Tomorrow morning, the collective eyes of the tech world will be laser focused on Apple’s special media event where Tim Cook and co. will introduce a slew of new iPhone models, a next-gen Apple Watch and a completely revamped Apple TV. Set to kick off at 10 AM Pacific Time, the event will be the first product introduction held at the underground Steve Jobs Theater on Apple’s new spaceship campus.
What makes tomorrow’s special event so interesting, and perhaps a bit less exciting, is that we already know almost everything Apple is planning to introduce. Though Apple does its best to keep product leaks at bay, the biggest leaks we’ve seen in the build-up to tomorrow’s event have, strangely enough, come directly from Apple. A few weeks ago, Apple inadvertently made its HomePod firmware available for public download, and in the process developers managed to unearth a number of interesting tidbits regarding the iPhone 8 and iOS 11. And just this weekend, an Apple employee leaked an iOS 11 GM to 9to5Mac and MacRumors. Before long, developers managed to figure out all sorts of interesting details surrounding the line of products set to debut at tomorrow’s special event.
With that said, let’s dive in and take a look at what Apple will show off to the world tomorrow morning.
Of course, it only makes sense for us to start with the iPhone 8, arguably the most anticipated iPhone release we’ve seen since the original hit store shelves 10 years ago. By now, we all know that the next-gen device we’ve unofficially dubbed the iPhone 8 will actually be called the iPhone X. Though not 100% official just yet, data strings in the iOS 11 GM leak revealed that Apple’s 2017 iPhone lineup will consist of three devices: iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and the iPhone X.
One of the reasons why the iPhone X has generated so much excitement is because it will finally introduce us to a completely new form factor, a welcome change given that the iPhone form factor has remained largely unchanged since 2014’s iPhone 6.
The iPhone X, though, will thankfully spice things up. First and foremost, the iPhone X will feature an edge-to-edge OLED display. So not only will the iPhone X offer users more screen real estate, the OLED display itself will deliver richer and more vibrant colors. Of course, with the iPhone X sporting an edgeless display, Apple has decided to do away with the venerable home button, a mainstay of every single iPhone ever released. In its place, Apple will rely upon facial recognition software as a means for user authentication and transaction verification. Data strings found in the recent iOS 11 GM leak refer to this new feature as Face ID, and as we highlighted yesterday, the setup process is very close in nature to the existing Touch ID setup process.
Now seeing as how reliable Touch ID was, it’s only natural to wonder if Face ID will be a serviceable replacement. The good news is that the technology underlying Face ID will likely be extremely secure, reliable and lightning quick. It stands to reason that some of Face ID’s core functionality is built upon technology Apple snatched up when it acquired an Israeli company called Realface earlier this year. As we noted in a detailed profile on the company a few months ago, Realface’s technology boasts a 99.67% success rate when identifying faces. More importantly, the technology creates a 3D map of an individual’s face and is capable of filtering out photos, videos and even sculptures designed to trick the software. What’s more, Face ID will reportedly work in the dark thanks to infrared cameras on the front of the iPhone. Further, Face ID will likely work from all sorts of angles, which is to say users won’t have to hold the device directly in front of their face in order to unlock it. And last but not least, Face ID can be used to authorize Apple Pay transactions.
Additionally, the iPhone X will incorporate a range of new gestures to mimic the functionality of the home button.
The photo below is an accurate representation of what the iPhone X will look like.
You’ll note that the design here features two “flaps” to the left and right of the phone’s camera sensors. This is where Apple will position items like the time and signal strength, as illustrated below.
The iPhone X is a massive upgrade and will also come packed with 3GB of RAM, a blazing fast A11 processor, improved water resistance, better battery life, and wireless charging functionality. Though wireless charging is hardly a new innovation in the smartphone space, it’s nice to see Apple finally joining the party. The only downside though, however slight, is that the device will support QI’s slower wireless charging protocol at 7.5W.
Let’s talk about storage and pricing. Apple has thankfully come a long ways from the days when entry-level iPhones only came with 16GB of storage. With the iPhone X, leaks have hinted that the iPhone X will be available in two storage capacities, 128GB and 256GB. Pricing won’t be made official until tomorrow, but rumor has it that the entry-level iPhone X will set you back about $1,000.
In terms of colors, the iPhone X will reportedly be available in three colors: white, black, and a new color dubbed “Blush Gold” that bears a strong resemblance to copper as evidenced by the photo above. It’s also worth noting that the front side of every iPhone X model — including the white model — will feature a black front.
One other tidbit to be aware of is that the iPhone X will likely incorporate the True Tone display technology Apple first introduced on the iPad Pro.
iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus
Alongside the iPhone X, Apple will introduce two new iPhones dubbed the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. These devices will essentially be the equivalent to iPhone 7s devices insofar as the form factor will be the same as Apple’s current iPhone 7 lineup. Not to worry, the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus will ship with a home button and Touch ID for those of you out there reluctant to embrace change. Aside from faster internals, the most notable rumor we’ve seen regarding Apple’s iPhone 8 models is that they will support wireless charging.
Storage wise, rumor has it that the iPhone 8 models will ship in the following configurations: 32GB, 128GB and 256GB. It’s also worth noting that the iPhone 8 models will not feature an OLED display as this will be a premium feature available only on the iPhone X.
We already know much of what iOS 11 will bring to the table given that we’ve seen a seemingly endless stream of betas launch over the past few weeks. Still, the iOS 11 GM leak has provided us with some interesting details regarding previously unannounced features. The most exciting new iOS 11 feature you may not have heard of yet is an animated emoji feature called Animoji. While animated emojis are nothing new, the implementation in iOS 11 will reportedly let users tweak the appearance of existing emojis based on their own facial expressions.
New iPhones aside, the second most interesting product launch we’ll see on Tuesday centers on the Apple Watch. Though the original Apple Watch left a lot to be desired, Apple to its credit has steadily improved the device with a series of both hardware and software enhancements. Looking ahead, the Apple Watch 3 will make the beloved wearable — which currently enjoys a 97% satisfaction rate — even more useful.
According to a number of rumors, not to mention data strings found in Apple’s leaked iOS 11 GM, the next-gen Apple Watch will feature LTE connectivity. This will be a welcome improvement as it will allow users to make phone calls and send messages from their existing number even when their iPhone isn’t nearby. Naturally, LTE will only be an option available on pricier models.
Further, the overall design and size of the Apple Watch will likely remain the same, with 38mm and 42mm sizes being the two available sizes. Lastly, developer Steven Troughton-Smith, after poking around the iOS 11 GM, managed to find a render of what appears to be an Apple Watch 3 with a red digital crown.
The third big-ticket item we can look forward to on Tuesday involves Apple’s set-top box. Though still just a hobby for Apple in terms of overall revenue, Apple over the past few years has slowly but surely added more and more features to the Apple TV. Still, the device, for what it’s priced at, isn’t as compelling as competing products from the likes of Roku. The next-gen Apple TV, though, is poised to change that as 4K streaming support will finally be an option. According to the iOS 11 GM, the minimum bandwidth speed required to stream 4K videos will be 15Mbps. The upcoming Apple TV will also offer up support for HDR10 and Dolby Vision.
Shedding more light on the new Apple TV, which may be called Apple TV 4K, Steve Troughton-Smith writes on Twitter:
Don’t expect any major revisions, but rumor has it that Apple will issue a minor and arguably miniscule update to its extremely popular AirPods. Specifically, the LED charging indicator will reportedly migrate from the inside of the case to the outside. It’s not a mind-blowing new feature, but it’s still a welcome improvement.