Nobody needs reminding that 2020 was an unusual year, but one of the changes forced by the pandemic may be revived for 2021, according to a new report from DigiTimes (opens in new tab).
Last year, rather than introducing the iPhone 12, Apple Watch 6 and M1 MacBooks in one big showcase, Apple had three online launches spread between September 15 and November 10. This was, in part, because of the pandemic, with the iPhone’s typical September launch event pushed back to October, reportedly due to supply chain issues.
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This time around, according to DigiTimes' unnamed sources, Apple will do the same again, but with a much tighter schedule. The company will reportedly host “a series of product launch conferences in September,” with one apparently dedicated to the ninth-generation iPad (though presumably also including the rumored iPad mini 6.)
If true, that could theoretically include up to four events for a gruelling one-per-week schedule: one for iPhone 13 handsets, one for the Apple Watch 7, one for the redesigned 2021 MacBook Pros and another for iPads.
That sounds like an unnecessarily tight timeframe to work to, though, and we think it's unlikely that Apple will go down that route. These events take a lot of preparation, and putting on one per week for a month feels like a tall order.
More likely is that Apple could hold two events in September — possibly one for the iPhone 13 range and one for iPads and Apple Watch — with the MacBook launch coming later in the fall.
This is all pure speculation on our part, of course, but it does back up something that well-connected Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman mentioned in passing (opens in new tab) in a recent Power On newsletter, where he said that Apple would hold multiple events in the fall — albeit without the specific mention of September for all of them.
There are, of course, clear benefits to holding multiple events from a marketing perspective: it means that reporters covering launches have space to give everything a fair write up, without having to prioritize the most interesting things covered.
But if Apple prefers to speak directly to consumers, then the opposite is true. According to MacRumors (opens in new tab), nearly two million people tuned in for Apple’s 2019 event where the iPhone 11 was unveiled.
And Apple took the opportunity to expose those captive eyeballs to other products (opens in new tab) including the Apple Watch 5, seventh-generation iPad, Apple Arcade and new shows coming to Apple TV Plus. If each of those had its own event then, bluntly, far fewer people would know that Apple Arcade exists today.
If the DigiTimes report proves accurate, then Apple’s own data must show that last year’s pandemic-enforced schedule was actually beneficial for both media and consumer interest in its products. But given last year was far from normal, with more people stuck at home and looking for streamed entertainment, it would be brave to bet on the same outcome in 2021, when things are a bit more open.
We shall have to see what happens when the invites begin to arrive in the next couple of weeks.
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