We’re less than 24 hours away from Apple’s highly-anticipated iPhone event. As we rounded up over the weekend, the event is expected to bring the introduction of the iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max, as well as the Apple Watch Series 4 and a 6.1-inch LCD ‘iPhone Xr.’
In addition to the major flagship releases, there are a few smaller things to watch for tomorrow as well.
How the ‘iPhone Xr’ is unveiled and marketed
One thing I’m very interested in seeing is how Apple positions the iPhone Xr. This device, with a 6.1-inch LCD display, is expected to be more affordable than the iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max, perhaps priced around $699.
Apple has to be careful to tout the benefits of the iPhone Xr, but also not cannibalize interest around the iPhone Xs line.
When Apple announced the iPhone 5c, Phil Schiller touted that the device included much of what everyone loved about the iPhone 5, but in a more fun and colorful design. He was hesitant to point out specific differences between the iPhone 5c and iPhone 5/5s, instead focusing on the ‘fun’ aspect of the device: colors, live photo filters, and more.
Watch Schiller’s introduction of the iPhone 5c below:
What’s interesting to me is that Schiller didn’t spend too much time harping on price – he pointed to its $99/$199 price tag (with contract) and immediately jumped into a Jony Ive design video.
This year, I imagine things will be similar to the iPhone 5c unveil with the iPhone Xr, but I wonder if Apple acknowledge the obvious differences between it and the more expensive models: an LCD display, single lens camera, a potential lack of 3D Touch.
The language around the iPhone Xr – and how Apple markets it – is definitely something to keep an eye on tomorrow.
A closer look at AirPower
Apple’s ‘Gather round’ event will also offer (hopefully) our first look at AirPower since Apple originally teased it back in September 2017. Seeing that it’s been a year since our last look at the accessory, it’s possible some things could have changed.
Some have speculated that Apple ran into yield and production difficulties with AirPower – potentially related to overheating concerns. As Zac wrote last month, however, AirPower has yet to be cloned by an accessory maker or another smartphone company, so there’s still a lot of hype surrounding its release.
We’re also still waiting to hear what AirPower will be priced. What Apple says about its wireless charging accessory, and how it is unveiled, will be interesting to see.
Apple Watch health upgrades – ECG?
Ming-Chi Kuo issued a new analyst note yesterday detailing improvements expected to come to the Apple Watch Series 4. While we already knew a lot about the update, such as its bigger display, Kuo said yesterday that the Apple Watch Series 4 will support electrocardiography, or ECG.
Electrocardiography, for those who are just as unfamiliar as me, is described as:
The electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) is a diagnostic tool that is routinely used to assess the electrical and muscular functions of the heart. While it is a relatively simple test to perform, the interpretation of the ECG tracing requires significant amounts of training. Numerous textbooks are devoted to the subject.
What will be interesting to see tomorrow is how uses ECG. Theoretically, ECG could be used to provide far more accurate heart rate readings – an improvement that Apple would obviously tout heavily on stage. On the other hand, ECG could be used to bring a new feature altogether to the Apple Watch. We’ll have to wait until tomorrow to find out.
Apple Watch battery life
Building on the Apple Watch Series 4 discussion, the marketing image we obtained of the device seems to show it as being slightly thinner. While this could just be Apple’s clever marketing camera angles, a thinner Apple Watch raises the question about effects on battery life.
The Apple Watch Series 3 is in an awkward position when it comes to battery life – it can easily last well over one day on a charge for most people, but not quite two days. By making the device thinner, Apple is theoretically saying that the Apple Watch Series 4 won’t offer improved battery life.
While Apple will surely tout that the Apple Watch Series 4 offers the same battery life as the Series 3, whether that will actually hold true in real world usage remains to be seen. When you factor in features such as LTE and GPS, the Apple Watch battery drains quickly – and while shaving some size off the battery won’t be the end of the world, it’s not exactly the direction you want to move.
Face ID improvements?
As for the iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max, I’m interested to see how Apple talks about Face ID during its event – and whether or not it touts any improvements with this year’s phones compared to the iPhone X.
If we look back at Touch ID, Apple originally unveiled it with the iPhone 5s and unveiled the second-generation version two years later with the iPhone 6s.
Based on that precedent alone, it seems unlikely that we will hear of a second-generation Face ID from a hardware standpoint tomorrow, but Apple could certainly tout improvements to the machine learning that goes into its facial recognition technology.
Apple TV & Apple’s original content
One final thing I’ll personally be watching for is any color on Apple’s clear and growing interest in original TV and movies. While Apple hasn’t made any formal announcements about its plans for a streaming service, Tim Cook did acknowledge the company’s deal with Oprah and its worldwide video team during Apple’s last earnings call.
While the Apple TV is unlikely to get much stage time tomorrow as a product, it’s certainly possible Apple could at least tease its interesting in creating original content.
While there’s a lot we do know about what Apple has planned for tomorrow, there are many specifics that remain unclear. Whether it’s more details about AirPower and Apple Watch, marketing plans for the iPhone Xr, or TV plans, these are just a few of the things I’m excited to see tomorrow.
What are you most excited to see at Apple’s ‘gather round’ event tomorrow? Let us know down in the comments!
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