This isn't just another iPhone launch, it's a bigger deal for Apple

This isn't just another iPhone launch, it's a bigger deal for Apple
Sure the iPhone 6 will be there, but it'll have to share the limelight

I'm currently on a coach, winding my way along with hundreds of journalists, to Cupertino to have a gander at what Tim Cook's about to show off.

I'm considering this piece something of a warm up for my fingers, as I'll be doing a live blog for a keynote that could encompass two phones, a new iPad, new services and that pesky iWatch.

Some people don't understand why Apple's yearly announcement gets so much coverage; after all, it's just another phone in a sea of identikit smart devices.

But it's not. It's one of perhaps three headline devices that people who have no interest in tech want to hear about. Tell someone you're heading out to cover the Apple launch and they'll know a few bits about what's coming – say you're going to a mid-tier brand and there's a chance nobody's heard of it.

Apple iWatch render

Will we finally see the iWatch?

In past years, I've thought Apple was falling backwards into the same procession as many others - releasing a 'new' phone that offers very little over the predecessor beyond a good reason to command a high price in retailers.

But this time, there's genuinely something different. At dinner last night, obviously all the Apple staff were saying they've no idea what's about to be launched, but where in previous years it felt like a tired launch, just getting the phone announced and all tied up, this year there's an unspoken but palpable buzz, that something big is around the corner for Apple.

Take a guess

The key question is this: what on Earth could that be? The iWatch, if it's just a fitness band / smartwatch that lets you know when you get a message, will be rather dull, a rival to Samsung's Gear that nobody really wants.

But that wouldn't be enough to be worth being excited over – so what could it be?

There's something interesting going to be happening with Apple's new NFC / mobile payments system – if the iWatch is tied in with that it may allow you to pay with a flick of the wrist rather than placing your phone down.

Or is it going to be health? Could this be a historic moment where Apple is the brand to make the smartphone / wearable market into something that really brings information about how our bodies are coping day by day, rather than just a boring step counter that offers very little information?

iPhone 6 render

Will the iPhone 6 come in two sizes?

Both of those ideas are ones that could change the game - being the brand that finally makes the mobile phone a replacement for the wallet by dealing with all the big credit card providers and banking institutions.

Or being the first phone to save someone's life through constant monitoring - that would take away from the constant bickering between whether Apple, Android or Microsoft is the best ecosystem if people could be reminded that this amazing piece of technology, regardless of who makes it, can genuinely be a force for good.

And then there's the spec questioning that's got tongues wagging - will it have a sapphire screen or not? Will the iPhone Air really be called that, and will it be its own device or a blown up version of the iPhone 6? Will the iPad Air 2 make a secret appearance under the radar, thus removing the dedicated event later in the year?

The coach is now pulling in – the monolithic structure that Apple has taken over for this event is about to loom into view any moment now, and we'll find out what the mysterious construction on the outside was all about.

Fingers crossed I'll still be standing in five hours' time, after the mammoth live blog and hands on reviews with the iPhone 6, iPhone Air, iWatch and new iPad. Here we go...

Gareth Beavis
Formerly Global Editor in Chief

Gareth has been part of the consumer technology world in a career spanning three decades. He started life as a staff writer on the fledgling TechRadar, and has grown with the site (primarily as phones, tablets and wearables editor) until becoming Global Editor in Chief in 2018. Gareth has written over 4,000 articles for TechRadar, has contributed expert insight to a number of other publications, chaired panels on zeitgeist technologies, presented at the Gadget Show Live as well as representing the brand on TV and radio for multiple channels including Sky, BBC, ITV and Al-Jazeera. Passionate about fitness, he can bore anyone rigid about stress management, sleep tracking, heart rate variance as well as bemoaning something about the latest iPhone, Galaxy or OLED TV.