Apple’s much-anticipated media event kicks off Tuesday at 1 p.m. Eastern, where the tech giant is expected to unveil the iPhone 6 and its first wearable device, dubbed the “iWatch.”
Apple partners said they believe that the Cupertino, Calif., company might have a few other things up its sleeve as well.
“Considering the location, the construction around the stage for the whole event, and the hype surrounding the whole thing, I think Apple is bringing out the big guns and it has to be surrounding mobility,” said Raul De Arriz, national government sales manager for Small Dog Electronics, Waitsfield, Vt., one of the top Apple specialists in the country. “Mobility is not just phones. I think we’re going to see something special tomorrow. I’d like to see a mobile payment platform, the integration of iOS 8 and Yosemite, and I’d like to see if Apple has any announcements on the side of Apple TV.”
The venue for Apple’s event does have some significance as it is being held at the Flint Center For Performing Arts in Cupertino, where Apple launched the iPhone 5 two years ago and where Steve Jobs had unveiled the original Macintosh computer in 1983. During the past few weeks, Apple has been building a small, white, box-shaped structure near the venue.
“We are not ready to pull the string on the curtain,” Apple CEO Tim Cook told media members and Wall Street analysts in May. “But we have got some great things that we are working on that I am very, very proud of and I am very, very excited about.”
“The iPhone 6 is the biggest thing I’m looking forward to,” said Michael Oh, CEO of Tech Superpowers, an Apple partner based in Boston. “It’s obviously the most concrete rumor. The specs itself, the potential mobile payments platform, is very fascinating. If they are able to put NFC in the device but are able to do something with the providers, that is really the thing to make mobile payments really take off. I hope that’s the case. I look at NFC to be a real potential technology, but nobody has cracked it yet. If anyone is going to crack the ecosystem around it, it’s going to be Apple.”
At its World Wide Developers Conference in early June Apple highlighted its Handoff technology, which allows users to receive alerts from their iPhone — such as texts, calls and push notifications — on other Apple devices including iPads and Mac. Users also can seamlessly carry over documents from their Mac to their mobile device and continue working.
That technology, as well as the expectation of a new mobile payment offering, will have a strong impact on the mobile enterprise and not just consumers, partners say.
“If they introduce new iPads with Touch ID, I expect that will have a big bump over time, particularly in government and enterprise clients,” Small Dog Electronics’ De Arriz said. “I see Apple delivering what’s been rumored and cementing their No. 1 position in the U.S. tablet market, and their position as the top high-end device in the world. I’m excited, and I’m hoping to see the connectivity of iOS 8 and Yosemite integrated as well.”
Those in the enterprise mobility management world also have Tuesday’s event circled on their calendars as iOS 8 and an expanded app ecosystem is expected after Apple released SDKs for many new features and platforms in June, including Healthkit and Homekit.
“I’m looking forward to seeing what happens,” said Ojas Rege, vice president of strategy at MobileIron, a leader in the enterprise mobility management space. “The reason mobile matters in the enterprise is because it is how users want to do their computing. We want to do all of our stuff on a mobile device because it is easier and with us all the time, and so forth. From our perspective, anything that allows you to do more stuff well while you’re mobile is really important to us. The core of iOS is bringing workflow to mobile, and that is important to us, because that means all your enterprise apps can move to mobile.”