When Is the iPhone 15 Coming? | Signs Point to September 12

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We’re less than four weeks away from September, the month when Apple has almost always held its big fall iPhone launch events, and rumors are now starting to circulate to try and pin down precisely when the September event will be held.

There’s been enough of a trend with Apple events over the past decade or so that it doesn’t take a lot of clairvoyance to peg down the Apple event and iPhone pre-order and on-sale dates. In fact, in 12 years of fall season iPhone releases, there have been only three occasions when Apple diverged significantly from its usual pattern.

The first fall iPhone event was held on October 4, 2011, to announce the iPhone 4S. Before that, Apple had traditionally unveiled its new iPhone models at the June Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). The original 2007 iPhone was a more considerable exception, as it was announced at Macworld 2007 in San Francisco in January; however, it still went on sale in late June, like the next three models that succeeded it.

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In those early days, the iPod was still a pretty big deal, so Apple reserved its annual fall events to show off new iPod models. That ended with the sixth-generation iPod nano at a Sept. 1, 2010 event — the only September event in Apple’s history to be held before Labor Day.

In 2011, the iPhone 4S took center stage with its new Siri voice assistant, with Apple’s iPod nano and iPod touch getting minor refreshes and only passing mentions by comparison. However, that October event became a one-off, with every other fall launch event being held in early September until 2020, when production delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic forced Apple to once again push things even further into October, with the iPhone 12 lineup unveiling on October 13, 2020.

Will the iPhone 15 Be Announced on September 13, 2023?

Besides those two aberrations, every iPhone launch event in the past 12 years has been held during the second week in September, always either a Tuesday or a Wednesday. So, it wasn’t entirely surprising when the folks at 9to5Mac heard from their sources that Apple’s event could be held on September 13, 2023.

That information came from sources within the mobile carriers who would be expected to prep for the arrival of a new iPhone lineup. As is usually the case, employees have been asked not to take any time off on Sept. 13. While the carriers aren’t saying specifically why other than a “new smartphone announcement,” the date is far too close to Apple’s event to be a mere coincidence.

While the second week in September would follow Apple’s usual fall event schedules, the fact that September 13 is a Wednesday raises some doubt. Although Apple is naturally not required to follow its own precedent — it can hold its events anytime it pleases — the only time Apple chooses a Wednesday for its events is when a Tuesday isn’t suitable.

Is a September 12 Announcement More Likely?

In the past, there have been two reasons why Apple has shied away from Tuesday events. With the 2012 iPhone 5 and 2018 iPhone XS/XR launches, September 11 fell on a Tuesday, and out of deference to the memorial significance of that date, Apple scheduled those years’ events for Wednesday, September 12.

The other reason is when the Tuesday of that week immediately follows Labor Day, as was the case with last year’s iPhone 14 launch, held on Wednesday, September 7. The same also happened with the iPhone 7 event in 2016.

As you can see from the table below, September 7 is also the earliest date that Apple has ever held a fall iPhone event. Plus, until the 2021 iPhone 13 launch, it had never held a September event later than the 12th.

2011iPhone 4STue Oct 4Fri Oct 7Fri Oct 14
2012iPhone 5Wed Sep 12Fri Sep 14Fri Sep 21
2013iPhone 5s / 5cTue Sep 10Fri Sep 13Fri Sep 20
2014iPhone 6 / 6 PlusTue Sep 9Fri Sep 12Fri Sep 19
2015iPhone 6s / 6s PlusWed Sep 9Sat Sep 12Fri Sep 25
2016iPhone 7 / 7 PlusWed Sep 7Fri Sep 9Fri Sep 16
2017iPhone 8 / 8 PlusTue Sep 12Fri Sep 15Fri Sep 22
iPhone XTue Sep 12Fri Oct 27Fri Nov 3
2018iPhone XS / XS MaxWed Sep 12Fri Sep 14Fri Sep 21
2018iPhone XRWed Sep 12Fri Oct 19Fri Oct 26
2019iPhone 11 LineupTue Sep 10Fri Sep 13Fri Sep 20
2020iPhone 12
iPhone 12 Pro
Tue Oct 13Fri Oct 16Fri Oct 23
iPhone 12 mini
iPhone 12 Pro Max
Tue Oct 13Fri Nov 6Fri Nov 13
2021iPhone 13 LineupTue Sep 14Fri Sep 17Fri Sep 24
2022iPhone 14
iPhone 14 Pro
iPhone 14 Pro Max
Wed Sep 7Fri Sep 9Fri Sep 16
iPhone 14 PlusWed Sep 7Fri Sep 9Fri Oct 7

This trend led many folks to believe that the iPhone 13 would be unveiled a week earlier — possibly even on September 7, as the Tuesday after Labor Day could be less of an issue these days. In the past, Apple was believed to have avoided that Tuesday due to the need for members of the media to travel to Cupertino for in-person attendance. However, that might be less of a consideration for an entirely virtual event.

Nevertheless, Apple broke slightly with tradition in going with September 14, 2021, so there’s no reason it couldn’t do the same this year and hold its iPhone launch on a Wednesday. As they say in the financial industry, “past performance is no guarantee of future results.”

Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman is also hedging his bets a bit, though, sharing in this week’s Power On newsletter that the Apple event is “planned for either Sept. 12 or Sept. 13”. As Gurman points out, the main reason for Apple’s desire to schedule its events as early in September as possible is to get the iPhone on sale before the end of the quarter. It was a significant problem for investors when the iPhone 12 was announced late in 2020, as it meant that Apple’s fiscal fourth quarter for that year suffered compared to prior years. Apple made up for it in the holiday quarter that followed, but investors had to be made aware that a dip in earnings was on the way, leading to a rare pre-announcement of Apple’s fall event schedule.

This makes it very likely that Apple will open pre-orders for the new iPhone 15 lineup on Sept. 15, with the first shipments arriving in customers’ hands in available in-stores on Sept. 12. That would line up even more closely with Apple’s past events. With only one exception, Apple has always opened pre-orders for at least some of the newly-announced iPhone models on the Friday after the event.

The outlier here was the 2015 iPhone 6s launch, where pre-orders opened a Saturday, Sept. 12. As with Apple’s Tuesday events, this decision that was likely made to avoid having preorders start on 9/11. However, Apple also took two weeks, rather than one, to launch the iPhone 6s; it didn’t show up in stores until Sept. 25, 2015.

Will the Entire iPhone 15 Lineup Launch at the Same Time?

Of course, some of Apple’s iPhone models have been delayed, particularly in recent years, as the lineups have expanded. This first happened with the iPhone X, which didn’t go up for pre-order until Oct. 27, with a Nov. 3 date for the first deliveries and in-store availability. This was repeated in the following years with the iPhone XR, iPhone 12 mini, and iPhone 12 Pro Max. Last year the iPhone 14 Plus also arrived three weeks later than the rest of the lineup, although pre-orders for all four models began on the same day.

There’s been speculation that the same could happen with some iPhone models this year due to the added complexity of manufacturing new displays with thinner bezels for the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max. These displays are said to use new low-injection pressure over-molding (LIPO) technology. Apple used the same technique to increase the display size of the Apple Watch Series 7 in 2021, which led to similar production delays.

However, it’s an open question whether the problems are significant enough to delay the release of the iPhone 15 Pro models. Apple may still be able to manufacture just enough of the new models to put them up for pre-order at the same time as the standard iPhone 15 models, although even in this case, it’s likely supplies will still be limited for the first few weeks.

[The information provided in this article has NOT been confirmed by Apple and may be speculation. Provided details may not be factual. Take all rumors, tech or otherwise, with a grain of salt.]

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