Apple doesn’t often participate in big industry-wide events like CES or E3. The most valuable company in the world holds its own events, thank you very much. Several times a year, Apple invites the press and industry professionals out to a theater to hear all about its latest products and services. Apple calls these “Special Events,” and streams them online to its millions of fans.
There’s also WWDC, Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference, a multi-day event in the middle of the year focused on sessions for developers, helping them make the most out of the latest Apple tools and products. It kicks off with a big keynote that serves to announce new products (typically the latest versions of iOS and macOS, as well as a few hardware products).
Apple usually announces the exact dates of its special events only a couple weeks in advance, but it tends to hold events at similar times from one year to the next. Here’s a list of the events we expect Apple to hold in 2020, and what we expect the company to announce at each one. We’ll update this list throughout the year as we get a clearer picture of when Apple will take the stage and what it will announce.
iPhone 12: Mid-October
There are currently lots of rumors swirling around about the iPhone 12, some of them contradictory. It’s expected that at least some of the models will feature 5G connectivity, upgraded cameras with “time of flight” sensors, and that both the regular and high-end “Pro” models will have OLED displays. We can certainly expect the new iPhones to have a new A14 processor.
However, it is broadly expected that at least some of these products will ship a few weeks later than usual this year due to complications caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. We expect Apple to announce the iPhone 12 sometime in October (in the second or third week) with perhaps some models shipping that week, and others a few weeks later.
Apple may have yet more products to introduce. Rumors and leaks suggest that Apple could release it’s AirTags tracking devices at any time, and the company has publicly committed to releasing its first Macs with Apple silicon before the end of the year.
Other products, like AirPods Studio headphones, or a smaller and more affordable HomePod, may also be on the way.
Apple could announce all these things during the iPhone 12 event, but we suspect that some will be announced there (like AirTags) and others will get their own event later this year, or a direct-to-web release.
Awards and honors
Apple has given out app awards for years, but 2019 was the first time there was an actual ceremony for such. The Best of 2019 app awards were held at small event in New York, with mostly the nominated developers and some press in attendance. It was not streamed online.
Also for the first time in 2019, Apple held an awards ceremony for Apple Music. There was a live-streamed performance by Artist of the Year Billie Elish as part of it, the event as a whole was kept mostly to the music industry.
At WWDC, Apple presents its Apple Design Awards. Awards are presented to developers for outstanding artistry, technical achievement, user interface and application design.
Now that Apple has set a precedent with such events, it seems likely to continue in 2020. The only question is whether they will continue to be mostly subdued, industry-specific events or whether it will seek a larger audience.