Find out what will launch at Apple’s WWDC Keynote Event, including when it will take place and whether the company might hold other events in 2020
Wondering when Apple will hold its next keynote event to reveal new products? Throughout the year there are normally up to four events at which Apple unveils its latest products in front of a large crowd. However 2020, with the COVID-19 pandemic, looks set to be an exception with the company unable to hold events due ‘stay at home’ guidance and restrictions on gatherings.
But Apple’s inability to hold physical events doesn’t mean that there will be no events – and it certainly doesn’t mean there will be no new product announcements.
Apple has already unveiled a number of new products during the first few months of 2020, including a new MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, new iPad Pro models and the iPhone SE. So clearly Apple isn’t letting not being able to hold events stop it from announcing products.
And there will be at least one event: the company has announced that it will be broadcasting a keynote address at the beginning of its Worldwide Developers Conference.
In this article we’ll take a look at what we can expect from the WWDC Keynote event and what products might be announced by Apple in June. We will then we’ll look ahead to the autumn and what we might see from Apple – including whether there will be a keynote event to reveal the iPhone 12.
When is Apple’s next event?
Apple’s next event will be the WWDC keynote address which will be streamed.
WWDC will kick of on Monday 22 June as an online event. The keynote always takes place on the first day of the conference and it usually starts at 10am PT (which is 6pm BST), but we are awaiting confirmation of timings from Apple.
What will Apple launch the WWDC event?
This year’s WWDC announcements are likely to be more subdued because they won’t be done on stage in front of a cheering crowd, but it’s clear that Apple will have a number of announcements to make. We’ll detail what we expect Apple to launch below, but first we’ll recap what Apple has announced at WWDC in the past:
At WWDC 2017 we heard about iOS 11 and macOS 10.13 High Sierra. We also got our first look at the new iMac Pro which was previewed alongside the launch of new iMacs and an updated MacBook Pro and MacBook.
It doesn’t take a genius, then, to predict that WWDC 2020 will feature updates to Apple’s operating systems (iOS 14, macOS 10.16, tvOS, watchOS, and so on) but it may also include the appearance of other hardware. What might that be, you ask…
Tag object tracker
Graphical assets discovered in internal betas of iOS 13 strongly suggest that Apple is going to launch some kind of object tracker in the near future. This small disc or sticker will be applicable to keys, wallets and other important items, and will then be trackable in the revamped Find My app (which combines the old Find My iPhone and Find My Friends apps). We thought there was a chance we could have seen this at the September 2019 event, but it was a no show.
We examine these rumours here: Apple to unveil ‘Tag’ object tracker
Mini Apple TV
Now that Apple has its TV+ subscription service, how about a smaller, cheaper Apple TV to go with it? If Apple wants to reach the masses with its service, a dongle that will let them stream Apple’s new content to their TV sets could be an essential part of the equation.
There are reports that the company is ready to launch updated Apple TV hardware, so maybe we’ll see it at WWDC.
New HomePod and HomePod mini
Apple’s also rumoured to be gearing up to launch a new HomePod and potentially a HomePod mini. The latter is probably wishful thinking, but such a move would, presumably, help Apple gain market share in the smart speaker space.
Read about the Mini HomePod and HomePod 2.
There were new AirPods announced at the beginning of 2019 and then the AirPods Pro arrived in October 2019, but the company is also said to be planning to introduce some new over ear headphones that we might see in spring 2020.
We’ve collected the most plausible and interesting rumours about the AirPods Studio here.
It may not be the over-ear headphones that launch in June – we may instead see cheaper AirPods Lite. Or perhaps we’ll see both!
New iMac – with a new design!
The iMac has looked the same for around a decade, change is well overdue and 2020 might be the year we finally see it!
Alternatively we’ll see a new iMac in the same old design, but with much-needed specs improvements.
Apple didn’t update the MacBook in 2018 or 2019, in fact it discontinued it!!! So why are we even mentioning it here?
Well we think that Apple does have something up its sleeve and that we could be seeing an all new MacBook with an Apple-made processor and potentially the ability to run iOS at some point in the future. Read about the rumours about the new MacBook here.
September 2020 iPhone event
The September Apple event is usually the highlight of Apple’s year – it being the event where the company launches new iPhones. This year’s crop of iPhones are expected to offer 5G. We also tend to see an update to the Apple Watch and the company is likely to reveal the public release dates for the next versions of macOS and iOS.
Obviously it’s unlikely that the company will hold an event in September 2020 due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Will Apple hold a virtual keynote instead? Possibly, although when the company launched the iPhone SE earlier in 2020 it didn’t need an event to do so.
However, Apple is likely to want to make a splash with the new 5G iPhones, and it will no doubt want to demonstrate the new features in iOS and macOS as it tends to do at these events, so we do expect some sort of presentation.
But when will this event happen? If the company holds the event in September as usual we predict 8 or 9 September 2020, based on the dates of previous years’ events:
- 2019, Tuesday 10 September
- 2018, Wednesday 12 September
- 2017, Tuesday 12 September
- 2016, Wednesday 7 September
- 2015, Wednesday 9 September
- 2014, Tuesday 9 September
- 2013, Tuesday 10 September
- 2012, Wednesday 12 September
However, we are hearing rumours that suggest that due to supply chain disruption and other COVID-19 related issues the new iPhones could be delayed, in which case we might see them launch at a virtual October event… More on that below.
October 2020 event
Apple often holds an event in October at which, in previous years, we have seen the company unveil iPads and Macs. In 2018 we saw Apple update the iPad Pro and also reveal a new MacBook Air and Mac mini – two consumer-oriented Macs that had been long neglected.
But there was no October event in 2019 and given the circumstances we aren’t expecting an October event in 2020, unless there isn’t a September event due to delays in getting the iPhone 12 ready to ship.
If the iPhone event is delayed it’s hard to predict when it might take place. The usual October event is towards the end of the month, but that’s only a few weeks after the big event. We’d presume that if there is no September event that the October event would happen in the first half of that month.
The October events of the past have (or haven’t) taken place on these dates:
- 2019, no October event
- 2018, Tuesday 30 October
- 2017, no October event
- 2016, Thursday 27 October
- 2015, no October event
- 2014, Thursday 16 October
- 2013, Tuesday 22 October
- 2012, Tuesday 23 October
- 2011, Tuesday 4 October
Even if the iPhone 12 does launch in September that doesn’t mean there won’t be any October announcements, but we’d expect Apple to issue press releases rather than hold an event.
Spring 2021 event
With no spring event in 2020 will Apple hold one in 2021? Here’s what the company has unveiled at the spring events of the past.
In the past, Apple has made significant announcements at its spring events. In 2015 Apple held an event called ‘Spring Forward’ on 9 March, where it announced pricing and the launch date for the original Apple Watch and unveiled the 12in MacBook. Then on 21 March 2016, at the ‘Let us loop you in’ event, we got the iPhone SE, the iPad Pro 9.7 and iOS 9.3.
Spring 2017 was a bit of a disappointment for Apple followers: instead of a full-blown event the company quietly closed down its online store then sent out a press release announcing the launch of the iPad 2017 and the red iPhone 7.
Then in 2018 Apple held an education-focused event on 27 March at a school in Chicago. The company made a series of announcements including a new iPad (with support for Apple Pencil), updates to Pages, Numbers and Keynote, and GarageBand. As well as talking at length about what it can do for teachers and students.
When does Apple usually hold events?
Apple generally holds a number of events in the year, one in the spring, one in the summer, one in September and one in October. Some years there will be no spring event and other years Apple will skip the October event, like it did in 2019. Obviously 2020 is a little different to usual, but normally we’d expect a line up something like this:
- March, or spring (education and creativity themes, often includes iPads)
- June (WWDC – mostly software, sometimes high-end/pro hardware)
- September (iPhones and Apple Watches)
- October (iPads and sometimes consumer-focused Macs)
Author: Karen Haslam, Editor
An ex-Apple PR, Karen’s career highlights include interviewing Apple’s Steve Wozniak and discussing Steve Jobs’ legacy on the BBC. Her focus is Mac, but she lives and breathes Apple.