This story is part of Apple Event, our full coverage of the latest news from Apple headquarters.
Apple has set the date for its latest iPhone’s debut. The new device, rumored to be called the iPhone 12, is expected to include super-fast 5G wireless connectivity and a new, iPad-inspired design, and it will be unveiled on Oct. 13 at 10 a.m. PT. Like Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, and its September Apple Watch and iPad announcements, the iPhone event will be held entirely online. The event will be streamed via Apple’s website.
Apple’s fall product launch this year is expected to touch off a wave of upgrade purchases, analysts say, with fans eyeing the iPhone’s rumored new 5G capabilities and boxier look, similar to that of the iPad Pro. A “staggering” 53% of respondents plan to buy this year’s iPhone, according to a survey by electronics reseller Decluttr. Flashier rivals — such as Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip 2 5G, with its foldable display, or Microsoft’s Surface Duo, with two screens sandwiched together — offer new spins on the standard metal-and-glass smartphone construction. But most consumers will likely be gravitating toward what they know.
And even if the new iPhone only offers a few new bells and whistles beyond a different outer design, it’ll draw the lion’s share of attention.
Apple’s invite, which often has some clues, this time has an Apple logo inside circles with different colored hues of blue, orange and red. And there’s this pun: “Hi, Speed.”
That didn’t stop people from speculating about what other mysteries could be hidden in the invite’s meaning. Apple’s also expected to announce new over-ear headphones during the event, driving some people to wonder whether the circles have to do with audio sounds. (Apple has removed competing headphones from its store ahead of the event).
Apple also included an augmented reality trick on its website, as it had for last month’s event, with circles on the invite turning into floating orbs that reveal the Oct. 13 date.
The star of Apple’s show, however, is expected to be its new iPhones, replacing the $799 iPhone 11, the $999 iPhone 11 Pro and the iPhone 11 Pro Max, which started at $1,099 when it launched in 2019. The prices are expected to largely remain the same, but Apple’s expected to upgrade the devices’ features, including better cameras, faster chips and the company’s newest software, iOS 14. There are also rumors Apple may offer an iPhone 12 Mini, possibly as a reaction to some people complaining smartphones are increasingly not pocket-friendly.
When Apple jumps into the 5G market, it’s expected to immediately be a huge player. This year, Apple likely will ship 50 million 5G iPhones, according to Strategy Analytics, which would make it the second biggest 5G vendor in 2020 — and that would be in less than three months of sales. By comparison, Samsung shipped more than 6.7 million Galaxy 5G smartphones last year, after its first 5G phones hit the market in May.
Next year, Apple is expected to be the world’s biggest 5G phone vendor, Strategy Analytics said
A different iPhone launch
Apple holding its event over the internet isn’t the only thing that sets its iPhone announcement apart from those of previous years. The device is also arriving later in the year than it typically does, with analysts expecting either a late October or early November launch for Apple’s newest handsets. That’s about a month later than typical iPhone launches, something Apple warned about in July when it acknowledged the new smartphones would arrive “a few weeks” later than normal.
Apple’s announcements will also overlap with Amazon’s rescheduled Prime Day shopping event, scheduled for Oct. 13 and 14. Typically, that entirely made-up holiday taken place in July, but this year it was pushed back due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Apple still held its annual September event, though, using it to announce new iPads, a new Apple Watch and its new Apple One subscription service. The service combines its $4.99-a-month Apple TV Plus, $9.99-a-month Apple Music, $9.99-a-month Apple News Plus and $4.99-a-month Apple Arcade gaming efforts.
Aside from its new iPhones, Apple’s event may be the first time the company shows off its newest computer, powered by chips the company calls Apple Silicon.
Apple hasn’t shared many details about its newest chips, which will replace the Intel processors Apple’s relied on for 14 years with processors similar to the ones powering its iPhones, iPads and Apple TVs. Apple said it’ll continue to sell Intel-powered computers for now, but the company said the performance improvements, battery life and easier connections with the iPhone and iPad are driving the change.
“Hardware and software is fundamental to everything we do,” Apple’s CEO Tim Cook said when announcing the effort this summer. “It will take Mac to the next level.”
Still, people will likely be most interested in the iPhone, and with good reason. Analysts have been increasingly saying they expect this year’s upgrade, with its new design and 5G wireless technology, will lead to much higher demand.
“Taking a step back we believe iPhone 12 represents the most significant product cycle for Cook & Co. since iPhone 6 in 2014 and will be another defining chapter in the Apple growth story looking ahead despite a softer consumer spending environment,” Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives wrote in a note to investors shortly after Apple’s announcement went out. Ives said he expects the iPhone 12’s launch to be a “once in a decade” event, with or without the coronavirus.