Apple launch live 2015: where and how to watch the iPhone event
What to expect from today's Apple event, from Apple TV to the new iPad Pro, iOS 9 and iPhone 6S
Apple is about to kick off a huge press event in California, with the star of the show likely to be the new iPhone 6S. But while the tech giant is giving nothing away, speculation is mounting about what else its excitable fans can expect to see.
The first clue is the size of the venue, says The Daily Telegraph. The Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco is much bigger than Apple's usual launch venues, "suggesting that Apple thinks it is unveiling something really special".
As for the invitation itself – it is typically cryptic, consisting of just the launch event details and six words: "Hey Siri, give us a hint."
When is the Apple event?
The launch takes place on 9 September at 10am (Pacific Daylight Time) – so 6pm in the UK.
How can I watch the Apple launch?
This year's launch is at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, a 7,000-seat arena in San Francisco, California. This suggests a much larger invite list than previous years, when Apple has held product launches in the 750-seat Yerba Buena Centre for the Arts.
For those who won't be at the San Francisco event, The Week will be live-blogging the event here, and Apple will streaming it live on its website. This will work on iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches with Safari on iOS 7 or later; on Macs with Safari 6.0.5 or later on OS X v10.8.5 or later; or PCs using Windows 10 with the new Microsoft Edge. Streaming via Apple TV will require a second or third generation device with software 6.2 or later. Based on previous Apple events, tech experts are predicting that the launch will run for up to two-and-a-half hours.
What products is Apple likely to launch?
The mention of Siri on the invitation is taken by the Telegraph to mean that, Apple's virtual 'personal assistant', will feature at the launch. It becould hint that the company is about to launch a new version of Apple TV, its internet-enabled set-top box, with Siri included (the assistant does not feature in the current incarnation), says the newspaper.
Or, it could mean that the iPhone 6S will have a "much more advanced version" of Siri, says the Telegraph. Asking Siri the question posed in the invitation prompts a series of responses, which Apple-heads are combing for clues:
- What, can't you tell from my colourful wavey words?
- The only hint I can give you right now is a hint of lime
- You're cute when you're desperate for information
- Well, I hear there's something big happening on 9 September
- Why don't you check a rumours blog? That's what I do
Whatever new products Apple announces, they will not be released to the public on the same day, promises The Independent. Apple usually takes about a week and a half between a launch event and actually selling the product.
The paper claims the most likely launch date for the new product is 18 September – and speculates that the new Apple TV and iPhone 6S Plus might also be unveiled.
The iPhone 6S may sport Force Touch technology, already in use on the company's Apple Watch and new MacBook. Force Touch allows users to control their devices by pressing harder or lighter on the touch-sensitive screen. For instance, fast-forwarding through a video could be faster if the touch is heavier. Marketwatch.com quotes tech analyst Dan Ives, who expects the phone to have the same look and design as the iPhone 6, but with "meaningful updates under the hood". The 6S should have a faster A9 processor and an improved 12-megapixel rear-facing camera for video calling.
Gottabemobile.com predicts that the iPhone 6S will run iOS 9, the latest version of Apple's handheld device operating system. A release allowing earlier phones to run the new OS is expected sometime soon. The website claims that iOS 9 will enable an hour-long boost to battery life. According to 9to5Mac.com, users may be a little disgruntled to find that the basic iPhone 6S model still comes with just 16GB of internal storage. Low storage space is a "big complaint in the [Apple] community" says the site. While the new OS will make storage more efficient, and upgraded rear camera and 4k video recording will take up more space.
There is much more information about the new features likely to be included on the iPhone 6S here.
Digital Spy speculated last week that Apple may launch a lower-end version of the phone with a plastic body as the iPhone 6C next week - good news for habitual phone-droppers or those on a tighter budget. Now though, 9to5Mac says the 6C will not launch until later in the year – or even 2016. See below for more details of the debate about the iPhone 6C.
Each year Apple updates its mobile operating system, iOS, to coincide with the launch of its new hardware – and this year it's let the cat out of the bag early. In a break from past years, when the new software has been kept under wraps until iPhone launch day, iOS 9 has been available to developers for public trials for several weeks. Two features of the new software could change the way we keep up to date with news on our smartphones, says Wired: the Apple News app will streamline online news stories for mobile reading, while an update to the Safari web browser will enable users to block ads more easily – which could cut revenues for some news publishers. The upgrade has also been designed to use power more efficiently, extending iPhone battery life.
New Apple TV is expected to feature Siri, iOS 9 and a dedicated Apple Store. The new product is likely to be more expensive, possibly even double the price of its predecessor. Apple is also rumoured to be in discussions about making its own programming content and reportedly made a bid for the new Jeremy Clarkson motoring show earlier this summer.
A new 12.9in iPad is also among the hotly anticipated announcements. It is apparently designed for the corporate sector, but will also be available to general consumers. This is likely to also include Force Touch screen and a better camera and display.
Should Apple launch a four-inch iPhone 6C?
For several years Apple stuck by its four-inch iPhone 5 and 5S, even as rival manufacturers pushed their screens ever larger. The supersized iPhone 6 Plus has gained much praise, but a vocal minority of commentators and customers has been calling on the company to build a smaller version of its newest phone.
So might Apple add a third screen size to the iPhone 6S or 7 range?
"It makes perfect sense," writes Gordon Kelly for Forbes, suggesting that the company is "finally ready to give millions of iPhone users the handset they have always wanted.
Except that there's a catch, he says. Apple's plans, at least according to what's been leaked so far, suggest that the small-screened phone will be a cheaper model, made out of plastic rather than aluminium.
"Going down this route makes the same mistake as so many Android handset makers (Sony aside): treating small phones as second class phones," he writes. "There’s no logic to this, phone size is merely personal preference."
Financial site Motley Fool is somewhat cooler on the idea of a four-inch iPhone 6C, in any form – and it seems to think that the plastic frame could be its strongest suit.
"It's an interesting idea, and one that certainly makes sense in several ways," writes Andrew Tonner. "The iPhone 5c, although breaking with some past norms, was actually a smart financial move for Apple. Thanks to the low-cost inputs like its casing, the iPhone 5c actually generated a higher gross margin than Apple would have earned if it had kept the iPhone 5 as its $99 'second tier' handset."