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What could be on tap at Apple's Sept. 12 press event

Macworld Staff | Sept. 5, 2012
Apple laid months of event rumors and speculation to rest on Tuesday when it sent out official invitations to a special media presentation on September 12. Of course, now that we know for sure that an event is happening, the real speculation begins.

We say: Likely.

Passbook details: Apple unveiled its new Passbook app at WWDC in June, but the limited time Apple spent discussing it left us with more questions than answers. The program is designed as a centralized location for all your reward and stored value cards, along with digital versions of concert and sports tickets; tap on a card and youll see a barcode for the retailer to scan. The Passbook section of Apples iOS 6 page suggests that among the companys partners are Target, Fandango, Starbucks, Amtrak, United, the San Francisco Giants, and the W Hotel; its hard to imagine the company would use those as examples if it didnt already have some partnerships in place. Apple could definitely take some time at the September event to explain Passbook further and unveil a few powerful new partners to make the app shift from confusing to a compelling offering.

We say: Likely.

Maps improvements: Weve already seen Apple demo Mapss spiffy new 2D and 3D offerings, as well as long-awaited turn-by-turn directions. But could there be more that Apple has yet to show off? The mapping app removed user-favorite options like Street View and Transit directions in iOS 6, as Apple no longer uses Googles Street View and transit databases; theres been no mention of a different partner for street-level view, but Apple may add more 3D city renderings to its mapping database to compensate. We may also hear more about Apples plan for dealing with transit directions, and the third-party routing apps who are partnering with the company.

We say: Maybe.

Siris new tricks: Siris ears must be burning, because the virtual assistant got quite a bit of attention during Apples WWDC keynote. We already know that Siri will gain additional features like the ability to answer questions about sports and movies, but as one of the most prominent features of the iPhone (and, with iOS 6s release, the iPad), its entirely possible that Apple has more to reveal about its now iconic virtual assistant.

We say: Maybe.

Audiobooks app: Apple recently spun off podcasts into a standalone app, rather than packing them in with the rest of your audio media; despite the relative merits (or lack thereof) of the Podcasts app, its possible that the company might choose to do the same with audiobooks. Theyve often gotten short shrift within the Music app, so it doesnt seem out of the question that Apple might decide to create a place that fans of spoken content can call their own. After all, like podcasts, audiobooks are often listened to in a different manner from musicyou want to pick up where you left off, speed or slow the playback rate, and navigate between chapters. While many of these capabilities are available within the Podcasts app, Apple has lately been taking the different apps for different jobs route, so its possible there might be some news about audiobooks next week.

We say: Maybe.

What else?

Those are our predictions, hopes, and rumor debunkings. What do you hope Apple announces on September 12? Tell us in the comments.


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