It’s that time of year again: Apple is getting ready to announce new iPhones … and probably a bunch of other stuff. That also means it’s time for us to sum up what we’re expecting to see from Apple based on months of rumors and speculation.
First things first: there’s a good chance Apple will host two separate events this year, as the company appears to have a whole bunch of products left to announce in 2021. As such, we’re letting you know what we think is most likely to make an appearance, and what will likely take a little longer.
Without further ado, here’s what to expect from the September 14 event.
It’s September, and with the exception of last year — you know, a particularly unusual year — that’s the month Apple has announced all its major iPhone releases since 2012. There’s always the chance the company could adopt a different event timing — last year it revealed the new iPad and Apple Watch at an event before its iPhones — but the current buzz around the rumor mill makes that unlikely.
Here’s some of what we expect:
- We’re once again expecting four iPhone variants this year: the iPhone 13, the iPhone 13 Mini, the iPhone 13 Pro, and iPhone 13 Pro Max.
- Apple will reportedly focus on increasing battery capacity throughout its line-up, although that might be partly because…
- …the Pro models are rumored to come with 120 Hz displays (finally).
- Apple is also expected to improve the cameras with better optics and a new astrophotography night mode, which the event invite itself might hint at.
- The phones may come with a smaller notch.
- They’ll still use the Lightning port rather than USB-C
- We’ve seen reports Apple is considering adding satellite communications to the iPhone 13, but even if those rumors pan out, the feature might not be enabled until next year. The feature will reportedly help users make emergency calls without a cellphone signal to start.
The non ‘Pro’ devices will reportedly come in six colors: black, blue, purple, Product (RED), white, and pink. That last one will replace last year’s green. Meanwhile, the Pro models may be offered in black, silver, gold, and bronze.
Overall, we don’t expect the phone to look too different, but rather for it to be a subtle refresh. It seems you’ll have to wait for the iPhone 14 for a more dramatic design update.
iOS 15 release date
Well, duh. The latest version of iOS is always officially released alongside new iPhones. Of course, developers and enthusiasts have been able to preview the OS for months but the official release is sure to follow in the days following the September 14 event.
Apple Watch Series 7
The Apple Watch is likely getting its biggest redesign yet. The device will reportedly be offered in 41 and 45 mm sizes, just 1 mm larger than predecessors, but thinner bezels should make allow for substantially larger displays. The devices are also expected to come with flat edges, matching the recent aesthetic Apple has adopted for its mobile devices.
It’s not clear if we should expect much in the way of actual new hardware features — other than a larger battery — though Apple is sure to introduce new software features. There have also been a few rumors that the release of the device will be delayed, but I suspect it will still be announced at the event as it is so intrinsically tied to the iPhone.
It’s been rumored that Apple plans to refresh the cheaper AirPods for a while now and there’s a good chance these will appear in the September event.
Leaker Max Weinbach (through his @PineLeaks account) suggests these will come with a larger battery and will offer wireless charging as standard. He also claims they will offer better bass than earlier models.
Other rumors have suggested they will adopt a design more like the AirPods Pro, including shorter stems.
iPad Mini 6
Apple is heavily rumored to announce a new iPad Mini this fall, it’s just the exact timing that’s unclear. It could show up alongside the new iPhone, or Apple could keep it for an event later in the year. Stores have been running low on stock though, potentially indicating a launch sooner rather than later.
In any case, we imagine the iPad will come with the same A15 processor in the upcoming iPhones
New budget iPad
We’re also expecting a new budget iPad this fall. It may come with the A13 instead, which should still suffice for most users. It’s also rumored to come with a thinner design.
Apple TV updates
While we haven’t heard much in the way of Apple TV news, the September 14 invite did include the tagline ‘California streaming.’ It probably just refers to the fact the event will be streamed virtually once again, but who knows, maybe it has something to do with Apple TV or Apple TV+ as well.
HomePod with a display
Back in March, we heard rumors Apple was working on a HomePod with a display, like the Google Nest Hub or Amazon Echo Show.
It’s a natural category for Apple to want to enter eventually — especially after the original HomePod kind of flopped — we just don’t know when for sure.
Apple VR/AR glasses
We know Apple has been slowly building up its mixed reality ambitions for years, and this year the company featured a nifty AR Easter egg for its event invite. Still, based on current rumors, we’re not expecting to see Apple’s VR or AR glasses until 2022 at the earliest.
These days, Apple tends to keep its mobile and Mac updates separate. With what already seems to be a jampacked event next week, I imagine the same will be true this year.
We’ve expecting new MacBook Pros with a more powerful variant of Apple’s ARM-based silicon, with 14 and 16-inch displays and smaller bezels. We’re also expecting a larger iMac model and maybe even a new Apple Display.
There have been significant rumblings of a redesigned Mac Mini, and if we’re lucky, we might even get a teaser of a new Mac Pro this fall. Earlier in the year Apple even tagged its WWDC stream with ‘M1X,’ hinting at a processor upgrade.
But all of these are things we expect to see a little later in the year, likely in October or November.
How to watch
Apple will be streaming the event on September 14 at 10 AM PT/1 PM ET. You can watch it on Apple’s website, in the Apple TV app, or over on YouTube; we’ve gone ahead and embedded that YouTube stream below.
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