Apple September 15 Event: How to watch and what to expect – Tom’s Guide

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Apple is hosting what looks like the first of at least two big product events this Tuesday (Sept. 15). But it apparently won’t focus on the product you think would be debuting at this time.

Typically, this is when Apple launches its new iPhones. But 2020 has proven to be anything but typical. The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted a lot of things, including the release of the iPhone 12. So instead of new phones, we’re likely to see the Apple Watch Series 6 take center stage on Sept. 15.

The company sent out invitations earlier this week and posted an announcement on its events page promising a Sept. 15 live stream at 1 p.m. EDT/10 a.m. PDT. The event is being billed as “Time Flies,” which would seem to point to the Apple Watch being the focus. Bloomberg has also reported that the Sept. 15 is all about the Apple Watch 6 and a new iPad Air model. The iPhone 12’s time will reportedly come later. 

If you don’t want to miss a moment of Apple’s big moment, here’s how you can live stream the Time Flies event on Sept. 15. We’ve also got a closer look at all the fall products Apple is working on that might be part of its fall product launches.

Apple Sept. 15 event: How to watch it

The Time Flies event gets underway at 1 p.m. EDT/10 a.m. PDT on Tuesday, Sept. 15. There’s no way to attend in person — like Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference keynote in June, this is a pre-taped presentation that the company is live streaming.

You’ll be able to watch from the Apple Events website through a web browser. Anyone with an Apple TV can also watch on the big screen via the Apple Events app. You can also watch the Apple Event via YouTube, where Apple already has a placeholder.

So now that you know how to watch the Sept. 15 Apple event, here’s what you’re likely to see.

Apple Watch Series 6

The Apple Watch Series 6 is expected to replace the Apple Watch Series 5 and introduce a host of new capabilities including blood oxygen (or SpO2) monitoring. We already know that Apple Watch sleep tracking is happening, too, as it’s a centerpiece of the watchOS 7 update.

(Image credit: Apple)

Those new features, particularly sleep tracking, will require a performance boost, and Apple could address that with improved battery life. That could either be handled with a more power efficient chip or the use of a more efficient Micro LED display on the Apple Watch 6.

Speaking of watchOS, we could see the final release of watchOS 7 following up this summer’s beta testing for the new smartwatch software. If Apple follow its past pattern, it would release the OS a few days before the new watches ship.

In addition to the Apple Watch 6, a late-breaking rumor suggests there could be an Apple Watch SE, a lower-cost version of the smartwatch that will include some features from the Apple Watch 5 and 4 models. This model would likely replace the Apple Watch 3.

New iPad Air 4

Apple already released a new iPad Pro earlier this year, which leaves other parts of its tablet lineup seeking attention. A likely candidate for an update is the iPad Air, with at least one rumor monger claiming the iPad Air 4 could debut this fall. Other sources are pointing to a 2021 launch, so the iPad update coming this month could be for another model.

Several features that Apple introduced with the iPad Pro could find their way into this new iPad, such as USB-C connectivity, Magic Keyboard support and a newer A12Z Bionic processor.

As with watchOS, there’s a new version of iPadOS in the works. It’s possible Apple could announce a launch date for iPadOS 14 timed with the release of any new iPads. Of course, since iPadOS is so closely intertwined with iOS 14, Apple’s phone software could be ready to launch, too — unless that release is timed for whenever the iPhone 12 appears.

Apple Silicon MacBook

At WWDC, Apple unveiled plans to make its own laptop chips. The first Apple Silicon MacBooks are expected to arrive this year, A rumor earlier this week claimed that a 14-inch MacBook Pro with an Apple-built processor would debut at the Sept. 15 event, but the claim seems dubious. Earlier rumors had pointed to a lower-cost laptop like the MacBook being the first Apple Silicon release.

A more likely scenario is that Apple holds a separate product event, possibly in October, that includes any Apple Silicon announcements.

Given the success of its AirPods wireless earbuds, Apple could be looking to branch out into headphones as well. The AirPods Studio headphones are rumored to be in the works, and these over-the-ear headphones are likely to feature active noise cancellation along with a Transparency feature to let in outside noises when you need to hear the world around you.

(Image credit: Curved)

AirTags have been rumored for more than a year now. These are device trackers that will help you find things like keys and other valuable objects that have a tendency to go missing. AirTags are expected to work with the U1 Ultra Wideband sensor found in recent iPhones. (Basically, the iPhone 11 and later, including — we would presume — the new iPhone 12 models.)

The Bloomberg report claiming the Sept. 15 event will focus primarily on the Apple Watch also says that a smaller version of the HomePod speaker will debut there. Apple is also rumored to be working on a revived version of the AirPower wireless charging mat it scrapped more than a year ago.

It’s not just hardware that Apple’s working on. Over the summer, word leaked out that Apple was planning to launch an Apple One bundle that would bring together its news, music, streaming TV and gaming services into one single subscription. Code hinting at the Apple One bundle was recently spotted in the Apple Music app for Android, suggesting a launch is imminent; that launch was supposed to happen with the iPhone 12, though.

What about the iPhone 12?

So when is the iPhone’s time to shine? The new iPhones aren’t expected to ship until October, so it’s expected a launch event would happen closer to that date. Still, a JP Morgan report raises the possibility of the iPhone 12 making a surprise appearance at the Apple Watch event.

If the iPhone 12 doesn’t appear on Sept. 15, it certainly won’t be because there’s not a lot to say about them. Apple is reportedly planning four models that introduce significant changes to its phone lineup.

iPhone 12 renders

(Image credit: svetapple.sk)

The four models include a 6.1-inch iPhone 12 Max along with a smaller 5.4-inch iPhone 12 as the two affordable options in Apple’s lineup. The iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max are expected to debut as well, with larger screens than their iPhone 11 Pro counterparts.

All four iPhone 12 models should feature 5G connectivity, making these the first Apple phones capable of delivering the faster wireless speeds. 5G phones have yet to really take off, but it’s thought that once the iPhone adds support for the new networking standard, it will become more widely adopted.

Besides the differing screen sizes, the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Max could both feature OLED panels. Previously, Apple has used an LCD screen in the iPhone 11 model that those phones are expected to replace.

Even more substantive changes are planned for the iPhone 12 Pro models. Apple is widely expected to add a LiDAR sensor to the triple camera array on the back of the new phones, which will help support augmented reality apps. There’s also a rumor that the screens on the Pro models could support a faster refresh rate, though not everyone agrees that this feature is likely.

What’s also up in the air is just when we’ll see the new iPhones. Apple will likely ship the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Max in October. It’s possible the iPhone 12 Pro models could ship later, as Apple uses a staggered launch to deal with production deals caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.

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