Apple's big event on Wednesday might be "The iPhone 5 Event" to most people, but Tim Cook and his merry band of C-Level executives likely have more up their sleeves than just a new phone. Apple rarely announces just one product at its events, and the September 12 event in San Francisco shouldn't be any different in terms of multiple product announcements.
Here, then, is everything we expect Apple to announce on Wednesday afternoon. These are merely predictions, of course, based on the ever-active rumor mill, including various leaks from the supply chain as well as reports from more reputable news outlets, which we've been following every week for the past year. We've distilled all that evidence down into this, a laundry list of items and features we're anticipating. As a horrifying animated lion from my childhood once sang: Be prepared...
A New iPhone
This one's a given: Apple will announce its new iPhone on Wednesday afternoon, and it will likely be available for pre-order immediately after the event, with in-store availability and deliveries being made the following Thursday or Friday. Here is a shortlist of the features and specs we've been hearing will be included:
-4G LTE. Verizon stopped selling non-4G LTE smartphones this past winter, making an exception for the iPhone. The new iPhone, like the newest iPad, will almost certainly have 4G LTE. (Samsung, apparently, is already planning to sue over 4G LTE patents. Goodie.)
- iOS 6, outlined at Apple's Worldwide DeveloperS Conference this past summer.
- A 4-inch display (that's measured from corner to corner). The screen, apparently, will be taller but the same width. Read here for the nitty-gritty, itty-bitty details.
- A taller, thinner, lighter body, with a two-tone design in both black and white. This mock-up shows what everyone seems to agree is the likely design.
- A smaller dock connector. (As reported by Reuters, TechCrunch and other outlets). There is also supposedly an adapter for the new connector, which Apple will either include with the new iPhone or sell for $10 so that you can use the new device with your old accessories.
- The headphone jack moved to the bottom of the device, next to this smaller dock connector.
It's also possible we'll see a new pair of Apple headphones (fingers crossed), though that's based on a single, questionably-reputable source with a mixed history. Though NFC capability had been rumored for the new iPhone -- to transform the device into a kind of mobile wallet -- it now seems likely that NFC will not be included.
Finally -- and, let's be honest, most importantly -- we do not yet know whether the new iPhone will be called "the iPhone 5," "the new iPhone" (following the naming scheme of "the new iPad") or something else.
Again, we expect the new iPhone to go on sale in stores for $199 with contract on Friday, September 21. (Read this to find out why).
9to5Mac -- which has been a strong source for Apple rumors over the past year or so -- has been reporting for weeks that a new line of iPods would also be unveiled on Wednesday. The site lists light alterations to the iPod Nano and iPod Shuffle and a major redesign of the iPod Touch as likely to debut. That aligns with the predictions of KGI Securities Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has built his reputation as the most accurate prognosticator of Apple's product line: He sees a new iPod Touch and iPod Nano (but no iPod Shuffle) arriving by the end of September.
The last time Apple updated its iPod line was also the last time Apple updated its iPhone: The Nano and Touch got a price drop and sundry little tweaks and upgrades. Those changes were announced in October, at the iPhone 4S event, and given 9to5Mac's persistence, iPods will probably once again warm up the crowd before the unveiling of the new iPhone.
Ming-Chi Kuo also predicts that two new iMacs -- a 21.5-inch model and a 27-inch model -- would debut before the end of 2012. And it would be about time, too, as the iMac hasn't gotten a refresh since May 2011, even though Apple just updated its MacBook Pros and MacBook Airs. So it didn't really surprise us when the Handsome Clayton Morris of Fox News wrote recently that he had heard from "multiple sources" that new iMacs, indeed, would be unveiled. These wouldn't be Retina iMacs, apparently -- those are due next year -- but would come with an updated processor and faster ports.
Though we haven't heard from any other sources that an iMac update is coming, don't be surprised to see Apple devote a little bit of stage time to them on Wednesday.
iOS 6, and features of it that work well on the new iPhone, are likely to be detailed a bit more fully. An iPad Mini -- a near-mythical, smaller iPad that would be cheaper and would hypothetically compete with the Kindle Fire and Nexus 7 tablets -- now appears more likely to be introduced at its own event in October, according to AllThingsD. That may also be when we see the MacBook Pro with 13-inch Retina display (right now, the laptop with the high-resolution screen is only available as a 15-inch model).
UPDATE: A fresh report from 9to5Mac is in, and it looks like an update to iTunes and a new set of headphones are indeed on the schedule. It's not clear, however, whether these headphones will be available as a separate accessory or whether these headphones will come with iDevices. The name "iPhone 5" also appears to have made the cut.
Also on the slate: Numbers. Lots and lots of big numbers. App store downloads, apps in the App Store, downloads of OS X Mountain Lion, iPhone sales -- Apple loves to throw out these gigantic numbers to show its success, its profitability, and its popularity. These iNumbers begin every Apple event, and they should kick off Wednesday's, too.
What happens afterwards, however -- well, that's all the fun. Make sure you check on HuffPost on Wednesday, noon Eastern time, for all of our coverage of Apple's iPhone 5 Event, which really does promise to be much more than just an event about a phone.
Also on HuffPost:
1. Give It To Your Kids So They Stop Taking Yours...
Every parent, aunt and uncle knows that no toy in the history of toys has ever been as appealing to a kid as an iPhone. They are shiny, they have games and grown-ups use them for important things. More importantly, they are either off-limits or doled out in limited quantities as a reward for, say, sitting still for a minute. Load up your old iPhone with games and give it to a deserving child in your life.
2. ...Or To Your Mom So She Can Finally See The Light
Alternately, if a Luddite adult has been thinking of taking the plunge into the world of smartphones, your old iPhone may help him or her get over the hump. If you have an iPhone 4 or 4S, you might also find someone who's still hanging on to an earlier model and give them the gift of an upgrade. You may just buy a friend for life (or at least until iPhone 6 comes out).
3. Use It As A Teeny-Tiny iPad
You'll be able to watch videos, send email and search Wikipedia for random facts to end cocktail-party disagreements with your decommissioned iPhone -- as long as you have a Wi-Fi connection. There's even a camera, which means you can avoid being that guy (or gal) at the concert who's turning heads for taking photos with an iPad.
4. Donate To Charity
Several charities accept old phones for donation, though it's worth remembering that these groups likely won't physically give your old phones to people in need. Rather, they work with phone recyclers and sell your donated phones to them. A nonprofit group called Cell Phones for Soldiers will take your "gently used" phone and sell it to recycling company ReCellular. It will then use the proceeds to buy calling cards for soldiers. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence works with another recycling group in a similar manner. About 60 percent of the phones it collects are refurbished and resold. The money goes toward supporting the coalition. The remaining 40 percent of the phones are recycled, according to the group's website. It pays for shipping if you are mailing three or more phones. There are a few more suggestions from New York's Department of Environmental Conservation at: http://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/8818.html .
5. Alarm Clock
Do you still use that old radio alarm you bought for your college dorm room in the 20th century? Join the 21st century by turning your old iPhone into an alarm clock. Hide it in a different spot in your bed each night for an added challenge.
6. Sell, Sell, Sell!
Join the eBay hordes and sell your phone for a few hundred bucks if you can. There will likely be a flood of the gadgets soon after people start getting their new phones, so it might make sense to wait a little. A company called Gazelle, meanwhile, will make an offer for your old phone based on its condition, your phone carrier and other information. A 32 gigabyte iPhone 4S on Verizon Wireless, for example, was recently going for $237 if it's in good condition and $90 if it's broken.
7. Trade In At GameStop
The video game retailer offers cash or store credit for old iPhones (along with iPods and iPads). The service is only available in stores and not online. A 32 gigabyte iPhone 4S on Verizon will get you up to $335 in store credit or up to $268 in cash.
8. Stream Music
Stick that baby in a speaker dock, spring for a Pandora subscription ($36 per year) or Spotify ($10 per month) and bam, you have a stereo. Or try SoundCloud. Although it's meant to let you create and share music with people, it's also a good place to listen to DJs you like or discover new ones. TuneIn, meanwhile, will let you listen to online radio stations playing music, sports, news or talk shows.
9. Keep As A Backup In Case You Lose Your Fancy New One.
Nearly one-third of cellphone owners have had their gadgets lost or stolen, according to a recent survey from Pew Internet & Pew Internet & American Life Project.
10. Use As A Camera
At its core, a decommissioned iPhone is a hard drive with a camera. Snap photos with it. No Canon needed. You can also use the iPhone to move photos and other files from one computer to another.
11. Recycle With Apple
Apple Inc.'s own recycling program will give you an Apple gift card if it is determined to have a "monetary value." A 32 gigabyte iPhone 4S with some light scratches but in good working condition was recently estimated at $280. That's higher than Gazelle, but you'll have to spend the money at Apple. The company also accepts broken phones for recycling but you won't get any money for them.