What Will Apple Announce At Tuesday’s Massive Launch Event? Predictions On The New iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro


The expectations around Apple’s upcoming launch event on Tuesday September 10th are subdued. The ritual of Tim Cook introducing a new iPhone in front of a hand-picked adoring crowd is set, but tradition aside I wonder what Apple has that is genuinely new?

What should be in a new smartphone in 2019 is coming into sharp relief, and the answers are 5G, faster refreshing screens, minimal bezels, and a competitive mid-range price. All of these are on Apple’s radar, but not for another 12 months. The iPhone 11 family is going to offer slightly faster chips, optimized software, and an iterative update to the camera.

For 2019, Tim Cook is offering little more than a small blind for Apple to stay in the smartphone game, using Apple’s engaged fan base to bluff that the iPhone 11 family is much more than a rebadged iPhone XS family with a bit more speed.


Following on from the iPhone X, last year saw the tired addition of the ’S’ moniker, signifying a small update before the big design changes to come twelve months later. Well, it’s twelve months later, and Tim Cook is probably wishing he could call the new handsets the iPhone XSS family, because that’s what the iPhone 11 feels like. An iteration on an iteration from a company that has a brand built on innovation and new features.

The one tweak here is the addition of a ‘Pro’ model. I expect Apple to lean on this heavily during the presentation. As the first iPhone model to be badged as a ‘Pro’ model it can be pushed as ‘something new’ to keep the buzz going. The addition of Apple Pencil support will be a ‘first’ for the iOS platform on mobile, but it’s far from being the first mobile stylus.


Design wise there’s a larger capacity battery compared to previous iPhone models (but it’s still less than the benchmark used in Android flagships). Part of this will be down to the slightly thinner screen with the loss of 3D Touch sensing allowing more internal volume, and part of this will be to offset the increased potential demand for power during the day of reverse charging.

This allows the wireless charging circuits in the rear of the handset to be used ‘in reverse’ to provide charge rather than receive charge. It’s a nifty trick to up the likes of the Apple AirPods (which has an optional case that can be charged wirelessly), but wireless charging is not as efficient as cabled charging. How practical Apple’s smaller battery will be outside of the Steve Jobs Theatre remain to be seen.


Then there’s the curious case of the return of the iPhone SE. Speculation built up last week that Apple was ready to re-introduce its lower-tiered handset. The original iPhone SE papered over the low sales of the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, and Apple could be preparing a similar financial escape route in the face of lower demand of the iPhone 11 family.

The problem with this approach is that the knowledge of a presumptive iPhone SE 2 on the horizon could deflate sales of the handsets announced tomorrow. In preparing for a ‘second wave’ of iPhones in the 2019/20 season, Apple could be planting the recursive seed that demands the appearance of the second wave.

Will we see an SE2 on Tuesday? It’s very unlikely that Tim Cook and his team would spoil the fragile narrative that has built up around the iPhone 11, but I would welcome it. If Cook wants to be proactive, wiping out the entire lower half of the iPhone portfolio and replacing it with the SE2 would have the same transformative effect of killing the iPod Mini at the height of its commercial success, through the introduction of the iPod Nano


Tim Cook is looking to bring its software and services into the main storyline of Apple alongside the iPhone. That means less time on the hardware (which is useful given the iterative approach) and more time on services including existing subscription services such as Apple Music and new services to include video and gaming.

The Apple Watch is also expected to pick up an iterative update, but again will rely on software and the long-awaited introduction of a sleep tracking app from Apple itself.

The Apple Watch also quietly speaks to the new financial model from Apple of increasing the average revenue captured from each user. In addition to the initial purchase of the smartphone; peripherals such as the Watch, the Apple Pencil, and the additional services, will all be given a significant amount of visibility.


Apple is still in a process of metamorphosis from a hardware-focused company towards Tim Cook’s vision that the software and services will be the primary revenue streams. Right now Cook and his team are between two clear business models, hoping that the continued runway provided by the hardware sales will continue until the software model has the upper hand.

The iPhone 11 family has a simple role. It is not to push forward hardware or design (although it will be framed as such by the geekerati). It is to retain as much market share as possible while Apple continues to work on its personal golden goose.

Now read more about the potential advantages in a new MacBook Pro…


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