Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is fast approaching its annual September iPhone event, and the launch of new hardware that’s expected to cement its position as the world’s first trillion-dollar company.
The iPhone will be front and center, naturally. The product that has driven AAPL stock for the past decade is still key to the company’s continued growth. How many new iPhone models will there be, what shape will they take, and how much will they cost? What other new products might Apple show off on stage in what has all the signs of a monster fall release?
Speculation has been running rampant, but as the date approaches, the pieces are falling into place. The first is the date.
Apple hasn’t sent out the invites yet, but based on past patterns (where the iPhone event took place on the Tuesday or Wednesday of the second week of September), that means September 11 or 12. And since 9/11 is not the date most companies would intentionally choose for a product release, the smart money is on Wednesday, September 12.
Here’s everything else we might see at this fall’s big Apple iPhone event.
Apple iPhone Event 2018: iPhone X and new LCD iPhone
Last year’s iPhone X was an interesting release for Apple. The 10th anniversary iPhone was divisive. The notch wasn’t popular at first, there were production issues with its advanced TrueDepth cameras and the $999 starting price raised concerns.
However… the iPhone X ended up selling well, the notch has become the most copied feature in this year’s crop of Android smartphones and any manufacturing challenges with the TrueDepth camera were resolved long ago.
Expect Apple to release a refreshed iPhone X (think “s” level spec upgrades). And to win over price conscious shoppers, all signs point to a new 6.1-inch LCD iPhone which will be more affordably priced — likely in the $600 to $700 range. The affordable iPhone will have the notch popularized by the iPhone X, along with its TrueDepth camera. And it’s expected to come in a range of bright new colors, in a throwback to the iPhone 5c.
Apple iPhone Event 2018: iPhone X Plus
With the iPhone X, Apple learned that selling slightly fewer iPhones than previous years can pay off in a big way. A $999+ smartphone drives up ASP (average sale price), and a higher ASP can translate into big revenue gains.
A rising ASP is a big reason why AAPL stock has continued its run, despite softening iPhone sales.
Expect the company to make a play to keep that ASP on an upward trend — despite the new, affordable LCD iPhone — by adding an iPhone X Plus to the lineup. This one is pegged to have a 6.5-inch OLED display, the biggest ever on an iPhone and slightly larger than Samsung’s new Galaxy Note 9 phablet. There are also rumors both the iPhone X and iPhone X Plus could support the Apple Pencil stylus, in another shot at the Galaxy Note.
If AAPL keeps the iPhone X at $999, expect the iPhone X Plus to cost at least $1,100. Add in the rumored Apple Pencil support (a $99 accessory) and many consumers could be shelling out record prices for their new iPhones this year.
Apple iPhone Event 2018: Apple Watch Series 4
Apple has been relentless about releasing a new Apple Watch every year. We haven’t yet seen the Apple Watch Series 4 and last year, Apple chose the fall iPhone event to announce the Series 3.
That means the odds are good we’ll see the Apple Watch Series 4 announced in a matter of weeks.
Look for the Apple Watch Series 4 to have 15% larger displays (AAPL is expected to trim bezels to keep the physical size the same), with an improved heart rate monitor. Potential upgrades that have gained some buzz include an integrated UV monitor for sun exposure, sleep tracking and boosted battery life.
Apple iPhone Event 2018: AirPower Wireless Charger
If there’s one product announcement that seems like lock at the fall iPhone event — besides new iPhones — it’s the AirPower wireless charger.
Because Apple actually announced it last year. And after waiting all year without the promised charging mat (which will wirelessly charge new iPhones, the Apple Watch and AirPod cases), the company has changed the product page to state “available 2018.”
With a new crop of iPhones being announced, all supporting wireless charging, it would be embarrassing for AAPL to still not have its own wireless charging solution available.
Apple iPhone Event 2018: iOS 12, macOS Mojave
The last of the sure bets for the next iPhone event is the release of Apple’s latest operating systems. While the company will be launching new OS versions for everything from the Apple Watch to Apple TV, it’s iOS 12 and macOS Mojave — the operating systems that power iPhones, iPads and Mac computers — that will get the spotlight.
Look for cool new features, but a focus on performance and stability. Apple traditionally makes its new operating systems available as a free download in the weeks after the iPhone event.
Apple iPhone Event 2018 (Longer Shots): New iPad Pro With FaceID
We are as certain as is possible with the always-secretive Apple that the company is planning a fall release of at least one new iPad Pro model that borrows technology pioneered with the iPhone X.
The new iPad Pro would lose the TouchID fingerprint sensor, adopting TrueDepth cameras and FaceID. As a result, bezels would be thinner, allowing Apple to use a larger display without increasing the iPad Pro’s physical size.
Apple itself has accidentally leaked a hint of the new iPad Pro in a beta of iOS 12. The big question is whether the company will announce the new iPad Pro model (or models) at the iPhone event, or wait until October.
Apple iPhone Event 2018 (Longer Shots): New MacBook Air Replacement
Rumors have been circulating since the spring that Apple is working on a replacement for the aging MacBook Air.
That would make sense, given that the MacBook Air — which is extremely popular and the most affordable laptop in the Apple lineup — looks the same as it did a decade ago, uses an Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) CPU that’s generations out of date, and lacks a high resolution display.
Apple’s new, affordable laptop will have a Retina display with thinner bezels and USB-C support, but we still don’t know whether it will look like the current MacBook Air, or the ultra-thin MacBook, or whether it will even be called a MacBook Air.
We’re also not sure when it will arrive, but signs point to a fall release, and that means it could be announced at the iPhone event.
Apple iPhone Event 2018 (Longer Shots): New Mac Mini
Apple is also reportedly preparing to announce a replacement for the Mac Mini.
The most affordable Mac hasn’t been upgraded in four years. Rumors are flying that AAPL is planning a new Mac Mini this fall. It will likely require macOS Mojave, so there’s a possibility the company might just trot the new Mac Mini out on stage at the iPhone event when it runs the traditional mac OS demos.
Apple iPhone Event 2018 (Longer Shots): New Audio Hardware
AAPL appears to also be working on a slew of new audio products. While some are long shots in terms of whether they even exist, others have been confirmed within the supply chain and at least one could even make an appearance at the iPhone event.
New AirPods wireless earbuds that support Siri in hands-free mode seem the most likely bet for September. The company is also reportedly preparing to launch Apple-branded, high performance wireless headphones. And with HomePod sales not exactly setting the smart speaker market on fire, there have rumors that Apple will release a smaller, less expensive version this fall. A HomePod “Mini” that cuts the original’s $349 price would be much better able to compete with the Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) Echo and other smart speakers.
Did we guess right? We won’t find out if Apple has managed to keep some secrets until September — probably September 12. When the big event takes place, be sure to check out InvestorPlace, where I’ll have a roundup of the new products and the upside for AAPL stock as soon as Apple CEO Tim Cook walks off the stage.
As of this writing, Brad Moon did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.