Fire up the hype wagons and polish your crystal balls, because another Apple Event is imminent! September 9 is the day we’ll find out about the new gadgets Apple’s about to unleash.
If you’re in California and deemed important enough, you’ll have an invite to San Francisco’s rather lovely Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, and be able to watch and/or make cooing noises as Apple execs march about on stage. If not, you’ll have to make do with the live stream and hope it doesn’t fall over this time.
In the meantime, we’re wearing our very best guessing moustache to make ten entirely accurate* predictions of what we will — and won’t — see on the day.
*probably not entirely accurate
1. Facts, figures and dad jokes
This event is rumoured to be one of Apple’s biggest ever. It may well last until the following Wednesday. Even so, don’t expect Apple to cut things back accordingly; we’ll still get lots of sales figures, graphs showing how iOS is outperforming Android (in install percentage terms, natch), and jokes from Apple SVP and budding stand-up comic Craig Federighi.
Likelihood: 100% - This one’s a given. You’ll wish time had a fast-forward button — again.
2. Two new big iPhones
Loads of rumours are floating around about Apple’s new iPhones, which are handily collected in Stuff’s guide to the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. New chips, improved cameras and less bendiness seem certs. We’ve also heard rumblings about sapphire glass and a 3D Touch Display; hopefully devs will be able to do more with the last of those than on Apple Watch, where it’s merely the touchscreen equivalent of right-click.
Likelihood: 100% - Unless Apple now hates money, we’re going to see new iPhones. Whether they’ll do enough to reclaim the top spot is another matter.
3. No new small iPhones
Rumours reckon we can expect a smaller iPhone to be announced on September 9. Unless you believe other rumours that say one’s actually not going to arrive, so there. Rumours, eh?
Likelihood: 50% - The new iPod touch showed Apple’s not entirely done with four-inch displays, but the iPhone 5s will likely remain this year’s cheapo iPhone for the small-handed. If a successor appears, it’ll probably be next year. As for the rumours of a new 3.5-inch iPhone, no. Just very much no.
4. iOS 9 and watchOS 2
Apple events are usually full of software demos, and iOS 9 is imminent. The update is primarily about improving OS foundations, and yet it’ll provide big improvements to search, Notes, and multitasking on iPad. And there’ll be a News app no-one asked for and that Apple will probably lose interest in by 2016. Apple Watch owners will benefit, too, as watchOS 2 introduces new faces, customisation, and — best of all — native apps.
Likelihood: 100% - Short of a nefarious rival having locked every Apple engineer in a really big cupboard since WWDC, and Apple’s exec team hiding this news from everyone, this is going to happen. We’ll get a release date, and will have to cross our fingers and hope the updates don’t make our devices explode.
5. A new Apple TV
We love the Apple TV, but it’s getting really hard to recommend. The little black box is smart and simple, but so now are many of its rivals — and they also do far more. But we’ve been hearing about a new Apple TV, running a full iOS 9, and boasting an App Store. It’ll reportedly offer Wii-style motion controls, an A8 with 1 GB of RAM, and heftier storage. This also means a heftier price-tag to match, although the older Apple TV might remain on sale too.
Likelihood: 80% - Suggestions are the new Apple TV’s been ready for a while, but Apple’s waiting for the stars — i.e. telly contracts for streaming — to align. It’s a good bet for the 9th, albeit perhaps without said streaming telly plans. We’re a bit suspicious on suggestions [Apple will make its own TV shows], though; that said, Craig Federighi Does Stand-up might force Tim Cook’s arm.
6. HomeKit (finally)
HomeKit’s been almost here for something like 50 years now, but has never fully materialised. Suggestions are Apple needed a hub to do everything properly, and that hub could be the new Apple TV.
Likelihood: 70% - If the new Apple TV shows up, surely HomeKit will get a mention. If not, you have to wonder whether HomeKit’s ever going to make a proper appearance.
7. The all-new iPad Pro
With iPad sales in the toilet (for a given value of ‘in the toilet’, which is ‘still selling millions, but not enough millions’), Apple’s next plan appears to be an embiggening. The iPad Pro will boast a 12.9-inch display, Force Touch, and more multitasking than you can shake a stick at.
Likelihood: 80% - Historically, iPads have gotten their own October event, which makes us reluctant to say the iPad Pro will _definitely_ be revealed on the 9th. But it’s a new product, unlike the more incremental iPhone improvements, which gives it a better chance.
8. The all-newish other iPads
The iPad mini’s supposed to be catching up with the iPad Air 2, in terms of capabilities (unlike last year’s miserly update, which merely glued Touch ID on to the previous model). The rumour mill’s been quiet about the Air, with suggestions Apple might want to contrive space between it and the Pro. That said, a year of no upgrade for the Air would be curious in a market battling for a return to growth.
Likelihood: 70% If iPads feature, the Air and mini will make an appearance, even if merely on a couple of slides with some specs. And as part of 20-minute Federighi sketch “Three iPads walk into a bar”.
9. A 4K 21.5-inch iMac
According to people who’ve been poking around El Capitan, a 4K 21.5-inch iMac is on the way. There are also rumblings about a new wireless mouse and keyboard, along with the arrival of El Capitan itself.
Likelihood: 30% - With a packed Apple event, there doesn’t seem space for relative small fry, not least given that we’ve already oohed and aahed over a Retina iMac at 5K.
10. Loads of people losing their minds
Whatever happens on the 9th, you can bet Apple fans will go nuts over every tiny announcement (Apple: the new iPhone 6s doesn’t squirt acid into your eyes! Audience: MAD APPLAUSE AND CHEERING), tech pundits will claim Apple is doomed (write the same article enough and it will eventually come true, even if it takes until the heat death of the universe), and stock market traders will drive Apple’s share price down for a bit as they profit on rumours and sell on reality.
Likelihood: can we go above 100%?