August 11 update below. This post was first published on August 9, 2023.
The next Apple special event is expected to take place in September, and it now looks like the exact date has been set. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman has just tweeted that he thinks the unveil date will be Tuesday, September 12.
Now, I hate to say I told you so, but as regular readers will know, I’ve repeatedly said that this seemed a more likely and more logical date than the other one Gurman had proposed, Wednesday, September 13. He mentioned this in his most recent Power On newsletter, claiming that the reveal would be September 12 or 13. He also said that the release date would be “around September 22.”
To be clear, I’m still not completely ruling out the week before, with the event on Wednesday, September 6 and release date on September 15. After all, last year some pundits—including Mark Gurman—were betting on Tuesday, September 13 as the announcement date, but opinions changed around August 20 last year and the smart money moved to an announcement on September 7, which turned out to be the case.
That move could still happen this year but my belief is that September 12 is the date of the special event. Apple would definitely like to go earlier if it can, but I’m not hearing anything that suggests that will happen. The earlier date would mean extra iPhone sales in the financial quarter ending September 30. I’m not sure that Apple’s guidance to how the next quarter plays out suggested 16 days of iPhone 15 sales, so this may also indicate the week commencing September 11 for the unveiling.
Most likely, then, Tuesday, September 12, not the day after, will be when we’re tuning into the keynote at the Steve Jobs Theater, at 10a.m. Pacific time.
And while Gurman predicts that the iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Plus, iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max will go on sale “around September 22”, I think we can be more definite. Apple always releases its iPhones on a Friday, so it will be exactly Friday, September 22.
These dates will also apply to the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra (second-generation) as well.
Gurman says that “things can still theoretically change,” and I agree, though it’s unlikely to be earlier and super-unlikely to be later. That doesn’t mean that every iPhone will go on sale on September 22, and some supplies could be constrained.
But every indication now is that some phones will be available then, at least.
Oh, and here’s the thing, we may be able to put ourselves out of this misery of uncertainty quite soon: last year Apple revealed the date of the event on August 24, so we could know for certain in just a couple of weeks’ time. Oh, please. The suspense is killing me.
August 10 update. Further information about Apple’s big event on September 12 has now come from Mark Gurman. In a new tweet, the Bloomberg journalist has said that the event will continue the recent tradition of hybrid events, that is, it’ll be introduced on stage live by Apple CEO Tim Cook, and then a pre-recorded movie will be shown to announce the new products.
There’s no doubt there are significant benefits to this approach: Apple’s production values are sky-high and lead to gorgeous, memorable presentations. The movies were first used when Covid restrictions meant an in-person event was impossible, and continued at first for safety reasons, perhaps, so that if there was a sudden uptick in Covid, the recorded version could still be seen. But Apple has embraced the new format I think because it likes the splendor of the pre-record and the guarantee that demos can’t go wrong, of course.
Personally, I miss the live versions, not least because presenters like Craig Federighi and Greg Joswiak are very skilled, and can respond brilliantly to the live audience. In Federighi’s case in particular, this meant timing his delivery to the “comical shenanigans”, as he called them, built into his segments. But there will doubtless be laughs in the auditorium as usual.
Gurman also predicts a hands-on session afterwards and while this is highly likely, it’s never guaranteed: there was no general hands-on of Vision Pro in June, only behind-closed-doors previews to individual invitees. Whereas those took place in a beautifully designed purpose-built building across the Apple campus, this is likely to be in the Steve Jobs Theater, in a dedicated ante-room set up for the event, which is closed off to guests until the keynote ends.
August 11 update. I mean, it’s not enough to speculate on when the iPhones will go on sale, let alone when the Apple event will take place. By the way, my predictions for those remain the same, that is, Friday, September 22 for the onsale date and Tuesday, September 12 for the announcement.
No, the next level of prediction affects exactly when Apple will announce the special event. Yes, that’s right, the question is when will Apple reveal when the announcement will take place to reveal when the iPhones will go on sale. It’s all getting very meta.
But 9to5Mac has now started pinning a date on the day Apple sends out invites to the keynote. Assuming the September 12 date is right (and there’s a lot of assumptions going on here), then Apple will probably confirm that date between seven and 12 days beforehand, that is, between Thursday, August 31 and Tuesday, September 5.
If Apple can bring the event forward to Wednesday, September 6, then everything shifts back a week. My personal belief is that although Apple would love to go earlier, that September 12 is now set in slowly-hardening concrete.
Last year’s keynote took place on September 7, and invites were sent out on August 24, and that was a full 14 days before, so it’s also possible (sorry to disagree with you, 9to5Mac) that actually the invites could become public knowledge even earlier, as soon as Tuesday, August 29.
But there’s another factor you need to take into account. One of the biggest electronics trade shows in the world, alongside CES that takes over in Las Vegas every January, is IFA. IFA is held in late summer in Berlin and is a monstrously huge coming-together of brands, journalists and the public. Apple often announces its keynote while IFA is taking place.
I’m not saying Apple takes some kind of delight in drawing attention away from the big announcements in the German capital, but it happens so regularly that I can’t quite rule that out, either. This year, IFA takes place from Friday, September 1 to Tuesday, September 5.
So, while August 29 is absolutely possible, my guess is that Apple will want to time its announcement-of-the-announcement for that instant when IFA is getting started. Apple never, I mean, never wants to enter the news cycle on a Friday, so the day before, Thursday, August 31, seems odds-on favorite for this.
At which point, we can all breathe a collective sigh of relief and get on with counting the days until this year’s iPhones are unveiled.