Tomorrow's Event

Here's what I said back in April about the upcoming iPhone - I was going to blockquote selections of it, but it's too large, so check the link to check my work.

Basically, I predicted the new iPhone would look essentially the same as the iPhone 5, with iOS 7, a global LTE chipset for use everywhere, a better camera, better battery life, an A7 SOC with increased power and graphics, and no change in price for the same size combinations.

For the most part, I still stand by those predictions for what we're now calling the iPhone 5S (I also called it that in April). We know now that a camera increase will most likely come alongside a dual-LED flash (to hopefully fix all iPhone night pictures looking a little washed out), so that can get folded into the mix.

We also know that we can expect a Gold/Champagne color, and maybe even a Silver color to go along with Black/White. I don't think this was a dealbreaker for anyone, but it will be inetersting to see what side of the cheesy line the Gold iPhone falls on. I have a decent amount of faith that they know what they're doing, especially since I've grown fond of the new color palate in iOS 7 (much much mroe on that later, when NDA expires).

There's also this fingerprint-scanner thing in the home button, which sounds cool but I have no idea how it will actually work. What I'm guessing is an IT-Security manager's wet dream - easy to implement 2-factor authentication for a mobile device that adds real device level security. The saying goes that all security measures go out the window once an assailant has posession of the device, but this might be the first step in reliable biometric locks for sensitive data.

The trick to it being IT-Security porn is that consumers won't really care, or at least they won't swoon. I expect that either Apple markets the safety and security angle to them, or they find a way to make this tech available for the user. I have no clue how - all I can think of are those keys for Benzes and BMW's (and Audi's I think) that sense who's key is being used to start the car and adjust seats, AC and mirrors accordingly. Completely UI-free user accounts on iOS devices, maybe? This plus iCloud keychain equals password-free life on mobile? This is by far my biggest question mark of the event.

So, iPhone 5S: iOS 7, new cellular tech, new SOC, new camera, better battery life, new colors, same price, and some crazy fingerprint home button thing.

What I didn't expect in April was that Apple would eliminate their current staggered iPhone strategy and split the iPhone into two yearly tiers - the Premium and the Bargain line. If the rumors are true, that's what it looks like: rounding out the iPhone 5S on the high end is the iPhone 5C on the low end.

Predictions and leaks indicate a 4-inch device with a Lightning connector and a plastic back with a whole lot of color combinations. Im guesing you could simplfy it hardware-wise to an iPod Touch, plus a cellular radio, with plastic instead of a metal back.

But the price? That iPod Touch goes for $299, and Apple is hearing it from everyone on Wall Street about margins being too low (a laughable complaint in every way, but the complaints exist nonetheless). I'd love to see it intro for $299, but my guess is that it's no lower than $399 - in fact, I'll bet that's the magic number.

A lot of this has leaked, but I don't really know for sure if this is a done deal. Apple does have an event in China the day after tomorrow - it's the first event Apple has had in a foreign nation, and it will either bring or immediately follow the introduction of the iPhone to China Mobile (the world's largest carrier, with 700M + subscribers). I think there's a chance the iPhone 5C could be exclusive to China.

If it's not, here's the lineup:

$399/$0 (off contract/on contract)- iPhone 5C $199 (on contract) - iPhone 5S 16GB $299 (on contract) - iPhone 5S 32GB $399 (on contract) - iPhone 5S 64GB

Besides the iOS 7 finalization (I'm sticking with a GM for devs tomorrow, general release on 9/18 and the iPhone 5S hitting stores on 9/20) and a few one-off updates (new iWork apps? Mac Pro release date? Haswell rMBPs?), I think that's it for the event. There's a chance they might do their iPod/music event concurrently like they did last year, because of iTunes Radio launching and all, but I think its just as likely for it to be iPhone only considering they have two phones to launch.

Even with iPods, which I doubt, that's still saving a lot of goodies for an October iPad event, which sets a dangerous precedent for next year. Apple definitely can't and shouldn't wait until Q3/Q4 to update their entire line next year.

(In fact, I even think they might not update a few Macs until February just to space things out. If so, no iMacs for Christmas.)

All in all, should be a fun day tomorrow, even though there's very few surprises. That's also what we thought last year, and we were in for a treat.