Apple has already admitted that this year’s iPhone 12 release is going to be “a few weeks later” than normal, which clearly means at least October rather than September, since Apple made the announcement during its quarterly earnings call in an effort to set investor expectations for the next quarter — a quarter that will, for the first time ever, not include the launch of a new iPhone.
However, it’s still been largely up in the air as to when Apple might hold a launch event for the new iPhone, not to mention that we’re also still expecting to see a new Apple Watch Series 6 and quite probably at least some new iPads debuting around the same time.
One possibility has been that Apple would still decide to hold its customary September event to announce the new iPhone models, while simply stating that they won’t be going on sale until October. Such a move wouldn’t be completely unprecedented — after all, Apple did the same thing with the iPhone X back in 2017, followed by the iPhone XR the following year, but those were outlying models in the iPhone lineup, and in both those cases Apple still had the mainstream new iPhone models going on sale right away in September, exactly as in prior years.
So if Apple actually does go forward with a September event, it would mark the very first time since the debut of the original iPhone in 2007 that Apple has announced a new iPhone so far in advance of it actually going on sale.
In the case of Apple’s fall events, pre-orders have always opened on the Friday following the announcement, and the last time there was any meaningful delay between an iPhone announcement and the availability date was back in 2010 when Apple announced the iPhone 4 at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference on June 7, with the actual iPhone not becoming available until June 24 in the U.S. (and several weeks later in other countries).
So perhaps it’s not surprising that Apple could choose to delay its actual iPhone event into October this year — after all, the company also did that for the iPhone 4S release in 2011 — and according to leaker Jon Prosser, that’s exactly what’s going to happen, with the prediction that the iPhone 12 event will be held sometime during the week of October 12th.
Prosser also goes on to share that only the iPhone 12 will be available right away, with the iPhone 12 Pro models being pushed off into sometime in November, as was the case with the iPhone X. While there have been multiple reports suggesting that Apple may not have all of the iPhone models ready to launch at the same time, another recent rumour suggested that it would be the smaller and larger iPhone models that would be delayed, with the 6.1-inch iPhone 12 and 6.1-inch iPhone 12 Pro both arriving together.
Apple Watch Series 6
What’s interesting about Prosser’s predictions, however, is that he claims that Apple will not only be releasing the Apple Watch Series 6 in September — the week of September 7th, in fact — but that Apple won’t make it part of an event. Instead, Prosser says it’s expected to slip out via press release, along with new iPads.
The iPad release actually contradicts Prosser’s earlier predictions that the iPhone 12 models would be accompanied by new iPads in October, although to be fair it looks like it’s just an adjustment of the dates, although if true we’re not expecting the new iPads to be anything spectacular based on Apple’s decision to avoid giving them any stage time. By all reports, the big iPad updates probably aren’t coming until 2021.
In fact, while we’re not all that surprised by the idea that the iPads would slip out by press release — Apple hasn’t announced a new iPad on stage since the 2018 iPad Pro — it’s a bit more surprising that it would do this with the Apple Watch Series 6, and suggests that the new wearable may not be a significant upgrade that’s worthy of forming part of Apple’s presentation either.
Of course, Apple has already announced watchOS 7, which highlights at least some of what’s coming to the Apple Watch, and the Apple Watch hardware releases over the past couple of years have largely been a rehash of what watchOS adds to very model, plus usually only one added bonus from the new hardware. In 2018 that was the ECG feature of the Apple Watch Series 4, while last year it was just the always-on display.
While these are certainly interesting features, it’s probably fair to say that they don’t really need to be shown off on stage, and for the past couple of years, it’s likely that the only reason the Apple Watch has been part of Apple’s iPhone event is just because the timing of its release happened to be convenient. This year Apple likely considers it more important to get at least some of its new products out the door before the end of the quarter, and while we’re still hoping for some nice improvements in the Apple Watch Series 6, most of them aren’t really things that need to be explained on stage by an Apple executive.
Of course, at this point it’s all still rumour and conjecture, and while Prosser claims that his sources have confirmed the dates are “in the system,” he’s generally had a mixed track record over the past few months. Although he correctly predicted the launch date of the new 2020 iPad Pro and the iPhone SE, his reports on AirPower have been more dubious, and his predictions for Apple Glasses have been especially out there. He also pegged several products for a WWDC launch that never materialized, including Apple’s new AirPods Studio headphones.
That said, an October launch for the iPhone is pretty much a given now, although we think it still remains an open question as to when Apple will decide to stage the announcement, as a September event could still allow Apple to show off other products such as the new Apple Watch, while also building hype for the new iPhone 12 models.