Everything Apple Didn’t Announce at Today’s Event

Today's "Gather Round" Apple event focused on just the iPhone and the Apple Watch, with Apple introducing the iPhone XS, the iPhone XS Max, and the iPhone XR, along with updated Apple Watch Series 4 models.

There was no sign of the iPad Pro, AirPower, or new Macs, and because we know these products are in the works, no mention at the September event essentially confirms that an October event is in the works. In past years, when there have been new fall Macs and iPads on the horizon, Apple has held an iPhone event and then a separate October event, which is likely to be the plan again this year.

Below, we've listed everything rumored to be on the horizon that was not included in today's event.

iPad Pro


Apple is said to be working on updated iPad Pro models that adopt an iPhone X-style design with slimmer bezels and no Home button, with the iPads instead set to gain a TrueDepth Camera System that will allow Face ID to be used for biometric authentication purposes.

While the iPhone XS includes a notch for the TrueDepth Camera, leaked iPad Pro designs in the iOS 12 beta suggest the iPad Pro models will not have a notch, instead retaining slim top and bottom bezels. Apple is also not planning to use an OLED display for the iPad at this time due to cost and production issues.

Renderings of 12.9-inch iPad Pro based on alleged CAD drawings

Rumors suggest the new iPad Pro models will be available in screen sizes that are approximately 11 and 12.9 inches, with Apple using chamfered edges that are similar in design to the iPhone SE. The antenna lines on the device may also be located at the top and bottom, similar to the iPhone 7.

Renderings of 12.9-inch iPad Pro based on alleged CAD drawings

Renders based on leaked CAD drawings suggest the iPad Pro has a relocated Smart Connector that's been moved from the side of the device to the back of the device, but how this would functionally work remains in question, so it's not clear if the information is accurate.

We've also heard that the new iPad Pro models will not feature a headphone jack, with Apple opting to do away with the port as it did in the iPhone lineup beginning with the iPhone 7.

Mac mini


Apple is said to be working on a refreshed version of the Mac mini that's focused on pro users. The upgraded device will include new storage and processor options, and because of its pro focus, it could be more expensive than previous Mac mini products.

There's not a lot of additional information available on the Mac mini, but a previous rumor suggested the higher-end version "won't be so mini anymore" hinting at least one configuration with a larger size to accommodate higher-end components.


Given that this is going to be a pro-focused machine, it's not clear what chips it will adopt, but Intel this year has announced 8th-generation processors appropriate for both desktop and notebook machines. Past Mac mini models have used the same chips as the 13-inch MacBook Pro, but Apple may be planning to opt for more powerful chips for a pro Mac mini model.

Low-Cost MacBook Air


Apple has a 13-inch MacBook Air replacement in the works, which has been the subject of rumors for more than a year now. It's been unclear whether Apple plans to position the machine in the MacBook Air family or the 12-inch MacBook family, but some concrete details about the upcoming notebook can be gleaned from everything we've heard.

Positioned as an entry-level low-cost machine in Apple's product lineup, the notebook will be 13 inches in size and it will feature a Retina display. It is said to be similar in design to the current 13-inch MacBook Air, but with slimmer bezels.


It's not entirely clear how Apple will distinguish this machine from the 12-inch MacBook if it's going to offer a Retina display, but if the design is similar to the current MacBook Air, the 12-inch MacBook will still be Apple's lightest machine, justifying its higher price tag.

Various pricing rumors have suggested that it could be available for anywhere from $799 to $1,200, but the most reliable source, Bloomberg, believes it will cost under $1,000.

Whiskey Lake chips appropriate for a MacBook Air-like machine were announced by Intel in August, and so Apple could potentially be planning to use these chips in the device.

12-Inch MacBook


Regardless of whether the rumored lower-cost 13-inch notebook is a MacBook Air or a MacBook, Apple is likely still planning to maintain the 12-inch MacBook lineup, though reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo recently confusingly said that the 13-inch machine could "replace the position" of the current 12-inch MacBook, and it's not entirely clear what that means.

Upgraded 12-inch MacBooks will likely feature Intel's 8th-generation Amber Lake Y-series processors, announced in August. These chips bring processor and battery improvements, so new MacBooks could offer both faster performance and longer battery life.


Aside from upgraded Intel chips, there's been little information on what else Apple might add to a refreshed MacBook lineup.

iMacs


We haven't heard any iMac rumors in recent months, but Apple refreshes its iMac lineup on a regular basis, so an upgrade may be in the works.


If iMacs are refreshed in 2018, new machines could feature upgraded 8th-generation Intel processors, improved GPUs, and perhaps the adoption of the T2 chip that was introduced in the iMac Pro and has since been added to the MacBook Pro.

AirPower


It's not clear what's going on with the AirPower, the accessory that's meant to charge the iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods all at once. It was introduced in September 2017, and since then, Apple has made no mention of it.

AirPower was not included in today's event, and in fact, after the event, Apple basically removed all mentions of the AirPower from its website.


The one AirPower mention is limited to the AirPods page, where an optional wireless AirPods charging case is listed as "currently unavailable." The AirPower doesn't appear to be listed anywhere else.

Apple said the AirPower would debut at some point in 2018, so we could still see it in October, November, or December.


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Apple Offering Pre-Approval for iPhone Upgrade Program in Apple Store App

Following the announcement of the iPhone XS and the iPhone XS Max, which will be available for pre-order this Friday, Apple is letting prospective and existing iPhone Upgrade customers get pre-approval through the Apple Store app [Direct Link].

When selecting "View Pricing" on the iPhone XS or iPhone XS Max, there's a banner option to "Get Ready" for the iPhone XS pre-order. Tapping on this banner allows users to choose an iPhone, confirm a carrier, and get pre-approved for an iPhone Upgrade Program loan.


There's also an upgrade process for existing iPhone Upgrade Program users that can be found right under the "Get ready for pre-order now" option.

All iPhone Upgrade customers, both those new to the program and existing users, should go through this pre-approval process ahead of pre-orders to speed up their iPhone orders on Friday.

Pre-approvals will be available until 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 13, with pre-orders set to begin at 12:01 a.m. Pacific Time on Friday, September 14.

With the iPhone Upgrade Program, pricing on the iPhone XS starts at $49.91 per month, while pricing on the iPhone XS Max starts at $54.08 per month.

Related Roundup: iPhone XS

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Apple Requiring All New Apps and App Updates to be Built With iOS 12 SDK by March 2019

Apple today asked developers to begin submitting apps that take advantage of new features in iOS 12, watchOS 5, tvOS 12, and macOS Mojave ahead of the upcoming launch of the new software updates.
You can now submit apps that take advantage of the powerful new capabilities in the next release of iOS, watchOS, and tvOS. Build your apps using Xcode 10 GM seed, test with the latest releases of iOS 12, watchOS 5, and tvOS 12, and submit them for review.
According to Apple, all new apps and app updates for iPhone, including universal apps, will be need to be built with the iOS 12 SDK and will need to include support for the iPhone XS Max starting in March 2019.

All new apps and app updates for Apple Watch will need to be built with the watchOS 5 SDK and will need to support Apple Watch Series 4 by the same date.

Apple plans to release iOS 12, watchOS 5, tvOS 12, and new software for the HomePod on Monday, September 17. Apple will release macOS Mojave a week later on Monday, September 24.


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Apple’s 2018 iPhones Support T-Mobile’s 600MHz LTE Spectrum for Improved LTE Performance

The iPhone XS, XS Max, and iPhone XR are the first iPhones to support T-Mobile's 600 MHz LTE spectrum (aka Band 71), according to T-Mobile CEO John Legere.

Band 71 is listed as a supported option on the Tech Specs pages for both the iPhone XS and the iPhone XR. Apple additionally says its new devices support the most LTE bands ever in an iPhone.


T-Mobile purchased the 600 MHz spectrum in an FCC auction in April 2017 and shortly after announced plans to use the spectrum to improve its network in rural America.

By the time T-Mobile announced its plans for the rollout of the 600 MHz spectrum, the hardware for the iPhone X, iPhone 8, and 8 Plus was already secured, giving Apple no time to build in support.

T-Mobile in August 2017 activated the first 600 MHz site in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and has since expanded it to 1,254 cities across 36 states, including Puerto Rico, which means many T-Mobile customers who purchase the iPhone XS, XS Max, or XR will benefit from the improved coverage.


According to T-Mobile, the 600 MHz spectrum adds increased building penetration and covers greater distances. When used in metro areas, it improves in-building coverage, and in rural areas, it improves the company's LTE footprint.

Other smartphones that offer 600 MHz support include the LG G7 Thin Q, the Samsung Galaxy S9, and the Samsung Galaxy Note 9.

Related Roundup: iPhone XS

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New 2018 iPhones Support Background NFC Tag Reading, No App Required

As outlined on Apple's developer site, the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR models allow users to scan NFC tags without an app using a new background tag reading feature.

On iPhones that support background tag reading, the system scans for and reads NFC data without requiring users to scan tags using an app. The system displays a pop-up notification each time it reads a new tag. After the user taps the notification, the system delivers the tag data to the appropriate app. If the iPhone is locked, the system prompts the user to unlock the phone before providing the tag data to the app.
Background tag reading is designed to work only when a user's iPhone is in use in order to avoid unintentional tag reading. It also will not work if a device has not been unlocked, a core NFC reader is in session, Apple Pay Wallet is in use, the camera is in use, or Airplane mode is enabled.

The new background tagging function will allow an iPhone user to scan any NFC tag at a museum, store, or other location without first having to open up an app. Scanning an NFC tag will present a notification on the display, which can be tapped to launch an app.

Launching an app using this method requires a tap from the user, so it will not allow NFC-based methods to automatically launch apps sans user permission.

According to Apple, background NFC tag reading is a feature that's limited to the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR. It is not supported on iPhone X and earlier models.

Related Roundup: iPhone XS

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Everything Apple Announced at Today’s ‘Gather Round’ Event in 6 Minutes

Apple today held its annual iPhone-centric event, and this year's keynote saw the debut of impressive new iPhone and Apple Watch models.

It took Apple two hours to introduce the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR, and Apple Watch Series 4 models, but we've recapped the entire event in just six minutes for our readers who want a no-frills overview of all the announcements.

Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos.

The $999 iPhone XS and and $1,099 XS Max, Apple's two OLED devices in 5.8 and 6.5-inch sizes, were the star of the event, but Apple also introduced the 6.1-inch $749 iPhone XR and impressive new Apple Watch Series 4 models with larger displays, tweaked designs, and an ECG function for better than ever health monitoring.

We've rounded up all of our coverage of today's event in the post below, so make sure to check out everything so you don't miss any of the updates.

iPhone XS, XS Max and XR

Apple Watch Series 4

Software

Other Announcements

The iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and Apple Watch Series 4 will be available for pre-order on Friday, September 14, at 12:01 a.m. Pacific Time ahead of a September 21 launch.

Apple's new iPhone XR will be available for pre-order on October 19 ahead of an October 26 launch.

Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Caution)

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Apple Shares New Pricing for Battery Replacements Starting January 1, 2019

Since the end of 2017, Apple has been offering battery replacements for a discounted price of $29 to appease customers who were upset at device throttling resulting from degraded battery performance.

When announcing the new inexpensive battery replacement pricing, Apple promised to offer the discounted price for the entirety of 2018.


Now that we're nearing the end of the year, Apple has provided us with an updated support document on what battery replacements will be priced at after the price drop expires.

Starting on January 1, 2019, battery replacements for the iPhone SE, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, and iPhone 8 Plus will be priced at $49, up from $29.

iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR battery replacements will cost $69, as will iPhone X battery replacements, and batteries for all older iPhones will cost $79.

At $49 and $69 for most devices, Apple is dropping the price of its battery repairs overall. Before the entire throttling snafu that resulted in the price drop, battery replacements cost $79.

Devices that are under an AppleCare+ or AppleCare+ Theft and Loss plan will not incur a fee if a battery replacement is required.

Customers with older iPhones that want to take advantage of the $29 battery replacement pricing should schedule a replacement before the end of 2018 before prices go up.

Related Roundup: iPhone XS

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Apple Watch Series 4 Hands-On: Larger Displays, New Finishes, Slightly Thinner, ECG, and More

Following the introduction of Apple Watch Series 4 models at Steve Jobs Theater today, MacRumors and other media outlets were provided with some up-and-close hands-on time with the new lineup.


At first glance, the most obvious difference with Series 4 models is their larger displays, as Apple has significantly reduced the size of the bezels around the screen. The bezels now look similar to those on the iPhone X and newer, although the display is not completely edge to edge.

Apple says the larger displays provide 32 percent and 35 percent more viewing area on the new 40mm and 44mm models respectively, compared to the previous 38mm and 42mm models in previous generations.


Taking advantage of the larger displays, Apple has redesigned the entire watchOS interface to provide more information with richer detail. A new Infograph watch face can accommodate up to eight complications.

Series 4 models are also ever slightly thinner than Series 3 models, measuring in at 10.7mm, compared to 11.4mm. Apple didn't allow me to test my Series 3 band with a Series 4 model, but it did confirm that both new and existing bands are compatible with all Apple Watch generations.


Apple Watch Series 4 has a new electrical heart sensor on the back side for electrocardiography, often shortened to ECG or EKG. This potentially life-saving functionality can indicate whether your heart rhythm shows signs of atrial fibrillation, a serious form of irregular heart rhythm.

Series 4 introduces some finishes, including gold stainless steel casing and a gold Milanese Loop. The back side on all the new models is now crafted from sapphire crystal and ceramic, whereas some Series 3 models had composite backs.


On the side of Series 4 models, the Digital Crown features a thin circle, which is black on GPS configurations and red on LTE configurations. By comparison, nearly the entire Digital Crown is red on Series 3 models with LTE. In my opinion, the new, subdued look of the crown is more aesthetically pleasing.




Overall, the Series 4 models do not represent a full-out redesign of the Apple Watch, but the larger displays and improved health monitoring tools are much welcomed features that are worth considering upgrading for.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 4, watchOS 5
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Caution)

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iPhone XR Hands-On: Vibrant Colors, Solid Camera/Display, and Cheaper Price Should Entice Many Users

In addition to hands-on time with the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max, members of the media today got the chance to see the new LCD iPhone XR up close. This is Apple's cheaper alternative to the higher-tier XS models, with the XR starting at $749 in 64GB and rising from there.


In person, The Verge said that the six new colors of the iPhone XR are all very vibrant, and the site particularly liked Coral and (PRODUCT)Red. Additionally, The Verge described the iPhone XR as noticeably lighter in comparison to the XS, and ultimately said that the XR will likely become the "default" iPhone for many users this holiday season.
I just spent a few moments playing with the new iPhone XR, which feels like it will be the default iPhone for many people this season. Not only does it have a very similar design to the more expensive iPhone XS model, it has many of the same features for a considerably lower price.

The iPhone XR comes in six different colors, including very nice-looking coral and blue options. The colors are extremely vibrant in person; the coral and red, in particular, are terrific. (They’re honestly a reason to get the XR over the XS if you don’t care about the other features like dual cameras and 3D Touch.)
In terms of downgrades from the iPhone XS to make the XR cheaper, Apple went for an LCD display instead of OLED, chose a single-lens rear facing camera instead of the dual lens on the XS, and removed 3D Touch. TechCrunch, like many outlets, said that if you don't miss these features then it's easy to see why the XR will be enticing, particularly if you want more color options.


Other than those differences, the iPhone XR has an A12 Bionic chip, a TrueDepth camera system, and Face ID -- just like the iPhone XS.
For most users, I suspect most of these elements won’t really be missed — unless, of course, you’ve already gotten comfortable with the iPhone X. While $749 is hardly “cheap” by the standards of mid-range handsets in 2018, it’s a pretty good entry-level price for an Apple handset. Also, don’t underestimate the importance of colors choices in the phone-buying process.

The XR feels like less of an afterthought, unlike the iPhone 8, which was hugely overshadowed by the iPhone X released alongside it. It looks and feels enough like the premium handset that, when coupled with the $250 price drop, it seems inevitable that Apple will sell a ton of the damn things.
Mashable reported that the rear camera on the iPhone XR is still impressive, despite the fact that it's not a true Portrait Mode effect like those produced by the dual cameras on iPhone XS or XS Max.
Noticeably impressive is the camera. It's got just a single rear camera (there's no 2x telephoto lens), but it's still stunning. The Steve Jobs Theater hands-on area was relatively well-lit, so it's hard to say how well the camera performs IRL, but that adjustable bokeh effect for portrait photos looks sick. Not so great: the even larger camera bump. The thing is massive.

A couple of minutes is obviously not enough time to get to know the iPhone XR, but at first blush, it looks like a winner. The colors will suck you right in. I'd totally buy the yellow one.
The iPhone XR will go up for pre-order this Friday, September 14, ahead of a launch one week later on September 21.

Related Roundup: iPhone XS

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iPhone XS and XS Max Feature Upgraded IP68 Water and Dust Resistance

One of the new features included in Apple's high-end OLED iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max is improved water and dust resistance, with the two devices now offering an IP68 rating, equivalent to Samsung's Galaxy S9 smartphones.

The IP68 rating means the iPhone XS and XS Max can withstand water up to two meters (6.6 feet) deep for approximately 30 minutes. In this number, the IP6x rating refers to dust resistance while the 8 represents water resistance.


IP6x is the highest dust resistance rating, so the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max are fully protected from dust and dirt. The new IP68 rating is up from the IP67 rating of previous iPhones.

Apple's iPhone XR is also water and dust resistant, but it is IP67 rated rather than IP68 rated, like the iPhone X. IP67 means that the iPhone XR can withstand immersion in water up to one meter (3.3 feet) for 30 minutes.

Apple does not cover any kind of water damage to its iOS devices, so it's always best to use caution when exposing a water resistant iPhone to liquids.

Apple also warns that seals against water resistance can weaken over time, which is another reason why it's best not to deliberately expose iPhones to moisture. In general, though, the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR will hold up to accidental splashes of water and rain.

The Apple Watch Series 4, also newly announced, continues to feature the same water resistance rating as the Apple Watch Series 3. It has a water resistance of rating of 50 meters under ISO standard 22810:2010.

That means the Apple Watch Series 4 is suitable for shallow-water activities like swimming in a pool or an ocean, but it should not be used for scuba diving, waterskiing, or other activities that involve exposure to deep water or high-velocity water.

Related Roundup: iPhone Xs

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