Apple Events have become globally watched spectacles with high-flying drone shots, cinematic transitions, and famous musical guests. Apple holds anywhere from two to four events each year to announce new devices, operating system updates, and services.
● Spring event in March or April
● WWDC in June
● iPhone event in September or October
● Mac event in October or November
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The Apple Event format has become commonplace amongst companies, so much so that the concept has been parodied many times by popular media. Apple learned that it could generate more anticipation for products by announcing them on a stage in front of a cheering audience rather than via a boring slideshow in front of journalists.
For years, Apple events were held in person in either San Jose or San Fransisco with journalists from around the world. Apple would pad the audience with Apple employees so there would be cheering whenever something exciting or new was announced on stage while journalists were busy typing.
Apple slowly shifted from an event meant only for the people in the room and a live stream viewed by super fans to one expected to be viewed by millions around the globe. The iPhone event especially tends to be over the top with cinematic presentations and possible musical guests.
The onset of the pandemic led Apple to create digital versions of events, but instead of recreating the slow and plodding stage setting, Apple filmed high-level production pieces all around Apple Park.
That style has shifted to a hybrid approach as the threat of COVID receded and vaccines became readily available. Now, Apple generally holds an in-person event but not a live keynote. Attendees view the same pre-recorded video as the digital participants.
Apple announced the M3, M3 Pro, and M3 Max in an unprecedented move to reveal three chips at once. They are built on the 3nm process and feature significant performance improvements over the previous generation.
The 24-inch iMac was updated with the M3 processor. No other changes were made, and the Magic accessories are still sold with Lightning connectors.
Apple's September 12, 2023 Wonderlust event revealed the updated iPhone lineup and updates to Apple Watch. A shift to USB-C underlined the event, plus an impressive A17 Pro processor.
Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 received few but significant updates. The S9 SiP is the first chipset to increase processor speed in years, enabling features like Double Tap and on-device Siri.
The iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max received the 3nm A17 Pro processor with hardware ray tracing. They also have titanium sides and a USB-C port with USB 3.2 gen 2 speeds.
The standard iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus didn't change much and received the A16 processor from iPhone 14 Pro. The upgraded 48MP Main Camera is the most notable feature.
The 2023 Worldwide Developer's Conference (WWDC) provided the usual range of operating system updates and a few hardware surprises. A new hardware and software platform was revealed along with new pro Macs.
Operating system announcements
Apple continued the trend of providing personalization and social features across its operating systems.
September 7, 2022
The Wednesday, September 7, 2022 event revealed Apple's updated iPhone lineup, a new set of AirPods Pro, and the next generation of Apple Watch. A significant focus was placed on women's health, user safety, and SOS features.
The new iPhones and Apple Watches can detect if the user was in a car crash and automatically call 911. The Apple Watch Ultra is built for extreme activity enthusiasts who battle against the harshest environments around the world.
The second generation of AirPods Pro have improved audio quality, longer battery life, and twice as powerful ANC. The iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus got better cameras and the A15 processor with a 5-core GPU.
The iPhone 14 Pro lineup has a reimagined display interface that replaces the notch with something called a Dynamic Island. The display can reduce its refresh to 1Hz to provide an always-on experience that doesn't sacrifice battery life. Also, the camera system has significant improvements across the board.
June 6-10, 2022
The operating system updates focused on user customization, collaboration, and a tool called Center Stage. The iPadOS 16 update introduces the most significant change to its multitasking framework since Slide Over and Split View.
March 8, 2022
Apple focused on the benefits of Apple Silicon for its 2022 March event, highlighting the performance and efficiency it brings from the most budget iPhone to the most powerful Mac. It also released a new green color option for the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro.
The final M1 processor in the series was also unveiled, called the M1 Ultra. The 20-core processor is able to go toe-to-toe with the most powerful Intel Mac Pro and competing professional PC workstations.
October 18, 2021
The Mac event for 2021 showed off the next step in the Apple Silicon transition with the M1 Pro and M1 Max. Apple also announced a new Apple Music Voice Plan for $4.99 per month and some audio-focused gear.
Pro-grade chips mean new pro computers, and Apple went all out with the MacBook Pro redesign. The Touch Bar has effectively been discontinued in favor of full-sized function keys and Touch ID, multiple port options are available including MagSafe, and ProMotion was introduced to the lineup.
September 14, 2021
During its California Streaming event, Apple announced the new iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watches. New categories for Apple Fitness+ were also demonstrated alongside the underwhelming Apple Watch update.
The iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro were the stars of the show with improved camera systems, new A15 Bionic processors, and Cinematic Mode. The pro models gained ProMotion, which adds 120Hz variable refresh to the display.
The iPad mini 6 was a surprising favorite with its small size, all-screen display, and Apple Pencil 2 support. However, some controversy erupted due to an effect called "jelly scrolling" related to how the device refreshes the pixels on the display.
June 7-11, 2021
Apple sometimes announces hardware during WWDC, but not in 2021. The company focused on operating system updates, privacy changes, and new developer tools.
New privacy-focused features for iCloud like iCloud Private Relay and Mail Privacy Protection. New AirPods features like Conversation Boost were also announced.
April 20, 2021
The Apple event for spring 2021 revealed a new iPhone 12 color option, purple, and a handful of new devices. With the Apple Silicon transition still underway, the company focused on bringing the M1 to more of its popular products.
Apple added the M1 processor to the iPad Pro lineup and redesigned the smaller iMac with multiple color choices. The Apple TV 4K was also updated with an A12 Bionic processor and a new version of the Siri Remote with more buttons and an improved design.
The AirTag was perhaps the most controversial product announced at the Spring Loaded Apple Event. It is an inexpensive tracker meant to locate lost items but has been used to stalk people instead. Apple has worked to improve its anti-stalking features to prevent abuse and help law enforcement identify criminals.
One More Thing
November 10, 2020
The last of a trilogy of virtual Apple presentations, the third event of fall 2020 focused on Macs, with the initiative to move over to Apple Silicon as the main subject. Apple didn't change the exterior design of its new hardware to keep the industry focused on its latest processors.
The shift to Apple Silicon, Apple's self-designed chips, meant Apple had to launch products that didn't use Intel processors. Apple gave itself an aggressive two-year timeline to make the transition.
The first three products to do so were at the value end of the catalog, consisting of the MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, and the Mac mini. All retained the same physical design as the previous generation but had all-new internals using the new chip.
October 13, 2020
In an unusual move, Apple held a separate second event in October for its iPhone announcements. The pandemic caused a lot of delays and changes to Apple's regular schedule, including supply chain issues pushing back release dates.
After revealing the Apple Watch updates at one event, Apple held a second event just for iPhone and its new accessories. MagSafe for iPhone introduced a magnetic accessory system that borrowed the old MagSafe name from MacBook chargers.
The HomePod mini was introduced at a new $99 price point, making the device a must-grab for HomeKit users and Apple Music fans. Its popularity offset the original HomePod so much that Apple discontinued the old speaker a few months later.
September 15, 2020
The first of Apple's fall events focused on some of the secondary products in the lineup. iPads, Apple Watches, and services were touched on in this short event, but the over-the-top pre-recorded video showed Apple was leaning into its new format with earnest.
Apple also revealed Apple Fitness+ and the Apple One subscription bundle during this event. Normally, a September Apple event would contain iPhones but the ongoing pandemic required Apple to delay product announcements and release.
June 22-26, 2020
There were a lot of unknowns going into WWDC 2020. It was Apple's first virtual-only event since the pandemic began and everything from the format to who would be presenting was in question.
Despite lockdown, rules against large gatherings, and filming restrictions, Apple still managed to put together an unforgettable WWDC presentation. Even the sessions throughout the week were more accessible than ever thanks to the new online format.
Apple broke tradition and announced a plan for the future — the transition to Apple Silicon. It said that over the following two years it would bring custom ARM chips to the Mac.
Pandemic Press Releases
March 18, 2020
March 2020 was an unprecedented time for the world as it struggled to come to grips with a contagious virus spreading quickly. Not only would it have been irresponsible to hold an in-person event with so much risk, but it would also have been insensitive to the situation as a whole.
Nothing indicates this would have been a March event without an ongoing pandemic, but there were enough products and software shown to warrant one normally.
- 2nd-generation 11-inch iPad Pro
- 4th-generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro
- Magic Keyboard for iPad
- 2020 MacBook Air
- 2020 Intel Mac mini
The biggest update to the MacBook Air was the new scissor-switch keyboard. After years of controversy, Apple had finally begun moving its product line away from the butterfly keyboard. Both the MacBook Air and Mac mini received processor updates too, with the Mac mini mentioned only as a footnote in the MacBook Air release.
Apple added cursor support to the iPad lineup and introduced new iPad Pros with LiDAR running the A12Z Bionic. The new Magic Keyboard completed the ensemble with a magnetic mount for the iPad Pro, a trackpad, and a keyboard in one case.
By Innovation Only
September 10, 2019
This is the first annual iPhone event to be streamed live on YouTube in addition to Apple's proprietary events website and apps. The YouTube stream had 1.8 million viewers.
The "pro" moniker was added to the iPhone lineup and separated by the improved cameras, OLED displays, and exclusive features. Apple removed the hardware for 3D touch in these new models.
June 3-7, 2019
The usual operating system updates were announced during WWDC, but Apple surprised everyone with the Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR. After years with no updates, Apple finally moved to a new "cheese grater" Mac Pro tower and abandoned the "trash can" design.
- iOS 13
- iPadOS 13
- macOS Catalina
- watchOS 7
- tvOS 14
iPadOS made its debut in 2019 as a distinct fork of iOS. It included new multitasking features that take advantage of the iPad's larger display.