With a typically mysterious buildup, Apple is rumored to be unveiling several new devices – including the iPhone 6S, a larger iPad Pro, and a revamped version of its Apple TV set-top box aimed at gamers – at a closely watched launch event on Wednesday. The company’s keynote, which begins at 1 p.m. Eastern, will be streamed live on Apple.com.
While the tech giant is remaining coy about its plans for the event, it has dropped several vague hints in e-mails to analysts and reporters, including the phrase “Hey Siri, give us a hint.”
The company has previously said it plans to expand the capacity of Siri, its voice-activated personal assistant, in forthcoming versions of the iPad and iPhone operating systems. But several rumors have leaked out concerning new product launches. Here are a few of the latest:
The biggest news is said to be large scale changes to the Apple TV set-top box, which currently allows users to watch streaming movies and TV shows from a number of providers including Netflix, Hulu, HBO, YouTube, and the company’s own iTunes using a wireless remote or an iOS device. First released in 2007, a new version was last released in 2012, with slight upgrades in January 2013, according to the Telegraph.
This year, the company is said to be targeting gamers, with the rumored release of a full-fledged App Store, featuring downloadable games and a touch pad remote much like the controller for the Nintendo Wii U, according to the Apple-focused site MacRumors. The new Apple TV may also include a search feature that allows a user to search across all of the apps installed on the device. For example, a search for "Mr. Robot" would reveal whether Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, or any other service offers episodes of the new show.
Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive officer, has previously said that television remains of “intense interest” to the company, calling it in 2012 "a market that has been left behind." Apple has long been rumored to be introducing its own TV subscription service, like those from heavyweights such as Hulu and Netflix.
Three years later, it’s still unclear when that service will launch, according to the Telegraph. It was originally supposed to be introduced at the company’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference in June, but has been stalled due to failed negotiations with content providers such as CBS and Fox, says Bloomberg News. A key concern, however, will be how much the new streaming content will cost, with unnamed sources telling Bloomberg that Apple aims to charge $40 a month, about half the price of an average cable bill in the US – but much more than Hulu or Netflix at $8 a month.
The company also typically releases new iPhone models each September, with a large-scale redesign in one year and an upgraded version in the next. This year, the phone is due for an upgrade rather than a complete redesign, rumored to be the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus.
One major change likely to be coming to the new iPhone model is an upgraded camera, going from 8 to 12 megapixels, the first such upgrade since 2011, according to the website 9to5Mac, which tracks developments at the company.
A new version of the iPad tablet also appears to be on the horizon. Boasting a larger screen, the new version is said to be called the iPad Pro to complement the company’s iPad Mini introduced in 2012.
With the likely introduction of a more powerful new operating system, iOS 9, Wired says the company’s focus may be on bridging the gap between traditional computers and mobile devices. Not much is known about the new device, but it will likely arrive in stores in November.
As the rumors continue to swirl about the eagerly-anticipated event, Siri, it seems, is also remaining coy, telling users who ask about Wednesday's launch, "You're cute when you're desperate for information," and "the only hint I can give you right now is a hint of lime."