Apple has announced an event on 15 September, and opinion remains divided over what will be announced: some think this is when we'll get our first glimpse of the iPhone 12, while others think Apple will just announce the Apple Watch Series 6 and a new iPad, while pushing back the new iPhone until October.
We can't tell you which side is right on this one, but the chances of a new Apple Watch just got a bump with the discovery of the phrases "Apple Watch" and "Series 6" in the metadata of the YouTube video page Apple has set up to broadcast the event. The references were spotted by the developer Guilherme Rambo.
The metadata also contains references to "iPad" and "iPad Air", incidentally, together with more general concepts such as "wellness", "fitness" and "digital art".
Image courtesy of Guilherme Rambo
There's two possible conclusions that can be drawn from this discovery. One is that we're getting a new Apple Watch; the other is that the new Apple Watch will be branded as the Series 6. But the thing is that we pretty much knew those things already, and this discovery doesn't actually guarantee the second one.
One of the main reasons why a company puts text references into the metadata of a web page is to tell Google (or other search facilities such as YouTube) about what's on it, and thus to direct people who are searching for those things to that page. In the old days online publishers used to cram all kinds of irrelevant but popular search terms into their metadata because why not, free traffic.
But search engines have grown vastly more sophisticated about upranking pages that visitors find useful (ie pages that answer the search query, so the reader doesn't have to run the search again) and penalising those that try to game the system. If you put the words "Captain America" in your metadata but there's nothing about Captain America on your page, people arriving via a search for that term will immediately leave and Google will quickly learn that you're being naughty.
For this reason, we can tell from the metadata that Apple wants to tell YouTube and Google that this page is to do with the Apple Watch, and to encourage people searching for "Apple Watch Series 6" to be sent its way. But that doesn't necessarily mean it will be called the Series 6 - just that Apple thinks people who should be on the page, and who would find its information useful, are likely to search for that term. And Google (and YouTube) won't penalise Apple if it's called, I don't know, Apple Watch 2020, because those searchers will still have found the information relevant.
I mean, let's face it, it almost certainly will be called the Apple Watch Series 6. We just can't say for certain that it will be based on this evidence.
So Apple could still technically spring a surprise with the branding, but this is pretty strong evidence that a new Apple Watch of some sort is about to appear. To catch up on the latest info, read our Apple Watch Series 6 news hub. If you're not interested in the new edition, catch up on the latest Apple Watch deals.
Finally, keep it tuned to Macworld on the evening of 15 September to hear the announcements (and our expert analysis of them) as they come in. Here's how to watch Apple's 15 September event.