Sunday, September 03, 2017

Apple event September 12, 2017, focused on AR and VR

According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple will hold its (basically) annual iPhone announcement on September 12.

From the rumor mill, they will release three versions of the iPhone: super special (no name, yet), 7S Plus, and 7S.

They are also rumored to release an Apple Watch with a cellular connection, so that it no longer needs the iPhone to stay connected.

It also sounds like they might update the Apple TV hardware to handle 4K video. Though this rumor is popular, I'm not sure it has been connected to the September 12 event. Apple TV isn't important enough to have its own event, though, so unless they want to also have an October event with new Macs or something else, it seems like they will probably release it September 12.

I'm most excited about this event because of Apple's focus on Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality. Apple's June WWDC keynote is usually a harbinger of the hardware that will be announced in September. Apple can't spring software on developers, so Apple announces and discusses the pre-release software in June, and then come September, they release beautiful hardware to do awesome things with the software (1).

At the June WWDC, Apple heavily focused on AR and VR software. So much so that almost everyone expects some announcement of hardware focused on AR and VR. It seems like this hardware will probably be some type of custom chip to better handle AR and VR without killing the iPhone battery. More exciting, though a lot less likely, would be some new product, like VR goggles or AR glasses, that accelerate Apple's somewhat belated entry into the fields. The supply chain is so extensive, though, that it doesn't seem like there will be any product like this, since we haven't heard any rumors about it.

I'm also interested to see updates on the products that Apple has already announced, but which won't be ready for release at the September event, namely, the HomePod (and to a lesser extent, the iMac Pro). Fingers crossed we get an update that everything is on track. The previously announced release date of December puts customers in a weird place, since Christmas shoppers don't know if they should wait for the HomePod or buy other presents. Ideally for customers (and if Apple wants to sell a boatload for Christmas), Apple will refine the release date to December 1, but my guess is that Apple isn't confident enough to say that (if they were, they'd probably have them out for Black Friday.)

Oh well, only about a week to wait to have at least a few questions answered.

(1) Of course, this isn't a hard and fast rule. From WWDC, it seems like Apple wasn't going to make many updates to the Apple Watch. As a customer who is eagerly awaiting a cell-connected Apple Watch, I was hoping to get at least a hint from WWDC that the watch would be updated, but instead I found out that I could get a Buzz Lightyear watch face. If the rumors are true that Apple will release a cell-capable watch, I'd argue that WWDC didn't betray the surprise at all.

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