This morning, Apple sent out press invites for their yearly iPhone event. The company is expected to reveal new iPhone hardware and a new Apple Watch model. Although rumors of a bump in Apple TV hardware and redesigned Macbook Pro Retina have circulated, they are likely to be pushed back to a later date sometime early in 2017.
Apple will be live streaming the event, so bookmark this link: http://www.apple.com/apple-events/september-2016/
iPhone 7 (Odds of update: 100%)
Apple is widely expected to unveil the next major update to the iPhone on September 7th, including the usual, faster “A10” processor and graphics capabilities, along with some rumored changes such as the removal of the dedicated headphone jack, better cameras, and increased local storage space.
Hit the road, jack
If you’re listening to music on an iPhone, you’re either using a Bluetooth connection, or the standard phono jack. However, for the past few years, there have been persistent rumors that Apple may ditch the headphone jack entirely and make the Lightning jack available for 3rd party headphones instead.
This would save space on the logic board and inside the body of the iPhone, potentially allowing room for things like a 2nd speaker or a larger battery.
Understandably, many iPhone owners will be unhappy to see the phono jack left behind: it’s widely compatible, reliable and easy to use.
There is also the question of what kind of headphones Apple will include with each iPhone if the phono jack goes away. Given how willing Apple has been to ditch physical connectors entirely when alternative wireless options become good enough for most users, it’s likely that Apple will include a pair of wireless EarPods with each new iPhone. However, costs may preclude that from happening just yet, which makes Lightning headphones a safer bet.
And what about compatibility with existing 3rd party headphones with a phono connector? There will almost certainly be a small Lightning to phono adapter made available, though it probably won’t be included with each iPhone for free.
Increased Storage Space
Since the iPhone 5 was released in 2012, the base model has had 16GB of local storage, some of which is taken up by the system. While 16GB was fairly small even back then, it has become severely limiting for newer devices, particularly for users that shoot 1080p60 video often.
Thankfully, Apple seems finally prepared to bump that up to a solid 32GB, which will make 1080p60 video slightly less
Apple Watch 2nd gen (Odds of update: 80%)
The original Apple Watch has it’s detractors, but many owners absolutely love it.
One particularly frustrating issue has always been performance of the hardware and Watch OS. While the Watch OS 3 update does relieve the frustration a bit, the 2nd generation Watch hardware, with an updated “S2” processor and increased RAM, should improve things a lot more.
The new Watch is also expected to include GPS capabilities, a barometer, and improved water resistance.
Macbook Pro Retina (Odds of update: 20%)
Over the past 4 years, Apple has bumped the Macbook Pro Retina specs to include newer processors, more RAM, faster SSD options, and other minor changes such as the Force Touch trackpad, but the current Macbook Pro Retina is essentially the same general design that went on sale in the 2nd half of 2012.
The new model, which may ship as late as early 2017, is expected to include an OLED display on the keyboard that will replace the row of function keys. This will make it possible for users to rearrange the keys to their liking, and 3rd party apps could use their own custom icons for each function key.
Touch ID may also be included, using a specific place on the OLED bar capable of recognizing fingerprints as well as touch. Including a Touch ID sensor and a Secure Element in the Macbook Pro Retina would streamline the Apple Pay features added to macOS 12 Sierra. Currently, users must confirm an Apple Pay transaction initiated on their Mac by using the Touch ID sensor on their iPhone.
The updated Macbook Pro Retina will also include multiple USB-C ports compatible with the USB 3.1 Gen 2 standard, capable of supporting 10Gbps connections. One of them will almost certainly replace the MagSafe power connector, much like it has on the Retina Macbook released in early 2015.
Stay tuned for more!