Apple’s big event is coming up tomorrow and, at the least, we’re expecting to see a brand new iPhone. But what will that new iPhone bring? And what other products, if any, could we possibly see tomorrow? Here are some of the rumors floating around for what Apple has planned.
With new photos popping up that show a redesigned home button and reports of special code inside the iOS SDK, the odds seem pretty good that the next iPhone — known at this point as the iPhone 5S — will feature a fingerprint scanner on the home button. There are a number of ways such a button could be used, from unlocking the iPhone to making purchases or signing in to certain apps — basically, a scan of your fingerprint could replace a password, at least on the iPhone.
Apple always introduces one killer feature to try and entice users to upgrade to its latest device, even if it’s a slight upgrade like the S models. The fingerprint scanner could be that feature this year.
Whether this is offered alone, with the traditional black and white or with a wide array of colors, it looks like Apple may introduce a “champagne” color for the iPhone 5S. This would be the “gold” iPhone that folks have been talking about over the past month or two, but a champagne color is a bit more understated and less tacky looking than if Apple went full-on gold for its flagship smartphone.
iPhone 5C: The cheap iPhone
Many signs point to Apple releasing a low-cost iPhone at this event — a device many are calling the iPhone 5C. I think the time is right for Apple to introduce such a product, as cheap Android phones continue to eat into its market share. If you think Apple doesn’t care about market share and the prospect of becoming an even more distant second place, remember: this is Tim Cook’s Apple, one that is very much publicly traded. Tim does a good job talking the Jobs talk when it comes to innovating and providing a good user experience, but he also seems more willing to capitulate to what the market wants. Previously, it was an iPad mini. In this case, it’s a cheap iPhone.
How cheap? That remains to be seen. I personally think the company could get its bill of materials down low enough to where it could charge around $299 unsubsidized for the iPhone 5C and still have a decent profit margin. The phone wouldn’t be as technically impressive as the iPhone 5S, but for someone looking to pick up an iPhone off-contract, it would still be a decent buy. Of course, Apple could simply drop this phone into the slot that would normally be occupied by the iPhone 4S in its tier of offerings, give it away for free with a two-year contract and charge carriers an exorbitant price for the subsidy.
There’s been some back and forth on this, with some reports saying that we should expect a new Apple TV and others contradicting, saying we should only expect a software update. I’m leaning toward an update of the Apple TV hardware, and here’s why: if Apple has plans to introduce an SDK for the Apple TV platform in the near future, the hardware needs to be on par with the newest iPhones and iPads. Right now, the third-generation Apple TV is somewhere in between the iPhone 4 and the iPhone 4S with its single-core A5 processor and 512 MB of RAM.
If Apple has its sights set on a full-fledged App Store for the Apple TV and plans to give console makers a run for their money in gaming, the Apple TV needs a spec bump. No ifs, ands or buts about it.
The iPod line saw a refresh last year and that has typically been the case when the iPhone gets a major upgrade. That said, while it’s possible that the iPod line gets quietly updated tomorrow, I’m not sure that we’ll see Apple make a big deal about it. The flagship iPod, the iPod touch, really can’t get all that better when the iPhone is only receiving a slight upgrade. So perhaps that model stays the same or gets a small bump in the hardware department. As far as the other models — what can you change, really? Apple has been a commitaphobe with regards to the iPod nano design the past few years, so that could shift in some way. Other than that, I don’t anticipate major change in the iPod department.
This is one possibility I’m definitely not sold on. The iPad line is a big moneymaker for Apple and deserves its own separate event. Squeezing new iPhones and new iPads into one event is just too much news for everyone to process all at once, and it robs Apple of the hype cycle it typically enjoys in the weeks leading up to an iPad event. You’re more likely to see new iPads in October or November of this year.
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