Gone are the days when Apple was able to keep its new devices under lock and key. Now, the question that many are asking is, “can Apple still surprise?” These days, analysts and journalists are keeping such a close eye on Apple’s supply chain that we already know well in advance what they’re planning to do. To make matters worse, Apple has become fairly predictable in its upgrade habits that we know when it will revamp a device. We can even say with relative certainty what parts of a device will be updated.
So here we are. For those of you who want to be “surprised” by Apple’s big unveiling event tomorrow: spoiler alert…I guess?
Let’s start with the obvious: iPhones.
Graphite and champagne colors
While the iPhone 5C (“C” for “cheap” or “C” for “China”? YOU DECIDE) is expected to come in a bevy of bubblegum colors, the iPhone 5S is also rumored to be getting two new color additions. Several pictures have leaked revealing a goldish champagney iPhone 5S alongside a graphite iPhone. Some have even suggested that the graphite model will actually replace the black model altogether, but this would be highly, highly unorthodox and therefore un-possible. (Remember when everyone was talking about the vague possibility of a white iPhone way back in 2011?)
A lot of the Apple rumors surfacing in the buildup to Tuesday’s event are pretty lame. New colors, a better camera, etc. But this one is actually pretty cool. Apple’s iPhone 5S may come with fingerprint identification technology as a security feature. A “mole” for French site Nowhereelse.fr reportedly got hold of a cable part and sensor for the home button, which is “far more complex than that seen in the iPhone 5 or even the alleged iPhone 5S part leaked last month, containing a new square surface as well as several other components that may be related to fingerprint sensor functionality," MacRumors reported.
A fingerprint sensor would be a brilliant security feature to help thwart the rising number of iPhone thefts around the world.
Leaked packaging also reveals a new home button that does away with the iconic “squircle” in favor of a ring that may or may not light up and change color as some kind of notification system.
Faster A7 chip for 5S
The iPhone 5S will reportedly come with an A7 chip, which is said to be 31% faster than the iPhone 5’s A6 dual-core chip. The A7 chip is said to be 64-bit, which will supposedly help make transparencies, animations, and other graphical effects appear much more smoothly for iOS 7 than earlier iOS devices.
Because obvs? The camera always gets an update, and leaked images have revealed a larger LED flash. Several reports have also hinted at a 12-megapixel or even 13-megapixel camera with improved low-light mode. Other reports say that the camera will keep the original 8-megapixel resolution but will have a wider f/2.0 aperture lens as well as support for 1080p HD recording.
Partnership with China Mobile
For the first time ever, Apple has scheduled a press event in Beijing concurrent with its San Francisco event. Many speculate that the move has much to do with the fact that China is critical to Apple’s momentum going forward, which is likely the driving force behind the iPhone 5C. But the Beijing event could have another focus: Apple’s possible announcement of a partnership with China Mobile, the world’s largest mobile carrier and one of the only large carriers in China that doesn’t support the iPhone. With 740 million subscribers (seven times that of Verizon), China Mobile accounts for 70% of the mobile services market in China.
A bigger screen
Rumor has it that Apple is testing iPhones with screen sizes ranging from 4.8 inches to 6 inches and I’m falling asleep just typing that.
Upgraded iPad Mini
It’s been nearly a year since Apple released the iPad Mini, and while it has a better battery life than its cheaper rivals, like the Kindle Fire and the Nexus 7, it has no Retina display. Its subpar pixel density needs a boost lest it lose out to its competitors. Leaked photos suggest that the new fifth generation iPad and the iPad Mini will both be narrower and thinner than previous generations. But it’s unlikely that tomorrow’s event will actually feature iPads, since they tend to have their own press event.