Excitement for this year’s new iPhones may be at an all-time low. The main reason being Apple seemingly not ready to make the leap to 5G or significantly alter the design of its signature device beyond the blueprint laid out by the iPhone X until 2020.
Yet while all signs point to a more subdued update at next week’s September 10 reveal, which brings Apple’s device up to date with competitors in terms of camera technology and software, that doesn’t mean the company is resting on its laurels.
Apple has generally alternated between major and incremental updates from year to year, and with 2018 being an ‘S’ year, it’s a bit jarring to be faced with another slight hardware update in 2019. But with a feature-packed iOS 13 software update already unveiled, and a raft of new TV, news and video game subscription services on their way from Apple, there will still be plenty to talk about.
Apple this year is expected to unveil three iPhones, that at least from the front, very closely resemble the three iPhones from last year. All three will have the familiar notch, although leaks indicate it will hide a new multi-angle Face ID sensor to make unlocking easier without having to face the phone straight on. Additionally, the least expensive iPhone is expected to expand its range of finishes to include a green and a purple variant.
Reports from Bloomberg and others have indicated that there will be revised nomenclature this year, with the successor to the iPhone XR being positioned as the standard iPhone and the successor to the XS and XS Max being dubbed as the “Pro” models. Assuming Apple goes for the name iPhone 11 (and not XI or simply “iPhone”), this would make the devices iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max.
Around the back of the phones is where you’ll likely see significant changes, with consistent leaks for the better part of the last year showing a new square-shaped camera array. On the Pro models, the array is expected to contain a standard shooter, a telephoto lens for optical zoom and a wide-angle lens. The standard phone is expected to only have two cameras (missing out on wide-angle). Rumours have suggested Apple is working on a night mode for low-light photos, as well as the ability to apply effects and edit video while the phone’s recording.
iPhone 11 is expected to drop 3D Touch from its screen technology entirely but add the ability to charge devices wirelessly. We’re also essentially guaranteed to see a new A13 version of Apple’s processor that focuses on delivering augmented reality experience.
As for other devices, images from an early version of upcoming Apple Watch software imply that we may see new ceramic and titanium versions, although it’s unclear if this would be part of an all-new fifth generation of the device or just new finishes for Series 4. A report from Bloomberg has indicated new bigger-screen iPads and MacBooks could make an appearance, while the imminent launch of subscription services Apple TV+ and Apple Arcade mean a refresh of the Apple TV 4K may also be due.
Speaking of software, Apple will no doubt give a deeper look at the previously-unveiled iOS 13, macOS Catalina, WatchOS 6 and tvOS 13. The iPhone is set to get a dark mode and the privacy-focused Sign in with the Apple program, while iPad will get its own iOS spinoff with iPadOS. Meanwhile, the new macOS sees the end of iTunes and the start of iOS apps migrating to computers, and Apple Watch software will give the wearable its own app store and a raft of new health features.