Previewing Apple's September 7, 2016 special event — iPhone 7, Apple Watch 2, and more!
Apple has made it's annual September event official: September 7, 2016, at 10 a.m., iMore and a plethora of media and analysts from around the world will gather at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco, California and witness the unveiling of… what exactly? Let's take a look!
Hold on, back up, where and when is it exactly?
Apple's invitation reads as follows:
Please join us for an invitation-only event at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco on Wednesday, September 7, at 10:00 a.m. [PT]
Apple will be streaming it, right?
Yup! Just like all events of the last few years, you'll be able to follow along via apple.com on iPhone, iPad, and Mac, and the Apple Events app on Apple TV.
Bill Graham Civic Auditorium rings a bell?
It should. It's where the iPhone 6s event was, and where the WWDC 2016 keynote took place. It's big enough to fit a huge demo area, like it did for Apple TV 4 last September, or a huge amount of people, like it did for WWDC in June.
What did the invitations look like? Any clues?
Look up! Apple's graphics design department isn't typically disclosed on new hardware, but the company does love to tease.
- See you on the 7th could mean September 7th, or on a device bearing the name and number 7.
- The Apple logo being composed of multicolor lights, with significant bokeh, could be a nod to what the new camera is capable of.
Tell me about this iPhone 7!
The safest bet in tech right now is that Apple will announce iPhone 7 — or whatever the company ends up calling their next-generation pocket computer — on September 7. Once upon a time, iPod ruled the fall, but for last four years it's been an iPhone event and there's absolutely no reason to think that'll stop now.
For the last two years, we've also gotten two sizes of iPhone: The big at 4.7-inches and the bigger at 5.5-inches. This year that should translate into iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.
Here are the most commonly rumored new features for iPhone 7:
- Increased screen resolutions of 1920x1080 (1080p) for the 4.7-inch and 2560x1440 (2K) for the 5.5-inch.
- DCI-P3 wide color gamut with True Tone support.
- 3 GB of memory
- 32 GB of storage to start, 256 GB option.
- Apple A10 system-on-a-chip.
- Increased water resistance. (Begun with iPhone 6s.)
- Dual-lens camera for better low-light and depth-of-field. (Plus only.)
- Space blue color option.
It's also widely rumored to exclude the venerable 3.5mm headphone jack, opting for Lightning and wireless headphone support.
What about Apple Watch 2?
The original Apple Watch was shown off at the iPhone 6 event in September of 2014. What better time to show off Apple Watch 2 — or whatever Apple ends up calling their next-generation wrist computer — that at the iPhone 7 event in September of 2016? The two devices go together like starships and shuttlecraft, after all…
Here are the most commonly rumored new features for Apple Watch 2:
- Apple S2 computer-on-a-chip
- Enhanced health and fitness tech.
- Space blue color option.
- New bands for the fall.
It's easy to equate Apple Watch 2 with iPhone 3G or iPhone 3GS — an even more mainstream model aimed not at upgraders but at those who have yet to buy any Apple Watch. And that's a good way to think about it. Especially if the rumors about Apple Watch 1 sticking around at a reduced price prove true…
And the iPads Pro 2? iPad Pro 2 devices? Whatever! Tell me!
Last September saw the introduction of the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. Last March, the 9.7-inch iPad Pro. That makes the former a year old, the latter only six months. While Apple went from iPad 3 to iPad 4 in that space of time, the 9.7-inch iPad Pro is no iPad 3. Most recently, some iPads have gone more than a year without update. (Sorry, iPad mini.)
It'd be great to see an updated 12.9-inch iPad Pro that supported:
- 12-megapixel, 4K imaging
- DCI-P3 color gamut and True Tone
- Apple A10X system-on-a-chip
And a 9.7-inch iPad Pro that supported:
- USB 3.0
- Apple A10X system-on-a-chip
Those types of updates could be done in passing during the keynote, or dropped into press releases, but given the relative newness of the line, the longer update cycles of recent years, and the lack of iPad-specific features in iOS 10.0, it feels like next year is more likely than this year. Perhaps next spring to coincide with iOS 10.3?
Especially given the rumors of a more dramatic hardware update as well.
Any chance of Apple TV 5?
The original Apple TV deputed before the original iPhone. Apple TV 2 hit in 2010. Apple TV 3 in 2012. Apple TV 4, a year ago in 2015. It seems unlikely that a device updated every 2-3 years will suddenly get a year-over-year update.
Still, there are rumors:
- 4K and possible HDR video support
- iTunes 4K/HDR
- Apple A9 system-on-a-chip
If Apple wants to iterate quickly and keep last year's model to lower the cost of entry, which the 2012 model does now, it's possible we'll see something new. Next year feels more likely, though.
New Macs, though, right? RIGHT?!
Three-quarters of the year is over and the only Mac that's been updated is the new MacBook, which got Skylake M back in March. Certainly, no one outside or inside Apple is ecstatic about that. So, September must be the perfect time to update all the Mac things?
Historically, not so much. I can't remember the last time Apple brought Macs to an iPod or iPhone show, and while you can never say never, October is the far more common fall refresh time for the Mac line.
Since the new MacBooks Pro won't be simple spec bumps, a lot has to come together not just from Intel and AMD, but from Apple as well. That's rumored to include:
- Sleeker design
- OLED function key row
- Touch ID
- USB-C and Thunderbolt 3
Along with a fancy 5K display to help reduce iMac envy, and USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 and processor updates for the rest of the line.
I want all of them as badly as you do, and as badly as Apple wants to ship them, but I'm not expecting them next week.
But all the software?
All of it. Almost. WWDC 2016 saw the unveiling of the latest versions of Apple's four software platforms:
The September event typically brings recaps of those new versions, along with a few new features tied to the new hardware, like iPhone 7 and Apple Watch 2. The gold master then drops at the event, and the final version follows a week or so later.
For macOS, we should get a release data as well, usually around the end of the month.
Any more things?
Apple can still surprise us. ResearchKit and CareKit, which have been near-miraculous for many in the industry, are two recent examples. That said, September events focus on iPhone, and iPhone remains Apple's biggest business.
Drop your predictions in the comments below!