What to Expect from Today’s Apple Event- September 9, 2014

Today Apple will hold a press event and is not only expected to announce the new generation of iPhones, but likely their first new product category since they announced the iPad in 2010. Apple will take the stage today at 10 AM PST at the Flint Center at De Anza Community College. The Flint Center is a significant venue in Apple’s history, because it is where they announced the first Macintosh in 1984 and could be a sign that Apple plans to make another major milestone announcement.

If Apple keeps with tradition, we should expect new iPhones, iPods and the release of iOS 8 which they previewed  at WWDC back in June. Realistically, we probably won’t see a new iPod except for maybe an iPod Touch, the focus will be on the iPhone, iOS and the highly anticipated wearable.

So the question is, what is Apple going to unveil today and what will be left out of what may be the largest Apple announcement in recent history. Here’s what I think we will see on Tuesday, and maybe as important, what we won’t see.

iOS 8:
iOS 8 was already previewed at WWDC back in June, but Apple typically demos the key features again in the fall and show a more final version of operating system. iOS 8 has many new features including improved photo management, continuity across Apple devices and a new health app, called Healthbook. Apple will most likely release the golden master to developers today and announce the public release, which will probably be in a week or two.

iPhone 6:
The main focus of the event will most likely be the new iPhone, which we presume will be called the iPhone 6.

Screen:
The blockbuster feature we are expecting from the iPhone 6 is at least one, if not 2 larger screen size options. Rumors suggest both a 4.7 inch and a 5.5 inch screen, the latter will most likely come out a little later. Both new screen sizes are larger than the existing 4 inch screen featured on the iPhone 5S, and will compete directly with the large screen phones Android from Samsung and other manufacturers.

iPhone but is expected to mirror the iPad Mini and iPad Mini with similar, if not identical, internals leaving the screen size he only difference between the two devices.

Specs:
Like the previous iPhones, I expect a modest specs boost over it’s predecessor. Generally, a new iPhone can expect to have a next generation processor, graphics processor and now motion co-processor.

The camera will also have improved quality boost.  However, I would not be surprise if Apple left the megapixels the same in favor of increased microns. Apple’s stance has remained megapixels are not the most significant factor in increasing picture quality and has focused more on microns and aperture in recent years. This strategy has paid off with the iPhone 5S being rated one of the top rated smartphone cameras.

Durability:
Somewhat related to the new display, is the new highly-durable glass used on the new iPhone screen. A recent study showed that 50% of college students have cracked their phone screen.

Cracked  screens are a plague on smartphone users and go against Apple’s sense of design. This could be a major differentiation for the iPhone, and make it stand out from the competition. Of course, there’s no guarantees even with the most durable glass and we will have to wait until it is in the hands of regular users to truly test it’s durability in daily use.

NFC:
Near field communication in an iPhone has been predicted for at least the past 2 years. Now, there has been strong rumors of payment integration in the new iPhone and NFC . It is unclear whether this is going to be built into Passbook or a new app specifically for payments. My hope is this would be built into the Passbook app since it could use more real world applications, but a dedicated payments app may make some sense as well.

Apple previously used iBeacon which used Bluetooth LE for such applications, however NFC may be a better choice for payments, since it is being built into some credit card terminals at retail locations.

Design:
The new iPhone is expected to be more rounded around the bezel as well as the back. The mock ups look as though they have kept much of the aesthetic of previous iPhones but with a fresher design.

Storage:
The entry-level iPhone has generally offered 16 GB of storage for $199 with 2-year contract, with the highest capacity iPhone topping out at 64 GB for $499 with 2-year contract. I think Apple will at the very least add an option for 128 GB of storage for at least the larger screen iPhone if not both iPhone sizes. It would also be nice, although not very likely, to increase the entry level capacity to 32 GB of storage.  This may just be wishful thinking from iPhone users who always need more storage on their devices.

Naming:
The Big question is what naming convention will Apple use to differentiate the two screen sizes? We are expecting the new phone to be call the iPhone 6 but what about the larger screen phone? The most rumored naming scheme is the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus; There is also talk of iPhone 6 Pro and iPhone 6 Air to mirror the iPad line. I’m not really fond of any of the rumored names but, there’s a chance they will use a naming scheme that has yet to be leaked and will surprise us all.

iPhone 4S, 5C and 5S:
So what will happen to the three existing iPhones on the market? Presumably the iPhone 6 will start at $199, the iPhone 5S will replace the iPhone 5C at the $99 price point and the 5C will be free with 2-year contract. This will rid the market of any device using the legacy 30-pin adapter in favor of the new Lightning Adapter that Apple launched with the iPhone 5.

iWatch:

The much anticipated Apple wearable is likely going to be announced at this event as well. It is expected to be a fitness band and smart watch in one. It integrates with the new Healthbook app in iOS 8 and can possibly make payments through NFC. In addition to the health aspects, the iWatch will display notifications from iOS devices and possible control iOS devices through Siri. There aren’t too many details leaked but, this is expected to be the major new product category Apple will unveil today.

 

What we Won’t See:

There have been a few rumored announcements that I don’t think we will see:

  • iPads
  • Macs
  • Mac OSX Yosemite Release

I think these will all be done at a later event, most likely in October, when Apple generally makes announcements on those product lines.

 

Be sure to check back on Gdovin.net for a full summary of the event and what was announced for complete announcement coverage.

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