Apple launches the iPhone 13 in the UK
Ming Yeung | Getty Images
Apple, Google, Amazon, Samsung and other companies are gearing up for a busy fall of new gadget launches.
It’s like clockwork. Big tech companies launch the latest products such as phones, watches or even robots and flying security drones from August until November to prepare for the holiday shopping rush.
Samsung starts next week, August 10th, by announcing new clamshell phones, giving it a chance to attract consumers ahead of Apple’s September iPhone event. Product launches at Apple’s fall events have a direct impact on the company’s bottom line. The holiday quarter is typically Apple’s largest. For example, last year it reported record earnings for the three months ended December 25th.
Meanwhile, Google has promised to launch its next phone with a brand new chip and its first Apple Watch competitor this fall. And don’t forget Amazon: it usually announces new Echos and Fire TV products, and sometimes throws in a few surprises, like last year’s Astro Robot, at an event that takes place sometime between September and November.
There’s a lot, so here’s a rundown of what to expect.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2
Here’s what you can expect: Samsung will unveil the next generation of its foldable smartphones – the teasers have confirmed that – including the Galaxy Z Fold 4 and the Galaxy Z Flip 4.
Customers can already reserve one of these new smartphones, although they have not yet been announced. Some of the main complaints about foldable phones have been the price of the higher-end Galaxy Z Fold model and the obvious seam that interrupts the phone’s display. Any price cut or upgrades to make the crease less obvious will be noteworthy. Samsung also usually announces new earbuds, tablets and smartwatches to compete with Apple’s iPad, AirPods and Apple Watch.
The following was introduced last August: Last year, Samsung introduced the Galaxy Z Fold 3 for $1,799 and the Galaxy Z Flip 3 for $1,000. It also announced the Galaxy Buds 2 headphones and the Galaxy Watch 4.
Customers walk past a digital display of the new green Apple iPhone 13 Pro at the Apple Store on 5th Avenue on March 18, 2022 in Manhattan, New York.
Mike Segar | Reuters
Here’s what you can expect:
Apple is reportedly planning four iPhone 14 models this year, according to Bloomberg, which said we can expect new features like an always-on display on the high-end Pro models. According to the same report, Apple could ditch the 5.4-inch iPhone mini and launch a more affordable, big-screen iPhone with a 6.7-inch screen instead. This suggests that Apple will launch an iPhone 14, iPhone 14 with a larger screen, iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max.
Apple will also unveil three new Apple Watch variants, including a new entry-level SE, a standard Series 8, and a rugged extreme sports edition, according to Bloomberg. The AirPods Pro earbuds are due for an update and there’s still talk of Apple’s first mixed reality headset, but those could come later too.
Still, Apple’s mixed reality headset would be the company’s first major product launch since the Apple Watch was unveiled in 2015. The headset will combine elements of virtual and augmented reality, according to Bloomberg, and allow users to view digital content over the real world to place . Apple has been hard at work on VR content and hired Jon Favreau to develop video content for its headset, the New York Times said in June.
What it launched last September: Last year, at its fall product event, Apple announced a new iPad and iPad mini, the Apple Watch Series 7, iPhone 13, iPhone 13 mini, and iPhone 13 Pro Max.
Google Pixel 7 and 7 Pro
While Google doesn’t make much revenue from its hardware business, it will launch its first smartwatch and the Google Pixel 7 as it continues to try to jump-start the hardware market.
Here’s what you can expect: Google has been announcing gadgets in October for years. Back in May, Google teased what’s on deck at its I/O event. Its latest phone, the Pixel 7, will feature a second-generation Tensor processor and a glass design with a new aluminum camera bar. A larger Pixel 7 Pro model will ship with a triple-lens camera. But we don’t know much about what else is new about the phones, like pricing or what the cameras and new chip can do, so expect to hear all about it.
Google also teased its Pixel Watch, the company’s first smartwatch due to launch this fall. In a May 11 tweet, Google said the watch “offers the best of Google plus health and fitness experiences from Fitbit.” So expect some kind of software tethering that offers new fitness and health features.
It’s possible that we’ll see updates for at least one Google Nest product. A recent FCC filing filed by Google described a product they are working on as a “wireless device” with connectivity ports similar to current Nest devices, according to 9to5Google. No new Nest thermostats or speakers have been announced since 2020, so those could be on deck.
What it introduced last year: Last August, Google announced new Nest cameras and doorbells. Then, in October, Google unveiled all the details of its Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro smartphones. These were the first smartphones to run on Google’s Tensor chip instead of Qualcomm’s processor.
Amazon Echo Show 15
Here’s what you can expect: Amazon historically holds its hardware event sometime in the fall, when it announces a range of gadgets ranging from new Echos (like last year’s Echo Show 15, pictured above) to glasses with Alexa built-in and more.
The fourth-gen Echo speaker launched in October 2020, so an update is due unless Amazon continues to experiment with new form factors. Likewise, Amazon usually announces updates to its Fire TV products in the fall.
For the past two years, Amazon’s Ring has been teasing the Ring Always Home Cam, a flying drone camera for home security. It hasn’t launched yet, so we may find out when it does launch.
The following was introduced last year: Amazon had few surprises in store last year, so this year could be just as exciting. Amazon introduced its Astro home robot, which is still invitation-only. It also announced its first smart thermostat, the first Amazon-branded TVs, the Echo Show 15, and a new fitness tracker Halo View.
This photo from Oculus shows what playing it in an apartment could be like.
Here’s what you can expect: Meta, formerly Facebook, could have a new virtual reality headset on deck.
Bloomberg said in July that Meta is preparing to announce virtual reality set Meta Quest Pro later this year. It will reportedly cost more than $1,000 and will have a better screen, upgraded cameras and support for enhanced graphics.
Meta’s Quest 2 headset is currently the most popular on the market. As other players join the race to develop the so-called “metaverse,” Facebook’s parent company must continue to improve its hardware to stay on top. And it might want to release something ahead of what Apple is planning.
The following was introduced last year: Last September, Facebook unveiled its updated Portal video calling devices. It hasn’t released a new version of its Oculus device since September 2020.