Gizmos

What Not to Expect at Apple’s Big iPhone Event This Week

Here’s where Apple is going to disappoint you.

Grouping of electronic products all crossed out with and iPhone X in front of them.
Photo illustration by Slate. Photos by Apple and Thinkstock.

With Apple’s next big event only a few days away, we’ve got a pretty good idea of what to expect. All signs point to three new iPhones modeled after the look of the iPhone X, two flagship variants and one “budget” option. The iPhone Xs will be the moniker for the higher-end models, while the budget phone will likely be called the iPhone 9.

We’ve seen many other rumors surface and subside over the past few months. Some features originally anticipated for this year’s launch don’t seem to be coming to fruition after all. And because Apple has so many new products in the works for 2018, there are some non-iPhone products we don’t expect to see debut this time around either.

With that in mind, here are five things we don’t expect to see at Wednesday’s event.

An in-display fingerprint sensor

The iPhone X ditched TouchID, Apple’s fingerprint-based biometric authentication, in favor of FaceID, a facial recognition alternative. However, when the Apple-filed patent “Light sensitive display with switchable detection modes for detecting a fingerprint” published in May, the rumor mill quickly wondered: Could upcoming iPhones include an in-display fingerprint sensor? The answer seems to be no, according to oft-accurate Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In a research note, Kuo said he doesn’t expect Apple to adopt the technology anytime soon. Instead, it’ll stick with FaceID as Android phone­-makers explore and advance in-display fingerprint sensing technology. If all three new iPhones do in fact follow the design of the iPhone X, this means none of the devices will include TouchID. Five years was a good run for the feature.

The “Plus” naming scheme

Like Apple has done since the iPhone 6, this year’s versions will include one smaller and one larger option. The larger model has always been dubbed “Plus,” but Apple is reportedly looking to go a different direction with the name this year. The Apple blog 9to5Mac suggests that the larger iPhone will instead be called the “iPhone Xs Max.” The name change would suggest that the Max does something above and beyond a “Plus” phone—although at 6.5 inches, it could simply reference the device’s size. The phone will be Apple’s largest handset yet.

Curiously, as indicated by the “Xs” name, Apple is expected to continue its tradition of appending an “s” to the device name every other year. We’ll have to wait and see whether Apple is pronouncing it the “Ten s” or the “Ex s,” though.

New Macs

Apple released an update to the MacBook Pro this summer, but according to Kuo, Apple has a number of notable products in the works on the Mac front. We’re not expecting these to make a debut at Wednesday’s event, though. The September event typically centers around the iPhone, Apple Watch, and related accessories such as AirPods (which are also due for an update). On several occasions in the past, Apple has held a separate Mac-focused event in October or November. This will likely be the case this year. Alternatively, if the updates end up being smaller in scale, Apple could introduce these new products with just press releases and announcements on its website—but we think we’ll see a second Apple media event before the year’s end.

AR glasses

There are solid indicators that Apple is working on AR glasses. Last year, it acquired augmented reality–headset startup Vrvana; this year, we learned that Apple had also acquired Akonia Holographics, a Colorado-based company that develops lenses for AR glasses. A selection of job listings and a November 2017 report by Bloomberg also indicate that this is an idea to which Apple is dedicating significant resources. This product is years away, though—the technology could be ready in 2019 at the earliest, but it wouldn’t likely ship until 2020. That doesn’t mean Apple will be quiet on the topic of AR, though. Apple CEO Tim Cook has said that AR is “big and profound,” and that it will “make the iPhone even more essential.” The new iPhones could further deliver on this front.

“One more thing…”

At early iPhone events, one of then-CEO Steve Jobs’ signature moves was to say “One more thing…” before introducing the highlight of the day’s event or a surprising new product. Tim Cook took over as master of ceremonies at Apple’s product announcements beginning with the iPhone 4S event in 2011. In 2014, Cook copped Jobs’ famous line for the first time, but it’s not a move he’s done before or since. While Cook and Apple have paid homage to the late founder numerous ways over the years, including naming its new theater after Jobs and opening with a tribute to its namesake at last year’s iPhone event—the first press event held in the theater on Apple’s new campus—Cook does not typically give a “One more thing” at modern Apple events.