Apple’s iPhone 14 launch event is just days away, and it’s expected to showcase a range of new devices — not just a new iPhone. We’re also on the lookout for three (yes, we said three) new Apple Watch models and even a refreshed pair of AirPods Pro earbuds.
Apple’s holding a small in-person event at its Apple Park campus and will stream the show online, similar to what it did with WWDC in June. Here’s what we might see at Apple’s hardware-heavy event, which is slated for September 7th, 2022, at 1PM ET.
The iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max get some major upgrades
Apple will, of course, reveal the brand new iPhone 14 in September, but the standard model likely won’t be the star of the show. The iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max are expected to carry the bulk of the new and exciting features.
There are three big features expected in the 14 Pro and Pro Max: a customizable always-on display (a feature Android phones have had for years); a 48-megapixel rear camera with a larger sensor; and a screen that gets rid of the notch in favor of smaller camera cutouts.
Speaking of the cutouts, a report from MacRumors indicates the camera and speaker will have separate cutouts when the screen’s turned off but will form one long pill shape when it’s powered on. A tipster told 9to5Mac that Apple will use the extra space between the two cutouts to more prominently display the privacy indicators for the camera and microphone, which users may be able to tap into for more information about what’s currently accessing them. 9to5Mac also said Apple may optimize its Camera app for its Pro devices by shifting some of its controls, like the flash and autofocus button to the top of the screen, with others housed directly beneath the cutout.
The phone should also get an upgraded A16 processing chip and potentially have two new colors: blue and deep purple. It’s also rumored to support a faster 30W charger (but the phone itself probably won’t come with USB-C just yet), as well as start with 256GB of storage, a jump from the 128GB floor that previous Pro and Pro Max models have. The Pro line is also rumored to have slimmer bezels and bigger batteries. It’s a solid list of new features that Apple may use to justify a rumored price hike for its higher-end iPhones.
However, it doesn’t seem like the standard version of the iPhone 14 will come with many major changes. The biggest update to the non-Pro model is expected to be the introduction of a larger 6.7-inch display in the iPhone 14 Max — if it’s even called that. Purported phone packaging from Apple’s factory indicates that the company might be planning to swap the “Max” branding on the standard iPhone model for “Plus,” a moniker Apple hasn’t used since the iPhone 8 Plus.
Only two Pro models would upgrade to the A16 processor, while the 14 & 14 Max will remain the A15. All four new models will likely come with 6GB RAM, with the difference being LPDDR 5 (14 Pro & 14 Pro Max) vs. LPDDR 4X (14 & 14 Max). https://t.co/tHcszIz6gX
— 郭明錤 (Ming-Chi Kuo) (@mingchikuo) March 13, 2022
Naming aside, rumors from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo indicate that the iPhone 14 (plus the Pro and Pro Max) may also have a better selfie camera that uses autofocus. Performance-wise, the base iPhone 14 will likely use the same A15 processor used in the iPhone 13 series. And if you’re a small phone lover, I’m sorry to say that a new Mini likely won’t make an appearance this year.
Rumors have also been swirling about the iPhone 14 coming with satellite connectivity, something users can take advantage of in emergency situations without cellular service. Satellite connectivity was rumored for the iPhone 13 last year, and in February, satellite company Globalstar acquired 17 new satellites “to provide continuous satellite services to the potential customer,” which some speculate is Apple. The “Far Out” event branding could also hint at this possibility.
New Apple Watch models: Series 8, SE, and “Pro”
Apple’s gearing up to launch three new Apple Watch models: the Watch Series 8, a refreshed SE, and a new rugged “Pro” model designed for athletes who partake in extreme sports.
Let’s start with the Series 8. According to Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman, the next-gen watch will come equipped with a new S8 chip, but it won’t offer a notable performance upgrade over the S7 and S6 chips. While Apple isn’t expected to include a way to monitor your blood pressure just yet, it may come with a temperature sensor that will detect if you have a fever, as well as fertility-tracking features.
Meanwhile, the new Apple Watch SE is expected to replace the budget Watch Series 3. It will likely come with the same S8 chip, an upgrade over the S5 chip the 2020 SE model uses. Other than that, it doesn’t look like any other huge changes are in store — it’s expected to retain the same display size as the current SE.
As for the rumored rugged Apple Watch “Pro,” Gurman believes it could come with a larger “nearly 2-inch display” that’s “more shatter-resistant.” It may also sport a “strong metal” case instead of a rubberized exterior that was hinted at previously. A report from the Japan-based Mac Otakara adds more color to these rumors, noting that the Pro model could have a flat-edged display with a larger 47mm case, an increase from the Apple Watch Series 7’s 41mm and 45mm sizes. It may not even fit into older Watch bands.
While we’re not expecting the first variation of this watch to come with satellite connectivity, Gurman predicts a future model of the Pro watch could have satellite features, which is something the company has reportedly discussed internally. Even without the satellite features, don’t expect this watch to be cheap — Gurman expects it to cost anywhere from $900 to $999.
The next generation of the AirPods Pro
First off, expect them to look different. The new AirPods Pro may resemble the Beats Fit Pro, potentially with an in-ear wing tip design that drops the stem. They could also have a focus on fitness tracking thanks to the potential for upgraded motion sensors.
Kuo also hinted at the possibility of the AirPods Pro supporting lossless audio, allowing for higher-quality sound. This would also make the AirPods Pro 2 the first model to use the Apple Lossless Audio Codec (ALAC) — even the high-end AirPods Max don’t support it. If the AirPods Pro 2 do end up supporting the Apple Lossless Audio Codec, it’ll be interesting to see how Apple manages to get around the limitations of Bluetooth, which generally requires compressing audio quality.
However, reports from MacRumors and 9to5Mac suggest Apple could take a different approach. Apple may instead be working on adding Bluetooth 5.2 support, which uses a new codec that’s supposed to transmit audio more efficiently, allowing for either higher quality audio or reduced battery usage. A recent filing with the Bluetooth SIG products database indicates Apple may be looking into adopting the technology for the AirPods Pro, and 9to5Mac says it saw references to the technology in iOS 16’s code.
The AirPods Pro 2 charging case may also get an upgrade. It may come with a small speaker that makes a sound when you try to locate it via the Find My app. Only the AirPods themselves make a sound right now, and adding the capability to the case could come in handy if it ever gets separated from your AirPods.
We may get iOS 16 and watchOS 9 launch dates
We first heard about iOS 16 when Apple announced it in June, and we have a pretty good idea of what to expect based on what we’ve seen from the public beta. Gurman says Apple wrapped up development last week, and the company is likely to launch a finalized version of iOS 16 within about a week of its iPhone 14 event.
iOS 16 brings a number of new features, including the ability to edit and unsend messages as well as a customizable lock screen. It also introduces repositioned notifications that appear at the bottom of your lock screen and a Live Activities lock screen widget that provides updates on real-time events, such as sports scores or food delivery progress.
Oh yeah, and battery percentage is back… but not in the way you might expect (or like). Luckily, Apple may find a way to squeeze in the old battery percentage indicator — which shows the battery icon and percentage side-by-side — in the iPhone 14 Pro’s status bar now that we’re expecting a design with no notch.
In addition to iOS 16, Apple could also launch watchOS 9 alongside its three new smartwatches. The watchOS 9 beta has been out for a couple of months now, and it’s set to bring quite a few improvements to the Apple Watch. This includes new running metrics, medication reminders, sleep stage tracking, passive AFib monitoring, and enhanced watchface customization.
Is that all?
It looks like this is it for this particular Apple event, but luckily, we shouldn’t have to wait much longer for another round of new Apple products. Apple’s expected to return to its old pre-pandemic schedule of holding an iPhone event in September and then a separate event in October to showcase its new iPads and Macs.
That’s when we can expect a new M2-equipped iPad Pro as well as an entry-level iPad with the A14 chip. Apple’s also rumored to release three new Macs, including a Mac Mini, Mac Pro, and MacBook Pro, all with Apple’s M2 chip. iPadOS and macOS Ventura will likely arrive around this time as well.
We’re still waiting for Apple’s long-rumored mixed reality headset, too, and it would be kind of a long shot to expect the company to show it off this year. It looks like Apple is making some progress, though. Recent trademark filings indicate that Apple’s looking into “Reality” branding for its new headset, which its board of directors reportedly got to test out earlier this year. Kuo predicts the device won’t launch until January 2023.
And remember that rumored iPhone subscription we heard about earlier this year? There’s apparently a possibility that it could launch by the end of this year according to Gurman, potentially giving you the option to pay a monthly fee to “lease” an iPhone or iPad.
Update August 24th, 12:05PM ET: Updated to confirm that Apple’s event is happening on September 7th.
Update August 29th, 11:29AM ET: Updated to add new rumors surrounding Apple’s upcoming devices.
Update August 31st, 5:47PM ET: Updated to add additional rumors about the iPhone 14.
Update August 31st, 6:19PM ET: Updated to add more information regarding the iPhone 14’s cutout.
Update September 4th, 3:44PM ET: Updated to add more iPhone 14 and Apple Watch rumors.