The Apple iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max are out (review here). The Apple Watch Series 4 has hit the streets (review here). The iPhone XR is imminent. But Apple still seems to have plenty of stuff up its sleeve so there’s more beyond an updated iPad Pro with all-screen design and Face ID. Probably there’ll be a new MacBook of some kind, perhaps to replace the MacBook Air, plus that darned elusive AirPower charging mat and, oh, please, AirPods 2.
So, when will all these riches be laid bare?
MacRumors has analysed when there have been announcements in recent years – and Apple is a company which has a rigorous rhythm to its releases, until, well, until it doesn’t.
Joe Rossignol has painstakingly looked at what events Apple has held late in the year every year since 2010. I mean, this really is detailed work: Rossignol has even gone to the trouble of checking out the taglines on the event invites!
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Anyway, it’s true that not every year has an October event – or, in the case of 2011 that it might simply be a late version of the September event. That was when the iPhone 4s was revealed, the first iPhone that didn’t launch in the summer and set the pattern for the years to come with early September announcements.
There were no big events in October 2015 or last year.
Sometimes Apple reveals a product with nothing more than a press release.
But this year…?
Yes, you’re right, the fact that there’s a lot of good stuff on its way, we suspect, means an event seems more likely.
I think there will be a special event.
At the Steve Jobs Theater, right?
I’m not so sure. So far Apple’s only had a very small number of events there. Apart from a shareholders’ meeting in February there have only been two press events there. It’s like Apple saves it for the most special of special events to invite people outside Apple in.
The other big events this year were WWDC, held in San Jose for the second year running and the launch of the iPad in March. That was held in Chicago, not Cupertino.
The truth is Apple holds key events in all kinds of places, like Tim Cook teaming up with the Malala Fund in Beirut in January, for instance.
So, really, the event could be anywhere. Apple loves to not be predictable.
So, when, then?
Well, October is pretty busy. Google has an event in New York on Tuesday, October 9 where it’ll launch its latest Pixel phones, it’s expected. That week won’t be the one, I’d say, because invites would almost certainly have been sent out by now. In fact, invites would likely have been issued for the following week, too, but just possibly not.
That leaves three weeks in October: the weeks commencing October 15, October 22 and October 29.
I think the week beginning October 22 seems unlikely because of another Apple product, the iPhone XR. That goes on sale on the Friday of that week, October 26. Apple may not want to take the focus off that phone before it even goes on sale, especially as many analysts believe it’s going to be a massive seller.
And there’s one other reason why that week seems less likely: CEO Tim Cook is speaking at a European Data Protection Conference in Brussels on Wednesday October 24. Tim Cook can fly round the world fast so the day before is a possibility, but given the meticulous rehearsals Apple’s slick presentations suggest, after is not. Anyway, Mr Cook will want to prepare for Brussels, too.
All of which leads us to the last week of the month. Jeremy Horwitz from Venture Beat suggests that October 30 could be an option.
It has the advantage that it falls just a small number of days before the fourth-quarter earnings call, as the company’s late announcements usually do.
I’d add that it also means Mr Cook could open the keynote with a sentence or two about the success of the latest releases including the XR.
Does it have to be October?
The thing is, it really doesn’t. Apple wants the announcement made sooner rather than later, and doubtless there’s a benefit to go before the latest financials. But Apple will only make an announcement when it’s good and ready.
There’s a need to get stuff into stores in good time for Thanksgiving and the holidays, but first week in November is still acceptable.
However much anyone reads the runes, the cold light of mathematics and the likelihood cast by previous evidence are ultimately minor elements compared to what Apple needs to make sure it gets it right.