Here comes another Apple press event, happening September 9 at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco.
Odds are that Apple will upgrade its hugely popular iPhone 6 and 6 Plus phones, which is interesting. But we expect that a good part of the presentation will focus on the living room. And this could be the official beginning of Apple’s assault on the living room.
Starting with the phones, here are the things we expect Apple to announce:
Apple iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus
The new phones will have a hard act to follow, as the larger-screened iPhone 6 has sold very well — especially in the U.S., Europe, and China. The new 6S will have to offer up some new tricks to get iPhone 6 users to trade up to this year’s model. On the top line, the 6S will very likely get a faster A9 processor, Force Touch control, a sturdier aluminum body, a faster cellular radio, and improved front and rear cameras. (Please see: The next iPhone: The new features we expect to see Sept. 9)
The most recent rumor, courtesy of 9to5Mac, suggests the fourth-generation Apple TV will be priced at either $149 or $199, and will be made available in October (previous rumors said September). The new device will probably be physically larger than the current Apple TV, with lots more storage room and a faster processor to support extended functionality.
One of the biggest problems in the living room is telling the TV what you want to watch, or directing it to search for things to watch. The remote control has never been perfected, but Apple will probably take a good stab at making a remote that makes selecting content easy. It’s possible the new remote will have a touchpad on the front, and a microphone for giving voice commands.
The invitation to the Apple event features a reference to the audio-powered personal assistant Siri, and it’s likely Apple will announce a much more capable version of her that can be used to tell the TV what you want to watch or do.
9to5Mac also reported that the fourth-generation box will be the first Apple living room device that actively competes with video game consoles, thanks to new hardware, software, and peripherals all targeted at gamers. The revamped remote control could include physical buttons and motion sensors to make it act like a game controller.
The company is also supposedly looking to offer a content bundle that could replace the need for a cable subscription. But rumors say that Apple is still having trouble signing the content deals needed to offer a $40 per month service.
If the event turns out to be largely about Apple TV, we may end up hearing some news about Apple’s HomeKit home automation platform. Why? Because the TV may be the central hub (or at least one of them) used to managed HomeKit-connected devices and appliances in the home.
Chip and accessory makers have already begun making announcements about new HomeKit-certified products. The first wave of HomeKit-certified products and apps began hitting the market this summer.
Apple is said to have been working on the enterprise-focused iPad Pro for some time now. There’s a good chance we might see the device debut September 9, as reports say that Apple plans to ramp up production of the device in September. The screen will likely be 12.9 inches on the diagonal, and might even included a stylus. New software will optimize the iPad Pro for multitasking.
There’s also a very good chance that Apple will hold the new tablet for next year.
The Apple Watch is supposed to get a new operating system — WatchOS 2 — this fall, so the company will probably say something about it at the event. With the new OS the Watch will be able to connect directly to Wi-Fi and run apps natively on the device. Apple might show off some apps that exploit those new capabilities well.