will have a press event on Sept. 7 - at which it is expected to introduce a new iPhone and the next version of the Apple Watch.
While Apple never says what it's planning before it announces new products, this is the time of year for a new iPhone and there have been plenty of reports indicating what's expected for the next smartphone. The main rumor is that the company is going to break with its normal upgrade rhythm this year. In the past, Apple's alternated between offering major updates for the iPhone and smaller, more incremental updates. According to that schedule, Apple should be offering a significant update to the iPhone this year, and call it the "iPhone 7."
But reports from analysts and other Apple watchers indicate that Apple's actually not going to offer that much of an overhaul to its phones, but will instead likely introduce two phones that look an awful lot like its current iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. A bigger change to the device is actually now expected next year, in 2017.
Apple is expected to give the guts of the phone its typical overhaul, with faster chips, a better camera and maybe a larger battery, according to multiple reports, including one from Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. The larger version of the iPhone, which will probably be called the iPhone 7 Plus if Apple sticks with its conventions, may have two cameras on the back of the phone.
Despite not being a "major" upgrade on the scale of years past, Apple is expected to make at least one big change: many reports have said that Apple will do away with its headphone jack. Instead, reports have said, the company is expected to use the space now occupied by the headphone jack for a second speaker. Headphones for the iPhone may instead work with the Lightning port on the bottom of the phone, which is currently only used for charging and data transfer.
That would make the standard headphones that users have had for years completely useless with a new iPhone. Since the rumor first broke, there's been lots of pushback from those who say it's not a consumer-friendly move. That includes Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, who told the Australian Financial Review last week that Apple shouldn't ditch the headphone jack unless it also improves the sound quality over Bluetooth wireless headphones.
Overall, Apple's iPhone sales in 2016 haven't been as strong as they were last year, and that's worried many investors who know that the majority of Apple's money comes from iPhone sales. If the reports are true, Apple is unlikely to get a sales bump on the scale that it normally does when releasing a overhauled iPhone. For example, those still using the iPhone 6 (or older) may find themselves unwilling to pay for more incremental updates, and may hold out for another year until the next model.
Then again, Apple is nothing if not surprising - so hopeful phone buyers shouldn't go into mourning just yet.
© 2016 The Washington Post