The next Apple Event 2021 should be a big one. Though the company hasn’t sent out official invitations yet, it hosts a hot-ticket hardware event every September. But when exactly will it happen? And what devices will take the stage?
Most signs point to a mid-September event revealing the iPhone 13, Apple Watch 7 and AirPods 3. Last year Apple split its top launches into a series of virtual keynotes, and while we are still anticipating multiple Apple events before the year’s end, the September installment will be the one most people care about.
Apple pushed back its office return to January, so it’s likely these events will continue to be virtual. The company has already held two virtual keynotes this year: the Spring Loaded event featuring Apple AirTag key finders and colorful Apple iMac 2021, followed by WWDC 2021 in June.
After its September event, Apple could return in October or November (or both) with other rumored products like MacBook Pro 14-inch 2021, MacBook Pro 16-inch 2021, and iPad mini 6.
The collection of incoming devices means there are exciting times ahead for Apple fans. But it’s a lot to keep track of, so we’ve outlined everything you need to know about remaining Apple Event 2021 plans below.
Apple September 2021 event: When is it happening?
Last year Apple announced the iPhone 12, Apple Watch 6 and M1 MacBooks in three separate online launches between September 15 and November 10. Multiple supply chain insiders reported iPhone production delays may have played a role in Apple’s 2020 event game plan.
According to a report from DigiTimes, 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.” We don’t know how accurate the DigitTimes intel is, though.
Apple could just as likely return to its usual pattern and reveal its next-generation mobile devices together. The company tends to hold its fall events on Tuesdays. One rumor has Apple holding its iPhone 13 event on September 14, but we’ll have to see if that proves accurate.
Official schedule announcements and invitations are usually issued at least one week prior to events, so we’ll get advanced notice no matter which day the September keynote ends up taking place.
Apple’s most anticipated 2021 launch is the new iPhone. Thanks to several reports and leaks, we have a pretty good sense of what to expect from the iPhone 13 lineup.
We believe there are four iPhone 13 models arriving in the same iPhone 12 sizes. All four models should feature a smaller notch, faster A15 Bionic chip, larger batteries and improved 5G. iPhone 13 Pro models could get an always-on display option, dynamic 120Hz refresh rates and an improved ultrawide lens, too.
There are couple of more questionable rumors circulating. While in-screen TouchID is reportedly a no-go, Apple is reportedly testing revamped Face ID hardware that work with masks, making it easier for people to get into their iPhone when part of their face is covered. Also, according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the iPhone 13 will feature satellite communications, letting the phone send messages without a traditional cellular collection; reportedly, that capability will work as part of a new emergency messaging feature.
See our guide to the 7 biggest iPhone 13 rumors you need to know for a more in-depth look at possible new iPhone features, and our iOS 15 beta review for all the confirmed upgrades on the way. We also collected everything we know about the iPhone 13 cameras for you smartphone photography buffs.
Apple Watch 7
The Apple Watch 7 should be the best Apple Watch yet. We haven’t seen as many exciting Apple Watch 7 leaks as iPhone 13 ones, but we know of some possible changes.
For starters, the Apple Watch could be due for its biggest redesign in years. Say so long to the curved screen chassis — instead, several sources say the Apple Watch 7 will feature flat edges to better follow the iPhone’s design language. The Apple Watch 7 display will also be flat, and could benefit from a “new lamination technique” that raises the watch’s display closer to the top cover.
Another rumor from a leaker on Chinese site Weibo says that the Apple Watch 7 will come in two new larger sizes: 41mm and 45mm. This would be larger than the 40mm and 44mm sizes on the Apple Watch 6 and Apple Watch SE. The larger sizes, along with a new double-sided S7 processor, could finally offer a battery life boost.
Will it be enough for the Apple Watch 7 to be the best smartwatch overall? Even if we don’t see these major design changes, the watch will still ship with watchOS 8. The latest wearable software brings a new Mindfulness app, precipitation alerts, support for digital keys, multiple timers and more.
Of all the products mentioned here, the Apple Watch 7 seems the likeliest to get pushed back to a later Apple product event. A report claims the Apple Watch 7 could be delayed due to production woes, leaving it uncertain as to when Apple will unveil and ship its latest wearable.
Lastly, the AirPods 3 seem likely to debut in September. Following the success of the AirPods Pro and AirPods Max, Apple can cement its claim to the best wireless headphones around with a refresh of its entry-level earbuds.
The AirPods 3 reportedly entered mass production in August, while Apple has simultaneously scaled back production on current-gen AirPods. But with the rise of counterfeit AirPods sales, it’s difficult to gauge what other leaks are accurate.
Some reports say the latest model will look like AirPods Pro without the eartips, while others suggest the AirPods 3 will indeed feature flexible eartips. There are conflicting reports about the inclusion of active noise cancellation, too.
Most major features the AirPods 3 are likely to come as part of iOS 15 updates. The buds could get Dolby Atmos support and spatial audio to create a more cinematic experience. We’d also expect support for automatic switching, Headphones Accommodation for amplifying soft sounds and frequency adjustments, and Hearing Health, which has been updated to send notifications when listening to music that’s too loud.
Apple October 2021 event: New MacBook Pro, iPad and more
Apple’s launch-apalooza will likely continue into October, or even November. Unlike the mobile and wearble-centric September event, this one could focus on iPads and Macs. We know Apple is working on refreshed models within both product families.
Two new MacBooks are expected to bring an external, flat-edged redesign and internal overhaul through the M1X slice of Apple Silicon. Expect two models in the 14-inch MacBook Pro 2021 and 16-inch MacBook Pro 2021. The 14-incher would be a new size, and both systems are tipped to feature stunning mini-LED displays.
The current MacBook Pro M1 is excellent, but there’s always room for improvement. Apple could challenge the Dell XPS 13 to win a spot on our best laptop list with a much-improved webcam and the return of HDMI.
The one bummer could be price, with a recent rumor suggesting the upcoming 14-inch MacBook Pro will start at $1,799. We’re not sure how credible that tip is, though.
As for iPads, we might see both a new iPad mini and a new low-cost iPad, perhaps the iPad 9. The iPad mini 6 might get the iPad Pro’s full-screen design, as well as a larger 8.5 to 9-inch display. The iPad 9 could start at $299 and offer significant performance boosts compared to the Apple iPad 2020.
Apple Events: What’s next?
The iPhone 13, Apple Watch 7, AirPods 3, new Macbook Pros, iPad mini 6 and iPad 9 should bring us to the end of 2021. It’s not uncommon for Apple to toss in a surprise product launch in late December, though it could come via press release instead of event. It could be a Mac Mini 2021 or MacBook Air 2021, or perhaps something a little more experimental.
Other products we’ve heard early rumors about include the AirPods Pro 2, which are arguably due for a refresh. Further on the horizon are Apple Glasses or an Apple VR and mixed reality headset. And an Apple Car could come at some point down the road.
Tim Cook is allegedly planning to step down after “one more” big product reveal sometime between 2025 and 2028, so at least one of those innovations could be a few years out.
So, keep your eyes tuned to Tom’s Guide, as we’ve got our eyes on Apple events.