Apple has finally confirmed the launch date for its next generation iPhones. The 2017 iPhone lineup including a redesigned iPhone and two iterative updates will be launched on September 12. The launch date coincides with previous reports from WSJ and Mac4Ever citing carrier sources. The event will start at 10 AM Pacific Time or 10.30PM IST and the invite reads "Let's meet at our place."
The event will be held at the Steve Jobs Theater in the spaceship-like Apple Park campus. This is the first event to be held at this venue and will see the debut of at least five new products.
Here's what to expect from Apple's Special Event
Apple is expected to introduce the tenth anniversary iPhone and two iterative updates along with the new Apple Watch and the 4K enabled Apple TV. The most important device here will be the newly redesigned iPhone, likely to be called the iPhone 8. The headlining feature is expected to be the new edge-to-edge display and 3D facial recognition technology. The handset will feature Samsung's Super AMOLED display, a huge leap from LCD displays found on the company's current iPhones.
Leaked images of the iPhone 8 show there will be thin top, bottom and side bezels with only a cutout at the top to house the earpiece, facial recognition sensor and selfie camera. The iPhone 8 is expected to sport a 5.8-inch display and will skip the home button/Touch ID altogether. Bloomberg reports that Apple will introduce support for new gestures and a dock similar to iPad Pro. Another change is expected to come in the form of vertically-stacked dual rear camera setup for augmented reality function. One of the talking points at Apple's Special Event is expected to be ARKit, that enables easy development of AR applications. The iPhone 8 might feature a glass front and back, stainless steel edges similar to the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S. It is also expected to offer a longer power button for reachability and support new functions like tap to wake and wireless charging.
Apart from iPhone 8, Apple will also showcase the two iterative updates in the form of iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus. The smartphones are expected to retain the design found on the existing iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. The new iPhone 7s, 7s Plus may feature prominent bezels, but switch to the glass back to support wireless charging. The iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus are said to sport the same 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch Retina Displays and use LCD panels like their predecessors.
All the three models are expected to be powered by the new A11 chipset based on 10nm architecture. Apple has reportedly begun testing these devices with its employees and the phones will run iOS 11 out of the box.
At the September Special Event, Apple is also planning to launch an upgraded Apple TV and Apple Watch models. The new smartwatch is expected to debut as Apple Watch Series 3 and will come in both LTE and non-LTE models. While Apple doesn't share sales figure for the Apple Watch, analysts expect it to be the best-selling smartwatch globally. With Series 3, Apple is expected to add new standalone functionality with LTE modem from Intel and support for major carriers.
The new Watch is expected to sport a design and casing similar to existing models, but offer new software functionality in the form of watchOS 4. The updated software will bring new voice functionality with Siri and ability to connect with gym equipment.
The new 4K Apple TV, on the other hand, will compete with Amazon Fire TV, Google Chromecast Ultra and similar devices from Roku in the United States. The updated media box is expected to house a faster CPU and will stream 4K UHD content. It will also offer updated TV apps and redesigned tvOS to highlight live television content such as sports and news.
Apple has lost its prominence in the smartphone market in the past few quarters due to new capable devices from competitors like Samsung and slowing sales in the Chinese market. This September 12 event holds key to Apple's growth in the next few quarters and most financial analysts see the company turning into a trillion dollar enterprise when the new iPhones go on sale.
In terms of availability, the reports suggest only iterative iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus will be available immediately post launch, while the availability of the iPhone 8 could be delayed due to supply issues. With most things already known about the devices expected at the event, it will be worth watching how Apple delivers on the high expectation from the company.