“Wish we could say more”: Apple CEO Tim Cook is unveiling a new product — or several — at a special event today at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts in Cupertino, California. We’ll be posting live updates on syracuse.com starting at 1 p.m. EST.
Expectations are higher than perhaps ever for the famously secretive tech giant, which will likely unveil a new iPhone 6 with a larger display. Other rumors point to a wearable smart device (iWatch?), an NFC chip for mobile payments (iWallet?), an updated iPad, and even a possible appearance by U2, who could use the event to promote their upcoming 13th album.
Here’s what to expect at today’s next-generation iPhone unveiling:
1. Two new, bigger iPhones
Apple may launch not one, but two completely redesigned smartphones: An iPhone 6 with a 4.7-inch display, plus an even bigger one with a 5.5-inch display. Different reports, however, suggest the larger model, a full 1.5 inches bigger than the iPhone 5C and 5S, may not be released or even announced until December. Other rumored features include a faster A8 processor, improved camera, an unbreakable (or at least harder to break) sapphire glass display and better security measures for iCloud users.
2. Use your phone like a credit card with “iWallet”
New leaked images of a 4.7-inch iPhone 6 show the Passbook app icon (on an extra row of icons thanks to the larger screen) with four tabs instead of just three. Passbook previously allowed users to store airline boarding passes, movie tickets and gift cards, but the added red tab is believed to use a near-field communication (NFC) chip to make credit card payments at stores and restaurants simply by waving the phone in front of a scanner.
3. iWatch: A smart device you can wear
Smartwatches? Apple’s expected to showcase an “iWatch” device with a curved, rectangular screen made of sapphire crystal, a heart-rate sensor to go hand-in hand with iOS 8’s new HealthKit app, 8GB of storage, and the ability to make mobile payments with iWallet. It’s unknown if the product will be available before Christmas, so we may only get a preview today.
4. iPad XL: One more thing?
Two iPhone models, an iWatch and an iWallet all at one event? Visionary Steve Jobs loved to add “one more thing” and, while Cook likely won’t use his signature line, he could shock the audience by adding an iPad XL (or an upgraded iPad Air with a fingerprint sensor) to the 2014 holiday shopping season. The iPad currently has a 9.7-inch display and the iPad Mini measures 7.9 inches, but sources say the company will unveil a new iPad with a 12.9-inch display in 2015 — or sooner.
5. A U2 surprise
The New York Times reports U2 will perform at the Cupertino event and demonstrate an “integration” with iDevices to promote the rock band’s upcoming album, expected in stores later this year. Jobs and Bono previously teamed up for a “Special Edition” iPod in 2004 pre-loaded with their music and signed by all four band members.
6. iPhone 6 release date later this month
If history’s any indication, Apple will announce the new iPhone today and release it next Friday, Sept. 19. That gives the company the whole weekend to try and break previous iPhone sales records, which analysts already predict it will by moving 6.5 million units over the first three days. And it’s easy to see why: People have alreadystarted lining up to buy it.