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Apple Rumor Tracker: What Will Apple Announce At Its Event?

New iPads? What does Apple have up its sleeve?

Apple Rumor Tracker: What Will Apple Announce At Its Event?

The Apple rumor mill is hell-bent on ruining the surprise for all of us.

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Ahead of a September 9 event, many details about Apple’s next iPhone and Apple TV have leaked to highly reliable sources. That’s not to say the products themselves are boring, as Apple will likely show off a new way to interact with our phones, and make a huge leap forward for its living room set-top box. The only major question is whether or not we’ll see new iPads at this event as well.

It’ll still be up to Apple to explain why anyone would actually want these gadgets, of course. But for now, here are the nuts and bolts of what Apple will announce next week (we’ll keep updating this post until the event kicks off on the 9th).

iPhone 6s

What should we make of all this? Here are a few takeaways:

Disagreement is hard to find

Aside from a few early reports that likely haven’t panned out, the rumors above paint a fairly clear picture of Apple’s next iPhone. Near-field communications, once a yearly point of contention in the rumor mill, became the underlying technology for Apple Pay in the iPhone 6, and hardly anyone believes sapphire screens are imminent after Apple scrapped its big bet to produce them in an Arizona factory last year. Camera features seem somewhat uncertain–it’s likely Apple will have more to talk about than just additional megapixels–but even there, you can safely assume modest improvements over the already-excellent iPhone 6.

The “s” design may break from convention, slightly

Typically, the iPhone’s design only changes in even-numbered years. In the odd years, Apple releases an “s” version, packing in new features and enhancements without any changes to the phone’s size or shape.

But in 2015, Apple may break with tradition and tweak the iPhone 6 design, adding a bit of weight, length, and thickness. A rumored switch to higher-quality aluminum–perhaps to avoid any further bent-metal scandals–and the possible inclusion of pressure-detecting Force Touch display technology could be to blame.

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Force Touch will be the big sales hook

In lieu of flashy design changes, every “s” model iPhone to date has come with one marquee feature to tempt prospective upgraders. The iPhone 4s had Siri, the iPhone 5s had Touch ID, and it seems likely that the iPhone 6s will include Force Touch. The pressure-sensitive tech already appears on the Apple Watch display and on the trackpads of the 12-inch MacBook and line.

On the iPhone, 9to5Mac has offered several examples of how Force Touch might work: A hard press might bring up turn-by-turn directions in Maps, show related options for an Apple Music track, or bring up app shortcuts on the home screen. Essentially, Force Touch could help get things done a little faster.

Apple TV (2015)

A couple observations:

This will be more than just an upgrade

From the price to the size to the processing power to the fancy new remote, all signs point to the new Apple TV being a different kind of product than its predecessor. While most other media streamers sell for $100 or less, Apple will try to stake out its usual spot on the high end, betting that its premium hardware and deep hooks into other iOS devices will entice its massive customer base. If there’s a risk, it’s that some people just want a cost-effective way to watch Netflix on their TVs, and the $69 Apple TV’s age is really starting to show.

There’s a lot we don’t know

App developers have a long list of things they’d like to see in the next Apple TV, but so far, the details on the long-awaited Apple TV SDK have been hazy. Hardware only tells part of the story; the bigger question is which apps we’ll see, and what they’ll be able to do.

New iPads

While the iPhone 6s and Apple TV seem like sure bets next week, iPads are a wild card. Mark Gurman, a writer and highly reliable source at 9to5Mac, claims that Apple is planning to debut an iPad Mini 4 and a larger iPad Pro, but also says Apple could hold off on showing the Pro model. For the last few years, Apple has saved its iPad announcements for October.

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If iPads are on tap for next week, Apple has done a much better job of keeping them secret. Not much is known about the iPad Mini 4, except that it could be as thin as the iPad Air 2, with an equally good iSight rear camera according to MacOtakara and other sources. A faster processor could also allow it to run two apps side by side with iOS, just like the iPad Air 2.

The iPad Pro is even more mysterious. Ming-Chi Kuo has claimed that the larger tablet will have an optional stylus and Force Touch display, but there’s been little talk of the integrated physical keyboard that tech pundits seem to want so badly. Reports by AppleInsider and the Wall Street Journal have pegged the screen size at 12.9 inches, with a possible USB-C port for external storage and other peripherals.

Even if these iPads show up next week, 9to5Mac claims they won’t ship until November. Update: The New York Times is reporting that Apple will indeed reveal “updated iPads,” though the report doesn’t specify which ones. It also mentions a “revamped iPad keyboard” that could arrive by year-end. New metal finishes for the Apple Watch could be on tap as well, including a less expensive version of the gold Apple Watch Edition.

Update 2: 9to5Mac adds even more detail on the iPad Pro, claiming that the stylus will be bundled instead of optional, and will “not look like a traditional” stylus. The report also says Apple will expand third-party Bluetooth keyboard support in some way, while also preparing its own keyboard accessory. The iPad Pro may also pack better speakers than Apple’s previous tablets, with a pair on both the top and bottom of the device, 9to5Mac claims.

Update 3: 9to5Mac is changing its mind on the iPad Pro stylus, saying it’ll be sold separately after all. The same will be true for official keyboards, one of which may have an integrated case similar to Microsoft’s Surface tablets. The site also reports that storage will start at 64 GB. Pricing isn’t clear, but the most expensive models should top $1,000, and Apple is aiming to ship in late November.

Update 4: Here’s a compelling argument from Daring Fireball’s John Gruber on why Apple won’t announce new iPads in September, though it’s purely speculative, not based on inside sources.

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Update 5: And now Gruber says he’s hearing that this is the only event Apple is holding this fall, which means the iPad Pro should make an appearance.

Update 6: Here’s 9to5Mac again, correcting one of its earlier reports and dropping new rumors. The site says the base iPad Pro will have 32 GB of storage, not 64 GB, and will start at $799. As with other iPads, more storage will be sold in $100 increments, and LTE connectivity will add $130 to the cost.

In any case, Apple should have plenty to talk about on September 9. Tune in for live coverage from Fast Company!

(And after the event, we’ll tally up who was right–and who was just spreading rumors.)

Related: Watch the history of Apple in under 3 minutes

About the author

Jared Newman covers apps and technology for Fast Company from his remote outpost in Cincinnati. He also writes for PCWorld and TechHive, and previously wrote for Time.com.

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