Consumers may already have seen a glimpse of Apple's future this summer when the company showed off how its mobile operating system, iOS 10, which will allow outside developers to use Siri more deeply for their own apps and create new functions for Apple's Messages service. The hope for Apple is that it can use both to spark new excitement and innovation in the app world. Now that more developers have had time to play around with those new platforms, we may hear a lot more about how Siri will be able to buy you movie tickets or how easy it will be to send money through text messages with the new system.
Apple is also expected to debut a new version of the Apple Watch, which it has consistently framed as the ultimate personal assistant device.
While Apple will certainly keep the iPhone front and center, it will be telling to see how much of the company's focus is on the new phones that it debuts Wednesday, and how much of the presentation centers on all of the the ways Apple wants to make the phone and other devices into remote controls for users' lives.
After all, by many accounts, this year's phones may not look like much to write home about. Apple has traditionally alternated between new models that provide a major update to the iPhone and smaller changes that refine its flagship smartphone. Customers expecting a completely remade phone this year could be disappointed.
Seasoned Apple analysts expect that the firm will buck that trend this year and release a pair of smartphones that look more or less exactly the same as the current iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. The less ambitious makeover expected with this year's phones may frustrate consumers who have been waiting to upgrade from the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.
In fact, the biggest physical change expected may be an unwelcome one — Apple is likely going to ditch the headphone jack on its phones to use that space on the device for a second speaker. The firm is expected to include a pair of headphones that work with the Lightning port on the iPhone, which is currently used for charging and data transfer. Apple may also include a headphone adapter, according to Apple Insider.
The new iPhones are also expected to come in two new colors — dark black and a glossy "piano black" for some models — and ditch the "space gray" tone, according to a note from reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo at KGI Securities. The note, obtained by Apple Insider, also claimed that Apple will finally up the amount of storage on its phones, releasing 32 GB, 128 GB and 256 GB models better able to handle all those selfies and videos iPhone users are taking.
Kuo's note also backs up the rumor that Apple will improve the camera on its phones, giving the larger Plus model a dual-camera sensor. The phones are expected to also get an internal refresh, with faster processing chips. The phones' screens are also expected to use the same "True Tone" technology currently on the iPad Pro, for more realistic colors — perhaps a further effort to frame the iPhone as a device for serious media creation.
Apple is still expected to call these phones the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus; a Reddit user posted that he briefly saw that the company apparently mistakenly listed both phones on its own website earlier this week.
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