Wondering when Apple will hold its next keynote event to reveal new products? Throughout the year there are normally up to four events at which Apple unveils its latest products in front of a large crowd. However 2020, with the COVID-19 pandemic, looks set to be an exception with the company unable to hold events due 'stay at home' guidance and restrictions on gatherings.

But Apple's inability to hold physical events doesn't mean that there will be no events - and it certainly doesn't mean there will be no new product announcements. 

Apple has already unveiled a number of new products during the first few months of 2020, including a new MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, new iPad Pro models and the iPhone SE. Plus it has already hosted its first virtual WWDC kicking off with a keynote presentation about all the new features coming to iPhones, Macs, iPads, Apple Watches, Apple TV and HomePod later this year. 

So clearly Apple not being able to hold events in front of an audience isn't stopping Apple from announcing new products. 

In this article we'll take a look at what we can expect from the next Apple event. We'll forecast the date and time, and we'll examine what we might see Apple announce - including whether there will be a keynote event to reveal the iPhone 12.

When is Apple's next event?

Over the past few years Apple has always held an event in September that is usually considered the highlight of Apple's year - it being the event where the company launches new iPhones. This year's crop of iPhones are expected to offer 5G. We also tend to see an update to the Apple Watch and the company is likely to reveal the public release dates for the next versions of macOS and iOS.

Obviously it's unlikely that the company will hold a live event in front of an audience in September 2020 due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Will Apple hold a virtual keynote instead? Possibly, although when the company launched the iPhone SE earlier in 2020 it didn't need an event to do so.

However, Apple is likely to want to make a splash with the new 5G iPhones, and it will no doubt want to demonstrate the new features in iOS and macOS as it tends to do at these events, so we do expect some sort of presentation. Following the success of Apple's WWDC presentation it seems likely we will see a similar broadcast from Apple to mark the arrival of the new iPhones.

When is Apple's iPhone event?

If the company holds the event in September, as usual, we predict 8 or 9 September 2020, based on the dates of previous years' events:

  • 2019, Tuesday 10 September
  • 2018, Wednesday 12 September
  • 2017, Tuesday 12 September
  • 2016, Wednesday 7 September
  • 2015, Wednesday 9 September
  • 2014, Tuesday 9 September
  • 2013, Tuesday 10 September
  • 2012, Wednesday 12 September

However, we have heard rumours that suggest that due to supply chain disruption and other COVID-19 related issues the new iPhones could be delayed, in which case we might see them launch at a virtual October event... More on that later.

What will Apple launch at its September event?

This year's announcements are likely to be more subdued because they won't be done on stage in front of a cheering crowd, but it's clear that Apple will have a number of announcements to make.

Apple Event

5G iPhones

It's probably Apple's new phones you are most interested in, Apple is said to be set to introduce 5G-capable iPhones later this year.

We have lots of information about Apple's plans for an 5G iPhone, and a roundup of all the iPhone 12 rumours here.

Apple Watch

The Apple Watch usually gets updated at the same time as the iPhone and this year it is said to be getting Sleep Tracking, which is something people have been requesting for a long time.

Read all about the new Apple Watch here.

iPad Air

The iPad Air could also get an update in September - although traditionally Apple holds the iPad updates back for an October event. Apparently the next iPad Air will have a Home button and Touch ID integrated under the screen. More information about the next iPad Air here.

Mini Apple TV

Now that Apple has its TV+ subscription service, how about a smaller, cheaper Apple TV to go with it? 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.

There are reports that the company is ready to launch updated Apple TV hardware, so maybe we'll see it soon.

We look at the rumours about the new Apple TV here. Plus read about how Apple could improve Apple TV+ which may soon have an extended catalogue of content.

New HomePod and HomePod mini

Apple's also rumoured to be gearing up to launch a new HomePod and potentially a HomePod mini. The latter is probably wishful thinking, but such a move would, presumably, help Apple gain market share in the smart speaker space.

Read about the Mini HomePod and HomePod 2.

New AirPods

Apple is also said to be planning to introduce more than one set of headphones this year:

We've collected the most plausible and interesting rumours about the AirPods Studio here.

Apple is also said to be working on cheaper AirPods Lite.

Apple headphones

Tag object tracker

Graphical assets discovered in internal betas of iOS 13 strongly suggest that Apple is going to launch some kind of object tracker in the near future. This small disc or sticker will be applicable to keys, wallets and other important items, and will then be trackable in the revamped Find My app (which combines the old Find My iPhone and Find My Friends apps). We thought there was a chance we could have seen this at the September 2019 event, but it was a no show so surely it will arrive before or during the September 2020 event.

We examine these rumours here: Apple to unveil 'Tag' object tracker

AirPower

It might surprise you to learn that despite what Apple said about stopping development of its device that could wirelessly charge an iPhone and AirPods at the same time the company has continued to work on the project and is said to be gearing up to launch the AirPower after all!

Read the latest on the AirPower here.

AR Glasses

Apple's made clear its interest in augmented reality, and we may hear more about Apple's plans to make Apple AR Glasses in 2020!

While the rumours suggest we won't see Apple's AR product until 2021 or 2022, it's possible that Apple will share its plans at some point in 2020. So we could learn more in September.

Will Apple hold an October 2020 event?

Apple event

Apple often holds an event in October at which, in previous years, we have seen the company unveil iPads and 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.

But there was no October event in 2019 and given the circumstances we aren't expecting an October event in 2020, unless there isn't a September event due to delays in getting the iPhone 12 ready to ship.

If the iPhone event is delayed it's hard to predict when it might take place. The usual October event is towards the end of the month, but that's only a few weeks after the big event. We'd presume that if there is no September event that the October event would happen in the first half of that month.

The October events of the past have (or haven't) taken place on these dates:

  • 2019, no October event
  • 2018, Tuesday 30 October
  • 2017, no October event
  • 2016, Thursday 27 October
  • 2015, no October event
  • 2014, Thursday 16 October
  • 2013, Tuesday 22 October
  • 2012, Tuesday 23 October
  • 2011, Tuesday 4 October

Even if the iPhone 12 does launch in September that doesn't mean there won't be any October announcements, but we'd expect Apple to issue press releases rather than hold an event.

What will Apple launch at its October event?

Should an October event happen, we expect to see Mac and potentially iPad news, as these are the products that are most frequently showcased in October. Here's what we anticipate seeing:

New iMac - with a new design!

The iMac has looked the same for around a decade, change is well overdue and 2020 might be the year we finally see it!

Here's what we hope to see from the iMac in 2020. And here's why it's time for a redesign!

ARM Mac or MacBook

Apple has said that it will launch its first Apple Silicon-powered Mac before the end of the year. The company has decided to move from Intel processors to it's own processors, that will be closely related to the ARM chips used in iPhoines and iPads. Apple's calling them Apple Silicon. You can read more about Apple's processor plans here.

This new Mac could be a Mac mini (like the one Apple has already seeded to developers) or it could be a new MacBook. Apple didn't update the MacBook in 2018 or 2019, in fact it discontinued it, but we think it could bring it back for this purpose.

Well we think that Apple does have something up its sleeve and that we could be seeing an all new MacBook with an Apple-made processor and potentially the ability to run iOS at some point in the future. Read about the rumours about the new Apple Silicon Mac here.

When does Apple usually hold events?

Apple generally holds a number of events in the year, one in the spring, one in the summer, one in September and one in October. Some years there will be no spring event and other years Apple will skip the October event, like it did in 2019. Obviously 2020 is a little different to usual, but normally we'd expect a line up something like this:

  • March, or spring (education and creativity themes, often includes iPads)
  • June (WWDC - mostly software, sometimes high-end/pro hardware)
  • September (iPhones and Apple Watches)
  • October (iPads and sometimes consumer-focused Macs)

So we can make some predictions about the events in 2021...

Will Apple hold a Spring 2021 event?

With no spring event in 2020 will Apple hold one in 2021?

Here's what the company has unveiled at the spring events of the past.

In the past, Apple has made significant announcements at its 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.

What about WWDC 2021?

It's a long way away, but what about next years WWDC?

Here's what Apple has announced at WWDC in the past:

  • At WWDC 2020 Apple told us about iOS 14 and macOS 11 Big Sur. It also announced the transition from Intel to its own Apple Silicon processors.
  • At WWDC 2019 Apple told us about iOS 13 and macOS Catalina. It also unveiled the new Mac Pro and new display.
  • At WWDC 2018 we learned about iOS 12 and macOS Mojave. There were no hardware updates at that event.
  • At WWDC 2017 we heard about iOS 11 and macOS 10.13 High Sierra. We also got our first look at the new iMac Pro which was previewed alongside the launch of new iMacs and an updated MacBook Pro and MacBook.

It doesn't take a genius, then, to predict that WWDC 2021 will feature updates to Apple's operating systems (iOS 15, macOS 11.1, tvOS, watchOS, and so on) but it may also include the appearance of other hardware - and we wouldn't be at all surprised to see a number of Apple Silicon Macs.