What to expect from Apple’s iPhone 12 event

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Apple’s next fall event kicks off tomorrow at 1PM ET, when the company is widely expected to reveal its new iPhone 12 lineup of smartphones. Rumors have given us a pretty good picture of what we can expect to see with these new phones, and Apple’s official “Hi, Speed” tagline for the event suggests that one of the iPhone 12’s main features could be support for fast 5G cellular speeds.

Rumors have circulated about a number of potential products in Apple’s pipeline, too, and there’s always the chance that the company could show some of those tomorrow. But we don’t know if Apple is going to make this event as tightly focused as last month’s Apple Watch and iPad event — which ran for just over an hour — so it’s hard to gauge just how many products we might expect to see.

Read on to learn more about what Apple might reveal during Tuesday’s event.

The iPhone 12 lineup could include four phones, a new design, and 5G

Apple’s next iPhone lineup could bring a lot of big changes to the company’s smartphone line. They’re expected to get a whole new design with flat edges, perhaps like an iPad Pro, or maybe even the beloved iPhone 4 and iPhone 5. There are also supposed to be four new models: a 5.4-inch model (which would be a new size that’s smaller than the 5.8-inch iPhone 11 Pro), a 6.1-inch model, a high-end 6.1-inch model, and a high-end 6.7-inch model (which would likely make it the largest iPhone yet).

All of the iPhones are expected to support speedier 5G cellular networks (as long as 5G is available in your area, of course), and in the US, they could support both sub-6GHz 5G and the faster (though shorter range) mmWave 5G. Apple’s new iPhones are also all expected to have OLED screens this year, but recent rumors indicate that they won’t have 120Hz refresh rates.

We also already have leaks that indicate the names of the new phones. The 5.4-inch model may be the iPhone 12 mini (which would be the first iPhone with the mini moniker), the standard 6.1-inch iPhone could be the iPhone 12, the high-end 6.1-inch version might be the iPhone 12 Pro, and the 6.7-inch model could be named the iPhone 12 Pro Max.

The launch of the iPhone 12 might also mark the return of Apple’s beloved MagSafe charging tech, which you might remember on Apple’s older laptop charging cables, but in a new form. Apple plans to introduce an iPhone case and wireless chargers with built-in magnets, and those chargers could be called the MagSafe Charger and the MagSafe Charger Duo, according to a reliable leaker named Kang.

That “Duo” name seems to suggest the ability to charge two devices at the same time on one mat. It wouldn’t quite be the three-device dream promised by the now-canceled AirPower, but the potential of magnet-assisted alignment could help make the chargers less finicky than others on the market.

Apple could also announce the official release date for iOS 14.2, which is set to include new emoji and a way to use Shazam to identify audio playing in apps on your iPhone.

If you want to read more about what’s expected for the new iPhones (which, for the two high-end models, could include a LIDAR sensor), then check out our full iPhone 12 rumor roundup right here.

Apple could release a smaller HomePod and new over-ear AirPods headphones

Apple might reveal a smaller HomePod, which has apparently been in the works for some time. The device could have fewer speakers than the full-size $299 HomePod, according to Bloomberg, and it might be half the size of the currently available HomePod with a design similar to the original, per another Bloomberg report.

On Friday, Kang shared some additional details about what we might expect to see from this rumored new HomePod. It could be called the HomePod mini, have an onboard S5 processor (which first debuted in the Apple Watch Series 5), cost $99, be available for preorder on November 6th or 7th, and officially go on sale on November 16th or 17th. If you were hoping for a refresh to the full-size HomePod, though, that apparently isn’t in the cards for this year, according to leaker @L0vetodream.

Apple has also reportedly been working on new high-end, over-ear headphones for some time, so there’s always the chance they could be revealed on Tuesday. One key aspect of the product could be swappable parts, including ear pads and headbands that attach magnetically to the frame of the headphones. The headphones may also have noise cancellation, onboard Siri controls, and built-in touch controls.

The new headphones might also be able to know which ear is which in order to route sound appropriately, 9to5Mac reported in May. They could also be able to tell if they’re placed on your head or on your neck, according to 9to5Mac. That might mean they can automatically start and stop music depending on whether they’re on your ears, similar to how AirPods start or stop music depending on if they’re in your ears. And the headphones will apparently have Apple branding instead of being Beats-branded.

It’s also worth pointing out that Apple recently stopped selling audio products from Bose, Sonos, and Logitech; now, Apple’s “Headphones & Speakers” section on its website only offers Apple products. That move could have paved the way for Apple to introduce these rumored new audio products on Tuesday.

Apple may finally reveal AirTags, its Tile-like tracking tags

Rumors have swirled about an Apple-made Tile-like item tracker for some time — references to them even appeared in iOS 13 beta code last year — and Apple could finally reveal them on Tuesday. In theory, the trackers, which will apparently be small, circular discs, will allow you to track things like your backpack or wallet using Apple’s Find My app.

The AirTags might also have Apple’s U1 ultra-wideband chip built in, which could mean that you’ll be able to track them more precisely than if they used other wireless technologies. Apple first introduced the U1 chip with the iPhone 11 lineup, but it doesn’t do much right now beyond letting you take advantage of a more accurate version of AirDrop.

And I’d just like to say that Apple’s event invite, which we’ve included earlier in this post, does have imagery of a small circular disc that seems to be radiating signals outward like a tracking beacon. Interesting.

The new iPad Air might get a release date

Apple officially unveiled a new iPad Air that looks like an iPad Pro during September’s event, but it didn’t give a more specific release date than “October.” Perhaps Apple will announce when you can actually buy the new tablet at Tuesday’s event.

The new tablet has a 10.9-inch screen, up from the previous generation’s 10.5 inches. But there’s no home button on this new iPad Air — the Touch ID fingerprint sensor has been moved to the power button. The tablet is powered by Apple’s new A14 Bionic processor, which is a 5nm chip with a six-core CPU.

The new iPad Air comes in five colors and starts at $599.

It’s unclear if we’ll see a new Apple TV

Apple hasn’t updated its streaming box since the release of the Apple TV 4K, which came out more than three years ago. There are some rumors that indicate a new Apple TV is on the way, but it’s hard to know if we’ll be seeing it soon.

A new Apple TV with a faster processor as well as an “upgraded” remote control might be in the works, Bloomberg reported in August. But that report also said the new box may not be released until next year, throwing some cold water on the potential of seeing it at tomorrow’s event.

And leaker @choco_bit suggested that Apple could have two Apple TV devices in the works and a controller for gaming, which could mean that Apple might be positioning the Apple TV to take on other home consoles.

The rumors about new Apple TV(s) remain murky, so it’s hard to make a bet on whether we’ll be seeing any updates to that product line at Apple’s event tomorrow.

Apple’s first ARM-based Mac probably won’t make an appearance

If you’ve been waiting for Apple’s first ARM-based Mac that takes advantage of the company’s custom silicon, you unfortunately might have to keep waiting. Apple isn’t set to reveal those Macs until November, according to Bloomberg. While that might be disappointing, Apple has only committed to releasing its first Apple silicon Mac by the end of this year, so the company still has two and a half months to make that deadline.

Given that we could be waiting until November for an ARM-based Mac, it also seems unlikely that Apple will mention anything about the release of macOS Big Sur, the next major update for the Mac’s operating system, at tomorrow’s event. Apple has said that Big Sur is coming sometime this fall, so it’s technically still on schedule.

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