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Though this year’s iPhone launches will be delayed by a few weeks relative to their traditional late September street dates, Apple isn’t stopping its annual fall hype train from leaving the station this month. The company announced today that a media event will indeed take place on September 15, roughly a week after its typical iPhone and Apple Watch debuts, setting the stage for new devices to arrive in October. But the event apparently won’t include the new iPhone — it will feature new Apple Watch and iPad models.
Like the company’s WWDC20 developers’ conference, this event will be virtual rather than in-person, livestreamed online for immediate viewing across the globe. The stream will start at 10 a.m. Pacific Time (1 p.m. Eastern) on Apple.com for viewing through browsers, as well as on the TV apps for iOS, iPadOS, and tvOS devices.
The Apple Watch Series 6 is expected to be shown off at the event, including sensor and battery improvements, while a redesigned iPad Air is also likely to be featured. Rumors suggest Apple will also introduce a replacement for the Apple Watch Series 3 that is heavily based on the Apple Watch Series 5, but lacking ECG heart monitoring functionality. Wildcards such as a new Apple TV 4K+ and an Apple Silicon-powered Mac computer might also show up, along with a host of accessories ranging from AirTag object trackers to AirPods Studio headphones.
Some products could be held for a subsequent event in October, or not released at all this year. Apple was expected to use a September event to announce the iPhone 12 family, including two flagship-class iPhone 12 sizes and two premium-class iPhone 12 Pro models, variously differentiated with extra cameras, steel bodies, and faster 5G cellular technologies. The new iPhones may see limited or staggered availability due to COVID-19-related production challenges, but they are expected to become widely available in time for the holidays.
The event will also likely confirm the release dates for iOS, iPadOS, and tvOS 14, watchOS 7, and macOS Big Sur, operating systems that were formally introduced at WWDC in June. Last year, Apple offered firm release dates for everything except macOS Catalina, which ultimately lagged the others by several weeks.
Updated at 8:50 a.m. Pacific: This article has been updated to note that the event is now expected to focus on the Apple Watch and iPad rather than the iPhone. While the logo above appeared on Apple’s Special Events page with little description, the company subsequently announced “Time Flies” as its tagline for the event, hinting at the Watch (Time) and iPad Air (Flies) as marquee announcements.
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