In an average year, Apple holds three to four events. There's usually a spring event in March, the Worldwide Developers Conference in June, a September event that's focused on iPhone and Apple Watch, and sometimes an October event if there are iPads or Macs expected in the fall.
In this guide, we're keeping track of all of the Apple events that are on the horizon and what we're expecting to see at each one, so make sure to check back in regularly.
There were rumors suggesting that Apple would hold an event on March 23, but that information turned out to be inaccurate. We now know that some new Apple products are slated for launch in April, but it is not clear if there will be an event. There are several products rumored to be coming in the first half of 2021, with the possibilities listed below.
Apple is working on a new version of the iMac with "iPad Pro design language" and thinner bezels similar to the bezels on the Pro Display XDR, which could come in late 2020 or early 2021. This iMac is also expected to have an Apple Silicon chip and an Apple-designed GPU. There are two versions in the works, and one will be 23 to 24 inches in size.
Apple is working on a new version of the 12.9-inch iPad Pro that will feature a mini-LED display, camera improvements, an A14X chip, Thunderbolt connectivity and perhaps a 5G chip. Most of the iPad Pro rumors have focused on a 12.9-inch model, but there is an 11-inch model coming too. The mini-LED display will be limited to the 12.9-inch model, which could be constrained at launch. There will be no design changes to the iPad Pro models.
Apple is developing a ninth-generation version of the low-cost iPad with a 10.2-inch display and a thinner build (6.3mm) that's similar to the now-discontinued third-generation iPad Air.
There's a new version of the iPad mini coming in 2021, and there have been rumors that it could feature an 8.5 to 9-inch display, but recently leaked dummy models have not featured design changes. The refreshed iPad mini will continue to feature a Lightning port, and if there's a larger display, it will be implemented through a reduction in bezel size.
Apple is working on a new version of the Apple TV with an updated processor and a redesigned Apple TV remote that could have a Find My-like feature that allows the remote to be tracked down when it's lost within the house. There could be two variants, one with an A12 chip and one with an A14X chip with Apple allegedly working towards console-level games for Apple Arcade.
Apple is working on a new version of the AirPods, which will look similar to the AirPods Pro, but without Active Noise Cancellation. The new AirPods will have a smaller case and a shorter stem, and will be more affordable than the AirPods Pro. There were multiple rumors suggesting the AirPods 3 would launch in the first half of 2021, likely at a spring event, but Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said in March that the earbuds aren't going to be entering mass production until the third quarter of 2021, which indicates a late 2021 launch.
Apple is working on a new version of the AirPods Pro with a more compact design and a new wireless chip. The design is said to eliminate the short stem that sticks out from the bottom, resulting in a more rounded shape closer in design to competing wire-free earbuds from Google and Samsung. Japanese site Mac Otakara believes the AirPods Pro will launch in April, but that has yet to be confirmed.
June Event - WWDC
Apple holds the Worldwide Developers Conference every year, and in 2021, we're expecting to see iOS 15, iPadOS 15, watchOS 8, tvOS 8, and macOS 12. Apple previously used incremental numbers for macOS updates, but given that we've already had software updates numbered macOS 11.1, we can assume that macOS updates will now go up an entire number similar to iOS updates.
We don't know anything about any of these software updates as of yet, but we should start hearing details in early 2021.
We're expecting four iPhone 13 models in the same sizes as the iPhone 12 models, and Apple is planning to use the same general design. 120Hz ProMotion displays are expected, as are camera improvements, an A15 chip, and faster 5G. The iPhone 13 models will feature a smaller notch design, which will be one of the biggest design tweaks. Battery life improvements are also expected.
Apple introduces new Apple Watch models on a yearly basis, but we don't yet know what to expect from the Series 7. We could perhaps get new health sensors, but there are no definitive rumors at this point.
Products With Unknown Release Dates
There are several other products rumored to be in the works for 2021, but we don't know exactly when these updates are coming.
- iPhone 12 MagSafe Battery Pack - Apple is working on a MagSafe battery pack for the iPhone 12 models, which will attach magnetically. There's no word on when the battery pack is coming and Apple is working to overcome some technical issues, but there was a mention of the battery pack in iOS 14.5, so it could be launching in the not too distant future.
- MacBook Pro - Apple is working on 14 and 16-inch MacBook Pro models that are expected in the third quarter of 2021. The new machines will feature the most significant design overhaul to the MacBook Pro line that we've seen since 2016, introducing a flat-edged design. The new MacBook Pros will charge over MagSafe, will have more ports, and will have physical function keys instead of a Touch Bar.
- MacBook Air - Apple is developing a thinner and lighter version of the MacBook Air that will have thinner bezels than the current model. The machine will feature MagSafe charging technology and a pair of USB 4 ports for connecting external devices. The new MacBook Air could come out in the second half of 2021 at the earliest, but Apple might choose to hold it until 2022.
- AirTags - Apple in iOS 13 introduced a new Find My feature that lets iOS and macOS devices be tracked even without a data connection by taking advantage of Bluetooth, and rumors suggest Apple could also expand this into a Tile-like Bluetooth tag that could be attached to any item. It may feature AR support for locating an item in a room and leashing to alert you when an item being tracked moves too far from an iPhone. Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo expected AirTags to launch in the first half of 2020, but that did not happen, and now he believes they'll launch at some point in 2021.
- AR Smart Glasses - Apple is working on augmented reality smart glasses that could come at some point in the next few years. The glasses are said to feature a dedicated display, built-in processor, and an "rOS" or reality operating system. Input will be via touch panels, voice activation, and head gestures, and it's said to support applications ranging from mapping to texting. The first rumors suggested Apple's AR glasses would come in 2020, but now it's sounding like the product will see a release in 2022, though Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has said some kind of AR product is coming from Apple in 2021.
2020 Product Refreshes and Announcements
Apple's 2020 product announcements are below, and these dates may provide some insight into potential 2021 launch timelines.
- March 2020 - iPad Pro
- March 2020 - Magic Keyboard
- March 2020 - MacBook Air
- March 2020 - Mac mini
- March 2020 - Powerbeats
- April 2020 - iPhone SE
- May 2020 - 13-inch MacBook Pro
- June 2020 - Apple Silicon chip plans
- June 2020 - iOS 14
- June 2020 - macOS Big Sur
- June 2020 - iPadOS 14
- June 2020 - watchOS 7
- June 2020 - tvOS 14
- August 2020 - 27-inch iMac
- September 2020 - Apple Watch Series 6
- September 2020 - Apple Watch SE
- September 2020 - iPad Air
- September 2020 - Eighth-Generation iPad
- October 2020 - iPhone 12 and 12 mini
- October 2020 - iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max
- October 2020 - HomePod mini
- October 2020 - MagSafe
- November 2020 - M1 MacBook Air
- November 2020 - M1 MacBook Pro
- November 2020 - M1 Mac mini
- November 2020 - macOS Big Sur
- December 2020 - AirPods Max
- December 2020 - Apple Fitness+
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