That may reflect a growing ambition at Apple, already the most valuable company in the world, as it combats worries that demand for smartphones is slowing. Even as fan excitement builds over the company's new phones — which are expected to include its Force Touch feature, better cameras and the option of a rose-gold finish — analysts will be looking to chief executive Tim Cook to lay out his plans to continue growing the iPhone business for investors.
"With smartphone stakes higher than ever, we expect Cook and company to deliver updates superior to those seen in past S-models," said analyst Daniel Ives of FBR Capital Markets in a note to investors late last month. "We view this as a critical event for Apple to help turn the negative investor tide and help lay out its growth vision for the next year" as the product cycle for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus spins down, he said.
One thing to keep an eye out for amid the glitz of gadgets will whether the company highlights what appears to be a growing focus on content. Part of Apple's success in the past has been its ability to control both the hardware and software of its devices. But increasingly, the company has also indicated it wants a greater hand in curating more of the content that users consume through its phones, tablets and other devices as well.
The tech giant, of course, already heavily screens the App Store. It's also recently added Apple Music, the firm's new streaming music service, which launched early this summer. The service, which grew out of Apple's acquisition of Beats, distinguishes itself by touting the involvement of tastemakers who help the everyday listener sift through the millions of tracks on offer. On Wednesday, Apple's expected to show off a full version of its News app, which promises to bring users fast, personalized news, fed by partnerships with publishers.
The reports about a new TV set-top box from Apple also feed into the possibility that it may become more focused on content. The new Apple TV is expected to be a great improvement on the current models — reports indicate that Apple may include Siri, faster internal hardware and a redesigned remote in this makeover. But it also raises the question of when Apple will launch a long-rumored television streaming service to match; Variety has even reported that Apple itself may consider producing some of the shows.
The design of a new Apple TV should give an indication of whether Apple can "meaningfully alter the pay-TV landscape," wrote Pacific Crest Securities analyst Andy Hargreaves in a note to investors ahead of the event. "In this way, a well-executed new box could point to a much bigger opportunity for Apple with a new pay TV service, which we continue to expect in 2016."