So it’s official: Apple is hosting its first fall event of 2022 on September 7. The tagline is “Far Out”, but does Apple still have the ability to really think differently?
At this point, we’re pretty confident that iPhone 14 models and new Apple Watches will be the main announcements of the keynote. But this is standard work: Since this is the seventh fall in a row we’ve got a new watch from Cupertino, and the twelfth we’ve got a new phone, it’s hard to see how either compares to Far Out’s dictionary definition.
There are other items on Apple’s list that may be announced in September: the second-generation AirPods Pro, the tenth-generation iPad, or the next version of the Apple TV. But none of these would be particularly Far Out either. It’s just the next installment of the assembly line for three of Apple’s most popular product franchises. They wouldn’t surprise anyone.
Part of the problem is that Apple’s every move is analyzed within an inch of its life. There’s a whole Apple-centric media ecosystem to feed, and the slightest hint of a plausible prediction or a reliable supply chain leak leads to countless articles and endless speculation on social media. In that context, it is virtually impossible for the company to launch something totally unexpected.
Still: There are a few long-shot opportunities that make journalists say things like “gosh!” would say. and “shovel!” and “stop the presses!” None of these are plausible, Please note. In fact, if the company announces one of the first four, we’ll be eating our (metaphorical) hats. But here are five Apple products that would truly qualify as Far Out.
Foldables are big news at the moment as Samsung recently unveiled the fourth generation of its Z Flip and Z Fold handsets to rave reviews. But as we’ve explained on many occasions, Apple seems happy to let this trend pass.
But maybe the company was just biding its time? Imagine the commotion when Tim Cook introduced the iFold as One More Thing at the end of the keynote.
Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry
This was a really curious one. Normally, Apple believes in secrecy, announcing products and launching them within weeks. But AirPower was announced so prematurely that it never actually launched, with insurmountable technical issues believed to be the cause.
There have been rumors ever since that AirPower will be resurrected in some form. And what could be more Far Out than releasing a product five years after it was announced?
A game console
The success of the App Store may have made Apple the largest games company in the world, but it never seemed to really understand the industry. Even Apple Arcade has problems, and gaming always seems to be an afterthought in Apple’s plans.
But maybe that will change. The company’s last gaming-specific hardware was the Pippin 25 years ago, but rumor makers continue to predict the launch of a new Apple gaming console. Maybe we’ll see it for the first time.
We know Apple has been working on a car project: it’s the worst kept secret in the tech industry. But we have very little idea when the Apple Car will actually appear. Indeed, given the project’s many setbacks, we have to face the fact that it may never appear at all. Apple may eventually settle for a software role and work on the second-generation CarPlay version for other companies’ vehicles.
So we don’t expect Tim Cook to drive the Apple Car on the podium on September 7, or sometime before the end of next year. Still, it would be pretty far off if he did.
The AR/VR headset
Let’s end with one possibility that has a (small) chance of actually happening. Apple is fascinated by AR and VR and will almost certainly be launching a headset in one or both of these areas in the coming years. It could even happen before the end of 2022, or very early in 2023, which might fit a teaser in September.
Would Apple squeeze it into the same event as the iPhone 14 and Apple Watch Series 8? That seems unwise, given the risk that each would cannibalize the other’s news headlines, and we’d expect a separate event instead. But in terms of possible announcements that qualify as true Far Out surprises, this is by far the most plausible we can think of.