Apple May Not Hold an October Event, But That Won’t Stop It from Launching AirPods Pro

Airpods 3 Concept Credit: Jack Doda
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Time is running out for Apple to actually announce another fall event — with only eight days to go before the end of the month, if Apple were going to hold an October event, we should have definitely seen press invites by now.

While it’s not yet outside of the realm of possibility, it looks extremely unlikely that Apple is going to take the stage again this year to announce any more new products, and it seems like John Gruber of Daring Fireball agrees.

As Gruber notes, Apple held an event in Brooklyn last year on October 30, with invites sent out to the media on October 18, but in 2016, Apple held its event at the Town Hall theatre on its old campus on October 27, with invites sent out on October 19, only eight days before. However, in 2017, Apple didn’t hold a second fall event at all. Instead, it opted for private media briefings in New York City for its new Macs, which didn’t happen until December.

What About New Products?

Although we’re still expecting a lot of big products from Apple this fall, they may not be quite big enough to justify an event — especially at a time when Apple has its hands full with the launch of its Apple TV+ streaming service.

Apple has spent most of October already hosting gala premieres for its new shows, with For All Mankind, Dickinson, and See getting the red carpet treatment to promote them and the new Apple TV+ service, so it’s not hard to see how Apple doesn’t have much time left to stage another big keynote event, and this would be especially true if there aren’t enough groundbreaking products to warrant it.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that there won’t be any new hardware products coming out this year. We’ve already heard enough noise to suggest that Apple will very likely release its new 16-inch MacBook Pro soon, and of course there’s the hotly-anticipated AIrPods Pro that are expected to add noise-cancelling features and a whole new design.

We also know that Apple’s new insanely powerful Mac Pro should go on sale this year, although of course Apple already showed that one off at WWDC, so there isn’t really that much more to say about it.

The only remaining mysteries in the new product lineup are things that we’ve seen far less concrete information about. We’ve heard very little about a 2019 update to the iPad Pro, and more reports that they won’t actually come until next spring. While it may seem like Apple’s iPad Pro lineup is due for a refresh, it actually could be moving to a 1.5-year cycle; the 2017 iPad Pro models came out at WWDC in June of that year, which was likely the main reason that Apple didn’t hold a second fall event in 2017.

Similarly, while we know that Apple is still working on its new Bluetooth and UWB trackers, we really have no idea how close these are to being ready for release. We’ve heard no supply chain rumours to indicate they’re actually being produced yet, and although there’s been a lot of evidence poiting to them in iOS, the same could have been said for Apple’s ill-fated AirPower charging mat. We suspect that Apple learned its lesson from that debacle, and won’t release its “Apple Tags” until it’s absolutely sure it’s worked out all of the kinks.

Quiet Releases

With Apple placing so much of its focus this year on its new services business, it would not be the least bit surprising to see it slip out its new hardware more quietly again this fall. This already happened last spring, when the second-generation AirPods and new iPad Air 3 and iPad mini 5 were simply announced via press release in order to “clear the stage” for Apple’s big March 25th “It’s Show Time” event.

With the launch of Apple TV+ now imminent, it’s safe to say that Apple doesn’t want to lose momentum and distract customers from that, especially if it has nothing groundbreaking to announce. The 16-inch MacBook Pro is expected to be little more than a minor redesign, and we’ve already heard about the new Mac Pro. It’s also important to note that these aren’t really “holiday season” products the way that Apple’s AirPods and mobile devices are.

While Apple’s new AirPods Pro certainly seem to warrant stage time, they’re really the only products we’re expecting that would, and it would be a bit comical for Apple to try and hold an entire event centered around its AirPods, no matter how popular they are.

Further, with Apple being Apple, the company doesn’t need to hold a big flashy event to announce a product that is already positioned to fly off the shelves. Apple’s AirPods have been insanely popular since the first day they were released, and it’s not like AirPods require a lot of exposition for users to understand how they work or what the benefits of them are.

That said, Apple is definitely going to want to get its AirPods Pro announced and on shelves sooner rather than later, and the lack of an Apple event shouldn’t be seen as an indication that these will be delayed in any way. We have no doubt that Apple’s AirPods Pro will be launched as soon as they’re ready, regardless of when Apple chooses to hold its next big event.

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