Invitations have been sent and the tech world’s attention will shift to Apple’s “Far Out” event this Wednesday,
Apple can be predictable when it wants to. Tim Cook and his team like to set a nice rhythm. So the easiest way to list what to expect is “what launched at the September event last year” and then add one to all the numbers.
Looking back and looking forward
So in 2021 we saw the iPhone 13 mini, the iPhone 13, the iPhone 13 Pro and and iPhone 13 Pro Max; Apple Watch Series 7, iOS 15, iPadOS 15, watchOS 8, tvOS 15, iPad Mini 6, iPad 9, and Apple Fitness+. Following that, we’re looking at the iPhone 14 family, the Apple Watch Series 8, the new operating systems, iPad Mini 7, iPad 10, and presumably at least one Apple service.
The other lens we have is the sheer number of supply chain leaks and the various hints in the operating system betas. These suggest that Apple has a number of products to launch. These include all of the above, as well as various combinations of Mac hardware and new AirPods Pro and AirPods Max.
Historically, Apple has pushed the launch of the Mac to an October event — not only does that give them the spotlight as a leading product, but considering it’s 6 to 8 weeks after the iPhone’s launch, you can get a suitably successful story of the iPhone’s launch. iPhone strengthen to keep the momentum high.
The iPad family is a bit more flexible, but the general feeling is that the iPads could get the support role in October rather than September, especially when you consider the delays with iPadOS… a few more weeks of work on the latter will to pay off.
The two higher-spec AirpPod models — the Pro and the Max — are also both due for updates that have been severely lagging in the second half of the year. Pick which event they launch at, but I do see more health monitoring features expected in these AirPods. Since September will be the anniversary of the launch of Apple Fitness+… which is an annual subscription service – all announcements to the latter must be accompanied by the monitoring in the wearables of the AirPods and Apple Watches.
What to watch out for
That gives us the broad outline in terms of hardware. As for the finer details, despite the promise of major additions and updates to the range, Apple’s historic approach to taking small iterative steps and to rarely being ‘first’ with a feature does not deceive the excitement levels of those outside of the very loyal. off.
There are still some key moments and decisions to watch out for. How Apple handles this will show what story Cupertino wants to tell about the devices. How the media reports about it is an entirely different matter.
Let’s start with the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus. Apple is discontinuing the iPhone Mini handset, instead moving to a larger phone as the second mainstream handset. Apple is also expected to offer these models with a chip with a lower specification than the supposed A16 chipset that the Pro … whether it remains the A15 or has a minor update that allows them something along the lines of the A15X be called, this will be older technology. That should allow Apple to be a bit more aggressive with the price and keep the perceived price of an entry-level iPhone in the same rough margin as last year’s iPhone 13 Mini.
iPhone 14 Pro
The iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max models will take the biggest steps forward. The aforementioned A16 chipset should allow Apple to host some large numbers and roll out “our fastest iPhone ever” during the presentation… just keep a close eye on what this performance is compared to… will it are with previous iPhones or just “a range of our competitors”. Is it quantified or is it a percentage? And where is the baseline on which the figures build?
Look out for the first always-on display for the iPhone. Also watch out for those with Android devices that had this feature years ago, ask why this iPhone feature is “new”.
The last big ticket item is the main camera and the addition of a 48-megapixel wide-angle lens.
All of these will create more space between the capabilities of the iPhone Pro models compared to the regular iPhone models, partly because of the improved options on the Pro models, but also due to the lack of new options in the regular iPhone models, most notably using an older Axx chipset.
Apple Watch Series 8
The same iterative approach will likely be seen in the Apple Watch with the imaginative titles of Series 8 models debuting. A third variant – the Apple Watch Series 8 Pro – would bring a larger screen to the range, something that would allow it to compete with the larger Android smartwatches. You’ve got the Apple Watch SE at the bottom of the portfolio, which can catch up to the other models by finally including the always-on and faster processors of Series 6 and Series 7 designs, respectively.
Any new hardware sensors may be limited to the Pro model to allow for more space between the models in the portfolio. And it goes without saying that there will be new bands (both basic and fashion-driven) as well as watch faces.
Services and slogans
It’s not that easy to choose new software services from Apple – these are much easier to hide because it’s almost all in code and service contracts rather than ordering parts in bulk and building up physical inventory. Last year’s launch of Apple Fitness+ built on existing services, expanding them and generating recurring revenues.
What we do have to do for that ‘ooh we’d never heard of that before’ is the event’s tagline “Far Out,” along with a graphic depiction of lights dancing around. It’s too early to bring AR into play, so I guess that’s a no-starter, except for a little “this is the future” moment with no big announcements… but that doesn’t feel very Apple.
The animation is opaque enough to spark a conversation and will no doubt be “clear” after the reveal. While some may jump to the idea of satellite-based internet, it may be closer to home. Photography is always a big topic of discussion at any product launch, so something about astronomical imaging can be suggested. Or it could be as simple as a better digital mapping of the 3D world to improve the computational photography model.
Apple’s “Far Out” event takes place on Wednesday, September 7 at 10 a.m. Pacific Time.