September 8, 1PM EDT, update below. This post was first published at 6AM EDT, September 8, 2020.
It’s Tuesday, September 8. Apple would probably be holding its annual iPhone and Apple Watch event this week in a regular year. But so far, there’s not even been an announcement of when such an event (virtual, I presume) might take place today.
Several of the world’s key Apple predictors have said that today’s the day… for something to happen. Jon Prosser of Front Page Tech, who has quickly become one of the most reliable and prolific of leakers, says that Apple will, by press release, announce the next iPad Air and Apple Watch Series 6 today.
September 8, 1PM EDT, update. So, did Apple announce Apple Watch Series 6 and iPad Air today, as Jon Prosser predicted? Well, actually, it kinda did. In fact, what happened was Apple sent out invites to its next special event, scheduled for next Tuesday, September 15. That’s all. No product details, nothing.
Except. Look at the invite’s legend: Time Flies.
That’s about as clear as it can be that it’s about the Apple Watch. Whatever else is or isn’t announced, Apple Watch Series 6 (and just possibly Apple Watch SE) is going to be front-and-center.
And if the iPad that’s going to be revealed is an iPad Air, well, that fits with the lightness that you might associate with something that flies, right? Think I’m taking this too far? Apple’s invites are known for their gnomic obscurities that are just all too clear once the announcement has been made. “How could we have missed that?” we might ask afterwards.
There’s an Easter egg in the invite. If you view it here through an iPhone or iPad, and tap the swirly Apple logo, you’ll see it animate in augmented reality morph into the date, 9- 15. Don’t read it, as I did, as the time, that’s quite wrong. Though do, please, note the cute shadow the floaty image casts on the floor.
So, as for those predictions… Well, Prosser was wrong that iPad Air and Watch were being revealed today – and on the other hand he was sort of right, assuming the special event is all about those products. And Gurman was spot on that today’s Apple shenanigans would be the announcement of a September event. But also wrong, because it may not be an iPhone event, as he predicted. He has now updated his prognostications to suggest that iPad and Watch will come next week and iPhone will arrive later.
He’s not the only one to think this, and has pointed out that Apple Watch Series 5 is completely sold out in some versions, in some countries (though it’s available in the U.K.). Low or no stocks are traditionally associated with exceptionally imminent product replacement.
Additionally, he says it’s actually been removed from the Apple homepage. Again, that’s not the case in the U.K., where Series 5 is front-and-center and it seems now to be back in the U.S. as well.
Even so, Prosser has multiple sources for all his stories and he says they are not budging in their insistence that there’ll be a tablet and a Watch released today. He said last night:
But before we settle in and click refresh on the Apple site to see the new products – Prosser says it’s likely to be around 9AM Eastern – there’s another voice to be listened to.
Mark Gurman, from Bloomberg, is another analyst with an exceptional track record. Here’s what Gurman said last Sunday:
Gurman is well-connected, but my personal belief on when the iPhone will be announced is that it may be an October event, not September – full details here. Even so, the possibility that today’s activity will be solely to announce the date of the next Apple keynote remains a live one.
The predicted timing seems early, though. In my experience, Apple sends out press invitations to its events later in the day, usually around 1PM Eastern. Still, we’ll see.
Gurman’s belief that the iPhone and Watch will be revealed at the same time holds water: the two products are intensely intertwined. Look no further than this year’s WWDC where new features for Maps such as cycling routes were introduced for watchOS and iOS at the same time. The iPad is not so linked to the Watch – you need an iPhone to pair your Watch to, not an iPad – so maybe it could come first. The software, iPadOS is increasingly distinct from iOS. Even so, the connections are so strong it’s still a surprise that an iPad would be revealed before the next iPhone. Previously, the latest iPad has been unveiled either at the iPhone event or in a separate one that followed a few weeks after.
All of which leaves us where, precisely?
It’s very difficult to know. Both tipsters are very reliable, but one of them has to be wrong here (unless product and keynote are announced today).
My gut feeling is that Apple Watch is too important to be revealed by press release alone. And if the new iPad is the rumored iPad Air with a dazzling new design, then an event is called for, I’d say.
But if the new iPad is a gentle update to the current base-level model, I could buy into the idea of a press release doing the trick there.
We’ll find out soon enough. If those products are not announced today, they are still plenty imminent and at least we may find out exactly when they will be revealed.
Stay tuned: when there’s news I’ll update this post and you’ll be the first to know.
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