Apple’s first fall event is coming up on Tuesday, September 14th at 10 AM PT, right around the time when the company typically introduces its latest version of the iPhone. Like last year’s iPhone event, Tuesday’s announcements will be entirely digital, in the slick, over-produced style that’s become Apple’s trademark during the pandemic.
Rumors suggest a potentially less dramatic set of announcements compared to the iPhone 12’s radical flat-edged design. It does seem like the Apple Watch and AirPods could get some serious attention, though, even if the iPhone 13 looks more or less the same.
Keep reading below for a roundup of everything we expect to see at the event, including some long-shot surprises Apple could have in store.
An iPhone 13 With a Familiar Design and Maybe a New Nighttime Camera Trick
Rumors suggest that the iPhone 13 will look a lot like the iPhone 12 but with a possibly smaller notch and high refresh rate displays on all or most models. Both Blomberg and analyst Ming-Chi Kuo seem to agree that the new iPhone will receive iterative if helpful changes.
Those could include an LTPO (low-temperature polycrystalline oxide) display like Apple uses to provide variable refresh rates on the Apple Watch. The new phone hardware may also include an always-on display, a larger charging coil for Magsafe, stronger magnets and possibly, new colors and fewer storage options. A new A-series processor is naturally in the cards as well.
The star of Apple’s iPhones, the cameras, will likely also receive an upgrade with the iPhone 13. Improved performance for the ultrawide camera, better optical zoom for video recording, ProRes support and a Portrait Mode for video have all been rumored. The other possible addition is astrophotography capabilities to compete with a similar feature Google has offered in the past. An event announcement video tweeted by Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing Greg Joswiak featuring a dramatic pan up to a starry night sky may have added more fuel to that specific fire.
A Flat-Edged Apple Watch Series 7 With a Bigger Screen and the Same Health Features
While the iPhone 13 is staying consistent, it seems the Apple Watch Series 7 might get a more involved redesign. According to Bloomberg, the rounded body Apple’s used since the introduction of its smartwatch is rumored to be replaced with flatter displays and edges. The change sounds similar to the shift Apple made from the iPhone 11 to the iPhone 12.
Earlier this year, news broke that Apple was also possibly introducing an entirely separate, more rugged, extreme sports-friendly version of the Apple Watch. Rumors have coalesced around the iPhone 12-inspired Series 7 since but not this sports version. We’ll have to wait and see if it arrives this year.
Other improvements to the mainline Series 7 could include a faster processor and overall bigger watches at 41mm and 45mm (up from 40mm and 44mm), thanks to a combination of larger displays, smaller bezels or both, Bloomberg reports. It’s not clear if that would impact the compatibility of the many watch bands Apple has sold over the years but here’s hoping it doesn’t.
According to Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman, those hardware changes will allow new watchfaces but likely not new health features. Despite rumors of body temperature and blood glucose tracking, now it seems Apple might leave those additions for future models. Complicating matters further, though, Apple has reportedly resolved production delays for the new Watch, some versions could arrive late or in smaller quantities.
Third-Generation Airpods With Some Airpods Pro-Inspired Looks
The entry-level third-generation AirPods are also rumored to be in line for a makeover. Early word in 2020 pointed to a design that takes cues from the AirPods Pro, minus the earbuds’ swappable rubber tips.
Further corroboration in 2021 suggests the same. According to Pine Leaks, it seems you can expect shorter stems, rounded earpieces and a squatter wireless charging case that might have a 20% larger battery. In general, the new AirPods might finally look a bit less like headphones with the wires cut off.
The Launch of iOS 15, iPadOS 15 and macOS Monterey
Apple is expected to announce the launch dates for iOS 15, iPadOS 15, watchOS 8 and macOS Monterey, though the company has confirmed some features will arrive late or in beta form.
iOS 15 and iPadOS 15, which finally brings proper, moveable widgets to the iPad for the first time along with other improvements, will likely arrive in late September with the iPhone 13. Notable upgrades include Focus Modes that create approved notification and app lists for specific settings like work or personal time, a dramatic redesign of Safari (that’s now settled into something a bit more familiar), new FaceTime layouts and audio improvements, a possible future source of controversy in digital IDs, and yet another tweak to multitasking.
Let us know in the comments what you are excited about regarding the Apple event later today.