Apple CEO Tim Cook kicked off the event from Apple’s spaceship-looking headquarters in Cupertino, California. He nodded to the pandemic in his opening remarks saying “we know life won’t always be like this” and said “we look forward to better days.”
He confirmed today’s event will focus on two products: the Apple Watch and iPad.
Apple usually launches new devices in front of a packed auditorium at its headquarters in Cupertino, California.
Not this year.
The coronavirus pandemic has forced big tech companies — including Apple rivals such as Samsung and Microsoft — to abandon splashy in-person events and unveilings they love so much. And it’s still not clear when those will be back.
That hasn’t stopped Apple from rolling out a bunch of new products and services virtually already, including a new lineup of MacBooks and iPads in March, a new low-cost iPhone SE in April, and a host of software updates at its (first-ever online) Worldwide Developer Conference in June.
Today’s event, yet again, will be streamed live on Apple’s website and YouTube starting at 10 am PT/1 pm ET.
Announcements about Apple TV+ and Apple Arcade made a splash at last year’s September event. But the hype around them has seemingly waned since then.
Some analysts expect services will come up again at Apple’s Tuesday event — the announcements could include Apple TV+ bundles with other content offerings — which could reignite excitement around Apple’s services business.
While Apple is still predominantly a hardware company, services represent a huge growth opportunity and 20% of the company’s overall sales. They’re a way for Apple to earn some extra billions from its customers in between device upgrades.
If Apple wants to maximize the potential of its digital subscriptions, experts say it will have to make them more appealing to the hundreds of millions of people who buy its gadgets.
Apple TV+, for example, needs a deeper well of content if it wants to compete with the likes of Netflix and Hulu.
They’ve got to build greater volume,” said Zak Shaikh, vice president of consulting for global media and entertainment with Magid. “‘The Morning Show’ garnered a lot of critical acclaim. But it’s not just about having that one, big splashy show that gets nominated, it’s about the volume.”
The Apple Watch outsold the entire Swiss watch industry last year, and many analysts say the device’s health and fitness features have a lot to do with its popularity.
Connected health has become even more important in 2020 as we deal with a global pandemic, and, according to rumors, Apple could pack its latest watch with features such as blood oxygen monitoring.
Don’t be surprised to hear Apple double down on what its technology is doing to help in the current crisis — and how its can help you live a healthier safer life in the future.
The company announced earlier this year that a long-awaited sleep-tracking feature will be added to the watch in its latest software update.
Apple has been gunning for a foothold in the trillion dollar healthcare industry, with CEO Tim Cook saying he wants health tech to be seen as the company’s “greatest contribution” to humanity. Apple earlier this year teamed up with rival Google to develop a coronavirus contact tracing system that uses Bluetooth technology to notify users if they have been exposed to someone with the virus.
Apple has made privacy a key selling point in recent years, and it could well use Tuesday’s event to further drive home its commitment to protecting its users’ data.
Earlier this month, the company released a satirical privacy-focused ad titled “Over Sharing” that shows people yelling out confidential information in public. The ad ends with text that says “Some things shouldn’t be shared. iPhone helps keep it that way.”
But Apple has had privacy issues of its own in the past, including as recently as last year.
With a new iPad reportedly on the cards at today’s event, here’s a throwback to Apple’s first iteration of a handheld tablet — one that was largely considered a failure.
Apple’s Newton tablet was first unveiled in 1992 at CES, the electronics tradeshow.
Billed as a technology that would revolutionize people’s lives, the Newton struggled for several years before Apple finally killed it off in 1998.
In its coverage of the device in 1992, Bioreports described it as a computer that “fits in the palm of your hand” that you can write on “like a notepad” that turns your scribbles into text on the screen.
By this time last year, Apple had already unveiled the iPhone 11. The year before, it launched the iPhone XS, XR and XS Max on Sept. 13. The year before that, on Sept. 12, the iPhone X … you get the picture.
Today, though, we’re unlikely to see the next version of Apple’s flagship device.
The company warned during its last earnings call that disruptions to its supply chain from the coronavirus pandemic will delay the latest iPhone.
“Last year, we started selling iPhones in late September,” the company’s chief financial officer, Luca Maestri, said on the call in late July. “This year, we project supply to be available a few weeks later.”
The iPhone 12 — Apple’s first 5G smartphone — is now expected to launch in October.
Invitations for Tuesday’s event said “Time Flies,” hinting at updates to the Apple Watch.
Though the line will most likely be led by a 6th-generation Apple Watch, Bloomberg reported that new “low-end” models may be in the offing as well.
Other rumors suggest a new watch could add features such as blood oxygen monitoring and longer battery life.
Health updates have become a key selling point for the watch, which has grown into a blockbuster product since it was first released in 2015. Last year, Apple sold 31 million watches, according to Strategy Analytics — more than the entire Swiss watch industry in 2019.
Rumblings suggest that Apple may announce a new iPad or iPad Air today.
Bloomberg reported that Apple is readying a refreshed iPad Air with an edge-to-edge display. Meanwhile, various rumors indicate that announcements will include a refreshed lower cost iPad model.
It would be Apple’s second iPad launch this year — the company unveiled an update to its iPad Pro line in March. Apple said at the time that it had sold 500 million iPads to date, and the product has remained the top selling tablet for 10 years.
A new iPad would also have competition from one of Apple’s biggest rivals: Samsung released two new tablets last month, the Galaxy Tab S7 and S7+, which it claims are the “first tablets that support 5G available in the United States.”