Apple announces Sept. 9 iPhone launch

“Hey Siri, give us a hint”

Invitations sent

Apple has confirmed it will hold its next key special event on September 9 at the 7,000-capacity Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco at 10am PDT, though if you want to know what the company has planned it’s telling you to ask Siri.

The company has begun sending invitations to the media in preparation for the event, and the focus (at least on the invitation) is on Siri. “Hey Siri, give us a hint,” the company declares.

I discussed what to expect at the event earlier this month (“Apple’s Sept. 9 event: What to expect”). Highlights seem likely to include a new iPhone, iOS 9, watchOS 2, news on Apple TV and (potentially) an iPad refresh, but nothing much has been discussed regarding Siri.

Siri says

What is interesting is that if you ask Siri what to expect, it has answers for you, just not terribly useful ones. MacDailyNews tests saw Siri respond: “Why don’t you check a rumor blog? That’s what I do.” Ask Siri again and you’ll see the answer in the illustration above.

The focus on Siri means it is tempting to anticipate some hitherto undisclosed improvements within Apple’s intelligent assistant. These improvements will be well timed, given Facebook’s recent introduction of its own M assistant, Microsoft’s Cortana and the continuing existence of Google Now.

Siri improvements

We have been told of some improvements to expect within Siri. These include better implementations within Apple Music and Maps and the capacity to handle a wider tranche of natural language queries.

Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering who led the iOS presentation and demo at WWDC earlier this year said Apple wanted to add “intelligence throughout the user experience” in iOS 9.

Such intelligence will include support for Apple’s powerful Proactive technology and the capacity to be more contextual in what it can provide. “For example, when you’re looking at a webpage on Safari, you can create a Siri reminder by saying “Siri, remind me about this later,” and Siri will then refer back to the webpage you are browsing,” Macworld informs.

iPhones

The new iPhones are expected to be equipped with Force Touch alongside some major improvements to the camera. Significant performance and battery life gains and the capacity to wield the kind of intelligence Proactive promises (at no sacrifice in privacy) should make these an upgrade to go for. 9to5 Mac says the iPhone 5S, 6 and 6 Plus will continue to be available, though the iPhone 5C will be discontinued.

The new smartphones come as the market continues its traditional summer slump as consumers cease purchasing new phones in anticipation of the new Apple device. Samsung’s attempts to breathe life into the market haven’t yet borne fruit and it seems the company faces a huge quantity of pent-up demand as it prepares to unleash the new device. Searches for news and information about the new iPhones are significantly high, according to the Daily Telegraph. Despite the interest KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo warns the new model may lack the “killer feature” required to drive sales, particularly in the key Chinese market.

Also read: The 10-step iPhone/iOS upgrade guide

Is he right? Well glancing at the Apple invitational it seems pretty hard to say for sure, beyond recommending he ask Siri – or take a look at historical iPhone purchase patterns. One thing is certain, we’ll all be watching with interest to see what Apple does eventually reveal on September 9.

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Jonny Evans

Computerworld (US)
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