About a week ago, Apple held a special media event where they announced the rumored iPhone 7 and Apple Watch Series 2. The new smartwatch has a much faster processor, is completely waterproof, and is designed to be more of a sport watch than a luxury watch. Apple also revamped their lineup by removing some watches and adding others.
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Apple’s highly anticipated fall special event is set to start tomorrow around 10am. They will be taking the stage in San Francisco to reveal many new products. While many of the designs for their products will look familiar, they are expected to set themselves up for entire product line refreshes. Here are our expectations for their event.
The iPhone 7 is practically guaranteed to be announced at the event on Wednesday. Rumors, leaked pictures, and specs have led us to this very moment where we know most everything about the phone. It will come in two sizes (4.7″ and 5.5″) and look similar to the iPhone 6s. The smaller 4.7″ iPhone 7 will have a single and larger rear facing camera, while the larger 5.5″ iPhone 7 Plus will have a two rear cameras. All the camera sensors will remain at 12MP, though. Both phones will have a tactile Home button that uses Force Touch to simulate the physical mechanism of a moving button. Additionally, the phones will not have the headphone jack but instead rely on Bluetooth and Lightning for audio. The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus will start at 32GB, be powered by the A10 processor, and have better battery capacities. In place of the headphone jack, there will be a second speaker grill which will be house an amplifier. Pre-orders are expected to begin on Friday, September 9th and the phone will either be released on Friday, September 16th or Friday, September 23rd.
Apple Watch 2
Leaked images and inside rumors suggest the second-generation Apple Watch will be coming at Apple’s event this week. The watch will look relatively similar to the current generation Apple Watch, except the internals will be highly upgraded. The new processor (or SoC) will be much faster and provide better battery life, the battery capacity will increase due to a thinner display, and the watch will be less dependent on the iPhone. Instead of relying on the phone to track location and speed, the watch will use the new GPS chip. It will still be dependent upon the iPhone for full functionality, though. The current Apple Watch will also be updated with the new processor and continue to be available for sale. The Apple Watch 2 is expected to be released in either September or October.
The newest operating system for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch is also practically guaranteed to be announced. Historically, Apple announces the latest iOS at the keynote at WWDC in June and then releases it to the public in the fall. With the amount of beta versions given to developers (we are on #7 now), this shows the final version is underway and will be available to the public soon. The update brings many features to Messages; a fresh design to Music, Maps, and Photos; a new layout for widgets, the Lock screen, and Control Center; and new settings. iOS 10 will likely be released on Wednesday, September 14th.
The third-generation operating system for the Apple Watch was announced in June at the Worldwide Developer’s Conference and is expected to come out alongside iOS 10. The update brings faster apps with Background App Refresh, new watch faces that are easier to switch, fitness for those in a wheelchair, an optimized keyboard for writing letters, and a SOS feature. The SOS feature will allow the Apple Watch to automatically call for help with local emergency services and notify friends/family that you’re in need of help. Another feature will allow you to unlock your Mac when you are in close proximity to it wearing the Apple Watch. This update will likely come out on September 14th as well.
The next-generation operating system for Apple TV (4th generation) will likely be announced at tomorrow’s event. The software update brings a few features to the Apple TV like single sign-on for multiple apps that require your TV provider’s subscription credentials, a special Dark Mode (versus the current bright and all-white “Light Mode”), redesigned Music app, and more advanced search with Siri. It is expected to be released on September 14th.
Apple is expected to reveal Lightning-powered EarPods, wireless headphones called ‘AirPods,’ and a few Lightning-powered headphones under their Beats by Dr. Dre brand. Also, there will be a new adapter for Lightning to headphone for those users who still have traditional headphones but plan to upgrade the headphone jack-less iPhone 7. These should come alongside the iPhone 7 or be available before the phone is released.
iPad Pro 2
The second-generation iPad Pro is currently in development and may be announced at tomorrow’s Apple event. Unfortunately this is more want, then based on any fact. Rumors suggest an announcement in October, or more than likely, some time next year. The iPad Pro will have a faster display technology for smoother scrolling, panning and zooming. There will also be three models released all based on screen sizes: 9.7-inch, 10.5-inch, and 12.9-inch with the smallest size offered as a low-cost option. The iPads will also have expanded support for the Apple Pencil.
iPad mini 5
There have been no rumors for the fifth-generation iPad mini and the consensus is this tablet will be discontinued soon. It is very similar in size to the 5.5-inch iPhone Plus and lacks support for the new iPad Pro features.
Apple TV Internet Streaming Service
The Internet TV streaming service was expected to be announced alongside the Apple TV (4th generation) last year, but it was not ready yet. The service was rumored to be available for $30-$40 per month and come with about twenty-five channels from major networks. A year after the expected announcement date, the streaming service has not been made public and is likely a tabled idea. Perhaps we will see it in the future.
Apple may also follow their new tradition last year and jam pack all Mac updates into this special event, or have another event planned in October. Apple will announce macOS Sierra (the rebranding of OS X plus the new operating system name) alongside a refresh of their Mac lineup.
The special media event will kick off at 10am PDT, or 1pm EST, in San Fransisco and it will be live-streamed for all to watch.
While the best confirmation of rumors is an actual announcement by Apple, the next best thing is official paperwork filed by the company. A new document was leaked this week that shows Apple’s regulatory filings with the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC). The document reveals new wireless headphones, two new iPhone models, and ten new Apple Watch models.
Apple filed the paperwork earlier last week, but the Russian website Mobiltelefon.ru (via AppleInsider) did not discover it until this week. The documents were filed with the EEC, which is the main regulatory body for Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Russia. They filed for certification with wireless headphones called “AirPods,” two iPhones with model numbers A1784 and A1778, and three sets of Apple Watch models for a total of ten.
“AirPods” is likely the name Apple has chosen for their rumored wireless EarPods. Since the iPhone 7 will not have a headphone jack, the phone will rely on Bluetooth and its Lightning port for audio. Apple is rumored to be working on two sets of headphones under their name (versus until their Beats by Dr. Dre brand). The first will connect with Bluetooth, which are likely the registered “AirPods,” while the other will connect with Lightning. Apple will include one of them in the box and list the other for sale. Rumors have gone back and forth as to which one goes where, though.
Apple has also registered two new iPhone model numbers, A1784 and A1778. These will correspond to the iPhone 7 models, with one for the iPhone 7 and the other for the iPhone 7 Plus. This confirms that only two models will be announced, not three as previously rumored. The model numbers also follow Apple’s system with “A” as their identifier and first two numbers indicating the year of announcement. While they do not correspond to the numbered year (i.e. 16 for 2016), all devices released have the same number. The iPhone SE, for example, was launched in spring 2016 and its model number starts with “A17.” Additionally, the registered numbers do not correspond to any current iPhone generation.
Finally, the document indicates three groups of Apple Watch models for a total of ten. This could correlate to the three Apple Watch versions: Sport, stainless steel, and Edition. Two of the versions will be updated with four new models, while the other version will only have two new models. Apple is likely not expanding the $10K+ Edition with four new watches, so these are meant for the Sport and stainless steel versions. The company is expected to re-introduce the first-generation Apple Watch with an improved processor and a second-generation model with a GPS, barometer, and better battery next week.
The second-generation Apple Watch, which is expected to be called the ‘Apple Watch 2’, will apparently not have all the features previously rumored. Reports had hoped the watch would be not be dependent on the iPhone, but this won’t happen with this generation. According to a new post by Bloomberg, there are technological limitations that will prohibit Apple from making the watch completely independent.
Citing people with knowledge of Apple’s plans, Bloomberg reports the Apple Watch 2 will not have a cellular chip. It will instead use GPS which uses less power and only tracks location. The cellular chip would have allowed the watch to use its own data plan without requiring an iPhone for connection to the Internet. This, however, uses much more battery power and battery life is already an issue. Future generations of the Apple Watch will likely have a cellular chip, but Apple has tabled the idea until they can find one that uses less power.
In place of the cellular chip, Apple will install a GPS chip which will track location. It will be more accurate in following fitness activities, calculating speed and distance, and not require the iPhone to always be nearby. Running would be so much easier with only the Apple Watch for tracking instead of the Apple Watch and the iPhone.
Previous reports also indicated that the watch would have an advanced Wi-Fi chip. This would allow the watch to be connected to the Internet via Wi-Fi without being in Bluetooth range of the iPhone. The watch could use email, messages, and show notifications without an iPhone. Plus GPS and Wi-Fi would better triangulate the user’s position instead of GPS alone.
The Apple Watch 2 is still on track to be announced at Apple’s rumored event on September 7th. It will have a similar design with a more powerful SoC processor, barometer, and better waterproofing.
Based on Apple’s history, the iPhone 7 and Apple Watch 2 should be completely redesigned with new internal components and external housing. Since this is major iPhone year and this is the second-generation Apple Watch, a redesign for both is typical for Apple. Unfortunately it appears that Apple is playing it safe with both of these devices with a complete redesign next year instead. A new report from KGI Securities analyst Ming Chi-Kuo claims the Apple Watch 2 will have the same physical design as its predecessor with updated internal components.
The Apple Watch 2 will be loaded with new sensors and a better processor for updated graphics and performance. The watch will include a GPS, barometer, the second-generation SoC processor, and be more waterproof. Other reports have rumored a cellular or Wi-Fi antenna and camera as well. The new SoC will improve the GPU and CPU of the watch for better performance. Next year’s watch, the Apple Watch 3, will be completely redesigned with a new form factor and potentially new casing materials.
According to Kuo, the current Apple Watch will not be discontinued but instead, upgraded. The watch will feature the new SoC processor and be priced for much less. It previously saw a price drop of $50 in the spring so hopefully the next price drop will put it below $200. The Apple Watch 2 will take over the prices of the current Apple Watch.
The new Apple Watch 2 is expected to be announced alongside the iPhone 7 in early September. Kuo predicts the watch will come out in late 2016, which would means September to December according to Tim Cook. He previously confirmed the definition of “early,” “mid,” and “late” meaning the first four months, middle four months, and last four months, respectively.
The Apple Watch has been on the market for over a year and it is time for Apple to upgrade the design in favor of something thinner and with better battery life. According to a new report on the Chinese website Wei Feng, Apple is planning to announce a new version of the Apple Watch, dubbed “Apple Watch 2,” at the special media event in early September.
Citing Apple suppliers, the second-generation Apple Watch is expected to be announced in September and either released the same month or in October. Original rumors suggested an announcement at Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference but Apple instead focused on new software instead of new hardware. Now the watch is expected to come along side the iPhone 7. The release date is currently unknown, but it would be surprising if the watch did not come out in September.
The Apple Watch 2 will come with a refreshed design according to the report. It states that the watch may come with a cellular chip that would allow it to be independent of the iPhone. Currently the Apple Watch is tied to the iPhone and must stay within thirty feet in order for the watch to receive and send data. Once it gets outside this area, the watch has less smart features and more regular watch features since it is no longer connected to the Internet. The new watch will also be thinner, lighter, and may be getting a front-facing camera. Other reports have suggested new materials for the body like platinum and tungsten too.
Apple Watch sales have fallen from the previous year, according to the report. While Apple has not released actual sales numbers, one could only expect a decline after the watch being on the market for over a year without any hardware updates. Many users complain the battery life is not where it should be for a smartwatch, compared to the competition. Hopefully Apple will release a watch soon that will increase sales by providing a better design with longer battery life.
In a recent interview on CNBC’s Mad Money, Apple CEO Tim Cook teased that the company has “great products in the pipeline” and suggested that the new “iPhones” will be a great incentive to upgrade. Cook said something similar three years ago about the “great products” that were coming in 2014. This is the year that we saw the Apple Watch, iPhone 6, Apple Pay, and iPad Air 2 announced. So what exactly are these “great products in the pipeline?” What do we expect to see for the rest of the year?
The tenth-generation operating system is all but confirmed to be announced at Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference (WWDC) next month in California. Apple has a history of announcing software updates at this event geared towards developers so they can prepare their apps to work on the major software update when it is released in the fall. Rumors for its features have been quite absence, but we are hoping for a complete redesign and overhaul of bug fixes since it is the tenth version. Current rumors suggest that Apple will be updating their Music app with reorganized tabs, a whole new user interface, and increased functions. The Music app will have 3D Touch display shortcuts for sharing music faster and previewing songs. Apple is also working on a person-to-person payment system with Apple Pay and this may be included in the update. Other rumors have indicated an all-new Photos app and iCloud Voicemail where Siri will be able to answer phone calls and transcribe voicemails.
We also expect watchOS and tvOS updates, which are for the Apple Watch and Apple TV, respectively.
Apple Watch 2
The second-generation Apple Watch is expected to be announced and released this year, hopefully the announcement being at WWDC. We are expecting a watch that is not dependent on the iPhone for functionality, a 20% to 40% thinner design, a front camera, and models made of new materials (perhaps tungsten or platinum). Rumors have also suggested that it will have a cellular chip or a WiFi chip inside so it can be independent of the phone. If the new watch is not announced at the conference, it should come along the iPhone 7 in September.
The next major numbered iPhone generation is upon us this year. Historically, Apple has refreshed the design when releasing an iPhone with a new number, but this year might be different since next year is the tenth anniversary of iPhone. Unfortunately it occurs on an “S” year and previously the company has only updated the internal components and added a flagship feature. Considering the iPhone 6 when it was released in 2014, it was a complete redesign from the iPhone 5s, and the iPhone 6s had a similar design to the iPhone 6 but came with a 4K video camera, 3D Touch display and added waterproofness. This would mean the ninth iPhone (this year) would have a complete redesign and the tenth (next year) would only have a minor update. Apple appears to be switching these to make this year a minor update and next year a complete overhaul of design.
The current rumors suggest the iPhone 7 will be available in the same sizes as the iPhone 6s (4.7″ and 5.5″) with the larger model coming with rear dual-camera, no headphone jack, a thinner Lightning port, and potentially the same body design as the iPhone 6s. It will be powered by the A10 processor, have more RAM, and a higher storage capacity of 256GB. Next year’s iPhone, however, may be a complete redesign with a shell made mostly of glass similar to the iPhone 4.
On a side note, the name of the iPhone is also unconfirmed. A recent blueprint suggested it would be called the “iPhone Pro” or perhaps Apple would just call it “iPhone”. Apple may also release three sizes of the new phone: 4.7″, 5.5″, and 5.8″. The latter may be a part of next year’s iPhone instead.
iPad mini 5 (7.9″ iPad Pro)
Currently the rumors around the next-generation iPad mini is just speculation since it is likely that the table will be discontinued this year. We would like to see Apple take the iPad mini and make it part of the iPad Pro lineup. They could offer their Pro tablet lineup in 12.9″, 9.7″ and now 7.9″ display sizes. It could have four stereo speakers, a redesigned interior, a higher quality display, and support for the Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard.
Apple TV Streaming Service
Apple was rumored all of last year to release an Internet streaming TV service similar to Sling alongside the 4th generation Apple TV in fall 2015. Unfortunately this did not happen because contracts were apparently not finalized. Hopefully we will see them release it this year. The Wall Street Journal reported over a year ago that the streaming service would initially be limited to twenty-five channels and be offered for $30 to $40 per month.
As we get closer to Apple’s spring event, the rumor mill has quieted down significantly because we have a good sense of what to expect. The iPhone 5se is a hybrid of the 5s, 6 and 6s while the iPad Air 3 is a miniature iPad Pro. In addition, Apple will show off new watch band designs, like a Space Black Milanese loop, for the Apple Watch. Mark Gurman of 9to5Mac says that his sources are still pointing towards Tuesday, March 15th as the announcement date and now they are saying Apple plans to release their new products a few days later on Friday, March 18th.
While a quick release for the watch bands is expected, Apple typically has a small waiting period between their announcement and release for new products. They typically use this time to allow their customers to pre-order their latest devices. If they are planning to show off the iPhone 5se and iPad Air 3 the same week as they become available for sale, then there won’t be any preorders. While we are unsure of Apple’s motivation for this, they likely aren’t expecting a huge rush of customers preordering/buying their devices, like we would see when a flagship iPhone is released (like the iPhone 7 in seven months.)
The iPhone 5se, as we mentioned, is a hybrid of the iPhone 5s, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s. It will have a 4-inch display like the iPhone 5s and the design of the iPhone 6. The phone will have a seamless transition from curved glass to a curved aluminum rear shell, antenna lines, a protruding camera and come in space gray, silver, gold and rose gold. The phone will also be powered by Apple’s A9 processor with embedded M9 co-processor, have Touch ID with a NFC chip for Apple Pay and Bluetooth 4.2. The iPhone 5se is expected to replace the iPhone 5s.
Finally, the iPad Air 3 is expected to be a miniature iPad Pro with an extra feature based on the leaked schematics we have seen. The iPad Air 3 will have four stereo speakers, a Smart Connector for Apple’s Smart Keyboard (and hopefully support for the Apple Pencil) and a rear LED flash, which would be the first for an iPad. Additionally, Apple is expected to reveal new bands for the Apple Watch. Currently more Apple Watch Sport band colors, a Space Black Milanese loop and NATO-style bands have been rumored. There may also be a new watch model announced.
While we know that we will see the Apple Watch at Apple’s March special media event, what we will see, though, is currently in question. We previously reported that Apple is only planning to release new bands for the watch with a software update, but analyst Gene Munster believes we will also see hardware upgrades too.
In a new note to investors, via Business Insider, the analyst says we should “expect” the Apple Watch to adopt an upgrade cycle similar to the iPhone. Apple may update the hardware on the watch while retaining the same external design, like an S-series iPhone. When the iPhone 6s came out, it looked just like an iPhone 6 but had the 3D Touch display, a faster processor and better internal components. Munster argues that the watch will do something similar with a refresh of an upgraded processor and battery with new bands.
This is one way that Apple could solve the smartwatch upgrade cycle conundrum that’s been puzzling the industry for the last year. Will Apple Watch users who forked over $1,000 to $17,000 drop their device to upgrade to the latest one or will users adopt a two-year or even three-year upgrade cycle? Forbes previously proposed Apple could bring the iPhone Upgrade Program to the Apple Watch, which would allow users to trade in their current watch for the latest one.
Regardless of what Apple decides to do, we will definitely see an update to Apple Watch in one form or another in March. We will also see the iPhone 5se (the next update to the 4-inch iPhone) and the iPad Air 3 (a small iPad Pro).
One of the biggest questions we have with the rumored Apple Watch 2 is that how many people are expected to buy it. More importantly, how many people are going to sell their first-generation Apple Watch that they spent $1,000 to $16,000 on to get a smartwatch with the latest hardware.
The question around the upgrade cycle for the smartwatch has puzzled a few people since they are not like a smartphone or a tablet. Smartphones get upgraded every year or every other year since they are subsidized and we are never paying full price for the phone (at least not upfront.) While tablets are upgraded every few years since they carry a higher price tag and are more like laptops (especially the new iPad Pro). Many people still swear by the iPad 2 and use it every day even though it was released nearly five years ago.
An interesting article came out on Forbes that suggests Apple should bring their iPhone Upgrade Program, which lets users upgrade the latest iPhone on a yearly basis, to the Apple Watch. This program, called the Apple Watch Upgrade Program, would spread the cost of the watch over twenty four months and allow users to have the newest Apple Watch every year. When the new model comes out, users can trade in their “old” Apple Watch to get the new one and sign up for a new program. Apple will definitely benefit from this as they will now have a one-year old watch in great condition that they can refurbish to resell. Plus, like the iPhones, the devices in their program come with AppleCare+ which keeps repairs in-house.
This idea, which was first suggested by Forbes writer Ewan Spence, would help to fix the upgrade problem for the Apple Watch. Every year a new watch comes out, users will be able to upgrade regardless of the amount they spent on the previous model. They can spread the cost over twenty-four months (so that 18-karat Rose Gold Apple Watch Edition is $770/month instead of $18,500 up front) and every model comes with AppleCare+.