What to Expect at Apple's 'Hey Siri' Media Event on Wednesday
Apple will be on stage tomorrow at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco to announce several new products, including the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, iPad Pro, iPad mini 4, fourth-generation Apple TV and new Apple Watch bands and finishes. The keynote should also provide updates about iOS 9 and watchOS 2.
MacRumors will be providing live blog and Twitter coverage of the "Hey Siri" media event, which commences at 10 AM Pacific on Wednesday. Below is a roundup that previews what to expect at the keynote based on previous reports from MacRumors, 9to5Mac, TechCrunch, Re/code, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and other sources.
iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus
The ninth-generation iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus will look virtually the same as the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, retaining 4.7" and 5.5" ion-strengthened glass displays respectively with similar exterior designs.
It has been rumored for a few years that iPhones will eventually switch to sapphire crystal displays, but well-informed KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo recently claimed the material has yet to pass Apple's internal drop tests.
Apple has addressed bending issues by designing the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus with Series 7000 aluminum, which is stronger and marginally thicker compared to Series 6000 aluminum used on the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.
The rear shell will still have a layer of anodization to protect against corrosion and allow for different color options, including space gray, silver, gold and a new rose gold color. The new color should look similar to the rose gold Apple Watch Edition.
A headline feature of the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus will be Force Touch, pressure-sensitive technology that can distinguish between a light tap and a deep press on the screen. Force Touch on iPhone will allow for shortcut gestures within apps.
While the Apple Watch can detect two levels of pressure, Force Touch on the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus will likely be called "3D Touch" and be able to distinguish between three levels of pressure: a light tap, a press and a deeper press.
A9 Chip and 2GB of RAM
The iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus will feature an Apple A9 chip with 2GB of LPDDR4 RAM for improved performance and faster graphics. Comparatively, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus have an A8 chip with 1GB of RAM.
The iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus are expected to have a 12-megapixel rear-facing camera and 5-megapixel front-facing camera, compared to the 8-megapixel rear-facing camera and 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera found on the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.
The new cameras will be able to take higher-resolution photos with 4K video recording and 240 FPS slow-motion capabilities. The front-facing 5MP camera is also likely to adopt several features from the rear-facing camera, including flash, panoramas and 720p slow-mo video recording.
Apple is expected to offer the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus in 16GB, 64GB and 128GB storage capacities, alongside the iPhone 5s, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. While the new iPhones should once again start at $199 on contract, it is believed that Apple will emphasize carrier financing plans.
New Apple TV
The fourth-generation Apple TV is set to be a major upgrade to the set-top box, with rumored features including a faster A8 chip, App Store, Siri, deeper HomeKit integration, a redesigned user interface and a new motion sensitive remote control.
New Remote Control and App Store
The new Apple TV is rumored to feature a redesigned motion sensitive remote control with multi-axis sensors, a touchpad on the top, physical buttons on the bottom and a microphone for Siri. The new remote control is reportedly targeted at the casual gaming market, taking on the likes of Nintendo in the living room. It is said to be black and include a rechargeable battery.
With a new remote control for gaming, the new Apple TV will need a place to download games from -- enter the App Store. Akin to the iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Mac, the Apple TV will reportedly at last gain its own App Store with a native software development kit (SDK) for developers to create apps and games.
Siri, Universal Search and HomeKit
Siri will be at the center of the new Apple TV's universal search functionality, allowing users to, for example, search for one movie across multiple services at once, such as Netflix, Hulu and iTunes. The remote control's microphone will be the main input method for Siri.
Siri will also allow Apple TV users to control a wide selection of HomeKit-enabled home automation devices through the set-top box. In June, the Apple TV was confirmed as a central hub for remotely controlling HomeKit-enabled accessories, the first of which became available earlier this year.
The much-rumored iPad Pro will reportedly make its long-anticipated debut at Apple's media event tomorrow, featuring a 12.93-inch display with 2732×2048 pixels resolution at 264 PPI, A9 chip with 2GB of RAM, Force Touch-enabled stylus, stereo speakers at the top and bottom, Wi-Fi and LTE and possibly USB-C ports for connecting peripherals, although the latter appears unlikely.
The iPad Pro will essentially be a larger version of the iPad Air, targeted at professional and enterprise users, with usual features such as Touch ID, NFC for Apple Pay and a Lightning connector. The tablet is expected to launch in November running iOS 9.1, with pre-orders slated to begin in October. A new Bluetooth-enabled keyboard for the iPad Pro is also expected by the end of 2015.
iPad mini 4
The iPad mini 4 is likely to be introduced alongside the iPad Pro as a 7.9-inch version of the iPad Air 2, possibly including an 8-megapixel rear-facing iSight camera, ultra-thin 6.1mm design and a fully laminated display with anti-reflective coating.
It is likely that the iPad mini 4 will be powered by an A8X or A9 processor in order to efficiently handle split-screen multitasking on iOS 9. iOS 9 includes three different multitasking features: Slide Over, Split View, and Picture in Picture.
Apple is expected to provide another look at watchOS 2 and announce a release date for the software update, which is likely to be Wednesday, September 16. The final golden master (GM) beta version of watchOS 2 should be seeded to developers following the keynote.
New Bands and Finishes
Apple is rumored to unveil new Apple Watch Sport bands in different colors alongside new Apple Watch Sport metal finishes, possibly including a lower-cost rose gold version. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo first noted the Apple Watch may gain additional casing options in March, and three months later said a yellow and rose gold Apple Watch Sport will launch in the fall.
Apple should provide another look at iOS 9 and announce a release date for the software update, which is likely to be Wednesday, September 16. The final golden master (GM) beta version of iOS 9 should be seeded to developers following the keynote.
iOS 9 should be released for free on Wednesday, September 16 for the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5, iPhone 4s, iPad 2, iPad 3, iPad 4, iPad Air, iPad Air 2, iPad mini, iPad mini 2, iPad mini 3 and fifth-gen iPod touch or later. iOS 9 will run on the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus out of the box.
What Not to Expect
In line with limited availability of Intel Skylake processors appropriate for most Macs until late 2015, no new Macs are expected to be announced at Apple's media event tomorrow. An early 2016 refresh for most Macs is more likely.
KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo previously reported that new iMacs will launch this quarter with improved processors and display quality, and the release date for a 4K 21.5-inch iMac has since been narrowed down to October.
iPad Air 3
Multiple reports claim that Apple will not release a new iPad Air in 2015, making it likely the tablet will be refreshed in 2016.
OS X El Capitan
OS X El Capitan is expected to be released later this fall, with a release date announcement perhaps coming via a press release or during Apple's fourth quarter earning call in October.
The software update will be available for free through the Mac App Store for compatible Macs running OS X Yosemite.