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What could be on tap at Apple's Sept. 12 press event

Macworld Staff | Sept. 5, 2012
Apple laid months of event rumors and speculation to rest on Tuesday when it sent out official invitations to a special media presentation on September 12. Of course, now that we know for sure that an event is happening, the real speculation begins.

We say: Likely.

Bigger (and better) battery life: Though its far from certain, we hope better battery life makes the iPhones feature list. Device batteries have been getting bigger and more powerful, but its mainly been to keep up with the increasing demands from high-power processors, larger and higher-quality displays, and fancy features. We use our iPhone for many things throughout the day; itd be nice if the next iPhone could beat its predecessor on usage time, rather than simply shoot for par.

We say: Maybe.

A tougher skin: One other thing we'd like to see Apple beef up is the iPhones resilience. We all know someone whos shattered the front or back glass plates of the iPhone 4 and 4S, despite their touted sturdiness and scratch-proof nature. Some online rumors have suggested that the new iPhones rear casing will trade in the glass of its predecessor for some form of metal, similar to the original iPhone. While that may not exactly help fend off scratches, it does make at least one of the phones sides less likely to completely shatter upon contact. But any additional measures that could be taken to avoid accidents that result in broken screens would certainly be welcome.

We say: Maybe.

New headphones: The iPhone has shipped with the same set of headphones since its 2007 debutand thats unfortunate for the iPhone. Save for a built-in microphone, these are the same white earbuds that ship with Apples iPods and that have created a thriving market for third-party headphones. The iPhones earbuds are not particularly comfortable to wear, theyre as likely to pop out of of your ears as they are to stay in place, and theyre not terribly durable. No wonder then that our hearts skipped a beat upon seeing a video of Apples purported headphone redesign. The video, which originated in Vietnam, claims to show off headphones with a smaller profile and a single integrated part that wont fall to pieces. We want to believe.

We say: Maybe

Wireless payments: Theres been much talk about whether or not the next iPhone might include Near Field Communications (NFC), a short-range wireless protocol thats often used for processing payments. Some Android phones have begun to offer this capability in conjunction with Googles Wallet payment system to allow you to pay for goods at supporting retailers by just swiping your phone over a reader. (Its also a practice thats not uncommon overseas in Europe and Japan.) Apples announcement of the Passbook app in iOS 6 might seem to lend credence to this theory, but it still seems unlikely that the company will build NFC features into the new iPhone when deployment on the retail side is still limited. Apple has shown in the past that its more than happy to wait for technologies to become more widely used (3G, LTE) before adopting. And, as mentioned above, keep in mind that space inside the iPhone is at a premium, and the addition of NFC would likely require not only a new chip, but also yet another antenna.


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