The Apple Special Event on 30 October saw updates to the MacBook Air, the Mac Mini and the iPad Pro as well as the introduction of the Apple Pencil 2, this was only a month or so after the iPhone and Apple Watch event. Now that 2019 is underway everyone is wondering when the next Apple event will happen. This article we will evaluate when the next event is likely to take place and what we expect Apple will announce at it.
In this article, our experienced Apple pundits look ahead to the launch events we expect from the company over the next 12 months, and the products likely to be unveiled at each of them.
Apple's calendar of events
There are exceptions, but Apple's big announcements tend to happen at four times annually:
- March, or spring (education and creativity themes, often includes iPads)
- June (WWDC - mostly software, sometimes high-end hardware)
- September (iPhones and Apple Watches)
- October (iPads and sometimes consumer focused Macs)
How did this play out in 2018? Well, we saw a major education-themed iPad launch in late March, followed in June by the week-long WWDC 2018 developer conference. This saw Apple reveal details of the upcoming major updates to all four of its software platforms, but hardware news was pushed back to July's new MacBook Pro models (not an event - just an announcement).
However, there were a lot of untouched products in 2018, including the MacBook, iMac and iMac Pro, iPad mini and iPhone SE. We are also expecting the new Mac Pro to arrive in 2019 with a new Apple display. And we're hearing a lot of talk about Apple's plans to introduce a new TV streaming service. So it looks like 2019 could have some longed for updates in store. Read on to find out what to expect from Apple in 2019. (We also have a predictions article that looks in more depth at Apple's plans for this year and beyond.)
It seems that Apple is planning to hold an event at the Steve Jobs Theatre on its Apple Park campus on 25 March. That suggestion comes via a Buzzfeed report that claims that Apple will launch a new subscription news service.
Buzzfeed seems to believe that the event will be focused only on Apple's news service, with no mention of Apple's plans to start offering its own TV shows and films via a subscription service. There are lots of other products that Apple is expected to launch this spring (more below), however, so it's not clear if the company will hold two events.
The rumoured subscription news service is thought to offer access to paywalled content from the likes of The New York Times, the Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal.
In the past, Apple has made some significant announcements at spring events. 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 12in MacBook. Then 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.
Then in 2018 Apple held an education-focused event on 27 March at a school in Chicago. The company made a series of announcements including a new iPad (with support for Apple Pencil), updates to Pages, Numbers and Keynote, and GarageBand. As well as talking at length about what it can do for teachers and students.
As for what Apple could launch in the spring of 2019, we aren't anticipating an education themed event for 2019. However, Apple has something else that should be ready to hit the limelight by then...
We are hearing that Apple's long awaited video streaming service that could take on Netflix may finally launch in the spring of 2019!
Read the latest news about Apple's plans for TV and movie content.
Mini Apple TV
How about a smaller, cheaper Apple TV to go with this new TV streaming service. If Apple wants to reach the masses with its service, a dongle that will let them stream Apple's new content to their TV sets could be an essential part of the equation.
Apple's also rumoured to be gearing up to launch a new HomePod in 2019, so we could see one at a movie- and music-themed event in March 2019.
It's probably wishful thinking, but there are a lot of rumours flying around suggesting that Apple will launch a cheaper, smaller HomePod (maybe it will have Beats rather than Apple branding). Such a move would, presumably, help Apple gain marketshare in the smart speaker space, but it has a long way to go before it has anything like the market share of Amazon.
Read about the Mini HomePod and HomePod 2.
Rumours are suggesting that Apple may launch new AirPods with “wireless charging support” and Bluetooth upgrades.
Read more about the next generation AirPods here.
We already mentioned the AirPods above, but the company is also said to be planning to introduce some new over ear headphones.
We have the rumours about the StudioPods.
It must be a source of embarrassment at Apple that the wireless charger it planned to launch in 2018 has been delayed. Perhaps it will be ready in time to launch at the Spring event alongside the new AirPods.
Read about AirPower and its problems here.
iPhone SE 2
After introducing the iPhone XR, XS, and XS Max Apple discontinued the iPhone SE to the dismay of many. The SE was a popular iPhone, being both the smallest and the cheapest handset on offer. The iPhone XR is no replacement for the SE 2, still rather pricey and it's much larger than the 4in SE.
However, there are some rumours hinting that Apple may still launch a new 4in handset for those people who prefer a smaller phone. In fact, code in Xcode has indicated that a new handset could ship featuring the older iPhone 7 processor, and this could well be an update to the SE.
Read the latest news about the iPhone SE 2.
Another diminutive iOS device that could get a refresh is the iPad mini, despite it having been more than three years since the iPad mini 4 was unveiled back in September 2015.
We'd all but given up hope for the mini iPad but analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has said that a new mini is in the works.
Read more here: iPad mini 5 release date.
Apple didn't update the MacBook in 2018 so we expect something soon.
With the MacBook Air finally getting a redesign in 2018, the MacBook needs some big changes to make it relevant. Perhaps we might see the MacBook get even smaller in 2019.
Here are the rumours about the new MacBook.
Apple also failed to update the iMac in 2018. There are some juicy new Intel chips that should be heading its way soon, offering more cores and much more processing power.
Read about the new iMac here.
WWDC stands for Worldwide Developers Conference. This tends to be a predominantly 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.
In 2018 Apple held the event from 4-8 June at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California. Apple used this venue for the first time in 2017 - prior to the 2017 WWDC Apple had hosted the developer conferences at the Moscone Center for a number of years (2003 to 2016).
Thanks to MacRumors we know that the event will be held at the McEnery Convention Center again in 2019, this time from 3-7 June.
Tickets to WWDC are allocated via a ballot. Here's how to get WWDC tickets.
So, what can we expect to see during the WWDC keynote in 2019? We have a dedicated article covering what to expect at WWDC 2019, but here are some edited highlights.
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. In 2018 it was all about iOS 12, macOS Mojave, tvOS 12 and watchOS 5, with hardware updates coming later.
It doesn't take a genius, then, to predict that WWDC 2019 will feature updates to iOS, macOS, tvOS and watchOS.
However, there is something else we might see more of at the developer conference...
We are hoping Apple will reveal some more details about the Mac Pro at the WWDC event in 2019. Having a unit to show off at WWDC doesn't mean that the new Mac Pro will be ready to ship following the event though.
Read about the new Mac Pro.
New Apple display
If Apple shows off the new Mac Pro we expect it will also show off the new display that it has revealed it is working on. But, again, it may be something Apple chooses to keep under its hat until later in 2019.
Read all about Apple's new display - it could offer 8K!
iMac Pro update
We also expect to see a next generation iMac Pro, and the WWDC show would be a good place for Apple to unleash it.
Here's our article about the next generation iMac Pro.
The September Apple event is usually the highlight of Apple's year. The company tends to launch new iPhones at the event - although in the past iPhones have launched in the Spring and at WWDC.
The Apple Watch tends to get an update at this event as well.
We can also expect the company to release the next version of macOS and iOS software following the keynote.
We're sure to be inundated with rumours about the new iPhones as 2019 gets underway, so stay tuned for more information about what to expect.
The October event doesn't happen every year, but when it does it tends to focus on iPads and consumer Macs.
In 2018 we saw Apple update the iPad Pro and also reveal a new MacBook Air and Mac mini - two consumer-oriented Macs that had been long neglected.
By the summer of 2019 we should have more of an idea about what to expect from this event.