Apple is about to hold its biggest event of the year. But why?
The company is preparing to launch its iPhone at a major event on its campus in Cupertino. Much of the world's press has been flown out to gaze upon the latest slabs of glass and metal the company is preparing to put on sale – not just the new phone, but probably new Apple Watches and other products too.
From the outside, however, that annual migration might all seem a little strange. So here is the rundown on why all of that is happening – and whether it really matters.
What actually are Apple events?
Somewhere between a press conference and a fashion show, Apple events are really just a long presentation in which Apple shows off its new products, and tries to convince you that they're worth buying.
Executives will get up on stage, boast about the performance of the latest products, show off some pictures of the products and probably the products themselves, and then head back off stage again.
They usually last a couple of hours, though they can sometimes go on longer.
Through the year, there are two events that always happen: the September iPhone one, where the new handset is shown off, and the Worldwide Developers Conference in June, where it reveals the software for all of its platforms. Sometimes there will be one or two extra at some point in year.
Is this all about getting me to spend more money?
Yes, almost entirely. The iPhone event is always Apple's most product focused event, and in recent years those iPhones have been getting more and more expensive.
But you'll get something out of the event even if your wallet (and your old iPhone) stays in your pocket. Apple should also announce the release date for its new iOS 13 operating system, which will bring new features to older devices too, for free.
How do I watch along?
Apple has gradually made it easier to watch with each passing year. As such, this is the easiest yet.
Chief among the reasons is the fact that the company is finally putting the live stream on YouTube. That is undoubtedly the easiest way to watch.
But it's also offering people the chance to watch along in a variety of other ways, too.
Is it worth watching it live?
The events can be long – sometimes very long. And while there's lots of spectacular goings on to fill the time, there can also be a lot of bits that aren't really necessary to watch in detail.
Most likely, you already know if you're going to be watching along: if you want to know everything about the new phone, and everything else as soon as you can, then it's definitely worth catching. If those things aren't true, and you're not , then watch along after.
You'll still be able to get all of the same information if you watch after – Apple always posts the full keynote online afterwards. And that has the advantage of letting you skip through any parts that aren't especially thrilling.
Is this when the iPhone actually comes out?
No, probably not. It's likely that the iPhone and any other products won't actually arrive for a couple of weeks, as is usual, to give them time to arrive at the Apple Store.
What will happen soon after the event is that pre-orders will open, giving people the chance to put down money for the new phone. In previous years, that was incredibly important – but lately, and especially when the new phones are relatively similar, it's been much easier to get hold of an iPhone quickly without pre-ordering.
Apple will also start giving the phones to those members of the press that it invites to its events. They will then write up reviews a few days after, giving the first real glimpse of whether the phones and other products live up to the promises made during the keynote.
What is the new iPhone going to look like?
Like the current one, mostly. It will have an extra lens in the camera, and perhaps some more colours, but otherwise it will look identical.
That applies to all three of the current models, which will be replicated in the current line-up, though they are expected to take different names. The iPhone XR will become the iPhone 11; the XS is rumoured to be known as the iPhone 11 Pro; the XS Max is said to be the iPhone 11 Pro Max.
The bigger changes are likely to happen on the inside. All of the new phones should get Apple's latest – and probably much faster –
What else will Apple announce?
Given the relative lack of changes in the iPhone, it might actually be overshadowed by other devices. The Apple Watch, for instance, could have more dramatic updates than its bigger sibling; Apple could finally reveal the details of its much anticipated streaming services.
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