by Rhiannon Williams
Apple is preparing to announce what is believed to be three new iPhones - plus other devices - during an event today.
The company has sent out invitations to media for a “special event” at 10am PST (18.00 BST) on Tuesday 10 September at the Steve Jobs Theatre inside its Apple Park campus in California.
What will the new handsets be called?
Reports suggest the company is planning two new ‘iPhone Pro’ successors to last year’s iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max, alongside a new upgrade to the less expensive iPhone XR. - named the iPhone 11, the iPhone 11 Pro and the iPhone 11 Pro Max.
The brightly coloured logo Apple featured in its invitation sparked speculation the company are plotting five shades for the 6.1-inch iPhone 11: green, blue, yellow, red and purple.
This would make sense given the iPhone XR's red, white, black, blue, yellow and pink finishes, which follow in the footsteps of 2013's pastel iPhone 5C range.
The iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max are reported to measure 5.8-inches and 6.5-inches respectively, with 12MP front-facing and rear-facing cameras. They could also - slightly bizarrely - support the Apple Pencil stylus originally developed for use with iPads, according to a report from analyst Citi Research.
If true, the iPhone 11 series would be the first to accommodate a stylus, though their (relatively) modest sizes make this rumour still fairly unlikely.
Chinese site MyDrivers published what it claims is a spec sheet of the new handsets (Photo: MyDrivers)
Chinese tech site MyDrivers uploaded what it claims is an unverified spec sheet of the new handsets last week, supporting the suggestions the two more expensive models will support Apple Pencil.
The iPhone Pros are reported to sport new camera set-up with a third sensor for capturing ultra-wide angle photos and videos, according to Bloomberg.
Three images will be captured simultaneously by the sensors, and artificial intelligence (AI) technology will assess the pictures to present a corrected combined image.
The high-resolution imaging system to designed to rival professional DSLR cameras, and is likely to support improved video recording and retouching facilities.
They’re also expected to allow owners to wirelessly charge the second generation of wireless AirPods headphones and other mobiles by lying the object across the iPhone’s back, improved water resistance and a new multi-angle Face ID sensor, which will accommodate owners unlocking the phone via facial recognition even when it’s lying flat on a table.
Other reports suggest Apple has been working on rear-facing 3D cameras for forthcoming iPhones, capable of creating 3D constructions of its surrounding environment in the same way the front-facing iPhone XS camera system processes a user’s face via Face ID.
The future cameras will work up to around 15 feet from the device, and would use a laser scanner rather than Face ID’s current dot-projection tech. They could be used to foster more sophisticated augmented reality (AR) experiences on the handsets, ahead of the company’s rumoured dedicated AR headset which is reported to be preparing for a 2020 launch.
While Apple had originally planned to build 3D cameras into 2019’s iPhone range, it could delay the feature until 2020, according to Bloomberg.
Is USB-C finally on the way?
While it’s unlikely, it’s not impossible the latest models could get rid of the familiar lightning port in favour of USB-C – the standard among most high-end Android handsets from Samsung, Google, LG and others.
Apple's lightning port's days may be numbered (Photo: Pexels)
Apple is reportedly considering making the switch, according to supply chain blog Macotakara. The blog claimed people working on the iPhone’s transition to USB-C indicated it was yet to reach the reference design stage, making it unlikely this year’s new iPhones will support it.
What features will the new iPhones have?
All three new models will run iOS 13, the iPhone operating system Apple already announced in great detail during June's WWDC.
A full run-down of the new features is available here, though highlights include a long-awaited Dark Mode (having been available for Mac since macOS Mojave), a new version of Maps and updates to Memoji.
When will they go on sale and how much will they cost?
New iPhones tend to go on sale within around two weeks of being announced, making Friday 20 September the most likely date they'll be available to buy.
The iPhone XR, iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max start from £749, £999 and £1,099 respectively, setting a relatively good indication of how much they'll retail from. However, disappointing sales of 2018's releases mean Apple may be tempted to lower the price of the "entry-level" iPhone 11, though it's unlikely to slash the price of the more premium, flagship iPhone Pros.
What else is going to be announced?
The three new iPhones are likely to be accompanied by a new Series 5 Apple Watch and a new MacBook Pro. Upgraded iPad Pros and a new entry-level iPad are also among the expected announcements.
Apple is reportedly planning upgraded 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pros with improved cameras and processors and expanding the size of the cheapest iPad from 9.7-inches and 10.2-inches.
The Series 5 Apple Watch is rumoured to come in ceramic and titanium finishes, while the revamped MacBook Pro is likely to sport a 16-inch+ MacBook Pro to replace the 17-inch model which was discontinued in 2012.
Why do the new products matter to Apple?
Apple will be pinning its hopes on the wave of new products to revitalise sales in the lucrative run-up to Christmas.
It no longer reveals the number of iPhones sold each quarter, but sales are generally slowing as consumers are opting to hold onto their existing handsets for longer.
This is an industry-wide trend, with analysts predicted sales of smartphones to drop 2.5 per cent before the end of the year.
However, while sales of 5G-enabled phones are likely to account for less than 1 per cent of total devices sold this year, increased coverage and new 5G handsets will boost overall sales in 2020, according to analyst Gartner.
Sales of the XS phones were weaker than anticipated, causing Apple to revise its projected revenue to $84bn (£66bn) for the three months ending December 29 2018, down from $89bn in November.
The company reported iPhone revenue of $25.99bn in iPhone revenue for the previous three months at the end of July, a 12 per cent year-on-year decline.
It will be hoping the new products will deliver a much-needed shot in the arm ahead of its TV streaming service launch later this year.
This article originally appeared on our sister site, inews