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Apple Special Event Preview: what to expect on September 7

Apple’s next special event is right around the corner, and though the company has stayed typically quiet about the details there are plenty of signs pointing towards the main announcements. Let’s take a quick look at what we expect to be covered at the event on September 7.

iPhone 7

This is the obvious one. Apple has been announcing new iPhone models in September for years, and its not going to stop now. What’s interesting is that Apple looks to be ditching its usual “tick-tock” cycle of redesigning the handset every other year, in favor of a third year of the iPhone 6 external design. Of course, the internal specs will be improved and we’ll see some new features, but the iPhone 7 isn’t going to look especially different from 2014’s iPhone 6.

So what will be new with the iPhone 7? (And will it even be called that if its only an incremental upgrade?) The rumor mill is generally agreed that we’ll see the controversial removal of the headphone jack from the device, in favor of Lightning port headphones or wireless BlueTooth headphones. Apple will probably throw in an adapter so users can use their old headphones with the new device too. That might make the device a bit thinner, but more importantly it makes the long-awaited waterproofing of the iPhone possible, which could be a big deal for those prone to dropping things in the toilet.

Aesthetically we’re due to see the unsightly antenna lines on the back of the iPhone shift to the edges of the device, and recently rumors have surfaced of a software Home button complete with 3D Touch, eliminating the physical moving parts from one of the most commonly broken parts of the iPhone. Elsewhere, the larger “Plus” model of the iPhone 7 is expected to have an impressive dual-lens camera, though the regular-sized iPhone is said to be getting a decent camera upgrade too, with low-light photography a specific area of improvement to watch out for.

Finally we can hope for a bigger battery – or power efficiency improvements to improve the battery life – and it looks like the tiny 16GB iPhone is going to be retired in favor of a lineup ranging from 32GB to a whopping 256GB of storage space. At last. Oh, and we may get two new color options for the iPhone 7, with a gloss “piano black” and matte “dark black” replacing the fan favorite “space gray” color. Watch this space.

Apple Watch 2

Like the iPhone 7, the second-generation Apple Watch isn’t expected to look any different from its predecessor. More than a year on since the product launch, though, Apple is quietly dominating the smartwatch market despite mixed reviews, and will be keen to iterate on the product to stay ahead of the game.

The big improvement many users would like to see is dependency from an iPhone – currently the two devices have to be connected for the Watch to function. This dependency would require a built-in cellular connection, however, which might be too big a strain on the battery to be included this time around. We can hope, but this functionality is more likely to surface in the eventual Apple Watch 3.

Meanwhile, the Apple Watch 2 is expected to be much faster than the first-gen device, with better water resistance and new features including a barometer and built-in GPS. Maybe we’ll see some new watch bands, too, or the same new color options being introduced with the iPhone.

Anything else?

We’ve heard there are new Macs coming later this year, and a new iPad Pro model due early in 2017, meaning its unlikely we’ll hear anything about Macs or iPads this week. A new version of tvOS implies there may be another Apple TV upgrade coming soon, but with almost no hype and less than a year since the last version, we’d be surprised if that was to happen here.

We’ll wait in hope for another “one more thing” surprise announcement, but more realistically Apple will use the stage time to give updates on software and services. iOS 10 is nearing the end of its beta, and Apple Music’s recent overhaul might get some screen time. Apple has started producing original TV content this year, and some kind of media-based announcement would be a nice touch. Despite the company’s obvious interest in the technologies, we probably won’t be hearing anything about virtual reality or the Apple Car, though.

Read more: an exploration of Apple’s ideas for the future

You can live stream the opening keynote on September 7 at 10am PDT (that’s 6pm for you Brits.) Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter for updates on all the action as it happens, and of course we’ll have a full roundup of all the important announcements shortly afterwards.