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Beyond the Apple September 7 event — what’s next for Apple

Tim Cook at Apple Event
(Image credit: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

[Update: Apple's MacBook Pro 2022 14-inch and 16-inch tipped to be coming soon]

Tim Cook will take to the stage of the Steve Jobs Theater tomorrow (September 7) to lead off the now-annual Apple September event. And if recent history is any guide, it won't be the last time we see Cook and Company this fall.

Apple is a big company, one with lots of different products receiving fairly regular updates. And as a maker of consumer electronics, Apple likes to get as many of those products onto retail shelves in time for holiday shopping. That means a lot of product announcements — more than can fit into any one event. And so, we've become accustomed to a fall with multiple product events from Apple and not just the lone September announcement.

After all, when you're one of the largest companies in the world by market capitalization, people tend to show up when you invite them to a press event. And given Apple's recent history with scheduling different product events in September and October, we don't anticipate that ending any time soon.

Even with a September Apple event happening within the next 24 hours, it's not too early to wonder what else might be on Apple's agenda for the fall. Here's a look at why it's likely Apple has more than one product event planned for the coming months and what the company could be planning to reveal.

What Apple events to we already know about?

As we've noted, there's already one Apple event on the schedule, and it's happening in less than a day's time. Apple's Far Out event begins at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT on Wednesday, September 7 with Apple's first in-person event in quite some time. Don't worry if you didn't get an invite — Apple's going to live stream the announcement, and you can follow our guide on how to watch the September 7 Apple event.

Apple event september 7 2022 at 10 a.m. PT

(Image credit: Apple)

When you do tune in, expect new iPhones to lead the charge of product announcements. Specifically, Apple is likely to show off the iPhone 14 lineup, with the biggest rumored changes coming to the iPhone 14 Pro models. That includes a new processor, improved wide and ultrawide cameras, faster charging speeds and a new look that ditches the iPhone's iconic notch. Besides the standard iPhone 14, Apple is likely to drop the iPhone mini for a big-screen iPhone 14 Max handset that offers a 6.7-inch display at a lower price than the iPhone 14 Pro Max.

We're expecting more than just phones on Wednesday. Apple could also show off the latest Apple Watch models, led by the Apple Watch 8. Leakers are also tipping Apple to come out with multiple smartwatches, including a higher-end Apple Watch 8 Pro and an entry level Apple Watch SE 2.

Whether Apple shows off any accessories is anyone's guess, but the AirPods Pro 2 appear to be a likely candidate. For one, it's been nearly three years since the original AirPods Pro came out. For another, one of the rumored features — the ability to track workouts — would be tied to the Apple Watch.

Apple tends to block out an hour for its product events, and four new phones, three new watches and a pair of updated wireless earbuds seems like it would fill that time.

Are any other Apple products in the works?

If the iPhone, Apple Watch and AirPods Pro take up all of Apple's September 7 event, what else does that leave Apple to unveil? Checking the rumor mill for other potential products goes a long way toward helping guess if future Apple product events could appear after the dust settles from this week's announcements.

iPads: Apple already released an iPad Air earlier this year, but it's likely not done shuffling up its table lineup. A new base model could be in the works with iPad 2022 rumors pointing to a redesign that features flat sides and a pronounced camera bump. Upgrades like a switch to USB-C connectivity and the A14 Bionic processor could be in the works for the iPad as well.

Apple also seems inclined to freshen up its iPad Pro offerings. The biggest rumored change for the iPad Pro 2022 involves the M2 chip that Apple introduced to its laptops in June finding its way to the Pro tablets.

Macs with Apple silicon: Speaking of laptops, Apple has continued the migration to its own chips, rolling out the 13-inch MacBook Air 2022 and MacBook Pro 2022 over the summer. Rumors have pointed to more MacBook Pro models arriving in late 2022, with M2 Pro and M2 Max providing the horsepower. The Mac Mini has gone a long while in between updates, suggesting a Mac Mini 2022 release could be in the offing.

M2 at WWDC 2022

(Image credit: Apple via YouTube)

One bit of Mac hardware we're unlikely to see this fall is the rumored iMac Pro 2023, a potential replacement for the 27-inch iMac that debuted last year. Early rumors about this particular machine hinted at a 2022 release, but the latest info suggests a 2023 launch.

Apple TV: With a 2021 version of the Apple TV 4K coming out not that long ago, you wouldn't imagine Apple would have another set-top box waiting in the wings. Yet, that hasn't stopped Apple TV 2022 rumors from surfacing. This model would likely feature a new processor, more RAM and a potentially more attractive price.

There's an outside chance of an Apple TV update popping up during the September 7 event, if Apple's crowded schedule allows. Otherwise, this could be a product that pops up at a subsequent event later in the fall.

HomePod 2: With all the stuff that Apple makes, it's sometimes easy to forget about the HomePod, the company's smart speaker. And yet, the last two years have seen HomePod updates, introducing the HomePod mini in 2020 and then updating it with new colors last year.

Rumors suggest a HomePod 2 could be in development, with Apple potentially trying its hand once again at a larger smart speaker. (It's possible that HomePod 2 rumors also refer to a HomePod mini follow-up.) It's unclear when such a product might be ready, with analysts floating dates ranging from late 2022 to early next year.

Apple VR/AR headset: Rumors have claimed for some time that Apple is preparing to jump into the world of virtual reality in a big way. Its first entry into that field, a mixed reality headset, could be getting closer to launch, though most people familiar with Apple's reported plans figure that a 2023 release is in the cards.

apple mixed reality and vr headset fan render from below

(Image credit: Ian Zelbo)

That doesn't preclude us from seeing the VR/AR headset earlier, though. Traditionally, Apple has given us plenty of lead time when it enters a new market. The first iPhone debuted at the January 2007 Macworld Expo, but didn't hit stores until the end of June. Similarly, the Apple Watch got a preview in 2014, but didn't actually ship until 2015. You could see Apple doing something similar with its first VR/AR product — preview the device first before launching it at a later date.

How recently has Apple held multiple product launches in the fall?

It's actually more uncommon for Apple to hold just one fall product launch than multiple events. Looking back at the company's recent history dating back to 2016, only two years — 2017 and 2019 featured a single product event.

Here's a quick recap of how Apple has spent its last six falls.

  • October 2021: MacBook Pro with M1 Pro or M1 Max, all-new AirPods, HomePod mini
  • September 2021: iPhone 13 Pro, iPhone 13, Apple Watch 7, iPad mini, iPad.
  • November 2020: M1 chip with new Macbook air, 13-inch MacBook Pro and Mac Mini models
  • October 2020: iPhone 12 lineup, HomePod mini
  • September 2020: Apple Watch 6, iPad Air
  • September 2019: iPhone 11 and Apple Watch 5, plus Apple services
  • October 2018: New Macs and the iPad Pro
  • September 2018: iPhone XS/XS Max and XR, Apple Watch 4, HomePod
  • September 2017: iPhone X and iPhone 8, Apple Watch 3, Apple TV 4K
  • October 2016: MacBook Pro with Final Cut Pro X, new TV apps for Apple TV, iPhone and iPad
  • September 2016: iPhone 7/7 Plus, Apple Watch 2

What Apple product events should we expect for the rest of 2022?

It's pretty clear Apple tends to split fall events into two categories — one for phones and watches, the other for computing devices. (The one year Apple held three events, with a dedicated Apple Watch launch was in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, when the iPhone 12 lineup faced production delays.) We'd expect that pattern to continue in 2022.

With iPhones and Apple Watches likely to be taken care of at the September 7 event, that leaves a likely October event to show off new iPads and Macs. (Scheduling the event for October leaves enough time for Apple to get products out before the holidays without also drawing attention away from its iPhone launch.) To that end, an October 2022 event could see a new iPad and iPad Pro, along with MacBook Pro and Mac Mini announcements. The rumored Apple TV update is a wildcard that could show up at either event.

More proof of an October event emerged after we initially published this article. Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, in his column previewing the September 7 product launch (opens in new tab), says there will be an October release for the iPad Pro and "high-end Macs."

We wouldn't hold out hope for an Apple VR/AR headset sneak preview this year. That seems something more likely to happen in 2023, closer to the rumored launch of the device. Similarly, rumors point to any new HomePod and iMac Pro news not happening until next year, and we'll assume that's accurate for now.

Then again, all of this is just guesswork, at least until Apple produces yet another fall launch invitation. For now, we'll concentrate on the Apple event we do know about — though we're keeping our October schedules clear.

Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.