The next big Apple event is likely to be in Spring 2018. However, there are a couple of products - HomePod and iMac Pro - that have been announced but won't go on sale until December. It's possible that we'll see another Apple event before Christmas focusing on these new devices. It might also be a good time to finally announce a new Mac mini.

We look ahead to Apple's various special events, with their pre-launch speculation, mysterious invitations, warm-up music, and a bit of the old Tim Cook razzle-dazzle. We discuss when they might take place and what Apple might have up its sleeve for those unveilings.

Occasionally Apple will drop a product on an unsuspecting public like a thunderbolt from a clear sky. But mostly it follows a recognisable pattern. As a result the grizzled Apple pundits here at Macworld can draw on their experience covering this secretive company to give you a strong - albeit not infallible - guide to when the next Apple event will be held.

The company's yearly calendar has some regular signposts you can use to orient yourself. These are the Apple events we're expecting over the next 12 months: 

October 2017: iPads, Macs & HomePod?

In the past Apple has sometimes followed up its September press event with another smaller do in October.

We've not heard much about HomePod and the iMac Pro since they were announced earlier this year, so this could be the perfect time to remind us of its upcoming devices. And, let's face it, it's not the first time Apple has announced a new product twice (*cough* Apple Watch *cough*).

When is the next Apple event?

The October event doesn't happen every year. Apple didn't hold an event in 2015, for example, but on 27 October 2016 it released the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar.

Even if Apple does not hold an October event in 2017, that doesn't necessarily mean it won't release a new product in that time frame. We could see an update to the Mac mini in October, for example.

March/April 2018: Spring Event

When is Apple's next event: Let us loop you in

This is Apple's first foray back into the spotlight after the Christmas rush. Apple spring events tend to be hardware-focused, although there have been mentions of point updates for iOS too.

In 2015 Apple held an event called 'Spring Forward' on 9 March, where it announced pricing and the launch date for the original Apple Watch and unveiled the first 12-inch MacBook. On 21 March 2016 at the 'Let us loop you in' event, we got the iPhone SE, the iPad Pro 9.7 and iOS 9.3.

Spring 2017 was a bit of a disappointment for Apple followers: instead of a full-blown event the company quietly closed down its online store then sent out a press release announcing the launch of the iPad 2017 and the red iPhone 7.

This time round we might see a new iPhone SE, which it is rumoured that Apple is working on.

June 2018: WWDC

When is the next Apple event: WWDC 2016

WWDC stands for Worldwide Developers Conference. This is an overwhelmingly software-focused event, where Apple announces the flagship features in its annual operating system updates for the benefit of its software developer partners who will have to update their software to work with the new OS.

At WWDC 2016 Apple announced macOS Sierra and iOS 10, and released beta versions of each; the final public releases wouldn't come until the autumn but this was the first chance to see what was going to be included.

At WWDC 2017 we heard about iOS 11 and macOS 10.13 High Sierra, as well as updates to tvOS and watchOS. We also got our first look at the new iMac Pro which was previewed alongside the launch of new iMacs, as well as the updated MacBook Pro and MacBook.

At WWDC 2018 we expect Apple to unveil the new Mac Pro and the new display that it has revealed it is working on. However, those new products may not ship until later in 2018.

September 2018: iPhone 9 launch event

In September 2018 we will see the launch of the next iPhone, which may be known as the iPhone 9 (and iPhone 9 Plus) but Apple has confused the situation by announcing an iPhone X in September 2017. Now may be the time it ditches the numbers and refers to the iPhone simply as iPhone and iPhone Plus. 

The iPhone usually shares its September event with announcements of when the latest version of iOS (in this case iOS 12) and macOS (v.10.14) will become available to the public in their final form, having been announced earlier that year at WWDC. 

September is also a good time for Apple Watch updates, and in September 2017 we saw the announcement of the Apple Watch Series 3 with LTE.