Apple iPhone Xs Event Preview

Every September, all the attention in the tech world gravitates towards the Bay Area of California for Apple's annual iPhone — and assorted other products — event. So, unless Apple decides to mic drop, peace out, and retire to spend more time with its money, this year will be no different. Rumors, as always, abound.

When will Apple hold the iPhone 2018 Event?

Apple has sent out invitations to its annual September event, this year being held on September 12, 2018.

Gather Round:Please join us for an Apple special event at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino.

Since iPhone 5, Apple has announced every new iPhone during a special event held the first or second Tuesday or Wednesday of September.

  • iPhone 5 event: September 12, 2012
  • iPhone 5s event: September 10, 2013
  • iPhone 6 event: September 9, 2014
  • iPhone 6s event: September 9, 2015
  • iPhone 7 event: September 7, 2016
  • iPhone 8/X event: September 12, 2017

Where will Apple hold the iPhone 2018 Event?

At the Steve Jobs Theater at Apple Park in Cupertino, California.

For years Apple moved the iPhone event from tiny venues like Town Hall at Infinite Loop in Cupertino to massive ones like Bill Graham Civic Center in San Francisco. Last year, though, Apple used the iPhone 8 and iPhone X event to debut the new Steve Jobs theater at Apple Park in Cupertino. And that's where it seems to be staying.

Apple will be streaming the iPhone (2018) event, right?

Right! You can watch on the just-updated Apple Events app on Apple TV, or on the web via the Apple Events page.

What's the deal with iPhone Xs (2018)?

Once upon a time, Apple released a single new iPhone a year. Then, in 2013, Apple introduced both the new, flagship iPhone 5s and the new, less expensive iPhone 5c. in 2014, instead of flagship and less-expensive, we saw flagship and bigger flagship with iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. The same in 2015, 2016, and 2017. Now, in 2018, Apple might just release three new iPhones — yes, three — for the first time: Flagship and bigger flagship, and less expensive:

  • 6.5-inch OLED iPhone Plus
  • 5.8-inch OLED iPhone
  • 6.1-inch LCD iPhone

The two new flagships should be the next-generation versions of last year's iPhone X, same sized and bigger. As the camera typically gets a lot of attention, we could see the debut of Apple's rear-mounted AR camera for the first time, which should let the Camera app, and the rear camera, do all the fun things the Messages app has been doing on the front since WWDC. And more. There are also more recent rumors that they'll worth with Apple Pencil and ProMotion Display to finally give us a little of that digital Field Notes feeling.

The LCD will replace a price-dropped current-gen iPhone X in the lineup, and could bring back some Apple-chromatic color back to the lineup.

And, of course, a new, even smoking-er faster Apple A12 system-on-a-chip and maybe up to 512 GB of storage. No USB-C on the phone end. It still came out too late and too fat for Apple to consider switching to anything but full-on wireless next. But, USB-C on the other end, along with a faster-charging brick, feels right.

As to names, the rumor mill is still spinning over a couple of possibilities:

  • iPhone Xc or iPhone Xr for the 6.1-inch LCD version.
  • iPhone Xs Plus or iPhone Xs Max for the 6.5-inch OLED version.

Read all the iPhone (2018) rumors

AirPods and AirPower?


AirPower (Image credit: Apple)

Introduced at last year's Apple Event but still unreleased as-of-now, AirPower will charge one or two inductive iPhones, an Apple Watch Series 3 or later, and AirPods if they have the also as-yet-unreleased new inductive case.

It likely took Apple longer than expected to get it out the door but it could finally be ready for prime time. The biggest question is whether or not new, more water-resistant AirPods are ready with it.

Read all about AirPower

Apple Watch Series 4?

Apple Watch remains shuttlecraft to iPhone's starship, even if LTE has put a little warp drive in its engines. That's why, for the last few years, Apple has introduced new Watch hardware alongside new iPhone hardware. The two are a team.

In terms of what we'll get, iPhone X kicked off the trend of deleting — or at least minimizing — bezels and increasing the ratio of display to surface. This year, the Watch might finally close the big, black ring around its OLED. Instead of making the Watches smaller, though, Apple will likely make the displays bigger. We should also get a performance boost for S4, the next-generation system-in-package.

New health and fitness sensors, including an ECG sensor, to power new health and fitness features are also always possible, and a new fall Watch Band collection seems almost certain.

Read all the Apple Watch Series 4 rumors

iPad Pro

We got a new low-end iPad 9.7-inch back in March, and it included Apple Pencil support. So, if you're Apple, how do you keep the pro-lineup looking special? You keep it looking special. And that means applying the same iPhone X-inspired design to the bigger screen. Whittling down the bezels and deleting the Home button will get you most of the way there, especially if the displays stay at or around 12.9 and 10.5. Whether that costs us a 3.5mm headphone jack as well, because it doesn't quite fit under the newer, larger display, we'll have to wait and see.

Without a Home button, there's no Touch ID, but Face ID should take its place. Whether that's powered by last year's A11 Bionic or, if Apple wants to make a statement up who's really pushing the convertible space, a this year's A12 Redacted chipset, we'll have to wait and see.

There's a rumor about USB-C replacing Lightning but, just like iPhone, that might apply to the other end of the cable more than the bottom end of the device.

Likewise, any changes to the Smart Keyboard or Pencil tech — I'd love the latter especially, just please call it the No. 2.

Read all the iPad Pro (2018) rumors

Apple TV

We got 4K Dolby Vision hardware last year and it's already more than enough to support new features like Dolby ATMOS, so it's doubtful we'll get more atoms this year. Unless it's a new Siri Remote. Because that would be swell.

I'm still not sure how to solve for gaming. Bundling in a controller is great for those who want it but expensive for those who don't and having a gaming-edition means developers still can't be sure every customer will have one.

If I had my way, instead of making Classic boxes, Nintendo would be making Classic Controllers that you could by and unlock back catalog games from the App Store. But I don't every time get what I want.


We just got the first one this year. Outside the remotest of remote possibilities a HomePod mini is in the cards for this year as well, we'll probably only see a software story for Apple's most recent device this year.

Read all the HomePod 2 rumors


We got the new, Intel Coffee Lake-powered MacBook Pro back in July. That still leaves new, Intel Coffee Lake-powered MacBooks, iMacs, maybe Mac mini, and the all-new MacBook Air.

Mac mini would please the small group of people who dearly love that device, myself include. MacBook Air would rock the mainstream's socks off. Apple hasn't had a new sub-$1000 computer since the last one defined a generation of ultrabooks. MacBook never dropped low enough in price and MacBook Pro without TouchBar dropped too many ports… and never low enough in price.

A modern, updated MacBook Air wouldn't just be disruptive — again — it would be delightful. (So would a big, bold, near-bezel-less) iMac redesign with Face ID, but waiters-on-the-new-Mac-Pro-can't-always-be-choosers.)

Read all the New MacBook Air rumors

All the new OS

Sprinkled throughout the new hardware will be final looks at tvOS 12 and additional, new hardware specific features for iOS 12, watchOS 5, and maybe macOS Mojave.

It's also possible, though not yet likely, that we'll hear more about Apple's upcoming TV and Magazine subscription services.

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 other devices as part of Apple's ecosystem, and that has to remain the focus for at least a few more years.

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.