It’s that time again, Apple fans. The Cupertino tech giant is poised to host an “event” on Sept. 15, but the pandemic means the tech press will convene around their laptops instead of at the Steve Jobs Theater and watch the unfolding spectacle just like everyone else: via live stream
This virtual event kicks off at 1 p.m. ET / 10 a.m. PT on Tuesday via Apple’s website. Expect a slick production like we saw at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) earlier this year, with demos and announcements from CEO Tim Cook and other top Apple execs.
But what will they announce? Here’s what we think is on tap.
But 2020 is no regular year. COVID-19 has forced Apple to shut down, re-open, and then shut down again many of its retail stores throughout the world, while one of its biggest suppliers, Foxconn, had to temporarily shut down its factories in China to deal with the coronavirus outbreak, reportedly putting a strain on iPhone replacement parts. April’s iPhone SE launch was a very low-key affair and the company recently warned investors that its next-gen flagship lineup will be slightly delayed.
“As you know, last year we started selling new iPhones in September. This year, we project supply to be available a few weeks later,” Apple CFO Luca Maestri said in July.
As such, don’t get your hopes up for a new iPhone next week. Bloomberg says we’ll likely see them in October instead.
The tagline on the Sept. 15 is “Time Flies,” and while that could be a reference to the fact that we’re witnessing the passage of time while being locked in our homes for more than six months due to a global pandemic, it’s probably about the Apple Watch.
The Apple Watch Series 5 arrived last fall without any major upgrades from the Series 4, save for an always-on display. But that small addition made “the best smartwatch you can buy even better,” we concluded, giving it our Editors’ Choice.
The next-gen Apple Watch will likely arrive with watchOS 7, which offers handwashing detection, dance workouts, and sleep tracking features, among other things. The OS upgrade will roll out to the Series 3, 4, and 5, so you don’t need to buy a new watch to give your smartwatch a boost. But if you’re rocking an aging Apple Watch, the Series 6—or whatever Apple calls it—might make your holiday wish list
According to Bloomberg, Apple will show off a high-end and low-end Apple Watch, so those on a budget might be able to check out Cupertino’s smartwatch for the first time. Of course, what Apple considers “low cost” or “budget” is not always what the rest of the world consider a deal, so we’ll have to see where it lands on price.
If we’re not getting an iPhone, an iPad is probably the next best thing.
As AppleInsider notes, documents filed with the Eurasian Economic Commission tip seven new iPad models. That doesn’t mean seven different iPads with different features; it’s just the different storage and connectivity options Apple usually offers. But their presence on the commission’s website “typically means they are shortly to be released,” AppleInsider says.
What are we getting in a new iPad? Rumors tip an 11-inch iPad with the Liquid Retina display found on the iPad Pro and a USB-C connector. The Touch ID button might also be moved up top to the power button for secure authentication.
Those new iPads will probably run the latest version of iPadOS. Redesigned widgets, sidebars, handwriting recognition, and a compact calling and texting interface are among the Apple iPadOS 14 highlights revealed at this year’s WWDC.
Similar features are coming to iOS 14. Apple usually drops its latest version of iOS a day or two before its newest iPhones arrive so existing iPhone owners can upgrade. And while new flagship iPhones might be delayed, there’s nothing stopping Apple from releasing its mobile OS upgrades if everything is ready to go. The public betas have been in the wild for more than a month now, so we could be enjoying the stable version of iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 this month.
Apple’s macOS Big Sur might also drop soon; a third public beta release arrived this week. Bloomberg says iOS 14 and iPadOS comes this month, while macOS arrives “in the fall,” but didn’t elaborate beyond that.
Bloomberg says Apple is “working on a smaller HomePod and the first pair of Apple-branded over ear headphones for release as early as later this year,” but doesn’t specify if we’ll see those at Tuesday’s event. Apple has occasionally teased upcoming products that aren’t quite ready for primetime at its event, though, for better or worse.