Apple’s September announcement of new devices each year is about as predictable as the coming of autumn. On September 14, Apple is hosting an event titled “California Streaming” that promises to reveal new hardware and operating systems. Here’s a short look at what to expect from “California Streaming”.
How to Watch The Apple Event
As with all pandemic-era Apple events, Apple will stream the September 14 show around the world. You can join in on the festivities at 10 AM PDT (1 PM EDT) online at apple.com or on the Apple TV app. Usually, I like to kick back with a cup of coffee and watch Apple’s events on my HDTV using an Apple TV 4K; but this time I’ll be in the wilds of Montana with questionable internet service, so I might have to resort to watching a re-run on an iPhone.
What to Expect
It’s September, so that means that Apple has a new set of iPhones up its corporate sleeve. There are other things we expect to see that should make “California Streaming” worth a watch…
What comes after 12? 13! Triskaidekaphobics may avoid this year’s iPhone, but pent-up demand for high-end smartphones as a result of the continuing pandemic could make the iPhone 13 series a hot item.
We expect four iPhone 13 models, somewhat like the iPhone 12 series: an iPhone 13, an iPhone 13 mini, an iPhone 13 Pro, and an iPhone 13 Pro Max. If I was going to count any of these models out of the series, it would be the iPhone 13 mini. The iPhone 12 mini has been a slow seller. My personal feeling is that the standard iPhone, the Pro, and the Pro Max may make up the lineup.
Appearance-wise, the iPhone 13 won’t look much different from the iPhone 12 series. Improvements in the display could include a 120Hz ProMotion display like that on the current iPad Pro models. Some expect a smaller “notch” at the top of the display, with a “notch less” design set for 2022. The renders below are from professional leaker Sonny Dickson, who has a pretty good track record of showing new device designs before they ship.
One rumor has it that the iPhone 13 display could use an “always-on” design, somewhat like that on the latest Apple Watches. Other rumors propose an “A15” system-on-chip and the long-awaited change to USB-C for charging and accessories.
Larger lenses for the iPhone cameras will boost low-light sensitivity. Support for Apple’s ProRes video codecs might make iPhones even more useful as cinematic cameras. To power the cameras and new CPU, larger batteries are always a possibility.
Based on past experience, the new iPhones should be available for order on Friday, September 17, with deliveries of some models occurring as early as September 24.
Apple Watch Series 7 to Launch At “California Streaming”
The Apple Watch should also see a refresh this year. The most intriguing rumors for the Apple Watch Series 7 include a new flat-face design with flat sides similar to those on the iPhone 12. Of course, there will be a faster processor—that’s a given knowing Apple’s propensity for constantly improving speed and efficiency of its engines.
The Apple Watch is a best-of-class health monitoring device. For years, Watch fans have been hoping for continuous blood pressure and glucose monitoring systems. Could 2021 be the year that these important features receive FDA approval and make it to the Apple Watch?
Nikkei Asia has posited that the Apple Watch Series 7 could be delayed a few months due to the addition of the blood pressure monitor; Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman says there’s “no chance” that a BP monitor will be part of the Series 7.
Apple works closely with major healthcare providers. It would not be out of the question for the company to announce new initiatives to allow Apple Watch wearers to share real-time health data with those providers.
iPad / iPad mini
Announcements of new iPads seem to happen twice a year. The iPad Pro models have their own time in the spotlight, usually in the springtime. The iPad and iPad mini get more attention at the beginning of the academic year.
I’d expect to see a ninth-generation iPad. Specs will improve; probably a faster CPU and better connectivity options. The iPad mini 6 is also a possibility, sporting a larger screen with slimmer bezels. The Home button will disappear on the little iPad. Apple could embed the Touch ID sensor into the power button to retain that feature on the mini.
One persistent rumor says that a new generation of AirPods is going to debut. AirPods 3 should retain the look of the AirPods Pro, while eliminating the active noise-cancellation of the more expensive line of wireless earbuds.
Macs at “California Streaming”
Perhaps I’m a pessimist, but an announcement of new M1 or M1X based Macs doesn’t seem likely. A lot of rumors point to the announcement of 14- and 16-inch M1X-equipped MacBook Pros. As much as I’d like to see (and buy) an M1X MBP, it just seems too “early” to me. Any new MacBook Pros are going to feature mini LED backlighting for efficiency and incredible contrast. The new MBPs should also have the same 1080p FaceTime camera as the 24-inch iMac.
The rendering below shows many of the expected features of a new MacBook Pro. As much as I’d love to see it, I don’t think Apple will add FaceID to the new Pro laptops. If they do, I’ll be the first in line to order one of these new Macs.
A lot of Mac fans would love to see a new Mac mini. Pop an M1X system-on-chip into a new chassis with color options and more (and faster) ports, and Apple has another bestseller on its hands.
The release of iOS 15 should happen concurrently with the release of new iPhones. If I were to venture a guess on the release date for iOS 15, it would be September 23, 2021. You can read more about the expected features of iOS 15 in our Deeper Dive into the announcements made at the Apple Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) in June.
macOS 12 Monterey
macOS 11 “Big Sur” arrived on November 12, 2020. I’m thinking that the successor, macOS 12 Monterey, will arrive simultaneously with those rumored new Macs, either in October or November of 2021. We’ll hear for sure on September 14th!
We’ve highlighted some of the marquee features of Monterey in our series, The Road to macOS 12 Monterey. Be sure to read about how Monterey will boost Mac functionality and usability.
The Rocket Yard has been diving into the features of Apple’s other primary productivity operating system, iPadOS 15. Based on past history, iPadOS 15 may see a general release in September. I’ve been testing iPadOS 15 and find it to be very stable. The Rocket Yard will be featuring a closer look at iPadOS 15 in a series of articles this month.
Stay Tuned for Deeper Dive into California Streaming Announcements
Be sure to check out The Rocket Yard in the days after California Streaming. I’ll provide a detailed look at the announcements and why they’re important to you and the Apple ecosystem as a whole.