Last year’s September Apple event — the big one held at the Flint Center in Cupertino — had three main segments:
- iPhone 6 and 6 Plus
- Apple Pay
- Apple Watch (introduced as a One More Thing, the first without Steve Jobs)
Here’s what my gut tells me to expect at tomorrow’s event, at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco:
- iPhone 6S and 6S Plus
- Apple Watch: WatchOS 2.0, third-party apps, new bands and accessories
- New Apple TV
Conspicuously absent from my guess is anything related to new iPads. I have no sources for this, no hints from any little birdies. This is just my gut feeling, based on Apple’s event schedule in previous years, and how long I think it will take for Apple to explain and demonstrate the three products above.
I agree with John that we probably won’t see any new iPads at this event tomorrow. Apple has routinely kept the iPad refresh later around October / November after the iPhones have been out.
While it is entirely possible that Apple will finally merge the iPhone and iPad events into one big event, I don’t see that happening tomorrow.
John’s post does breakdown two scenarios, one with one giant event and the more likely two smaler events which we’ve seen before:
ONE EVENT SCENARIO: Everyone agrees that new iPhones and a new Apple TV are set for announcement this week. I would be very surprised if Apple Watch didn’t get significant stage time as well — it’s a major new product heading into its first holiday quarter. The new iPhones are widely expected to have new force touch/taptic engine features — that’s the sort of thing that takes significant time to explain and demonstrate on stage. Plus, Apple usually demonstrates all the tentpole features from the soon-to-be-out-of-beta new version of iOS. Yes, they showed us those features back at WWDC — but they will show them again this fall, because that’s how it works. The new Apple TV is an altogether new platform — with a radical new remote and a full-on SDK and App Store, with a purported emphasis on gaming. That will necessarily consume a lot of on-stage demo time. If Apple is also going to unveil new iPads, including a major new 13-inch Pro model, that means either the event will run very long, or, some or all of these products will have rushed introductions and not get the time they deserve. And without the iPads being held for an October unveiling, there’s not enough left for a second event, which means that there will be no on-stage demonstrations or announcements for Mac hardware or OS X 10.11 (El Capitan) this year. It’s certainly possible that Apple could include the new iPads in this event, but there’s no way they could do the iPads and Mac/El Capitan all in this one event. Which means no Mac/El Capitan stage time this year.
TWO EVENTS SCENARIO: iPhones, Apple Watch, new Apple TV this week. That’s a full event, but not a crowded event. Then we all come back in mid-October for a second event, almost certainly at a smaller venue, where Apple reveals the new iPad lineup, new Mac hardware (like, say, the retina version of the 21-inch iMac) and Craig Federighi gets on stage to demonstrate all the new features in El Capitan. If “new iPads and Macs” were worth their own October event last year, why not again this year, when Apple is purportedly set to announce the iPad Pro? Especially given the way that Tim Cook remains staunchly bullish on the iPad’s long-term prospects, particularly in the business world — which, it seems obvious, is going to be a big part of the iPad Pro’s sales pitch. These new iPads would get more attention headlining their own (albeit smaller) event than they will if they get sandwiched between new iPhones and Apple TV.
It also seems to me that at one of these events, Apple will provide some sort of update on Apple Music. By tradition, that would be the September event, usually with a show-closing live performance (last year was U2). This would leave even less time to shoehorn new iPads into this week’s event.