If I was a betting man, I’d place a lot of what little I have on the Apple September event revealing the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro. After all, Apple nearly always holds iPhone launch events in September.
But the invites that went out to press were titled “Far Out”, with a starry Apple logo — and that got me wondering what Apple could mean by that. From the rumors thus far, we can expect some big-ish changes to the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max, with a 48-megapixel main camera, new chip, and new pill and punch-hole display cutouts to replace the infamous notch.
But for the standard iPhone 14, it’s set to be a minor evolution of the iPhone 13, with a design that looks practically the same and rumors that it will even use the same A15 Bionic chip; the only kicker is rather than there being an iPhone 14 mini, we’re expecting to see an iPhone 14 Max with a larger 6.7-inch display.
All this is interesting, but it's hardly what I’d call “Far Out.”
Far out audio?
Maybe there are some big changes in store for the Apple Watch 8, which is also expected to make its debut at the Apple event — though the rumors so far have suggested an upgrade there, rather than anything like a redesign.
Perhaps we’ll get more space-themed complications for watchOS; I’m rather a fan of the one that shows the position of the planets on a daily basis.
Or the much-rumored AirPods Pro 2 could have some far out audio capabilities; noise cancellation that really blocks out a lot of intrusive external sound, for instance; after all, in space no one can hear that dull conversation fellow commuters are having.
But I’m not sure this is what Apple is aiming for, though I hope the AirPods Pro 2 are a decent evolution of the AirPods Pro, which I started using this year and have become rather fond of.
Far out photography?
Instead, I reckon Far Out could refer to a couple of things. Firstly, it could be referencing the rumored satellite connectivity the iPhone 14 range has been tipped to get.
Satellite connectivity might sound a bit low-key sci-fi, but it could allow next-gen iPhones to make satellite calls, thereby improving their global connectivity reach. Now, according to the rumors, this may be limited to emergency situations, giving users the ability to fire off an emergency message when they are out of cell signal. But it could still be a rather neat feature to have, especially if you’re someone who likes to go on outdoor activities that take you well away from the trappings of civilization.
But if it’s a limited feature, would Apple make it something to hang its event invite on? Perhaps not. So my other theory is that Far Out could refer to the 48MP camera the iPhone 14 Pro models are set to get.
More megapixels means greater visual information can be captured by a camera, which could mean more finer details could be picked out by the iPhone 14 Pro’s rumored new main camera, even to the extent of capturing clear images of a star-filled sky at night.
Speaking of night, the Apple event invite could also be hinting at improved night mode photography, something the iPhone 13 Pro arguably loses out to when compared against the Google Pixel 6 Pro and Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra.
Improved telephoto camera zooming capabilities could also be on the cards, with Far Out potentially nodding towards an increased range on this front. There have been no solid rumors around this happening on the iPhone 14 Pro. But Apple could use the smart capabilities of the expected A16 chip to deliver an upgraded digital zoom, with AI imaging used to resolve more detail even without an optical zoom upgrade.
This is something I hope does happen, as I’ve not been consistently impressed with the telephoto camera of the iPhone 13 Pro, despite everything else it does mostly winning me over.
Of course, Far Out could just be Apple hyping up its own event, perhaps trying to ramp up excitement despite all the leaks pretty much spoiling the surprise. But it would be great if Apple pulled a classic ‘one more thing’ and revealed something completely unexpected, say the iPhone Flip; either way we'll know on September 7.