Unless you live in an isolation tank, it's no secret that Apple is hosting a big media event on September 9 in Cupertino where we will likely see an impressive list of announcements from the likes of Tim Cook, Phil Schiller, and Craig Federighi. Apple isn't saying what they have in store, so I came up with some of my ideas and I turned to the TMO staff to see what they're expecting, too.
Apple's September media event will have lots of big announcements
The rumor mill has been working overtime churning out reports and photos, so we have some idea what may be on Apple's reveal list, but the company is known for its secrecy and surprises. Throwing together leaks, rumors, speculation, and Apple's track record, here's what we're expecting to see on September 9.
The timing along with the plethora of leaks and rumors makes the iPhone 6 practically a sure thing. It also looks like the new model will ship with two screen sizes: 4.7-inches and 5.5-inches. It'll also likely come with a synthetic sapphire glass display surface made at Apple's own plant, sport a more powerful Apple-designed processor, include a better camera, along with better microphones and built-in speakers.
Just as it has with previous iPhone launches, reports that Apple will include Near Field Communication (NFC) for sure this time are making the rounds. If so, that would probably be part of a system for making payments using our iPhones as digital wallets.
NFC doesn't seem likely since Apple has stayed away from it so far. What's more likely is that Apple has developed its own digital wallet and mobile payment system that relies on WiFi, Bluetooth and apps -- much like it has done with the Apple Store app.
We haven't seen hide nor hair of the rumored iWatch, yet it seems all but certain it'll be part of Apple's big announcement. The iWatch is said to be a smartwatch device we'll wear on our wrists that also collects health and fitness-related data such as how far we walk each day, heart rate, and sleep patterns.
The general consensus is that the iWatch will be worn on our wrist, although the TMO staff has questioned whether or not Apple will limit their products in that way. I've even gone so far as to speculate that Apple is working on smart sensors that track biometric data based on where they're placed on your body.
Apple introduced HealthKit as a feature in iOS 8 that lets third-party developers tie into a unified system for storing data collected from fitness trackers and other health monitoring devices. Users control what -- if any -- data they share with healthcare and insurance providers, and they can view the data from the Health, which is also included with iOS 8.
We'll likely see new HealthKit partnership announcements, and a mention of products that support both HealthKit and the Health app. So far, we know that the Mayo Clinic, Kaiser Permanente, and Nike are on board, and reports claim Apple is negotiating with Mount Sinai, Johns Hopkins, UnitedHealth Group, and Humana.
Another iOS 8 feature Apple touted at WWDC was HomeKit, which lets users control smart home-connected devices from their iPhone. The idea is that instead of using multiple apps to control your programmable LED lights, outlets and thermostat, you use a single app that manages settings in groups and integrates with Siri voice control, too.
Apple's Craig Federighi offered up an example where you tell Siri it's time for bed, and the lights in your house automatically dim, the front door locks, and the thermostat lowers temperature in your home.
Apple has already said companies such as Honeywell, Schlage, Philips, netatmo, Cree, and iHome and several others are on board. We'll probably see more names added to that list, and we'll get to see many of those products demonstrated either during the presentation or immediately after when Apple gives media attendees hands-on time with its new gear.
If Apple has lined up more content partners, and plans on adding home automation management features to Apple TV, then we may see an update here, too. There will already be plenty for Apple to show off at its media event, so unless there are some compelling changes to its diminutive set top box, it probably won't make an appearance.
iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite
With a new iPhone announcement, there's going to be an official launch date for iOS 8 revealed, too. What's likely -- considering previous iOS updates -- is that iOS 8 will be available a couple days ahead of the new iPhone's ship date.
Assuming Apple announced the iPhone 6 on Tuesday, September 9, with pre-orders starting on Friday, September 12, we'll most likely see the new models shipping a week later on Friday, September 19. An iOS 8 release a couple days ahead of the iPhone's ship date puts us at Wednesday, September 17.
Since Apple won't want to ship the new iPhone without iOS 8 pre-installed, it's a safe bet we'll see the update ahead of the smartphone ship date.
OS X Yosemite's launch date will very likely be announced, but it's less clear if that will precede or follow the iPhone 6's launch date. There are several features in iOS and and OS X Yosemite that work together, so either will feels somewhat hobbled if one is missing. If Apple doesn't give us OS X Yosemite at the same time as iOS 8, we may have to wait a few weeks before getting to take advantage of features like using our Macs to answer phone calls from our iPhones.
Be ready for some surprise announcements at Apple's media event
Apple's CarPlay isn't brand new, but that doesn't mean we can't get some new announcements related to the in-car system for controlling our iPhones. Several car makers are already supporting CarPlay, and earlier this year we heard that Volvo, Mercedes-Benz, Honda, and more would be on board before the end of the year.
If Apple plans to make our iPhones a sort of nexus for managing our health and fitness, as well as our smart homes, then pushing the device as a part of our in-car systems could fit into the September media event schedule, too. Keep in mind that Apple is building a huge structure outside of the Flint Center where the media event will be held. That structure is plenty big enough to hold a pre-fab demo smart home, plus house several cars.
Apple also made a point to include CarPlay-compatible cars in its demonstrations at WWDC this last sprint, too, so it isn't like the company is sidelining its in-car plans.
iPad Air 2
Skipping a fall upgrade for the iPad Air would be a big shocker, and that may come along with the introduction of the iPhone 6. That said, Apple will be showing off so much there may not be time to talk about iPad updates, too.
New iPads, along with a new Apple TV, fall into the wildcard category and might not get a mention on September 9. TMO's John Martellaro thinks a 12-inch iPad makes sense for Apple and will very likely join the 7.9-inch iPad mini and 9.7-inch iPad Air at some point. Unless that's the big news for the iPad, it probably won't be part of Apple's announcements.
One More Thing
Packing so much into a single media event means we could be looking at a two hour window that'll be fast and furious with announcements, and there won't be time to fit in everything Apple could possibly talk about. That said, Apple is known for surprise announcements, so we may very well see something no one anticipated.
What announcements are you expecting from Apple's September media event? Let us know, and be sure to follow our on-location live coverage on the 9th, too.