It’s that time of the year again. Apple is set to kick off the holiday season by introducing brand new iPhones at the Flint Center of Performing Arts on September 9, 2014. The conference was unveiled earlier than usual last week on August 28. Media and fans from all around the world are gearing up for what could be the biggest leap in technology that we have seen in a long time.
Numerous factors are contributing to this claim, starting with the venue. The Flint Center has only hosted 3 Apple events in the past. The first was in 1984 where Steve Jobs unveiled the original Mac. In 1998, Steve took the stage again to introduce the iconic blue iMac shortly after his return to Apple. The most recent event was in 1999 when the iMac SE was announced. It’s now been 15 years since the last event. With many breakthroughs in technology including the original iPod, followed by the iPhone, and finally the iPad, what could be so special that it has led to Apple using the Flint Center again after so long?
Reports are showing that two new iPhones will be introduced at this event. The original renders from March seem to be turning into a reality. To start, the iPhone 4s will be discontinued and replaced by the iPhone 5s. The iPhone 5c will be completely removed, following lower than expected sales. The two new iPhone models will be a 4.7″ iPhone 6 alongside a 5.5″ iPhone 6L. These new devices will feature a redesigned chassis, resembling more of an iPod Touch with rounded sides. The larger model will bring a premium price of $100 extra. They will both launch on Friday, September 19, 2014. The release date for iOS 8 will also be finalized for September 17, 2014.
No word has been said whether Apple will continue the 16/32/64GB storage patterns, which have been the standard since the iPhone 4S in 2011. Now that cloud storage has become mainstream, local storage is not as much of a necessity. I do however think that a 128GB iPhone 6L would sell well among users who wish to have their entire media collection with them at all times. Sapphire Glass is set to be used for the display, offering a completely scratch resistant screen. NFC has been all but confirmed, with reports of a partnership between Apple and various credit companies including Mastercard, Visa, and American Express. This will be packaged in a new Apple branded process that utilizes Touch ID to authenticate purchases via credit cards, similar to the Paypass systems currently in retailers. Wireless charging has been passing through the rumour mill, but I highly doubt that it will be included. Other spec bumps include 2GB of ram, an all-new 64-bit A8 processor, and enhancements to the Touch ID sensor.
The other major focus of the event will be Apple’s first entry into the wearable category. This product has been talked about for over 2 years, and has been speculated to make an appearance at every Apple Event since. With all of the major tech blogs on point for this event, it seems this new product is guaranteed to be unveiled. New reports are saying that it may not be released until early 2015, which would be a big blow to other wearable manufacturers. No one will purchase a wearable this holiday knowing that the Apple product will be released within a couple of months. This claim does have substance as no part leaks have surfaced yet. Very little detail is available for this product other than heavy integration with HealthKit in iOS 8. It will track motion and provide similar information such as notifications, weather, and calls. An SDK will most likely become available immediately, and the early 2015 release allows developers to begin creating extensions and add-ons for it.
Do not expect to see new iPads or Macs, as Apple holds a separate event in October for those products. The only other surprise we could see at this event is an updated Apple TV. It has now been 2 1/2 years since its last update and is now in much need of one. Even a slight design change and spec bump would warrant a flurry of consumers upgrading over the holiday season. I have a feeling there may be one or more other surprises unveiled given the hype surrounding this event.
Check back on Tuesday after the event is over for a full recap on all of the new announcements.
(Originally published September 7, 2014)