Apple keynote: What to expect

Apple CEO TIm Cook (Reuters)
Apple CEO TIm Cook (Reuters)

I'm looking forward to tomorrow. Apple keynotes are always entertaining, especially when you're actually there -- as opposed to peering at a screen in pyjamas, bemoaning the time difference between the US and New Zealand.

This time there's an added attraction for my 12-hour trip. The keynote is just one day out from Apple's time in court over its encryption technology battle with the FBI.

Apple doesn't do accidental, so with the world closely watching for the latest slew of shiny new gadgets, will CEO Tim Cook use the opportunity to strengthen his stance and further rally the troops?

After all, keynotes are what Apple does best. They're the envy of the industry and far beyond, commanding a global audience others only dream of.  

Before Mr Cook addresses the elephant in the room (and I'll eat my Macbook if he doesn't) there are new products to unveil. By far the strongest rumour is for a four-inch iPhone.

Sales of iPhones are slowing down. International reports say worldwide shipments will rise only 5.7 percent this year to 1.5 billion, down from a 28 percent jump just two years ago. Analysts say people are no longer parting with their money for the latest model when they're happy with the one in their pocket.

A smaller iPhone is likely to be cheaper than the 6S, yet with plenty of features. It's a good way to capture emerging markets such as India, and tempt those looking for an upgrade without taking away from its core customers -- those who'll want the iPhone 7 (if that's what they call it), which should be announced sometime in September.

What else? Another iPad Air, or smaller iPad Pro.  In the December quarter, unit sales were down by a quarter to 16.1million, the eighth quarter in a row iPad sales have fallen from the year before.

Maybe some software updates, some new laptops, or if you're the sort that reads clues in Apples invites, a new watch strap or two. This one teases with the line 'let us loop you in'. 

Who knows? With Apple, part of the fun is in the guessing. 

I'll be bringing you the latest news and views from the event from 7am tomorrow.