It’s that time of the year again. Apple is all set to host its annual September event, but this year with a few twists. With the tag ‘Time Flies’, the September 15 event will be Apple’s first virtual product launch, following the success of the virtual WWDC held in June this year. Unlike previous years, Apple is not expected to showcase its new iPhones though, as they are still facing production delays due to the pandemic.
With the tag, it seems like the company will use this event to showcase its next generation Apple Watch, and possibly a redesigned iPad Air. During its recent earnings call on July 30, CFO Luca Maestri said: “Last year we started selling new iPhones in late September, this year we expect supply to be available a few weeks later.” There’s also rumours of the AirTag, Apple’s Tile-like tracking device will finally make an appearance.
What to Expect
As usual Apple’s cryptic invite does little to give away any details. What we do know is that the event will take place on September 15 at 10:00 AM PDT (05:00 PM GMT). Like the WWDC, this event too will be pre-recorded from Apple Park and the Steve Jobs theatre. As to what exactly Apple will launch, we just have to look at the details.
— Greg Joswiak (@gregjoz) September 8, 2020
With the tagline, it is almost certain Apple will unveil the Apple Watch Series 6. App developer Guilherme Rambo dove into the YouTube code to find that the pre-event video had the keywords ‘Series 6’ and ‘iPad Air’. To be fair, the screenshot he posted also listed iPhone, Mac, Apple TV and AirPods as well, so this isn’t really a great indicator.
Seeing as how the company updated the iPad Pro’s earlier this year, it makes sense that the company would update its iPad Air as well. The Air last received an update in March 2019, where Apple added the A12 processor and Apple Pencil support. The company is rumored to give the Air a Pro-like refresh, with narrower bezels and USB-C support.
Interestingly, the iPad Mini does not seem to get the same love, with Apple refreshing the device in March 2019 after a staggering five year gap. In June, DigiTimes reported that the Mini would get a refresh as well, but there have been almost no rumours to corroborate that story.
Finally, there’s also Apple’s much talked about AirTags. The instruction manual for the device was supposedly leaked on Twitter on September 5, so it is very possible that the device will make an appearance. We could also see the resurgence of AirPower, after it was also leaked in the same manual.
Here is a guide on charging AirTagls supposedly sent by Apple for print tests before mass production. AirPower is back? This is different to leaks saying a swappable coin battery would be used 🤔
Source: direct // Leaks by Caleb Lin pic.twitter.com/AbC4Foj01N
— Caleb (@caleblin_apple) September 5, 2020
Traditionally, Apple has held a keynote in the first week of September to showcase its iPhone lineup, before they go on sale a week or two later. The Apple Watch and iPad are usually reserved for an October event. The COVID-19 pandemic though, has thrown a spanner in the works. In April this year, the Wall Street Journal reported that the pandemic had hit Apple’s mass production facilities so badly, the company would not be able to launch the iPhone on time. The report did go on to mention however, that Apple would still launch the iPhone 12 in September, but that supplies would be severely constrained.
Now that we are closer to the date, it is clear to see that there is indeed a delay. On July 29, Qualcomm backed up the WSJ report during its earnings call. The company said that “a partial impact from the delay of a global 5G flagship phone launch” would impact its Q4 earnings.
While we do know for sure that iPhone production is impacted, it is still unclear if Apple will unveil its latest generation phones at the event. As usual, with Apple there is really no saying. So we could be in for a “one more thing” tease at least. Even if the company doesn’t show off its iPhone lineup, there’s still plenty for a packed event.
Stay tuned for a full breakdown of all the leaks later this week. You can catch the live stream from Apple’s website, YouTube page or the Events app on your Apple TV. If you can’t catch the live stream, I’ll be live tweeting the announcements as they go live. Follow @srivi20 on Twitter for the updates.