Although we know that there’s no way that new iPhones are going to land before October, rumors have been swirling recently that this might be the week that Apple offers up some other major new product announcements that could possibly include the Apple Watch Series 6 and at least one new iPad model.
While Apple normally saves its Apple Watch debut to go alongside the iPhone each year, that could arguably be mostly about coincidental timing, and it’s certainly a very unusual year for Apple product releases with the iPhone debut having been pushed back as a result of delays caused by the ongoing global health crisis.
So it’s entirely possible Apple might want to get its wearable debuted sooner rather than later to attempt to salvage at least some revenue from the fiscal quarter that ends this month. Further, Apple hasn’t given any significant stage time to a new iPad since the 2018 iPad Pro, so it would be considerably less surprising to see Apple slip that out via press release sooner rather than later.
Leaker Jon Prosser first offered up a set of predictions back in mid-August where he confirmed that more obvious news that the iPhone event would come in October, but added that the Apple Watch and iPad could arrive via press release this week. Prosser’s dates also line up with reports we’ve heard that the “iPhone 12 Pro” won’t go on sale until November.
Despite having some crazy ideas about some of Apple’s upcoming products, Prosser has usually been more accurate with launch dates, and over the weekend he offered up the news that Apple has a press release scheduled to go live today at 9:00 a.m.
The Apple Watch Series 6
Right now there are two completely opposing reports on when the Apple Watch Series 6 could be coming. Prosser of course says that it’s due this week, while a conflicting report by the usually eerily accurate Twitter user @L0vetodream has simply stated that there will be “no Watch this month.”
This was corroborated by a report earlier last week by Mac Otakara that said that the Apple Watch would not be coming until Apple holds its October press event, which it also pegged for the second half of October, in conflict with Prosser’s suggestion that it might be closer to the second week, although of course that’s a fairly subtle distinction.
However, a series of filings in the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) database also seemed to suggest an earlier arrival for the Apple Watch Series 6, since it’s unusual for Apple to make these filings several weeks in advance of a new product release. However, evidence of the iPhone 12 was also found in EEC filings back in July alongside the new 2020 iMac so it’s not entirely unprecedented. The same set of filings also revealed several new iPad models as well.
There’s also the fact that stock of Apple Watch Series 5 units at Apple stores has been dwindling rapidly in recent weeks, which is usually also indicative of an upcoming new release, since Apple naturally slows down production of existing models when it’s about to release their replacements.
A New iPad
There have also been plenty of rumours suggesting that Apple is working on at least one new iPad, and certainly both of its early 2019 models — the iPad Air and iPad mini — are due for a refresh.
Apple does not typically announce new iPads on stage at Apple events any more. Although last year’s 10.2-inch iPad did get squeezed in at its iPhone 11 event last fall, that was clearly a matter of coincidental timing, as it was more of a passing mention and there was certainly nothing particularly significant about the new tablet. By comparison, the 2020 iPad Pro, which added a groundbreaking new LiDAR Scanner, was announced simply via a press release back in March.
With rumours that Apple is preparing to release a redesigned 11-inch iPad Air, this year’s iPad announcement could of course go either way, but we don’t even know for certain if this is what Apple has in the works, or if this is the only iPad model it has in its pipeline for this fall. Certainly a year-over-year refresh of the 10.2-inch iPad that offers a minimal spec bump wouldn’t need to be held back for Apple’s October event.
What Else Could This Announcement Be?
Notably, Prosser doesn’t say anything at all about what Apple’s press release might contain, although of course he’s implying that it will be used to announce new products based on his earlier predictions.
However, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman has another possible explanation, suggesting that Apple will simply be pre-announcing the upcoming virtual iPhone event.
What’s interesting, however, is that Gurman refers to a September iPhone/Apple Watch event, rather than an October timeline. He doesn’t offer any clarification to this, even when asked, so it’s unclear if this is a typo or whether he actually has news that Apple could have an event coming sooner.
A slip-up on Apple’s part in late August revealed a possible September 10th event date, but since this was the same date as last year’s event, it was simply assumed that the YouTube stream test was automatically reusing the old date.
An announcement for an October event this far in advance would be extremely unusual (although again, these are unusual times). While Apple typically announces WWDC weeks in advance, that’s a conference that developers need to plan to attend — even if that attendance was purely virtual this year. Apple’s fall events, on the other hand, are press events, and in the days of its physical events, Apple has typically only sent out invites less than two weeks in advance of the actual event. Even Apple’s June 22 WWDC 2020 Keynote wasn’t officially announced until June 11.
Then there’s the matter of iOS 14, which several reports have suggested will still see a September launch, despite the iPhone 12 delays. A press release could certainly lay out the dates for iOS 14, iPadOS 14, watchOS 7, and tvOS 14 to be released to the public, even if they’re still a couple of weeks away.