Apple is holding a special event tomorrow (September 7), and after going through the bins at Apple Park Macworld’s crack team of investigators have got their hands on the script for the keynote presentation. From the hold music when you log on to the stream to the number of times Tim Cook will say “magical” when summing up the iPhone 14 Pro, we’re ready to spill all of Cupertino’s secrets.
Okay… that’s not exactly true. We haven’t actually got the script, and even if we had we’d dutifully send it back in hopes of avoiding a visit from the police. But we definitely think we know what’s in it, and we’re happy to reveal our minute-by-minute event preview to you now.
9:57am PT: Music starts on the stream. No journalist over the age of 25 has heard of the track or artist. 10:01: The stream starts showing video from the auditorium. After all this time without a (fully) live event, the atmosphere is electric. 10:02: Hundreds of journalists watching from home make snide remarks about the overly enthusiastic audience, and simultaneously wish they’d been invited. 10:03: The lights go out, and Tim Cook takes to the stage. He wishes everyone a good morning, and boasts that Apple has a great slate of products to show off today. But before that… 10:04: …he decides to talk about services. We hear about the Emmy award nominations given to various TV+ shows, notably “Severance,” and get to see a preview of “The Morning Show” Season 3. Is that Jon Hamm? And where is the new iPhone?
Apple Watch Series 8
10:05: It’s not here yet. Instead Cook gives the stage to Jeff Williams: It’s Apple Watch time! 10:06: The Apple Watch Series 8 is revealed in a pre-recorded video. It looks quite a lot like the Series 7. The radical flat redesign has clearly been shelved for another year. 10:08: Williams recounts anecdotes of several Apple Watch owners whose lives were saved this year by their smartwatches. “We are thrilled to improve and even save lives with our products,” he says. 10:10: Neat segue into health and fitness, which Williams says was the key focus for the Series 8, with sleep tracking, exercise, and heart health all key elements. It’s not clear in what way it differs from the Series 7 in this respect but Apple is selling it well. 10:11: Hard details: The Series 8 has a blood sugar sensor! Some pundits had expected blood pressure monitoring too, but no mention of that for now. 10:13: On to specs. The S8 system-in-package gets a little gentle hype. Williams says this is the “fastest and most efficient smartwatch on the market today.” 10:14: More practically, Williams adds that the Series 8 offers “the best battery life of any Apple Watch.” Partly this is down to the S8 chip, and partly down to a slightly larger battery cell. This sounds good, but anyone who owned a Series 2 is immediately skeptical. 10:17: We’re looking at colors now, which probably means the presentation is almost done. There’s a new iridescent purple finish, which Apple calls Galaxy. Ah, the star-spangled invitation makes sense now. 10:18: Prices start at $399, and the Series 8 goes on sale next week with preorder beginning Friday. 10:20: Williams also announces a new Apple Watch SE with an always-on display and devotes almost no time to discussing it. But it starts at $269 now–they’ve managed to knock a little off the price. 10:22: Williams is off, and Cook returns to sum up.
10:23: Now we’re getting somewhere: It’s iPhone time! We get a quick pre-recorded video of what seems to be the iPhone 14, although it’s hard to tell the difference from last year. Although–is that a new orange color? 10:24: Cook gives up the stage to Kaiann Drance, Apple’s VP of iPhone product marketing, to discuss the new iPhone in depth. And yes, there’s a big sign behind her saying “iPhone 14.” (If you had money on “iPhone 13s” you’re out of luck.) She says it keeps the “sleek flat design that iPhone users love” in five new colors. Other than the orange they all look roughly the same as last year. The orange is called “Sunset.” 10:26: Drance says Apple has been listening to feedback that users wanted a larger screen at an affordable price, so it looks like reports of the iPhone mini’s death were not exaggerated. 10:27: We’re seeing the new non-Pro large-screen iPhone and… yep, it’s called the iPhone 14 Plus. That’s definitely not confusing at all. 10:28: They’re really pushing this large-screen-small-price thing. Around the world Android fans are exploding with fury. 10:29: Drance admits that the iPhone 14 and 14 Plus have the same A15 processor as last year’s iPhones, while boasting that it’s more powerful than anything you can find in an Android. And thanks to increased memory she says we can expect “10 to 15 percent faster performance than with the iPhone 13.” Nobody is convinced. 10:32: On the plus side, Apple has improved the camera system in the iPhone 14. Drance says it’s the best camera ever in a budget smartphone. Yes, she said “budget.” 10:34: We see a prerecorded video of cool young people taking photos of each other with the iPhone 14. Nobody under the age of 23 recognizes the music. 10:36: Drance says the iPhone 14 is the most environmentally friendly iPhone in Apple’s history, while ignoring the elephant in the room that getting people to buy new phones every year is environmentally ruinous. 10:37: And that’s it for the iPhone 14. Tim Cook returns to the stage to sum up what we’ve heard and to promise availability soon. The iPhone 14 starts at $799. Are we going to see the 14 Pro now? 10:38: No! Instead Cook announces Apple’s new iPhone+ subscription service. This will be available either on its own (starting at $35 a month), or with the full Apple One Premier services bundle starting at $55 a month.
iPhone 14 Pro
10:40: Hold on, Drance is back. It must be time for the iPhone 14 Pro. 10:41: It is! Another pre-recorded video… and the bar (not a notch, not a hole and pill) is official. It looks weirdly nice. 10:42: Forget that, it’s not called the bar. Drance calls it “the capsule,” and claims this is the most immersive screen Apple’s ever put in an iPhone. You know what would be more immersive? A screen with no obstructions at all. 10:44: It’s an always-on display! Just like on the Apple Watch. Nobody is sure whether this is a good idea or not until they can test battery life. 10.46: The new “Galaxy” iridescent purple finish we saw on the Apple Watch Series 8 looks incredible on the 14 Pro. 10:49: Drance talks about the slim bezels and ignores the enormous camera module. Another elephant in the room, which is getting extremely crowded. 10:50: Talking of the camera… well, that’s what we’re doing now. As expected we’re getting a 48MP wide-angle lens on the rear. Which is… nice? 10:51: There’s a new astrophotography mode. Apple calls it Star Mode. It’s designed for low light, and can trigger automatically if the iPhone detects the moon and/or stars. Another galactic reference point. Nice. 10:52: Another pre-recorded video showing the photos you can take if you’ve got an iPhone 14 Pro and a bunch of friends who are models. 10.54: Apple announces the A16 processor, says it’s the fastest smartphone chip on the planet, and completely undermines the stuff about the A15 earlier. This thing is way faster than it needs to be. 10:56: We now get a lengthy discussion of how good the A16 is for virtual and augmented reality despite this being something only a tiny minority of people actually do. 10:59: The iPhone 14 Pro can last two days between charges, Drance claims. More skepticism, until she reveals that this is made possible by a new MagSafe battery accessory. 11:01: Satellite connectivity is on! As rumored, this will only be available for emergencies–either calling for help for yourself, or reporting accidents involving others–but this gets a dutiful whoop from the audience. And that’s our third space reference of the evening. 11:03: And Cook is back, summing up. The 14 Pro starts at $1,099, and the 14 Pro Max at $1,199. And… there’s a new 2TB storage option for the Pro Max only! At $1,999, though, we’d doubt many people can afford it. What’s next?
11:04: Audio engineering manager Susmita Dutta arrives on stage. That means one of two things: HomePod or AirPods. 11:05: Time for a video and… Yes! It’s the new AirPods Pro. And they look completely different. There are no stems at all. This is going to take a lot of getting used to—although there is precedent for this, such as Apple’s own Beats Studio Buds. 11:07: Dutta explains that the new AirPods Pro also have a redesigned case, which offers faster charging and includes a speaker for Find My. The case is still based on Lightning, as far as we can see. When is the USB-C switch-over going to happen? 11:10: They will support Bluetooth 5.2. That’s a huge call, and Dutta confirms that this means they now support Lossless Audio in conjunction with Apple’s new Pro Audio codec. Noise cancellation should be better, too, thanks partly to this and partly to the new H2 chip. 11:13: In trivial-but-fun news, there’s a new color. The AirPods Pro are now available in both white and black. It’s about time, but where are all the AirPods Max colors? For that matter, where’s Galaxy Purple?
One More Thing
11:15: Cook comes back. It’s surely too early to wrap up. 11:16: Uh-oh… he SAID THE MAGIC WORDS. It’s One More Thing time! The audience goes, in a word, bonkers. 11:17: Williams is welcomed back to the stage, and gives Cook a slightly awkward high five as they pass. Cringe, guys. Absolute cringe. 11:18: All is forgiven as the lights dim and a video starts up. It’s the third Apple Watch of the evening! This must be the rumored Apple Watch Pro model. 11:20: This Apple Watch (we’ve not heard a name yet) is bigger than any previous model, with a 50mm screen. (The current sizes are 41mm and 45mm.) People around the world are getting out rulers and trying to work out if that’s too big for their wrists. Spoiler: it’s probably too big for your wrist. 11:22: Not just bigger, but tougher. Williams says the screen and rugged metal casing are more scratch-, shatter- and impact-proof than those of any previous Apple Watch. In fact it’s tougher than any other smartwatch on the market right now, he says. That’s a big claim. Shots fired! 11:24 We’re seeing a video of the new Apple Watch in action: hiking, swimming, biking, marathon running, mountaineering. The larger screen enables watchOS apps to show far more health and fitness information–including an exclusive body temperature sensor as well as the Series 8 sensors. 11.26: Williams says the larger body means a larger battery. This watch is officially rated with two-day battery life, he says. If only there was another Apple Watch with two-day battery life. 11:27: And the satellite emergency calls are available on this new Apple Watch too. That actually makes more sense here, on a device specifically designed for off-piste activities, than on the iPhone 14 Pro. Far Out! 11:29: It’s the moment of truth. The device is called… Apple Watch Pro. It will go on sale “this fall.” And it will start at $899. Ouch.
11:31: Cook is back out, and summing up the morning’s announcements. He looks relieved that nothing went wrong. 11:33: And that’s your lot. No VR headset, no iPads, but a decent slate of products. Just over an hour and a half altogether. Things moved more slowly because so much of it was live. See you next month for the Mac event!