Only Apple could get away with it.
Thirty years after Steve Jobs unveiled the first Macintosh at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts in Cupertino, Calif., Apple is back home. Tomorrow it's expected to launch the iPhone 6, and possibly even unveil its latest entry into the Internet of Things, a wearable computer called the iWatch.
As usual, the invitation to the two-hour media event that starts at 10 am PDT (1 pm EDT) tomorrow sheds little light on what will happen. But speculation about the iWatch was fueled by the fact that Apple extended invitations to top fashion editors and bloggers.
The invitation simply states, “Wish we could say more."
Betting On Apple
The usual hysteria generated by an Apple event has been infecting not just the tech media but the mainstream media, too — in spite of the company's silence about the pending news. Traditionally, just before a big Apple launch, the company lets some of the details leak to a major publication.
In the past, it's been the Wall Street Journal. This time, it’s the New York Times, which last Friday published a piece on what it believes is on the way. None of this is carved in stone, but it's about as close as it gets.
The speculation is also fueled by a list of well-know user gripes and demands, not to mention a number of patents that have been registered with the US Patent and Trademark Office.
There is also some obvious moves that Apple will have to make to keep its flock from drifting away to the competition. It needs to increase its smartphones screen size (and possibly its resolution), it needs to improve on its battery life and, to be really cool, it will need something to enable people pay for things wirelessly.
All these things have, at one point or another, appeared in one list or another of rumored upgrades. Here's what we can surmise from the various leaks to date.
With smartphones making up form than 50 percent of Apple’s revenue, no Apple show would be complete without something iPhone related. While Apple has dominated the market for a long time, the introduction of larger screens by competitors like Samsung has meant that some of its users have been lured away.
It is widely expected that Apple will announce the release of two new models, one with a 4.7 inch display, the other with a 5.5 inch display with improved resolution to match. Both are a long way up form the current four-inch screen.
The New York Times adds that the larger screen will naturally be more expensive and will have rounded edges like the current iPad. It also predicts that there will be changes to the interface that will make typing with one hand on the larger screens easier.
Stephen Upstone, CEO and founder of LoopMe, which serves full-screen advertising on smartphones and tablets, told CMSWire today, “I’m not surprised to read leaks anticipating a much bigger screen size for the iPhone 6, due to be revealed tomorrow. Content is changing and users are demanding access to much richer content from their smartphones. We serve full-screen mobile ads (video, rich media and native) globally and see that mobile is booming and it’s clear the manufacturers can see this opportunity. The big challenge for brands and publishers is the delivery of their advertising messages in rich content environments, which is where we come in.”
There has been a lot of talk about the iWatch over the years, but nothing has emerged — yet. Tomorrow, the rumor mill says, that will change when Apple unveils a new prototype. However, the actual watch is not likely to be ready for release until early next year. There are no signs that it is in production or that Apple is in any position to meet what will be enormous consumer demand once it finally hits the streets.
Details are sparse about what this will look like and what it will do, but the rumored watch enters a growing market for personal-tracking devices — a market now dominated by Nike and Samsung.
Apple, however, already has its own HealthKit and HomeKit platforms so it's not entering the space empty-handed.
The iWatch is expected to have a display panel protected by synthetic sapphire with a circuit board, including its sensors and chips, small enough to fit into the back of a watch-sized device.
Apple has reportedly signed deals with a number of credit providers, including Visa, MasterCard and American Express, which has resulted in the development of a chip that can communicate with iPhones.
To do this, Apple is said to have developed a version of NFC (Near Field Communications) enabling its devices make mobile payments by bringing the phone physically close to a shop’s payment terminal. This has already been tried by Google and hasn’t really taken off. But with Apple, who knows?
But What About the iPhone Battery?
All of this is only speculation and only a possible element of what will be revealed tomorrow. If the smartwatch does, in fact, get an airing, this will be the first new product launched on CEO Tim Cook’s watch. Cook took over from Jobs three years ago.
There has been no mention of upgraded iPads or other devices. But if Apple is working on something here, it would make more sense to announce it a major splash just before the holiday season.
Nor has there been mention of perhaps the biggest source of iPhone contention: battery life. Late last month, Apple acknowledged "a very small percentage" of iPhone 5 smartphones may "suddenly experience shorter battery life or need to be charged more frequently."
It introduced a battery recall on select iPhone 5's sold between September 2012 and January 2013. You can check if your phone is eligible by entering the serial number on the Apple website.
Apple had an even smaller iPhone 5S battery recall program last year and in June, it issued a recall in 37 countries for European iPhone chargers that were overheating.
If you just can't get enough iPhone news, here's more — an infographic shared by Financesonline.com.