David Lewis Talking Tech & Audio

Far Out – the 7th September Apple Event is go!

But what can we expect?

image courtesy Apple

The Invite

Yesterday, Apple confirmed what we had all suspected – their first autumn event, Far Out – was confirmed for 7th September, and will stream from the Steve Jobs Theatre, at 10am PST.

Although the main part of the event is pre-recorded, as has become the norm during COVID times, there will be an in-person element to the event, similar to WWDC. We are expecting appearances during the event from, among others, Tim Cook, Greg Joswiak, Craig Federighi.

Discussion yesterday, inevitably, turned to pulling-apart the invite, trying to decipher what clues were in the invite, and what we can expect from the Far Out event.

There seems to be three, or four main threads that we can possibly explore.

  1. Satellite Connectivity. We know Apple have been working on this technology for years now. Indeed, some expected it last year on iPhone 13. The dark, space themed invite could easily suggest that the Satellite function, could finally become a reality at Far Out. The satellite feature will enable users to connect to a satellite when they lose cellular service to communicate with emergency services.
  2. Astrophotography. Rumours have been circulating for the longest time now, that Apple’s engineers have been working on improving the camera’s low-light capabilities. Apple are keen to mimic a feature that has been on Android for a little while now. If it comes to iPhone 14 at Far Out, it would mean that your camera would be able to detect the moon or stars, and then, use a longer exposure, to give you a much improved image.
  3. AR/VR Headset. The Far Out connection here is actually pretty obvious, if stretched! Apple are edging ever closer to this high-end headset becoming a reality (apologies for the pun!). We were fairly certain, during the summer, that the headset would be receiving its own event, possibly in January. Now though…who knows? Do you think the headset could be shown off at Far Out?
  4. Always-On Display. A little tenuous, I’ll grant you, but, there were some chats going on yesterday, that the dark, etherial feel to the invite, may suggest something to do with an OLED, always-on display coming to iPhone 14.

So, that’s the invite pulled apart, but what can we actually expect from Far Out?

iPhone 14

This much is a given. Although the invite calls it Far Out, this event is more colloquially referred to as ‘the iPhone Event’.

Talking with Ian Zelbo on the most recent episode of my Minus Sixteen podcast, he thinks we are more-or-less locked on to what we are getting with iPhone 14. No mini and only 4 models will be on offer this year; two non-Pro, and two Pro phones.

Most of the significant changes are reserved for the domain of the two Pro models. The new processor, 48MP camera, and the pill & hole design on the front, will, all, only be seen on the 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max.

The model, which will almost certainly be the most popular one, will be the 6.7-inch 14 Max. It will be the first time, that the largest screen phone will be available as both a non-Pro option and at under $1000/£1000.

Apple Watch

Three variants of Apple Watch are likely this year, at Far Out.

There will be minor mods to the base-level SE watch, although the 41mm & 45mm face sizes will remain unchanged. With Apple Watch 8, we are expecting it to be upgraded to the S8 chip and feature body temperature sensors.

The big news for Apple Watch though is the release of Apple Watch Pro. Originally dubbed as the ‘Rugged’, this watch will be tougher all round, and more suitable for those wishing to expose it to more extreme conditions. The size is likely to be increased to a 47mm face, and the casing, rather than being made from aluminium, will now be made from titanium. The price point too is new – at around $1000!

OS updates

If history is to prove a precedent, then there will be a comprehensive release of operating system updates. At Far Out, we can expect iOS 16, watchOS 9, and tvOS 16. 12th September seems the expected date for these OS to become available – a few days before iPhone 14 and the new Apple Watch lands.

On the wish-list

Whilst the above are just about nailed-on certainties, there are a few other, smaller bits of kit that may find their way to the Far Out, September 7 event.

AirPod Pro are due a facelift. The case itself will have the inclusion of a speaker in it. This will help locate lost AirPods via the Find My network. The case would also seem to now have some kind of loop on it – presumably so it can be attached to a keyring or lanyard. If they were smart, Apple would also switch over to USB-C charging. We know new legislation is coming, so the release of a new model would seem a good time for that change as well. A new Bluetooth codec is on the cards which will allow for lossless audio compatibility.

AirPod Max, an updated HomePod mini and a new HomePod may, just may, also make it to the Far Out event as well, but I may be pushing my luck there.

And the October event?

There will be at least one more event from Apple this year, after Far Out, and that event will focus on Mac & iPad.

An M2 iPad Pro is on the cards, as is a new iPad 10. Mac-wise, the October event will give us our first glimpse of the long-awaited Apple silicon Mac Pro, and how they will square-up to the issue of modularity, with their chip inside, for the first time.

The M2 chip will probably be iterated to the Pro and Max variants as well at this event. These chips will then find their way in to MacBook Pro 14-inch & 16-inch models.

In-keeping with the main theme of Mac & iPad at the October event, the respective OS will be released alongside the hardware. We know that Apple are experiencing ‘serious issues’ with Stage Manager, so holding back iPadOS 16 and macOS Ventura (both of which feature Stage Manager), until the October event makes sense all around.

Wrapping up

I have said before, that iPhone 14 really is not catching my attention. But Apple Watch 8, most certainly is. That and the AirPod updates are the devices I am most looking forward to. What about you, though? Now Far Out is confirmed, what are you most looking forward to on 7th September?

I’ll watch the event live, then settle down to write my initial reactions here, straight after.

Another late night beckons come Wednesday 7th September – but it is so worth it!

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