Sept 10 2013 Event: The Maul at Town Hall

10 September 13

On the Plate

There are several things that have been piling up at Apple Traffic Control. It’s been well documented that Apple hasn’t released a significant product upgrade in a year. Christmas is also on the radar, and the consumer product line needs to be in shape by late November. We may have a two-event quarter ahead.

Here’s what we know is coming in the next three months: From traditional Apple release schedules, an iPod refresh, an iPhone refresh and an iPad refresh. From previous announcements, iOS 7 and Mac OS X Mavericks are due. Also, the iMac and the MacBook Pro are expected to get the months-old Haswell processor upgrades, not to mention the Mac mini.

Essentially, the only products not in the upgrade cycle are iCloud, MacBook Air and Mac Pro. The Mac Pro still needs a release date, too.

Assuming Apple decides to stick to an iPhone theme, as I believe they will, the iPhone 5 will be upgraded, iOS will get a release date (Sept. 12, iPhone only), the Apple TV gets a software upgrade and a new low-cost iPhone model will be introduced. The announcement of a low-cost iPhone will suck the air out of anything else Apple might mention and it wouldn’t be a good idea to include much else in the event.

The Mac Pro will be released in an event on October 29th alongside OS X Mavericks, the next-gen iPad and iPad mini.

What Not To Wear

No wearable computing will be released at this event. The “iWatch” may be a product under development, but the hires Apple has made and the usual development time for the company would make a release this soon extremely unlikely. Expect the Wall Street Journal, CNBC commentators and other high-paid but minimally-informed folks to make comments about Apple’s lack of innovation.

Apple TV

I don’t expect a fabled actual “TV set” to be released, but I do expect a major upgrade the the existing TV service. There are reports that a new “Set Top Box” Apple shipment has been made from China, and if true, I expect it’s because Apple wants an ample supply of the existing Apple TV ready for a rush of purchases. I believe we will see a major headline-making content announcement and/or an iOS 7 software refresh.


As must be known in the outer reaches of the solar system by now, the iPhone 5 will be upgraded with a new fingerprint-reading home button to act as a passcode substitute for extra security against theft. Also, the phone will have a 12-megapixel camera with the clearest low-light photography available in a consumer handset.

It will remain at the “tall” screen size and resolution, but with improved brightness of the display. Battery life will be improved to 10 hours or more. The case will be minimally thinner and I don’t think a gold phone is in the cards. The iPhone will also have upgraded LTE.

I do not believe an iPhone-as-payment system is ready, and it will not be part of the announcement.

Price: status quo.

Name: iPhone 5s.

iPhone LC

I’ve been predicting a low-cost iPhone for the last two years, and I may finally have my day. Since a stopped clock is right twice a day, I’m glad this seems to be happening before four o’clock.

Despite my earlier statements that a low-cost iPhone would be a big-screen iPhone, I’m prepared to be wrong on that. If the leaks are anywhere near correct, there’s no sign of a big-screen iPhone anywhere.

The low-cost iPhone appears to be plastic-cased and available in multiple colors. If you want to know which ones, just look at the iOS 7 home screen.

Price: the base unit will be 399 off-contract, free on-contract.

I also believe the iPhone 5 will be completely discontinued or kept on in foreign markets and the iPhone LC will take over both the “free” and “$99” slots in the US Apple pricing structure. Why? The LC will have near equal specs or better specs than the 5 in some areas, and dropping the 5 to free might be taking too big a chunk of the margins. Putting it at $99 may be asking too much for what would essentially be the free phone with an aluminum case.

Name: iPhone 5c? If it happens, so be it. The appended naming convention makes me feel the ghost of Spindler. I’d prefer something like “iPhone bright” or “iPhone spectrum” or something like that.

iOS 7

We already know the what the guts of iOS 7 are, but will there be anything new? The iLife suite will be upgraded, if just on a cosmetic level. Usually, Apple drops a new home screen app alongside a new phone. I believe that the iLife apps be either free downloads or made a part of iOS.

Anything else?

Kinda of a yawner product intro, if you ask me. It’s just a couple of hours before the event, but there’s a lack of buzz with all the leaks we’ve seen. The only thing that will make me really get excited is something no one has yet predicted.