What to Expect From Tuesday’s Apple Event

September has a special kind of significance, particularly in the northern hemisphere. The ninth month of the year means back to school, the change of seasons, the autumnal equinox. From a young age we’re attuned to these rhythms, and then sometime in adulthood they’re muted by all of the Other Things that occupy our brain space. Unless, you work in tech, love to read about tech, or are employed to write about tech. In that case, September is for tech events—Apple events.

For more than a decade, Apple has hosted a “special event” in September, capitalizing on those fresh-start feelings and presenting its new wares well in advance of the critical holiday buying season. The scene-stealer is supposed to be the iPhone. Over the years, more product categories have crept on stage, like watches and headphones and tablets and a smart speaker. But the iPhone is September, and September is the iPhone.

I probably don’t need to tell you that this year is different. There are no predictable rhythms. We’re fumbling our way through a global pandemic, while millions of people are in economic distress and the American west, Apple’s backyard, is literally burning. Apple executives have already warned that this year’s new iPhone would be delayed by a few weeks, into October. The information, shared on the company’s last earnings call, was both unsurprising and symbolically jarring: A “one more thing” for the pandemic era.

Still … Apple is hosting an event next week. The event will be livestreamed and hosted virtually, like the software conferences we attended on Zoom and WebEx and Teams this spring. The event is unlikely to be centered around new iPhones, but there are other products that Apple will want us to all pay attention to—with whatever sliver of attention we have left.

Watch This Space

The digital invitations sent out by Apple contained the phrase “Time Flies,” a not-so-subtle reference to watches. Bloomberg has also reported that new Apple Watches are in the works.

Yup, watches plural: Expect a new watch that showcases some kind of new technology and sits at the top of the Apple Watch pricing structure; as well as a lower-cost model, which might replace the Apple Watch Series 3. The Apple Watch has, in a relatively short amount of time, become one of the best-selling watches in the world, and is an important part of Apple’s pitch that all of your gadgets should work seamlessly together. But it’s also a popular health tracker, and it’s been rumored that this year’s top model could include a blood oxygen sensor.

A new iPad is also expected to be revealed, a next-generation iPad Air with a design that more closely resembles the iPad Pro. Notable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has predicted that some kind of 10.8-inch iPad would come to market in the second half of 2020, along with a new iPad mini in the subsequent months.

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