Let's take a closer look at what we can expect...
Apple will likely seed a GM (gold master) seed of iOS 8 to developers on Tuesday, after reportedly having sent the build out to select GM partners.
Here's a few of the changes we've posted on already: Continuity, Handoff, AirDrop, Instant Hotspot, Health, iCloud Drive, Family Sharing, Photos, Camera, Mail, Safari, Messages, QuickType, Third-Party Keyboards, Interactive Notifications, Spotlight, and Contact Shortcuts.
Apple could slip in some last minute features and changes to iOS 8 such as the rumored split-screen multitasking feature for iPad, or an improved maps application. However, it's possible that Apple will wait until iOS 8.1 or iOS 9 to include such features.
If history holds, we could expect a public retail release of iOS 8 on Wednesday, September 17 -- days before the iPhone 6 is rumored to be released.
The Next-Generation iPhone
iPhone 6 rumors have been circulating for almost a year now and after lots of speculation and part leaks, we have a pretty good picture of what Apple plans to unveil this Tuesday. Currently the iPhone 5s/5/5c have a display size of 4-inches. This is slightly smaller than the current average screen size for smartphones. When Apple first announced the iPhone 5, it made huge deal about 4-inches being perfect for one-hand usability. Two years later, Apple is set to change the iPhone's screen size for the second time in the phone's history.
According to reports, Apple will be releasing both 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch models of its next-generation smartphone. Display leaks and other analysis points to a 1334 x 750 resolution for the 4.7-inch model with 326 PPI (pixels per inch) -- the same amount as current iPhones with retina displays. The 5.5-inch model will reportedly feature a 2208 × 1242 resolution display with 461 PPI. Interestingly, the 5.5-inch model may be able to run iPad apps in landscape mode.
Many speculate that the iPhone 6 will feature a sapphire screen which is less flexible, but much more scratch resistant. Some reports have indicated that Apple could charge premium and use sapphire exclusively for higher-end models. However, we expect Apple to use a composite form of Sapphire that brings a scratch resistant display, with the flexibility of Gorilla Glass.
Feature wise, reports indicate that the iPhone 6 will feature an all new design, a relocated power button, tapered glass near the edges, an A8 processor, NFC, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, 1GB of RAM, and an improved camera (protruding out). Other small improvements like a louder speaker and an improved vibrator motor are also possible. There have been reports that the device could support VoLTE,(Current iPhones have the capability, but do not support VoLTE) and as carriers expand their VoLTE coverage it would make sense for Apple to include VoLTE as a feature.
Other tidbits that have surfaced include a reprogrammable power button, a 'one handed' use mode, and a built-in barometer.
Battery life is very important to iPhone users. We've seen the purported 2,915 mAh battery for the 5.5-inch version of the device, and a 1,810 mAh battery is predicted for the 4.7-inch model. The iPhone 5s battery has a capacity of 1,560 mAh. The new batteries are not a huge jump, especially considering the larger screen which requires more power. However, Apple does have a tightly integrated ecosystem with control over hardware and software. It's likely that despite the iPhone 6's thinness, there could be gains in battery life thanks to a more efficient processor.
Pricing and storage is something that rarely leaks, so we don't know what to expect from this category. We would hope that Apple increases its storage options for the iPhone 6, and a leaked document corroborates a 16/64/128GB lineup. Previous reports also indicated that a price increase is possible for the iPhone 6, especially with rumors of a sapphire display.
The iPhone 6 is expected to be available for purchase sometime around September 19. It still remains a mystery if Apple will release the 5.5-inch iPhone along the 4.7-inch model, though a report from today says it will. Production issues have reportedly delayed the 5.5-inch version and since we have yet to see many leaked parts for the 5.5-inch model, it could possible launch at a later date or be in limited supply.
If you really want to spoil the surprise, these video clips allegedly show the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 in action. We've yet to see video of the larger 5.5-inch device which is said to be called the iPhone 6 Plus.
Last year, Apple did not have pre-orders for the iPhone 5s, no word yet if that will be the case this year.
Much of Tuesday's hype is attributed to Apple's rumored smart watch. After years of rumors, speculation and analysis, Apple will reportedly unveil a wearable device on September 9th.
We've heard many rumors about the 'iWatch', but the only solid 'leak' we've seen so far are in the form of CAD drawings. The poster claims there are eight different models - four colors and two sizes. Both the WSJ and NYT corroborate reports that the watch will come in two sizes to help cater to different wrist sizes. Apple's smart watch will reportedly feature NFC, a flexible OLED screen, and a variety of sensors to monitor health and fitness data -- which should sync nicely with iOS 8's Health app. Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes the device will offer 8GB of storage and 512MB of ram. Battery life reportedly remains a challenge for Apple, and some employees have even set low expectations for the device's battery life.
Apple has apparently seeded select developers with a preliminary SDK for the smart watch, which means it will run third-party applications such as Facebook, Twitter and more.
Unfortunately, Apple's wearable/smart watch will most likely not ship until 2015. The product is still in testing phases, and Apple is probably announcing the product ahead of manufacturing to prevent leaks from surfacing.
Apple is said to have considered a $400 price tag for the device, but it's unclear if it will announce pricing on Tuesday.
Mobile Payment System
With hundreds of millions of iTunes accounts with linked credit cards, and mobile devices that will soon support NFC, Bluetooth and Touch ID, Apple is in a unique position to revamp the way we pay for goods and services.
Like the iWatch, there have not been many reports that detail how Apple's mobile payment system will work. Partners reportedly include major banks, VISA, Mastercard, American Express, Disney, CVS, Walgreens and Nordstrom.
Apple could utilize iBeacons to locate a customer and automatically present them the option to pay when they approach the cash register. NFC would let the cash register and the iPhone/iWatch communicate to pay for the product, and Touch ID could be used to verify one's identity. All this is purely speculative, but Apple clearly has something up its sleeve.
Apple could provide some updates on OS X Yosemite, however previous reports indicated that despite tight integration between iOS 8 and Yosemite, the two would launch separately. October 10 is currently the rumored date for a GM seed of Yosemite, but Apple could surprise us Tuesday with a release date.
Apple is also rumored to announce the iPad Air 2 on Tuesday, according KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. This seems unlikely, especially since we have not seen many iPad Air 2 leaks yet -- however anything is possible.
Interestingly enough, Apple is using the larger Flint Center venue that Steve Jobs used to reveal the original Mac 30 years ago. Apple is also building a mysterious massive structure at the venue, which will likely be kept under wraps until September 9th.
Tuesday will be a historic day for Apple. Eddy Cue previously said the company has the 'best product pipeline he's seen in 25 years' and that could possibly be true. Apple is set to release two new iPhone models, enter an entirely new product category, and change the way we pay for everyday goods and services -- all under CEO Tim Cook. If Cook wants to make a splash in history and shake off the "Apple can't innovate" mantra, Tuesday is the day.
Of course, we'll be covering the keynote, please follow iClarified on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or RSS for more details on that. You can also download the iClarified app from the App Store for free!