This Why the iPad May Shine at Apple's Event

Published September 12th, 2018 - 06:58 GMT
Tech giant may put in USB-C ports on its next iPads. (Shutterstock)
Tech giant may put in USB-C ports on its next iPads. (Shutterstock)

If history - and the power of information dissemination on the Internet - is any indication, Apple is all but sure to lift the wraps on the expected three new iPhones on Wednesday, plus a fourth-generation Apple Watch, at the Steve Jobs Theater in Apple Park.

However, if a new note from the most reliable Apple tipster is to be considered, the biggest change - very arguably - may not come from the company's flagships.

Supply chain analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has become the go-to guy for pre-launch Apple tips, late on Monday said in a new note that the tech giant may put in USB-C ports on its next iPads.

Replacing the resident Lightning ports and connectors is a huge thing. For one, it would provide more way for third-party accessory makers to access the Apple ecosystem.

On the flipside, among the early downsides of this move is that it means that iPhone charging cables obviously won't be able to work with the new iPads. Users will also be obligated to bring two different cables instead of one for the two devices.

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Also, talks of a home button-less iPad have been rife for a while - actually, as early as late last year - which would mean Apple will be integrating FaceID on the tablet, totally moving on from TouchID and streamlining its design along the iPhone X.

The 'Gather round' keynote starts at 10.00am on Wednesday here (9.00pm in Dubai today) and will finally give closure to all the speculation swirling around the new devices - some of which even began almost immediately after Apple launched its 10th-anniversary iPhone X at the same time last year. 


As mentioned, three new iPhones are expected to be revealed - two with OLED screens in 5.8- and 6.5-inch sizes, and an entry-level 6.1-inch LED device.

The names are still a mystery, though the most widely-expected ones are 'iPhone XS' (5.8 inches), 'iPhone XS Plus/Max' (6.5 inches) and 'iPhone XC' (6.1 inches). Apple may do away with continuity if it ditches the '9' designation. 

The 'XS' devices are expected to have a new top-end 512GB storage capacity in addition to the resident 64/256GB options, and 4GB of RAM, though it would practically maintain the current 12MP dual-lens camera system. Meanwhile, the 'XC' - Kuo had also mentioned in his note that it would be called the 'XR' - will have a single-lens snapper, 3GB of RAM and only 64/256GB of storage. It is also expected to have a dual-SIM slot.

If we go by price, these phones will succeed Apple's most recent batch: the 'iPhone XS' for the iPhone 8 Plus, the 'iPhone XS Plus/Max' for the iPhone X and the 'iPhone XC' for the iPhone 8. In the UAE, their starting prices are at Dh3,411.50, Dh4,304 and Dh2,991.50, respectively. The 512GB 'iPhone XS Plus/Max', based on expected dollar prices, would be at a whopping Dh5,580. 

Apple Watch

For those disappointed that the rumoured Apple Watches didn't make an appearance at June's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) here in San Jose, it's all but a sure thing that they're finally coming.

Apple's new wearable is expected to be called 'Apple Watch Series 4'. Not much detail has been leaking out, but the biggest change is that its display would be 15 per cent bigger - while retaining the device's same sizes of 38mm and 42mm.

Kuo also mentioned that the new Watch's rear casing would come in ceramic only - meaning that it would support LTE (GPS-only models use composite glass) - and that an electrocardiogram sensor has also been added.

The rest of it

Some of the possible announcements at tomorrow's event include a new Mac mini, which will focus on professional users. This has precedent: Apple released a high-end (and very expensive) iMac Pro last year, in response to clamor from professional users.

Second-generation AirPods will also likely make an appearance, which Kuo says would come with wireless charging capabilities. Hand-in-hand with this is the long-delayed AirPower wireless charging mat, which last year has been touted to charge multiple devices in one go.

A new, more affordable MacBook Air - which hasn't been refreshed in years - had also been cropping up, as well as a cheaper 13-inch MacBook. Apple recently updated its entire MacBook Pro line - except, of course, the 13-incher. 

Soft spots

iOS 12, meanwhile, which has been pegged for a release at this time of the year, is also very likely to take the stage. If Apple's tradition of rolling out its new mobile operating system on the next Tuesday after the new iPhones' launch, then users can start downloading it next week.

Craig Federighi, Apple's senior vice-president of software engineering, had said at the WWDC here that the company had 'doubled down' on performance on iOS 12, saying that apps can launch up to 40 per cent faster, the camera starts up to 70 per cent quicker and the keyboard appears up to 50 per cent faster, among other under-the-hood improvements plus more responsive typing.

watchOS 5, meanwhile, also previewed at the WWDC, is also expected to be officially unveiled. New features include inviting another user to a seven-day activity challenge and automatic workout detection, plus new workouts. Apple Podcasts can also be accessed on the Watch via Siri, which has also been designed to be more intelligent.

Walkie Talkie was also announced back then, which works just like its namesake by just tapping on the Watch. Sadly, this won't be available in the UAE, along with Pakistan and China.

As for another WWDC software announcement, macOS Mojave could also make a cameo. Among its new features include Dark Mode, which changes the desktop to a darkened theme, and Dynamic Desktop, which changes the desktop picture to match the time of the day.

The desktop also comes with the new Stacks function, which groups cluttered desktop files according to file type. Finder, meanwhile, now has a new Gallery view, which allows users to browse through files visually, with an all-new Preview Pane that shows the file's entire metadata.

Among the most useful iOS apps are also debuting on Mojave, including News, Stocks, Voice Memos and Home. Group FaceTime is also available on it.

One more thing.

With all the buzz surrounding all of the above, it remains, as at Press time, a mystery if any of the above-mentioned devices outside of the iPhones and Apple Watch will make an actual appearance at today's event. And if ever they would be announced, it's unlikely that they would be rolled out at the same time as the new iPhones - normally a week after their unveiling - and it could take a while before they hit the market.

Expect the UAE, though, as in recent years, to be one of the first markets to get first crack at the new iPhones.

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