Updated 10/21/21: With the “Unleashed” October event in the rear view mirror, we don’t expect any more events in 2021, with the possible exception of developer awards or Apple Music awards, neither of which are product-focused events for the general public. We have updated this guide with a preview of what we might expect in 2022.
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 (or a computer screen) 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).
This article will be updated periodically as we get a clearer picture of when Apple will hold its yearly events, and which products it may introduce. Apple is a very secretive company, and the leaks and rumors about its products are often wrong. Bear that it mind: you never really know what Apple is going to do until the company makes a public announcement!
Spring 2022: iMac, iPads, and iPhone SE?
Apple has held an event in the spring for five of the last seven years. As the company’s portfolio of products and services grows, it’s getting harder to cram them all into just two or three events.
The spring event typically takes place in March, but in 2021 the spring event was in April. What might Apple announce in 2022? The iPhone SE was last updated in 2020, and current iPhone SE rumors suggest a refreshed model in 2022. There are conflicting rumors about what to expect, but most think the new iPhone SE will resemble the current model, updated with an A15 processor and 5G capabilities.
Apple also has some more Macs to unveil as it furthers its transition away from Intel chips to Apple Silicon. There are two rumored products that could be ready in time for a spring announcement: A new 27-inch iMac with mini-LED ProRes display and M1 Pro or M1 Max processor, and an updated Mac mini with those same new processors.
A spring event would mark one year since the last iPad Pro update, so we might see a new model with an “M2” processor that carries forth the architectural improvements of the A15.
June 2022: WWDC
Apple always holds its week-long developers conference in June, typically in the first or second full week of the month. We expect WWDC 2022 to land in the June 6-10 week, though the 13-17 is a possibility.
Apple always reveals its new operating systems at WWDC, which means: iOS 16, iPadOS 16, macOS 13, watchOS 9, and tvOS 16.
New hardware sometimes makes an appearance at WWDC as well, and it’s usually the stuff that developers care most about: “Pro” model Macs. MacBook Pro models were just announced in late 2021, but the Mac Pro desktop could make an appearance, as could the Mac mini (a favorite product among developers), along with an external monitor.
September 2022: iPhones and Apple Watch
September is the month when Apple announces new iPhones and a new Apple Watch. We expect the iPhone 14 to offer a somewhat new design, and of course better performance and cameras. The Apple Watch Series 8 could bring the design changes we expected in 2021 but didn’t get, like flat edges and additional colors. There’s also talk of potentially expanding the Watch line to three sizes.
October/November 2022: Additional products
Of course, Apple has plenty of other products to keep us up to date on. 2022 could see a new AirPod Pro update, Apple TV, a new MacBook Air, and of course a new version of the iPad or iPad mini.
Any of these products could come in an October or November event. Apple has a number of services now–Apple TV+, Fitness+, iCloud+, Music, News, and Arcade–and major improvements to them can be announced at any time. Of course, there’s also room for new products, like the AR/VR headset we keep hearing about but never seems to materialize. We’ll have a better idea of what to expect from a year-end event as 2022 progresses.
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 a small December 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. In 2020, these events were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Awards were still given, but there was no event.
I have written professionally about technology for my entire adult professional life - over 20 years. I like to figure out how complicated technology works and explain it in a way anyone can understand.