We're now insanely close to another big Apple event, and while the interest seems slightly muted this year, we're expecting a few big products to appear.
The reason for the dampened enthusiasm is twofold – firstly, most people (the tech press of this world included) aren't sure what the rumored new iPhone trio are going to be called, so that engenders a spirit of confusion rather than excitement.
Secondly, after the reboot of Apple's smartphone to the iPhone X last year, most people aren't expecting anything earth-shattering to be unveiled.
However, if you were to skip the announcement altogether, you would miss one of the more interesting launches in recent years.
The word on the Apple Boulevard is that we're going to get five new products – which would be one of the biggest launches for years – and they'll all add something new to the mix from Cupertino.
iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and the iPhone XC?
This has been the mystery that's been stumping us for months: what new phones will Apple actually bring out at the Steve Jobs theater? Last year was the first time it had ever unveiled three new handsets in one show, and sadly for our tired fingers there looks to be the same this year.
Before we explain what's coming, if you're looking to upgrade from anything from an iPhone 7 or older, you'll have to come to terms with the fact Apple's iconic home button is no more.
The new phones will be 'all display', meaning no buttons on the front – so it's pretty certain that you'll be unlocking your phone with your face if you buy any new iPhone in 2018.
The iPhone XS is set to be the 'headline' product, the smaller (and easier to hold) 5.8-inch handset that still chucks in all the top-end technology. It'll be joined by a similar, but larger, 6.5-inch model, currently tipped to be called the iPhone XS Max (although we’re not convinced by that name).
The more unexpected option will be a 6.1-inch handset that costs about two thirds of the price of the iPhone XS but offers similar technology. We've been dubbing it the iPhone 9, but it could well be known as the iPhone XC as Apple really doubles down on this X moniker.
We say the XC will offer similar technology – it looks like the build quality, screen resolution and camera technology won’t be as powerful in a bid to keep costs down.
If you're hoping for news on a new, smaller phone then you’ll see below that you're likely to be disappointed: there's very little chance of a new iPhone SE 2.
Apple Watch 4 and more on WatchOS 5
Here's something fitness fans should be excited for: a new Apple Watch 4, bringing with it the first material design refresh for the product since it was unveiled in 2014, four years ago.
No, we're not going to get a round design – something that many think Apple has needed for years, despite a square / rectangle showing more info – but the screen will stretch further to the sides of the device, meaning more screen in the same footprint.
That's something that will allow more items to be shown on the display and everything to be that little bit more legible. The resolution will enhance as well to preserve sharpness, so overall the quality will raise.
We'll also hear a little more of what's coming with the new WatchOS 5 software, the thing that's going to bring big changes to the Apple Watch's functionality.
The main feature many are hoping will appear is StreamKit, which would enable things like Spotify to function properly on the Watch, but we're not convinced of that.
We are hoping to hear more about the platform though, as – unlike iOS 12 – there's been no WatchOS beta for the eager to try.
New iPad Pro
What's that? A new tablet in the mix as well? This is probably the least likely of the quintet to appear on the stage at 2018's iPhone launch, but recent renders have corroborated a few rumors we've been hearing of late.
The main one is that the iPad Pro 3 will come in two screen sizes – maintaining the 10.5- and 12.9-inch displays that are currently on sale right now – but will lose the home button to mimic the same gestures as the iPhone X.
Thankfully it doesn't look like there will be a notch on the front in the same way – the bezels being a little thicker will be able to absorb the front-facing sensors – but you will unlock the tablet using just your face.
This worked nicely on the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4, so could be an easier to way to unlock a tablet than the fingerprint sensor.
However, we're wondering if Apple will actually launch this device when it has other product to focus on, or save it for a separate event later in the year.
More info on iOS 12
And finally, we're probably going to get a refresher on the new operating system for the iPhones and iPads that Apple's been pushing onto the world for the last few years: iOS 12 will be brought to the fore again and we could see some refinements to the features.
We're thinking that the biggest thing highlighted will be Screen Time – showing you how much you're using certain apps, how often you pick up your phone and letting you put locks in place so you can save you from your ever-increasing device addiction.
The main news will be the time when iOS 12 is launched – that should be around the 18 September if it follows the launch schedule of previous years.
Apple Airpods 2
For those that were hoping for an upgrade on the AirPods to land soon, it appears we won't be getting that until next year at least.
There are a lot of people out there walking around with the little wireless sticks in their ears – and beyond adding in new colors and changing the fit, there's not a lot Apple really needs to do to improve these headphones just yet.
When the Apple AirPods 2 do land, we're thinking that we'll be deep in 2019 – perhaps the next iPhone launch, in fact.
iPhone SE 2
The iPhone SE was a popular device because it did one thing: bring the familiar feel of the iPhone, some of the power and kept it in a smaller form factor.
Plenty of people still like a more compact phone – larger devices are harder to hold in smaller hands, no matter the increase in functionality a larger screen brings – but it seems like we're not going to see a fourth phone launched by Apple.
We have seen a few rumors about a phone and some 'leaked' images coming through of a possible new phone – refined, rounded edges and elements of the iPhone X contained in a smaller frame – but these have dried up of late, so the chances of an iPhone SE 2 seems pretty low.
The AirPower charging pad
You'd think we'd have heard more about Apple's charging pad by now – after all, it was announced at the iPhone X event last year.
However, a year later we've still not seen this mythical pad, one that can charge an iPhone, Watch and AirPods at the same time – but it's yet to hit shelves.
The reason we've heard is a pretty cryptic 'technological hurdles' – so that doesn't fill us with faith that we're going to hear any more this year, although we're always ready to be surprised.
New Apple TV and HomePod 2
Yes, we saw a new Apple TV at the launch of the iPhone before, and yes, the HomePod is over a year on since it was first shown off, but these AV products from Apple often don't get a yearly refresh – more two or three years in between each unveiling.
The 4K Apple TV is still performing well with some minor upgrades this year bringing new functionality, and we've only just seen the ability to have stereo HomePods in the house as well.