Apple is holding another digital-only event this week that will likely follow the style of its WWDC 2020 event with pre-recorded video filmed at Apple Park. The Apple rumor mill has been working overtime in the last several months trying to figure out which devices will be unveiled at this event.
The livestream for the event will kick off at 10 a.m. Pacific / 1 p.m. Eastern time on September 15. Like previous events, it will be viewable on Apple’s website or via YouTube.
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The public invite, which included a cool AR effect with a stylized blue Apple logo, didn’t immediately give things away, but the press invite was less subtle with “Time Flies” as the tagline. Given the motto, the one device we can be absolutely certain will appear is the Apple Watch Series 6.
However, that is almost certainly not the only thing that Apple will announce, so here’s a look at everything Apple could show off at its September event.
Apple Watch Series 6
Apple continues to enjoy complete dominance of the smartwatch market, but there is no shortage of competitors, so what will the market leader do to keep that lead this year?
The biggest rumor comes from the oft-reliable Apple leaker Jon Prosser who claims there will be a more affordable Apple Watch introduced, which he jokingly refers to as the “Apple Watch ‘SE.” It would drop the electrocardiogram (ECG) and always-on display features found in the current Apple Watch and return to the Series 4 design.
Apple Watch “SE?” (more affordable Apple Watch.) Codename: N140S GPS 40mmCodename: N140BCellular 40mmCodename: N142SGPS 42mmCodename: N142BCellular 42mm- Series 4 design- No always-on display- No ECG- M9 chipComing at the September 15th “Time Flies” Event.September 11, 2020
Much like the smartphone market, the strongest competition for Apple in the smartwatch market comes from the lower-end. Apple has previously challenged these offerings with its strategy of keeping older models available at a discounted price, but if it goes the route of the iPhone SE, it would be new hardware (that still leverages older parts and design) purpose-built to hit a price point. It would most likely take over the $199 and $299 for the GPS and cellular Series 3, but possibly cost even less.
As for the Apple Watch Series 6, the rumors are much thinner with most believing that this will be a minimal design change similar to what we saw with the Series 5. It could have a continued focus on improving health monitoring. Blood oxygen or Sp02 monitoring could be the headlining new feature, according to The Verifier and Digitimes. The feature would be in keeping with Apple’s heart health focus and would also be useful for athletes.
Other hardware upgrades may include a larger battery in some models as well as faster performance and increased water resistance, as per a report from Ming-Chi Kuo covered by MacRumors.
There’s some question as to which iPad is going to make an appearance at the event, but a late update from Jon Prosser suggests that it will be both an iPad Air 4 and an iPad 8. The rumors have been incredibly similar regarding both of these tablets, so it will be interesting to see how Apple differentiates them as far as features and pricing.
Reminder of the things I said you can expect FOR SURE in today’s #AppleEvent 📝 iPad Air 4iPad 8Apple Watch SE- Series 4 design- No always-on display- No ECG- $279Apple Watch Series 6NO IPHONES IN THE EVENTNO AIRPODS STUDIOAgain. iPhones. No.September 15, 2020
To address the iPad Air 4 first, it is reportedly undergoing an iPad Pro makeover from the more squared and flat-edged design to a screen size bump up to 11-inches, the inclusion of USB Type-C, a smart connector, and the removal of a home button. That last bit would require a change in the biometric login for the device, but it remains unclear if Apple will include Face ID or Touch ID. All of this may come at a cost; a MyDrivers leak back in March suggested the iPad Air 4 may get a bump from $499 to $649 for its starting price. But before you panic, DigiTimes claimed precisely the opposite in July, saying it would undercut the current $499 price point.
While I think the standard iPad getting an upgrade at the event is less likely, there have been a spate of rumors that will sound quite similar to the iPad Air 4. Again, it will reportedly take on the design language of the iPad Pro and switch to USB Type-C, which would make for a consistent lineup for Apple. It could also see a significant bump in screen size to 10.8-inches, up from the current 10.2 inches. The tablet would drop the home button with biometric login and likely move to a Touch ID sensor in the power button on the edge of the tablet.
Apple’s answer to the wireless item tracking market currently dominated by Tile will allegedly make its appearance at Apple’s September 15 event. AirTags would be either attached to or affixed to objects (like your keys) that you wish to locate. They would be trackable via the Find My app in the same way as your other Apple devices.
The price point will be one of the interesting stories here. Even the higher-end options from Tile come in below $40 and have a pretty loyal fanbase, so Apple will likely need to be a bit more price-competitive than normal as they enter this market.
As for what unique features Apple might offer here, a report from Josh Constine back in May identified AR additions to Apple’s Find My app. It could let you use your phone to see where your AirTag is. and whatever it is attached to rather than depending on audio or a hotter and colder system.
Another long-awaited product from Apple, the AirPods Studio, will be the company’s first foray into over-ear headphones. We expect a feature set at least on par with the AirPods Pro, including active noise-cancelling and a strong Transparency mode to allow users to hear the world around them when necessary. According to the aforementioned report from Jon Prosser we won't actually get the AirPods Studio today, but they are expected soon and Prosser could of course be wrong.
Pricing should naturally come in toward the premium end for noise-cancelling headphones with Apple leaker Jon Prosser most recently claiming a $349 starting price. This would slightly undercut our favorite noise-cancelling headphones, the Bose 700.
Multiple Target employees have started reaching out to me about this 🤔 Showing up in their systems and on UPC scanners is this mysterious “Apple AirPods (X Generation)” listing, priced at $399. 👀Potentially Apple’s over-ear “StudioPods” headphones. Launch soon (March)? pic.twitter.com/NVcqH8As47February 22, 2020
Like Apple’s other AirPods, the Studios will detect when you remove them to easily pause your music and may also be able to detect ear positioning to properly route the audio.
Prototypes have been described as featuring a “retro” swiveling oval earcup with a thin metal connector. It is unclear if this represents the final product given that there have been few recent reports regarding the design.
Apple has obviously had a massive effect on the wireless earbud market since it burst onto the scene with the AirPods in 2016. We’re curious to see how it will fare in the over-ear world against the likes of Bose and Sony.
What is the iPhone 12 doing all the way down here? The majority of reports from insiders (like Bloomberg's Mark Gurman and Jon Prosser) suggest Apple is not ready to take the wraps off the iPhone 12 just yet. Instead, it will be holding another event in October, which aligns with reports that production has been delayed. We are inclined to believe that Apple is going to make do with what you can see is already a packed event.
I am told Apple won’t announce the iPhone until October. This is for the iPad and Apple Watch in all likelihood. https://t.co/pw1oVXVoaLSeptember 8, 2020
You can check out our full breakdown on the iPhone 12 for all of the details of what to expect, but with a new design, the introduction of LiDAR, 5G support and more, it makes sense for Apple to wait and give the four iPhone 12 models their own event.
Apple AR Glasses
While the mythic “One more thing” from Apple doesn’t come that often anymore, we do know that Apple has been working on AR glasses referred to as Apple Glass. However I doubt Apple would actually use that name due to its association with the spectacular failure of Google Glass.
According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, the AR glasses project won’t actually arrive until 2022 or 2023, but he believes a hybrid AR and VR headset will be unveiled next year. However, the also reliable Jon Prosser thinks otherwise, projecting a 2021 release for Apple’s AR spectacles.
Here's where I think the confusion is: There are two devices: An Apple mixed AR and VR headset (N301) that is planned to be announced as early as 2021 (delayed from 2020) and released in 2022. There is also the pure AR glasses (N421) that won't launch till end of 2022 or 2023.May 21, 2020
So while this September event would be a bit early for either of these projections, it’s an interesting product that we’ll be keeping an eye out for over the next six months. Although Apple doesn’t like to preannounce products, this is unusual enough that it might make an exception.
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Sean Riley has been covering tech professionally for over a decade now. Most of that time was as a freelancer covering varied topics including phones, wearables, tablets, smart home devices, laptops, AR, VR, mobile payments, fintech, and more. Sean is the resident mobile expert at Laptop Mag, specializing in phones and wearables, you'll find plenty of news, reviews, how-to, and opinion pieces on these subjects from him here. But Laptop Mag has also proven a perfect fit for that broad range of interests with reviews and news on the latest laptops, VR games, and computer accessories along with coverage on everything from NFTs to cybersecurity and more.