What to expect from today's Apple event: iPhone X and more

Apple is poised to announce the iPhone X, two other iPhones, a new Apple TV, and more at its launch event in Cupertino. Here's everything we expect -- and what we still don't know.
Written by Jake Smith, Contributor

Later today, Apple is hosting its recently-annual September event to announce a slew of new products. Most notably, the gathering at Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino is expected to mark the tenth-anniversary announcement of the iPhone.

Apple sent a "Let's meet at our place" invitation to the media that didn't hint much. However, thanks to a healthy dose of leaks, reports and rumors, we have a pretty good idea of what Apple plans to introduce at the event.

But it's worth taking a healthy dose of salt with rumors, because, of course, company plans change. Nothing is for sure until Apple CEO Tim Cook steps on stage to make things official.

Apple event start time

  • When: Tuesday, September 12 at 10am PDT/1pm EST
  • Where: Apple will live stream the event: Here's how to watch

iPhone X first look: Apple's launch event scene by scene (pictures)

iPhone X

Found within Apple iOS 11 SDK (Image: file photo)

The star of the show will be the flagship, tenth-anniversary iPhone packing a 5.8-inch OLED display. According to software leaks, it will be called the iPhone X, but we won't know for sure until Apple executives make it official.

The iPhone X is expected to feature an all-glass body and edge-to-edge display, doing away with the home button traditionally found on the iPhone. A notch at the top of the handset will house the cameras, and rumors say facial recognition will be used to unlock the handset -- and, perhaps to complete Apple Pay purchases.

Mockup of the iPhone X. (Image: MacRumors)

Apple is expected to include its own A11 chipset that consists six total cores -- two high-power and four low power cores -- and 3GB of memory inside of the high-end iPhone. Its augmented reality features are rumored alongside a 12-megapixel sensor on the back and a 7-megapixel front-facing camera. Software has hinted at wireless charging, but exact details of how it will work are unknown.

Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities wrote in a note the iPhone X will be in "severe short supply," because Apple's suppliers are only building 10,000 units a day. Further, production glitches could lead to extended "supply shortfalls," reported The Wall Street Journal.

iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus

(Image: file photo)

Apple is expected to introduce two other iPhone models at Tuesday's event, which may be called the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, if the iOS 11 "gold master" software leak is to be believed. Previously, the rumor mill put the two handsets as iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus.

The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are rumored incremental updates to the current generation iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. Both handsets are thought to feature current LCD screen sizes with a resolution of 1080x1920, 2GB of memory, and the same A11 chip found in the iPhone X.

The old school physical home button is expected to be present on the new handsets.

TechCrunch reported that Apple will likely take pre-orders on Friday, September 15 and release at least some of the new iPhones on Friday, September 22. All three handsets will be available in black, silver, and a new gold shade, according to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

Apple TV 4K

Apple will also use the event to update its Apple TV set-top box with 4K streaming capabilities and beefier hardware, to fend off competing devices from the likes of Amazon and Roku.

(Image: Apple)

The Apple TV 4K will be powered by the three-core A10X Fusion CPU and 3GB of RAM, according to leaked tvOS 11 firmware (via developer Steve Stroughton-Smith). It was also found the Apple TV 4K will support HDR10 and Dolby Vision, and will have a native resolution of 2160p.

It's not clear how much the Apple TV 4K will cost or when it will be available. An updated remote for the Apple TV is also rumored with haptic feedback.

Apple is testing a beta version of tvOS 11 with developers, and it's expected to be available alongside the Apple TV 4K. Beta versions of the software show it adds support for Amazon's Prime Video and better AirPod support.

Minor AirPod update

(Image: Jason Cipriani/ZDNet)

A new version of Apple's wireless AirPod headphones were tipped in the iOS 11 "gold master" leak (via Steve Troughton-Smith).

The hardware update looks to be minor, with an LED charging indicator moving to the front of the AirPod's charging case. It's such a small update that Apple may not give it any stage time.

No pricing or release date is known.

iOS 11 and macOS High Sierra

(Image: CNET/CBS Interactive)

In typical fashion, it's likely we'll see the final releases of iOS 11, macOS High Sierra, watchOS 4, and tvOS 11, following the event. All four software updates were announced at Apple's WWDC in June and have been available to developers for beta testing.

All eyes will be on iOS 11 and its software feature set that will power the iPhone X. Developer and public beta releases of iOS 11 show it has a revamped control center, peer-to-peer Apple Pay, files, and multi-tasking capabilities. Apple is likely to announce a firm release date for the software at the event.

Most notably, iOS 11 includes artificial intelligence updates for Siri.

At WWDC, Apple said deep learning was used to create a more natural sounding voice and change how Siri's words are intoned and inflected. Further, Siri now uses on-device learning to suggest topics that might interest you based on Safari searches.

Apple WWDC 2017: Eight things you probably missed

The next version of macOS, known as High Sierra, will add a more modern file system called the Apple File System (APFS), Siri updates, and new Metal graphics API.

ZDNet previously reported the heavy update to graphics capabilities will help macOS and its virtual reality position.

Here is the official list of supported Mac hardware:

  • MacBook - Late 2009 or later
  • iMac / iMac Pro - Late 2009 or later
  • MacBook Air - 2010 or later
  • MacBook Pro - 2010 or later
  • Mac mini - 2010 or later
  • Mac Pro - 2010 or later

At WWDC 2017, Apple head of software Craig Federighi said the new macOS improves the Safari browser to make it the "world's fastest desktop browser," with an "80 percent faster performance than Chrome."

It's not clear when Apple will release iOS 11, macOS High Sierra, watchOS 4, and tvOS 11.

Apple Watch LTE

CNET/CBS Interactive

Bloomberg first reported Apple is planning to announce an Apple Watch with LTE capabilities. Pricing or availability isn't clear.

Apple's next-generation smartwatch will use LTE for data connectivity independent of the iPhone. Kuo told investors Apple is likely to rely on VOIP services on the third-generation Apple Watch, allowing it to focus on data transfer and simplify working with mobile carriers.

9to5Mac found in the iOS 11 "gold master" image leaked SDK that the LTE Apple Watch will use the same phone number as your phone. Code strings indicated special carrier promotion plans to kick off the launch of the new wearable.

How to watch

You can watch Apple's announcement online with Safari on iOS 9.0 or later. Mac users can also watch with Safari on macOS 10.11 or later. Windows 10 users can watch live through the Edge browser.

Steve Jobs Theater (Image: Apple)

If you're watching through Apple TV, you can watch the stream on a second- or third-generation Apple TV with software 6.2 or later. You can also watch on any fourth-generation Apple TV.

You can check the @ZDNet Twitter stream for breaking news through the day, or check out our Apple section. You can also read our sister site CNET's live blog for up-to-date coverage.

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