What To Expect At Apple’s 15 September Event

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On Tuesday 15 September Apple invites you to what we suspect may be the first of three events this autumn. The tagline of the event is Time Flies, which feels like a fairly obvious reference (anyone in the mood for a new Apple Watch?) – but what else will Apple announce?

Here are our expectations for the event. If you’d like to see how much we get right and how much is way off, here’s how to watch the event live.

No iPhone 12

In normal years, Apple holds an event in September and presents the year’s new iPhone models – that’s been the case since the iPhone 5 was launched in 2012. But this is not a normal year.

COVID-19 has put most things on hold. Apple has faced problems with both internal development (designers and engineers have been forced to work from home) and the manufacture of components by subcontractors in its largely Asia-based supply chain.

This has led to the iPhone 12 arriving later than usual – and that’s not just rumours, that’s official. Apple’s CFO Luca Maestri said in the latest quarterly report that the new iPhone models would be launched “a few weeks later” than usual.

That in itself puts 15 September in doubt, because that wouldn’t be a few weeks later than usual; it would be roughly normal. Of course, Maestri might have meant that the onsale date

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would be delayed rather than the announcement, and it’s still possible Apple will unveil the iPhone 12 on Tuesday but not ship it until October. But pundits agree that this is unlikely.

Mark Gurman at Bloomberg, John Paczkowski at Buzzfeed and Jon Prosser, who lately has been disagreeing with everyone, all now say there will be no iPhone 12 at next week’s event.

Apple Watch Series 6

Jon Prosser, by the way, is having a tough time at the moment: his sources claimed the new Apple Watch model would be released via a press release on 8 September, but this did not happen. Mark Gurman was the winner on the day, since he had correctly predicted that Apple would only release an event invite. But the two do concur that the Apple Watch Series 6 will be with us soon.

The idea that the Series 6 will be unveiled on 15 September is supported by a finding made by the developer Guilherme Rambo. He spotted that the metadata for Apple’s event video stream, which has already been posted on YouTube but won’t actually stream anything until the night, includes references to “Apple Watch” and “Series 6” – but not to “iPhone 12”.

Apple 15 September event video metadata

Image courtesy of Guilherme Rambo

Apple has added a long list of more general tags, such as “iOS”, “iPhone”, “Mac” and “iPad”, but apart from “Series 5” and “Series 6” no specific models are mentioned.

Some rumours also say that a cheaper new model of the watch is underway, which can be launched at the same time as the Series 6. It will be a replacement for the Series 3 made of slightly cheaper materials and missing some of the sensors in the top-end model.

iPad Air

In recent weeks, several rumours have been circulating that a new model of iPad Air will be launched soon, and Mark Gurman also believes there will be a new iPad at the event on 15 September.

MacRumors has published pictures of a Spanish manual for the new iPad Air which shows it will have USB-C instead of Lightning and Touch ID built into the side button instead of a Home button, to make room for a roomier screen with narrower bezels. The Home function will work as on devices with Face ID – in other words, a swipe upwards from the bottom of the screen.

It should also have a Smart Connector on the back, for easier connection to external keyboards. Possibly you’ll be able to use the same Magic Keyboard as for the 11in iPad Pro, but this isn’t clear from the rumours.

Operating system updates

It’s possible that Apple will take the opportunity to launch at least some of the new OS updates that beta testers have been running since WWDC in June. The most likely are iOS 14 and iPadOS 14, but watchOS 7 also feels like a good bet because it will be preinstalled in the new Apple Watch.

macOS Big Sur still has many bugs in the beta versions and does not seem like it will be ready for a while.

Other products

Apple has a bunch of other new and updated products to launch between now and the end of the year, but there’s no concrete evidence that these will appear at the September event.

The AirTag gadget finder tag is one such, as is the HomePod, which according to Bloomberg will soon appear in a simpler and cheaper guise. Another upcoming new product that has been rumoured for a long time is a pair of over-ear headphones, expected to be branded as AirPods Studio.

And finally, we mustn’t forget the first Mac with Apple Silicon, which Apple has promised before the end of 2020. But we don’t expect this to arrive on 15 September, particularly as the latest rumour on that front is that its A14X processor is just about to start mass production; a launch before the iPhone 12 would also risk overshadowing Apple’s most important new product of the year.

This article originally appeared on Macworld Sweden. Translation by David Price.

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