What to expect (and not) at Apple’s ‘California streaming’ event tonight

Fall is coming. No wait. New iPhones are coming. Apple will host its highly-anticipated “California streaming” event on Tuesday at 10:30 pm IST where it’s expected to announce a slew of new products. Of course, this year’s iPhone will likely hog all the limelight – after all, it is Apple’s best-selling device. This time around, we have heard a lot about what the product launch event may have in store (as well as what it won’t), but one can always expect a few surprises. Based on reports and the patterns, here’s what the Cupertino company is expected to announce during Tuesday’s event.

iPhone 13, Apple Watch Series 7 and AirPods 3 to get all the attention 

Will there be three (or four) iPhone models?

The next iPhone is likely to be called the iPhone 13 (or maybe the iPhone 12s) and is rumoured to come in four models. These include the iPhone 13 mini, the iPhone 13, the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max. Reports suggest the new iPhone 13 will look a lot like the iPhone 12, meaning it won’t be drastically different from the design point of view. But Apple has to offer something new in the next iPhone. Leaks claim the next iPhone will include upgrades such as a faster processor, improved cameras and better battery life.

For instance, the high-end models could include an LTPO (low-temperature polycrystalline oxide) display. Simply put, both the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max will have a 120Hz high-refresh-rate display. The new iPhone may also include a smaller notch, a new MagSafe magnetic charger, an always-on display and new colour options, including a pink iPhone 13 and a bronze iPhone 13 Pro Max. Other updates might include the ability to use low earth satellites for calls and texts and an improved 5G chip.

Apple could also improve the camera performance on the iPhone 13 lineup. Expect two cameras on the iPhone 13 mini and iPhone 13 and three cameras on the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max. New camera features could include a Portrait mode for video, ProRes support, better optical zoom for video recording and improved performance for the ultrawide camera.

Will the iPhone 13 be expensive? 

We don’t know yet. Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claims all iPhone 13 models will start at 128GB of storage and a 1TB option for the Pro models. Because the iPhone 13 won’t have a 64GB storage space, the next iPhone could cost more.  So even if the price gets slightly increased for the base model, you are getting more storage space. As for availability, Apple could start taking pre-orders a few days after the event, and some models usually hit retail shelves two or three weeks later. Given the pandemic is not over and the chip shortages still exist, it remains to be seen how fast Apple brings the new iPhones to the market.

What will be new in Apple Watch Series 7?

Alongside the iPhone 13, Apple will most likely announce the next-generation Apple Watch. Sure, the iPhone continues to be the major revenue driver for Apple but the success of the Apple Watch is crucial for the Cupertino giant in the long run. CEO Tim Cook said on many occasions that health will be Apple’s “Greatest Contribution to Mankind.” The new Apple Watch Series 7 – yes, that’s likely to be the official name, will feature a larger flat-edge design, an improved battery life and updated health features. Although don’t expect the next Apple Watch to offer features such as glucose monitoring and body temperature readings, Series 7 could include a faster processor, larger screen sizes at 41mm and 45 mm (up from 40 mm and 44mm), and slimmer bezels. The new Apple Watch was previously reported to be delayed due to manufacturing difficulties, but Apple analyst Kuo recently said that the issues have been resolved.

Will the AirPods 3 look different from the previous model?

Apple may also announce its third-generation AirPods during its Tuesday event. The entry-level AirPods could feature a design that mimics Apple’s high-end AirPods Pro. That means they will have a shorter stem, interchangeable tips, a smaller charging case, and support spatial audio. However, don’t expect the new AirPods to feature active noise cancellation. The AirPods are the best-selling truly wireless earbuds on the market.

Will Apple announce redesigned iPad mini or new MacBook Pros today?

Probably not. Sure, Apple is expected to announce a new iPad mini 6 as well as 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros but not tonight. The Cupertino company could hold a separate event, sometime in November, where it will announce updates to the much-ignored iPad mini, entry-level iPad and MacBook Pros. The iPad mini 6 is expected to get a flat-edge design with slimmer bezels and a TouchID (no Home button) built directly into the power button. Meanwhile, the redesigned 14 and 16-inch MacBook Pros could debut with the M1X silicon. Apple may also be working on the revamped Mac mini with an all-new design language and updated “pro” level internals, a more affordable version of its Pro Display XDR, and a larger 27-inch iMac.

iPhone 13, apple announcement today, next apple event 2021, iphone 13 apple, apple iphone 13, iPhone 13 event, Apple Watch Series 7, AirPods 3 iOS 15 will power the next-generation iPhone. (Screengrab/WWDC 2021)

When will Apple announce iOS 15?

Apple is expected to announce the launch date for iOS 15 alongside release schedules for WatchOS 8, iPadOS 15 and macOS Monterey at the iPhone 13 event. The iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 include FaceTime improvements, a new iMessage redesign, a brand new feature called Memories, and much more.

Apple’s AR/VR headset, foldable iPhone unlikely to be announced today

Just don’t expect Apple to announce its AR/VR headset or a foldable iPhone during the company’s Tuesday event. Apple could be working on its mixed reality headset or a foldable smartphone but those devices need a separate event. Apple likes to hype its products during product launch events and it owns the communication through and through. Today’s event will be more about the iPhone 13 and what it brings to the table and less about futuristic products like the AR/VR headset. Apple’s WWDC would be an ideal launchpad for devices like the AR/VR headset or a foldable phone, because their success will be partly driven by developers.

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