When will the next iPhones be out, to succeed this, the iPhone 13?
The next iPhones will be with us soon. We think we know much about them already—how many, what they’ll look like and how much they may cost—but until recently, the consensus was that they’d be unveiled on Tuesday, September 13 and go on sale on Friday, September 23. That now looks like it’s wrong.
August 25 update below. This post was first published on August 22, 2022.
August 25 update. So, as you will surely have heard, the cat is out of the bag and Apple has confirmed Wednesday, September 7 as the date for the next special event. In turn, this as good as tells us that the next iPhones, Apple Watches and perhaps AirPods Pro will go on sale on Friday, September 16. And that the release of the software for iPhone and Apple Watch will be released some time between September 7 and September 16. My guess for the software release is Monday, September 12, by the way.
The confirmation of the event date came much earlier than most analysts were expecting (though as you’ll see, at the end of the original post here, I warned that an earlier reveal was possible). In itself, that’s interesting, because it shows that Apple is very confident that it has its supply chain under control and can deliver on time: it wouldn’t have been surprising if the new announcement had been held for another week, after all.
Secondly, it’s worth noting that the invite, which is titled Far Out, specifies the exact location of the keynote: Steve Jobs Theater. This is important because it means there will definitely be an in-person element to the event, and more than just the brief appearances by Tim Cook and Craig Federighi at the start of the simulcast at WWDC in June.
Although Mark Gurman had said that Apple had been filming the keynote in advance, I’d say that the specific location hints that it may be more of a return to normality than before, that is, a live keynote interspersed with video sections.
I’ve no doubt that the keynote will be followed as usual by a hands-on section allowing invited guests to look at and feel the new products, something that was reintroduced for press after the WWDC keynote. And as the event promises much more in the way of hardware this time, I’d also expect a return to the hands-on section just outside the theater auditorium, rather than the welcome area upstairs used last time.
Beyond that, the regular details of Apple keynotes will definitely apply. And if you’d like to know what those are: snacks, drinks and canapes, often Apple-themed, to greet guests, strict crowd control to let everyone in, groups of people looking in excitement at the (admittedly very cool) rotating elevator that links the two floors, and a sense of anticipation that grows to an almost unbearable pitch in the half hour before the keynote begins (always precisely on time—you could set your Apple Watch by it).
Whatever the exact arrangements turn out to be, this looks like being a big and memorable event with more product than has been seen in a single keynote for years. And there’s still the prospect of more to come in October when the Mac, iPad Pro and entry-level iPad are expected to be revealed.
August 23 update. Further hints about an imminent release come from MySmartPrice, which has spotted that a new item has just appeared as a listing for the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), with the model number A2882.
Of course, the listing does not have the courtesy to name the product, no such luck, but MySmartPrice believes it is likely to be the iPhone 14. India’s National Standards Body currently lists four models, iPhone Xr, iPhone 11, iPhone 12 and iPhone 13. This extra number, not seen before, may refer to the upcoming model, therefore.
What’s interesting about this is it comes soon after reports of the iPhone 14 being manufactured in India, and be available just a couple of months after the launch takes place, which is an intriguing development.
Of course, this listing is not the same as a definite date for the special event or the launch, but it’s true that listings on such databases as these very often come just a matter of weeks, sometimes days, before a product is officially announced.
For Apple, there’s a tightrope to be walked here: revealing enough information to satisfy the standards authorities in a particular country, while giving away nothing of substance.
After all, this new product could be nothing more than a power cable. It’s not, because it would have quite a different shape to the code, but the point is, Apple is playing its cards as close to its chest as possible.
Incidentally, for those who were interested in the minutiae of Mark Gurman’s studying of earlier announcements and release dates, I’ve checked through my own list and here is the full data.
Year Phone Unveiling Release
2011 iPhone 4S October 4 October 14
2012 iPhone 5 September 12 September 21
2013 iPhone 5s/5c September 10 September 20
2014 iPhone 6/6 Plus September 10 September 20.
2015 iPhone 6s/6s Plus September 9 September 25
2016 iPhone 7/7 Plus September 7 September 16—the exact same dates I expect for this year.
2017 iPhone 8/8 Plus/X September 12 September 22
(iPhone X November 3)
2018 iPhone Xs/ Xs Max/Xr September 12 September 21
2019 iPhone 11/Pro/Pro Max September 10 September 20
2020 iPhone 12/mini/Pro/Pro Max October 13 October 23
2021 iPhone 13/mini/Pro/Pro Max September 14 September 24
After Max Weinbach raised the idea that it could be almost a week earlier, Mark Gurman at Bloomberg corroborated it. Now, Mark Gurman in his latest Power On newsletter has gone into much more detail about what to expect about the launch, lighting on an unveil date of Wednesday, September 7. Such an early release date is not unprecedented, but it’s not far off. If this is correct, it would mean the iPhone 14 series of phones plus three models of Apple Watch would go on sale on Friday, September 16.
Almost every flagship iPhone since 2011 has been released in September. The only exceptions were in 2021, when Covid-19 meant that Apple was running late so the iPhone 12 series was released in October, and 2011, when the iPhone 4s was the first iPhone released in the fall, also in October.
Drilling down further into the dates, helpfully provided by Gurman, only once has the announcement date been in the first week of September: 2016’s release of the iPhone 7 took place on the identical dates we’re expecting this year: unveil on September 7, on sale nine days later on Friday, September 16.
The usual practice is a Tuesday announcement in the second full week of September, between September 8 and September 15, followed by the products going on sale ten days later.
The reason for the Wednesday event is revealing. On the face of it, it’s just because Monday, September 5 is Labor Day. But hold on: this is only relevant if Apple is planning for press and staff to travel to an in-person event. An online-only event could take place the day after a public holiday.
We also hear from sources such as Gurman that recording the high-production-value keynote film is well underway. Of course, this is in part a safety precaution: until the invites actually go out, Apple can fall back on the online version instead. For instance, if there’s a sudden uptick in Covid infections, it could still switch back to online only (though I think that’s unlikely).
In short, the Wednesday keynote date reveals that an in-person event is all but assured.
I believe that the September 7 special event will follow the same format that WWDC introduced in June. That is, a recorded keynote will be played to press and guests in Cupertino. Before it starts, CEO Tim Cook and perhaps some other execs will appear live to kick things off. Gurman says, “In that scenario, you can expect members of the press to get their hands on new devices afterwards”.
As I’ve written before, the earlier date means an extra week of iPhone sales to boost the financials for the quarter ending September 30. As Gurman adds: “Apple had been facing a tough comparison: Its sales rose 29% in the fourth quarter of 2021 from 2020, making it hard to match that growth. Another week of iPhone 14 sales should help the company easily beat last year’s $83 billion mark.”
And it seems to confirm that Apple’s supply chain is in rude health.
When the invites go out. Gurman says, “I’d imagine between Aug. 29 and Aug. 31,” though I’d add that Apple has been known to send out invites earlier, so please stay tuned. More as we have it.
When will the next iPhones be out, to succeed this, the iPhone 13?