While Apple remains tight-lipped about its Sept. 10 event – its invitations are short on concrete clues as well – we have a great idea of what Apple is expected to introduce to the public on Tuesday. Here are five announcements we’re looking forward to, and five items you shouldn’t expect any announcements about (don’t worry iPad and Mac fans, more announcements are reportedly coming in October).
Apple Announcements To Expect
1. The reintroduction of iOS 7, including free iWork and iLife
Besides new iPhones (more on that later), Apple also plans to release new software to accompany its new mobile hardware. Introduced at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference, or WWDC 2013, in June, iOS 7 is the first redesign of the company’s mobile operating system since the introduction of the original iPhone in 2007.
Apple has completely revamped the classic icons, colors, style and textures of iOS to make it feel simpler yet more sophisticated. The interface acts like a series of layers, which provides context in a way that makes navigation feel even more intuitive than before. But iOS 7 isn’t just a cosmetic release: Apple added dozens of important features and tools to make the new iOS more productive. Most notable among the new iOS 7 features are the helpful Control Center that provides quick access to important settings; the built-in parallax that shifts the background image in response to one’s movements; a new way to multitask apps; the AirDrop feature for sharing photos or documents with other iPhone users in the area; and many others.
In addition to the iOS 7 features we know about, we’re also expecting Apple to address a few missing items from this summer’s iOS 7 introduction, including iWork and iLife, Apple’s software suites dedicated to work and play, respectively. For years, Apple offered its iWork and iLife as paid applications, which needed to be purchased separately on each platform (iPhone, iPad and Mac). Luckily, since Apple will begin hosting its iWork software on the Web with iOS 7 (presumably for free), rumors have indicated the company will eliminate the cost of iWork applications once iOS 7 and OS X Mavericks are released to the public. Code discovered within the iOS 7 beta 3 also suggests Apple will release all its iWork and iLife apps for free, and we believe Apple will address these new software platforms on Sept. 10.
For more on iOS 7, check out our visual guide on iOS 7 to learn more about the new design, some surprise features we discovered in the very first iOS 7 beta and our collection of 80-plus screenshots of iOS 7.
2. iPhone 5S
Once Apple addresses iOS 7 at its Sept. 10 event, it’ll be time to talk hardware. We’re expecting Apple to introduce the successor to last year’s iPhone 5, by all accounts called the iPhone 5S, likely due to its focus on advanced security protocols and technologies.
The iPhone 5S will look nearly identical to the iPhone 5, except for its pill-shaped dual-LED flash, which will replace the circular flash from the iPhone 5. But besides outside cosmetic changes, the iPhone 5S will feature the same 4-inch Retina display and chamfered diamond-cut edges, as well as some new innards. Rumors point to a new A7 processor, a slightly modified battery for greater life, a new camera system for slow-motion video photography, and a fingerprint sensor presumably to let users authenticate ownership and user passwords by simply holding their thumbs on the iPhone’s signature home button.
The iPhone 5S is expected to release in three improved storage capacities, now starting at 32 GB and ranging up to 128 GB, and feature at least one new color – gold. Rumors also point to a new graphite-shaded iPhone 5S, but we’re not positive about that yet. Check out our rundown of expected iPhone 5S features before it sees its release date in a couple of weeks.
3. iPhone 5C
We’re expecting Apple to announce a completely new iPhone besides the iPhone 5S, called the iPhone 5C. By all accounts, the iPhone 5C will release with all of the same inner specs and features as the iPhone 5 -- a 4-inch Retina display at 326 ppi, an A6 chip, a FaceTime HD camera and an 8-megapixel rear side camera -- but will come encased in a colorful, polycarbonate shell. We believe the iPhone 5C will be available in five colors, including yellow, blue, green, rose and white.
But the selling point of the iPhone 5C, besides its colors, will be its price. Many originally predicted Apple would release the iPhone 5C at the same price as the iPhone 4, which is currently being sold for $0 with a two-year contract in the U.S., or for about 3,000 yuan (roughly equivalent to $490) in China. However, some rumors have indicated the iPhone 5 will be eliminated from the iPhone line-up entirely, which could mean the iPhone 5S price is $199, the iPhone 5C cost is $99, and keep the iPhone 4S at its $0 on-contract price as its last remaining iPhone with a 3.5-inch screen.
Apple Announcements NOT To Expect
1. New iPads
Considering how Sept. 10 is supposed to be an iPhone event, we highly doubt we’ll be seeing any new iPads on Tuesday. Leaks and rumors have long pointed to a separate Apple event dedicated to the fifth-generation iPad and second-generation iPad mini, most likely at the end of October or early November. We specifically believe Apple will unveil the iPad 5 and iPad mini 2 at an event held on Oct. 22, which would mean the release date for both tablets would land on Nov. 1. We also believe the release date of the iPad 5 and iPad mini 2 will coincide with iOS 7 for iPad, which we don't believe will be ready by Apple's Sept. 10 event.
2. New Macs
Apple released a new MacBook Air in June, but has yet to upgrade its other notebook and desktop offerings. Apple is expected to give minor upgrades to its iMac and MacBook Pro with Retina display, endowing both computer designs with Intel’s latest “Haswell” processors, but also show off the Mac Pro that was given a “sneak preview” at this year’s WWDC. All of these computers are likely to be released in early November to help boost Apple sales during the holiday season.
3. New Apple TV hardware
Apple may be updating its Apple TV software on Sept. 10 to coincide with iOS 7, but those looking for new-and-improved Apple TV hardware should look forward to October. Apple will reportedly introduce its new set-top hardware, which may also come with some exciting new software to boot. We’re still waiting to see Apple unveil the television platform Steve Jobs was alluding to in his biography, when he said “I finally cracked it,” but a big Apple TV announcement wouldn’t make sense in the context of iPhone.
4. The iWatch
Samsung unveiled its smart watch offering just a week ago, called the Galaxy Gear. This may put some pressure on Apple to at least unveil what its iWatch will look like, but unless the product is finalized and ready to be seen, we doubt Apple will give a “sneak preview” for iWatch in the same way we saw the Mac Pro months ahead of its formal introduction. There’s a great deal of hype surrounding smart watch news, and we believe Apple may introduce the iWatch at a separate event in the summer or fall months of 2014, or it could simply use its WWDC platform to unveil the product. Either way, we’ve heard news that the iWatch isn’t ready – battery life and usability isn’t quite up to par, which explains the recent hiring spree – so don’t give your hopes up for a Sept. 10 announcement.
What are you hoping to see at Apple’s Sept. 10 event? Do you plan on purchasing a new iPhone this year, and if so, would you rather choose the iPhone 5S or iPhone 5C? Let us know your thoughts on these announcements and other Apple news in the comments section below.