Apple as usual is hosting its annual iPhone event in September, and this time it sent out invites for a September 12 event set to be held at the Steve Jobs Theater. Like last year, Apple is expected to launch three iPhones this year, and the Apple Watch Series 4 smartwatch. 2018 may also be the year Apple finally launches a dual-SIM iPhone model, though that may be limited to just the Chinese market. It is also expected to bring new iPad Pro (2018) models, new AirPods, and maybe launch a new lower-priced MacBook as well. While nothing is official yet, leaks have been flowing throughout the latter part of the year, revealing many details about the upcoming Apple devices.
The 2018 iPhone launch event is set to begin at 10.30pm IST (10am Pacific time), and will be live streamed on this page. This page can be streamed on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch using Safari on iOS 10 or later, a Mac using Safari on macOS Sierra 10.12 or later; or a Windows 10 PC with Microsoft Edge. Streaming to Apple TV via AirPlay requires an Apple TV (2nd generation or later) with the latest Apple TV software or tvOS. Apple notes that Chrome or Firefox browsers may work, as long as they're set up to support MSE, H.264, and AAC codecs. 2018 is also the first time Apple is streaming the event live on Twitter.
We take a look at all the things that have leaked so far, and all things that you can expect, and need to know, ahead of the grand event tomorrow.
iPhone 9, iPhone Xs, iPhone Xs Max: Rumoured price, design, specifications
This year, Apple is looking to launch three new iPhones, with one being a 6.1-inch LCD variant, while the other two premium models will sport OLED display panels. The LCD model, as per the most recent report, has reportedly been delayed, and may not launch on Wednesday's event. We'll have to wait and see.
Out of the two OLED models, one will be the 5.8-inch display iPhone X successor, while the other will be the most premium variant with a 6.5-inch display. Recent reports suggest that the OLED models will be called the iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max respectively, while the LCD variant will most likely be called the iPhone 9, or iPhone Xr.
The OLED models are expected to sport dual cameras, Face ID, and 3D Touch, while the LCD variant is tipped to sport a single camera, and no 3D Touch. The LCD variant is also expected to sport dual-SIM slots, but that will be exclusive to China only, as per reports. Both the OLED models are supposed to sport similar specifications - the latest Apple A12 SoC, 4GB of RAM, 64GB/ 256GB/ 512GB of inbuilt storage, dual 12-megapixel rear camera sensors, and a stainless steel casing.
Most of the previous reports suggested that the three iPhones will be priced rather aggressively, and even noted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo suggested a pricing structure that starts with as low as $600 (roughly Rs. 43,600). However, recent reports refute these claims with the cheapest iPhones' starting price pegged at CNY 5,888 (roughly Rs. 62,100), the iPhone Xs will be priced starting at CNY 7,388 (approximately Rs. 77,900), and the iPhone Xs Max might start at CNY 8,388 (about Rs. 88,400). An analyst from Goldman Sachs also said that the cheapest iPhone, will actually come at a base price of $849 (roughly Rs. 61,500) instead of what was the previously predicted $699 (around Rs. 50,600). In any case, we are just a day away from the big launch event, and prices of all the three variants will be unveiled soon.
Apple Watch Series 4
At the event, Apple is also expected to launch the Apple Watch Series 4 smartwatch with thinner bezels and larger display screens. The 42mm Apple Watch Series 4 is tipped to sport a resolution of 384x480 pixels, a significant increase from 312x390 pixels from previous 42mm Apple Watch models. Even analyst Ming-Chi Kuo had earlier reported that the Apple Watch Series 4 will come with 15 percent larger display options and a longer battery life than its predecessor. In his recent note, he said that the Apple Watch Series 4 will come with ECG/ EKG functionality. The analyst says that Apple has chosen Osram as the ECG supplier. All models in the new Apple Watch lineup are also said to come with ceramic backs. This is unlike the GPS-only Apple Watch Series 3 that has a composite glass back panel instead of the premium ceramic panel.
A new watch face is also coming this time around and will display more information than previous faces. The analogue watch face will show eight complications in all, placed within and around the clock hands. The renders also show a new hole in between the digital crown and the side button, which could be for an additional microphone for better noise cancellation.
iPad Pro (2018) variants
New iPad Pro (2018) models are also expected to launch at the event, and it will come with a USB Type-C port instead of a Lightning connector. It is also said that there will be a new unibody design 18W power adapter. Recent leak suggests a 12.9-inch variant with Face ID support. The iPad is said to come without the Home Button, therefore thinner bezels, and no 3.5mm audio jack as well. The iPad Pro 12.9 (2018) is rumoured to come with the A12 or A12X chipset, and a smaller 11-inch iPad Pro variant is also speculated to debut at the forthcoming Apple event.
Apple is also expected to launch a lower-priced MacBooks with a Touch ID fingerprint authentication, but won't include a full-fledged Touch Bar that is available on the MacBook Pro models. It will sport a Retina display, which could make it the successor to the MacBook Air that hasn't seen an upgrade in years. While Apple usually refreshes its Mac range in October, this low-cost variant may make an appearance in September.
New AirPods and AirPower Charging Mat
We may also hear more details on the long anticipated AirPower charging mat, and may see an unveiling of the new AirPods at the event as well. The AirPods are expected to sport an upgraded Apple-designed wireless chip for managing Bluetooth connections, and is expected to let people summon Apple's Siri digital assistant without physically tapping the headphones by saying "Hey Siri."
According to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, Apple will launch a new Mac mini for the first time in four years. Gurman says it will be focused on pro users this time around, such as graphic designers, people who "have been asking for new Macs that meet their more-demanding needs".
New iPhones may well be amazing but will Apple follow a new strategy in India? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.