Updated 06/23/20: Apple streamed a completely virtual, pre-recorded WWDC keynote on June 22, showcasing new features and updates in iOS 14, iPadOS 14, and watchOS 7, along with a tour of macOS Big Sur, and a preview of Apple’s transition to ARM-based processors for its Mac line-up. We will also be seeing updates to HomeKit, Siri and AirPods.
Now read on for our frequently updated rundown on Apple’s yearly event schedule.
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 it to announce there. 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.
Events before the fall?
Apple held its first totally virtual WWDC conference on June 22-26. We got expected announcement around new operating systems and the transition of Macs to Apple's own silicon, but there was no new hardware announced.
It could be that Apple will not release any new hardware until the iPhone even this fall, but that would really pack that event, and flood the market with Apple products in a very condensed amount of time.
It's likely that Apple will release a few products between WWDC and the iPhone introduction this fall. Given the COVID-19 pandemic, they probably won't be introduced via live "special events," instead being released directly on the web with slick marketing sites and videos.
These products could include new iPads, updated Macs, Apple's AirTags trackers, the AirPods Studio headphones, or a number of other relatively minor products.
iPhone event: September 8 or 9
For the last eight years, Apple has unveiled the new iPhones during an event held around the second week of September (typically on a Tuesday or Wednesday). The most likely date for the 2020 iPhone event would therefore be on September 8 or 9.
There are currently lots of rumors swirling around about the 2020 iPhones, 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 once again the high-end models will have OLED displays while the less expensive model has an LCD. We can certainly expect the new iPhones to have a new A14 processor.
Apple also announced the new Apple Watch at each September event, and we have no reason to believe there won’t be an Apple Watch Series 6 this year.
It’s possible that the September event will be held a little later this year, due to delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
An October event?
Apple sometimes holds an event in October, and sometimes does not. These events showcase all sorts of products—some years it’s a new MacBook, some years it’s a new iPad.
There was no October event in 2019—instead, Apple released products like the AirPods Pro and the 16-inch MacBook Pro directly online with no public event. We may have a better idea of whether Apple will hold an October event or not as the year 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 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.