Last week, Apple sent out invitations to a Sept. 7 event, drumming up excitement with the tagline "See you on the 7th." Some industry watchers think that's a (thin) play on words for the expected name of the new iPhone, the "iPhone 7."
Apple has reported two straight quarters of year-over-year revenue declines and there are questions about demand for a device that remains the company's main source of profit. Apple hopes faster iPhones with significant camera improvements will prop up sales ahead of an expected larger overhaul in 2017 for the device's 10th anniversary.
Apple is also set to release a faster Apple Watch with GPS to try to re-ignite interest in that nascent category.
Here's a breakdown of what to expect at Apple's Wednesday event:
• A tweaked design that looks similar to the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s, but removes the two inner-most antenna lines on the back of the device for a cleaner look.
• The same 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch screen sizes as the previous two iPhone lines.
• A pressure-sensitive Home button that provides a vibrating sensation in response to button presses instead of an actual physical click, similar to the latest MacBook trackpads.
• The removal of the headphone jack in favor of a secondary grille for either an additional speaker or microphone.
• An improved single-lens rear camera system on the new 4.7-inch model.
• A new dual-lens camera system on the 5.5-inch model, allowing for deeper zooming with less reduction in clarity and better low-light photography.
• A faster processor, a successor to the A9 chip in the iPhone 6s.
• Support for FeliCa-based payments in Japan, in the works for either this year's model or next year's overhaul.
• A GPS chip for more-accurate fitness tracking.
• A faster processor for launching applications and navigating the operating system.
• Battery-life improvements to support the power-intensive addition of GPS.
• iOS 10 will be available on the iPhone 5 from 2012 and later. The updated software includes an improved iMessage application with support for new animations, stickers and third-party plug-ins, voicemail transcription, notifications that show more detail and an application for controlling smart home appliances.
• WatchOS 3, the new version of the Apple Watch's software, speeds up app launch times, includes a new SOS feature to call emergency services, a new app to monitor breathing and the ability to use Apple Pay within apps.
• TvOS 10, the new version of the Apple TV software, is supported by the fourth-generation model (which comes with Siri) and adds the ability to universally sign in to many content apps, a dark mode for navigating through the system at night and a redesigned view for Apple Music.
• MacOS Sierra, the latest version of the Mac operating system, adds support for Apple Pay transactions on the web, Siri voice control, new photo-management and messaging features and the ability for Apple Watch wearers to automatically login to their Macs.
One hardware category that may not be discussed in detail on Sept. 7 is the Mac line. However, Apple will begin shipping some of its future Macs as soon as October, according to people familiar with the matter. Here are the details:
• An overhauled MacBook Pro with a "Dynamic Function Row" display that allows function keys to change based on the task at hand, a faster processor, new graphics card options from Advanced Micro Devices Inc., a larger trackpad, flatter keyboard and USB-C port technology.
• Updated MacBook Air models with multi-functional USB-C port technology.
• A faster iMac with new graphics card options from AMD.
• A 5K standalone monitor developed in conjunction with LG Electronics Inc.
-- Bloomberg News