CUPERTINA, CA – Empires fall, seasons change, and, with similar clockwork certainty, Apple Inc. is announcing its latest iPhone this week.
Or, more accurately, iPhones.
The special event — which you can watch, live, via online video, or join us for FP Tech Desk’s live coverage of the event — is expected to feature not just one, but two new devices, an Apple first for a new iPhone event. It’s a marked shift in strategy for a company that traditionally unveils just a single new phone each year.
Here’s what you can expect:
1. There will be a low-cost iPhone
It’s pretty much a given at this point that Apple will introduce a new, lower priced phone called the iPhone 5C. Leaked photos — which suggest a budget-friendly, polycarbonate backed iPhone, sold in a variety of colours — have led many to believe that the “C” in iPhone 5C stands for colour.
Not much is known with regards to features or specifications, but you can expect it will be a less powerful variant of its high-end sibling. That’s a niche the previous generation iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S currently satisfy, but at smaller sales margins than a purpose-built iPhone 5C might net. Apple no doubt wants to unify the size and aspect ratio of its displays as well.
Oh, and did we mention colours?
2. There will be a new, high-end iPhone, too
Not to be left out, Apple is almost certainly updating its more traditional, high-end model — what some are already calling the iPhone 5S. As the rumoured naming implies, the new standard model will likely be an iterative upgrade to last year’s iPhone 5. Expect faster processors and a better camera, but in a form factor that remains relatively unchanged.
There may, however, be one big change: a gold coloured iPhone (or, more accurately, champagne), said to be joining the traditional black and white configurations.
Of course, there are the usual complement of crazy rumours too, the ones that promise near-field communication and fingerprint scanners built into the home button each year. Given how these things usually turn out — which is to say, not quite true — balance your skeptical optimism accordingly.
3. You’ll be able to buy them both in September
Reports point to a Sept. 20 release date for both new iPhones, just ten days after Apple’s big reveal. Given past experience, that’s a pretty sound bet. When Apple announced the iPhone 5 last year, it was available for purchase after nine days. Have your credit cards at the ready and conduct yourselves accordingly.
4. Both devices will run iOS 7
This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Apple unveiled the next version of its mobile operating system at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June, and the new software has gone through a series of developer betas since. Some of the highlights include a completely redesigned user interface that trades the old, skeumorphic look for a flat, simplified design where bold colours and transparency effects abound, improvements to the voice-activated personal assistant Siri, and features such as Mission Control that put common tasks and settings in a hidden drawer at the bottom of the screen.
Chief executive Tim Cook has been calling it “the biggest change to iOS since the iPhone.”
With a final release expected to be seeded to developers any day now, it won’t be long before you can upgrade on your older phone or tablet too; iOS 7 requires, at minimum, an iPhone 4 or iPad 2.
5. Just don’t expect a new iPad
Rumours also abound that Apple will be revamping its iPad line — not to mention ”the potential of exciting new product categories” teased earlier this year. Just don’t expect any of those things at Apple’s Sept. 10 event. Apple has a habit of separating its big product reveals into distinct events.
So while we likely won’t hear news of the company’s other plans this week — plans that also include an updated Apple TV, Mac Pro, and maybe even that fabled iWatch — future products announcements won’t be that far off.