What to Expect from Apple Tomorrow: Hello New iPhone, Bye-Bye Headphone Jack, Apple Music Refresh

Marlene Awaad/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Tim Cook, chief executive officer of Apple Inc., speaksĀ in AmsterdamĀ on, May 24, 2016.

It's September, grab your pumpkin spice chai latte and ready yourself for the latest Apple product event, set for Wednesday. "See you on the 7th," said invitations sent out last week -- it's an appropriate number given the Tim Cook-led tech giant is expected to unveil the much-anticipated iPhone 7 smartphone, along with a faster Apple Watch and a bevy of software upgrades at the event.

Here's a roundup of some of the things to expect when Apple takes over Bill Graham Civic Auditorium on Wednesday:

iPhone 7

While it doesn't appear the new iPhone will look that much different than its predecessors -- similar hardware design, screen sizes as the 6 (4.7-inch) and 6s (5.5-inch) -- Apple observers have all but concluded that the headphone jack is a goner, possibly to be replaced with a second speaker in that space. New earbuds shipped with the 7s will likely just have a Lightning port at the end, but old headphones would have to be plugged in via an adapter. Apple is also rumored to be working on a wireless earbud, but whether that will be ready by the iPhone 7 launch is unclear. 

A few other notable rumored updates to the iPhone:

  • An improved single-lens camera on the back of the 4.7-inch model and a new dual-lens system on the 5.5 inch that would allow for sharper images and better results to photos taken in low light.
  • A new (possibly flat?) Home button that will be pressure-sensitive instead of having to be physically pressed down.
  • Introduction of a 32GM model that would replace the never-big-enough 16GB as the base model. The 7 is also expected to have a slightly bigger battery (longer charges) and an upgraded processor.

Apple Watch 2

Two years after its launch, you just don’t hear much about the Apple Watch anymore. That should change on Wednesday, when Cook and company are expected to unveil the second iteration of the wearable device. If reports are accurate, the new watch will have a thinner body and a bigger battery, plus a GPS chip for better fitness tracking and a faster processor to help speed up app launch times. Also, expect an update to the device’s operating system, watchOS 3.

Software Upgrades

Expect a glossy presentation of iOS 10, which will have substantial updates to Siri and Photos, an overhaul of the Messages app, and upgrades to Maps, HomeKit and the good old fashioned Phone app.

There will also be a much-anticipated refresh of the Apple Music app, with a heavy push for personalized playlists in Apple’s head-to-head fight with Spotify. Apple also recently began offering a discounted rate for its streaming music service: a 12-month subscription for $99 via a prepaid gift card.

Other OS updates include Apple TV’s tvOS 10, which will have a redesigned look for its Apple Music app among other features, and macOS Sierra, the latest version of the Mac OS. As mentioned previously, Apple Watch’s software (watchOS 3) is also getting a refresh.

Not This Time

According to Bloomberg, Apple likely won’t be updating its Mac laptops at this event, but could hold a separate event later this year or in early 2017. Since its iPad Pro line of tablets are less than a year old, don’t expect anything major there, BUT as Engadget notes, the iPad Air 2 is going on two years old, so updates could be on the horizon for the smaller iterations. Other hardware-related items that will be coming later include a faster iMac, an updated MacBook Air and a 5K monitor co-developed by LG Electronics.

How to Watch

The live event takes place Wednesday at 10am PDT (1pm EDT). You can watch it several ways: Mac user can stream it via the Safari browser by going to apple.com/apple-events, or go to that same URL on any mobile device using iOS 7 or newer. Apple TV users can go to the “Apple Events” icon on the home screen and it should be there. If you don’t have time to watch it live, Apple will post the full presentation right after.