Considering Apple’s Fall Event Schedule

It’s September, and the annual iPhone event is just around the corner.

There’s a lot known about the new phone’s hardware, but there are still a lot of questions concerning iOS 11 and how it will be adapted to the new device, not to mention Apple’s positioning of this and its siblings.

Rumors are also hot and heavy about an updated Apple Watch with LTE and a 4K Apple TV. Then there’s the HomePod and iMac Pro, products Apple has already said will ship “at the end of the year.”

For several years, Apple held two fall events. The iPhone took the stage in September, often with a smaller, related product, while everything else got pushed to a smaller event in October:1

  • September 2012: iPhone 5, iPod updates, iTunes 11, EarPods
  • October 2012: 4th-gen iPad, iPad mini, 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro, updated iMac
  • September 2013: iPhone 5C and 5S
  • October 2013: Mac Pro, iPad Air
  • September 2014: iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, Apple Watch, Apple Pay, this weird thing
  • October 2014: iPad Air 2, iPad mini 3, iMac with 5K Display, a sorta-updated Mac mini2

In September 2015, Apple held one massive event, unveiling the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, the 12.9-inch iPad Pro and the 4th-generation Apple TV with Siri Remote.

Last September, we saw the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, AirPods, Apple Watch Series 2 and Super Mario Run. A month later, we saw the new MacBook Pros with the Touch Bar.

So, for the last five years, we’ve only seen one year with a single fall event. I think many people felt the September 2015 was far too long.

The question on the table is this: Will Apple hold two fall events this year?

It’s possible we see three new iPhones, an updated Apple TV and related content deals as well as a new Apple Watch next week. That’s a lot to cover, but I think it’s doable.

I think considering what would be in the October event is key here. I don’t think there’s enough to string together two events this year. Would the iPhone enjoy the September spotlight alone? Are updated Apple TV and revised Apple Watch enough to hold a second event? The Mac and iPad lines were all just updated, so I don’t expect any new hardware on those fronts.

This is all assuming neither the HomePod nor iMac Pro are going to be sprung on us early. I think both the HomePod and iMac Pro can be released via coordinated press coverage at the end of the year. It seems like the HomePod is going to miss the bulk of the holiday season, so there’s no reason to stir up demand any more than Apple already has.

My gut says we’ll see the inside of Steve Jobs Theatre just once this fall. I think that’s totally fine.

  1. Note that this list doesn’t include smaller things, like iWork update and annual OS reviews and releases. I really focused on new hardware products. 
  2. RIP, quad-core Mac mini