Apple won’t hold spring event due to COVID-19

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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 it’s latest products in front of a large crowd. However 2020, with the outbreak of COVID-19, looks set to be a an exception with the company unable to hold events due to restrictions on large gatherings and because it is unlikley to want to put its staff and customers at risk of catching Coronavirus.

The possible lack of events, at least in the first half of 2020, doesn’t necessarily mean that there will be no new product announcements. While these announcements might not be done on stage infront of a cheering crowd, Apple could instead broadcast a toned down keynote unveiling the new products.

However, it looks like some of the products in Apple’s roadmap might have been delayed due to the impact of the Chinese factories having to close in February. Apple uses a number of factories in China to manufacture its devices and the shutdowns will undoubtedly have set the company back.

Here we will look ahead to when the next Apple announcement will take place – whether it’s a full blown event or not – and what Apple will announce. Join us as we fill you in on whether there will be an Apple spring event in 2020 and when and if WWDC is likely to take place. Read on!

When does Apple 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, but you can 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)

Apple doesn’t need an event to launch a new product though. There were other notable announcements in 2019, including a new iPad Air and iPad mini in March, an update to the iPod touch in May, updates to the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air in July, the arrival of the AirPods Pro in October, the 16in MacBook Pro in November, and the Mac Pro in December.

Below we will outline what you can expect from the next Apple event: when it will happen, and the products and services that could be announced.

When is Apple’s next event?

As we said above, Apple’s big events tend to happen at roughly the same four times annually, so we’d normally be expecting the next event to happen in March. 

However, as we mentioned above, 2020 is a little different due to Coronavirus.

On 17 February a German website, iPhoneTicker.de, claimed that a source “from the Apple environment” has told them that the iPhone SE will launch at an Apple event on Tuesday 31 March, and will go on sale on Friday 3 April.

However, that was before the COVID-19 outbreak started to spread around the world and things are looking very different now.

On 10 March 2020 a source from Apple told Cult Of Mac that the rumoured 31 March event wouldn’t be going ahead due to Coronavirus.

According to the source, the reason Apple changed its plans for the event (no official invites were ever sent out) was because Apple is concerned about bringing together a large group of people at Apple Park and the difficulty ensuring social distancing at the event.

That is only part of the reason, but at least it shows that Apple is intent on not enabling the spread of the disease.

The other factor affecting Apple’s plans to hold the spring event is a ruling by Santa Clara County (where Cupertino is located). The ruling bans all gatherings of 1,000 people or more between 11 March and 1 April.

It’s not just the event that is being postponed though, the products expected to launch may also be delayed due to Coronavirus. According to the source, two of the key products have faced delays likely as a result of the factories in China having to close due to Coronavirus. You can read more about how Coronavirus is affecting Apple here.

It’s possible that Apple might delay these launches and hold an event later in the year if and when COVID-19 is under control.

When is the next Apple event: October event

When is the next Apple event: October event

In previous years Apple has held its spring event on the following dates:

  • 2019, Monday 25 March
  • 2018, Tuesday 27 March
  • 2017, no March event
  • 2016, Monday 21 March
  • 2015, Monday 9 March
  • 2014, no March event
  • 2013, no March event
  • 2012, Wednesday 7 March
  • 2011, Wednesday 2 March
  • 2010, Thursday 8 April (there was also a January event that year)

Next we will examine what Apple might announce at the event should it be postponed for a few months. Perhaps in 2020 Apple will hold a Summer Event rather than a Spring Event. We also have a predictions article that looks in more depth at Apple’s plans for 2020.

What will Apple launch the next event?

We’ll stop referring to it as a Spring Event as that is not going to happen. But Apple clearly has some new products up its sleeve and it is likely to want to make a big impact when it announces them.

In terms of what we were expecting to see in the Spring event in 2020, rumours were pointing to new iPad Pros and the arrival of an iPhone 9 (aka iPhone S2). More details below…

iPhone SE 2

After introducing the iPhone XR, XS and XS Max back in September 2018, Apple discontinued the iPhone SE, to the dismay of many. The SE was a popular iPhone, being both the smallest and the cheapest handset on offer.

However, rumours hint that Apple may yet launch a low-cost replacement for the iPhone SE – although it may not be a smaller phone. Usually spot-on analyst Ming Chi Kuo has suggested that the new iPhone SE could be based on the iPhone 8 and it could arrive in spring 2020 or at least the first half of the year.

The Coronavirus outbreak could delay the arrival of this new phone, but it certainly looks like it is coming.

Read the latest iPhone SE 2 news.

iPhone SE

iPhone SE

iPad Pro

There hasn’t been a new iPad Pro since October 2018, so surely we will see a new one at the start of 2020. The spring event has often been used as a venue for introducing new iPad models so it does look likely. Read more about the 2020 iPad Pro here.

New iPad Pro 2019

New iPad Pro 2019

Now for the less likely, but still possible updates…

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 by 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 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.

Alternatively Apple has already come to an agreement with a number of different TV manufacturers to enable AirPlay 2 compatibility on their sets, so perhaps there will be no need to use an Apple TV to stream Apple’s new content. Even Roku and Amazon include the new service on their devices.

We look at the rumours about the new Apple TV here. Plus read all about Apple TV+.

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.

Over-ear headphones

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 StudioPods here.

Apple headphones

Apple headphones

Mac mini update

There was no new Mac mini in 2019, given that it had been four years since the previous update maybe that’s not surprising. But we hope Apple will update it early in 2020.

WWDC 2020

WWDC stands for Worldwide Developers Conference. Is a software-focused event attended by developers. Apple usually announces the flagship features in its annual operating system updates for the benefit of third-party developer partners who will have to update their software to work with the new OS. Sometimes Apple reveals hardware updates at the event, but these tend to be professional kit rather than consumer-focused products.

However, WWDC is another event that could not take place – or be postponed until later in the year – due to COVID-19.

Normally Apple announces the date for WWDC in March, but no date has been announced at the time of writing. The company has to give a fair bit of notice for the event because tickets to WWDC are allocated via a ballot (which you may have to enter if you want to get WWDC tickets in 2020). In 2019 the ballot for WWDC has closed by 20 March.

If you want to find out more about why WWDC might not go ahead read: Will Apple cancel WWDC 2020.

It is possible that WWDC will go ahead but that people won’t attend in person. Apple normally broadcasts the keynote address so there is no reason why it wouldn’t still do this, and the sessions that developers attend are also available to developers who can’t attend.

In that case, you might want to find out how to watch WWDC from the comfort of your own home.

Based on the past few years, if it does go ahead at the usual time, we expect WWDC to fall around the 8 June, which would be unfortunate because 8 June is a Bank Holiday in the UK this year (the May bank holiday has been moved to June to celebrate VE-Day).

  • 2019, Monday 3 June
  • 2018, Monday 4 June
  • 2017, Monday 5 June
  • 2016, Monday 13 June
  • 2015, Monday 8 June
  • 2014, Monday 2 June
  • 2013, Monday 10 June
  • 2012, Monday 11 June
  • 2011, Monday 6 June
  • 2010, Monday 7 June

What will Apple launch at WWDC 2020?

At WWDC 2019 Apple told us about iOS 13 and macOS Catalina. It also unveiled the new Mac Pro and new display.

At WWDC 2018 we learned about iOS 12 and macOS Mojave. There were no hardware updates at that event.

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. And it may include the appearance of new Macs. Which new Macs? you ask…

When is the next Apple event: WWDC

When is the next Apple event: WWDC

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!

Here’s what we hope to see from the iMac in 2020.

MacBook

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 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. That’s when the company launches new iPhones (although in the past iPhones have very occasionally launched in the spring or at WWDC).

The Apple Watch tends to get an update at this event as well, and we can expect the company to announce the public release dates for the next versions of macOS and iOS (which were demonstrated at WWDC, but not released in their final form).

In 2020 we are expecting Apple to launch a 5G iPhone. Beyond that we don’t know much, yet, but we’ll be sure to update this as we discover more.

As for the date of the 2020 event, we predict 8th or 9th 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

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. Here’s the line up of the events that have and haven’t taken place:

  • 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

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.

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