September is the month of Apple. It is like clockwork. Now that Apple has sent across its “By innovation only” invitation for the launch of the 2019 iPhone models, there is a lot of rumour and conjecture to what the legendary Cupertino-based company will announce. There is already a lot of good reporting that points towards an interesting iPhone launch, but in addition to that, one also gets the feeling this will not be just an iPhone-only event. There will be a lot more. 

Expectations

  • There is a clear and concise expectation there will be three new iPhone models like last year, but there could be a pivot in nomenclature and how they are marketed. For example, Bloomberg has been reporting, that Apple will take inspiration from the iPad Pro and rebrand the top of line iPhones to iPhone Pro. The iPhone XR is expected to be rebranded as simply iPhone 11 and pitched as the new mass-market iPhone. 
  • One thing that’s popped out like a sore thumb has been the price of the iPhone in the recent past. The iPhone Pro nomenclature could allow Apple to market the more expensive model as a new product while the iPhone XR could become the new normal with some impressive feature upgrades. 
  • Speaking of upgrades, there is chatter that the iPhone XR is expected to get two cameras on the back, while the new iPhone Pro will get an additional third camera with a wide-angle lens. Apple is said to be developing a new software-based feature which will fire all three cameras in the Pro models together which will allow the user to expand or subtract the frame post. Apple is said to use machine learning to enhance photos apart from developing a new low-light mode to better compete with the Google Pixel. The cameras on this year’s iPhones are also expected to have a higher resolution closer to DSLRs. 
  • Apple is said to be amping up the video recording capabilities on the iPhone so much so that it will come with a pre-loaded video editor that will allow users to do everything on the iPhone. Apple’s iPhones have always been the best video camcorders, looks like Apple is doubling down on this strength. 
  • Even right now, in terms of pure horsepower, the iPhone XS is the fastest smartphone in the market. That gulf is said to increase with the A13 chip being planted at the heart of the new iPhone models which is said to be faster than the A12X chip in the iPad Pro. There is also chatter about a new matrix co-processor which is meant for AR which will be a first for a smartphone. 
  • New colours and a new finish are in vogue for the new iPhones. There is chatter a new colour palette apart from a frosted finish are in the works for the new god-phones. Apple is said to also work on a new shatterproof back which will make the iPhone more durable apart from increasing its water resistance substantially from the current depth limit of 30 meters. 
  • Apple is rumoured to be improving Face ID a lot. Already iOS 13 improves Face ID which can be experienced by folks using the public beta on older iPhones. But now, it could work off-axis at any angle even when laying flat thanks to a new true depth sensor coupled with the new A13 chip and enhancements in iOS 13. 
  • The new iPhones will dump the 3D Touch technology pioneered in the iPhone since the iPhone 6S and adopt the haptic touch technology that was introduced in the iPhone XR last year. This will be the same across all iPhone models. With iOS 13, Apple broadly incorporates for this feature for system-wide shortcuts and binary features expanding to even the iPad. There is also talk that finally, the iPhone Pro could support the Apple Pencil. 
  • The batteries on the iPhones have become problematic in the recent past. Either they don’t last as long as some Android phones or they don’t charge as fast. This year, Apple is set to introduce faster charging, faster wireless charging, reverse wireless charging apart from having a much better battery life coupled with a larger battery and a more efficient processor. The charging mechanism, though, will likely remain lightning. 

Wishlist 

  • Perhaps the direst need of the hour is for the iPhone to get a little more affordable for a market like India. Apple will likely not do it, and even if it does it, affordability will come in the form of the value of adds that Apple can now offer with the impending launch of Apple Arcade+, Apple TV+ and Apple News in India. Some bundle deals will make the iPhone a little more compelling. 
  • For me, the iPhone XR was the best iPhone of 2018. That being said, Apple will have to rebrand it to iPhone 11 for this strategy to succeed. The one thing that’s not been talked much about is the display on the iPhone 11 — last year’s XR model was panned for its LCD HD+ screen even though it was the best LCD panel on a smartphone. This year, Apple will do well to go OLED and perhaps higher resolution to avoid the backlash of tech enthusiasts. 
  • One hopes that the secondary camera on the iPhone 11 will be a wide-angle camera, not a telephoto camera because that’s something bringing more value to consumers. Apple has also proven that it can do a very good portrait mode with one camera, so it doesn’t really need the secondary camera apart for object detection. 
  • I know, it will not happen, but USB Type C charging is something that’s urgently needed on the iPhone considering even the iPad Pro and the MacBooks are now using it. At a bare minimum, it should ship with a lightning to type C cable in the package.
  • One last thing that would really make the iPhone 11 special is the presence of a high refresh rate display. The 90Hz display on the OnePlus 7 Pro is a game-changer from an interface point of view and it is handy for games which Apple could implement on an iOS 13 level. Apple already does the pro-motion display for the iPad Pro, this could be very cool on the iPhone Pro. 
  • The low-light capabilities of the iPhone camera need to be urgently addressed. This is something that is pulling the iPhone back. I know there is chatter that Apple is doing something to address this but it has reached a point where many people are starting to feel that iPhones don’t have good cameras even though nothing could be further from the truth. 

Additional products 

  • This launch will not be restricted to the iPhone. Like last year’s event, there will be a new Apple Watch but from a design point of view, it may be largely the same. One of the big things that could come out is the fact that there will be a version with a titanium casing which will push it closer to swiss watches. 
  • New features are expected like native sleep tracking using a sleep sensor from Beddit which Apple acquired a while back. In addition, blood and glucose pressure management could be added. This would likely need clearance from medical authorities like the ECG feature required.  
  • Other than this, there will be the usual stuff around the new processor which will make the Apple Watch Series 5 faster and more utilitarian companion on the wrist. This is just inevitable. 
  • There is also chatter about new iPads and a bigger 16-inch MacBook Pro with a redesigned keyboard. This one could be reserved for a separate event in October like Apple hosted one in New York City last year. 

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