September 7 update below. This post was first published on September 5, 2023.
There’s a familiar, insistent rhythm that’s beginning to hit its stride. It’s the process that leads to a new iPhone hitting stores. It began on Tuesday, August 29, when Apple sent out invites to its next special event—although that took many by surprise. And now, another recognizable event has occurred: the moment Apple launches its YouTube video countdown.
It’s another small step down the road that ends on Friday, September 22 with the release of the iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Plus, iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max, Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra second generation. That’s when they’re all expected to land on Apple Store shelves. It also looks like new AirPods Pro will be revealed at the keynote and put on sale with the iPhones and Watches.
You can read a full, blow-by-blow countdown of everything that will happen between now and September 22, here. It has everything (apart from this YouTube schedule) timed to the day or even the minute.
But today’s update concerns a way to watch the keynote. Until now, Apple had merely said that the way to see the event was as follows: “View online at apple.com or on the Apple TV app.” So, now we have another way.
Now, the Apple YouTube channel has an invitation, saying “Join us for a special Apple Event on September 12 at 10 a.m. PT. Set a reminder now, and we’ll notify you before showtime.”
Showtime, huh? Actually, that’s fair, the Apple keynotes in recent years have been glossy, high-production-value movies: keynotes for our times.
Click on the page, and you can turn on notifications so you don’t miss the fun. It’s not the first time Apple has done this, so it’s an expected part of the story.
Note that the time on the YouTube channel notification is tweaked to reflect when it starts in your location. So, the screenshot above shows the time it’ll begin screening in the U.K., at 6 p.m.
All, then, seems to be going according to plan so far, though doubtless Apple enjoys giving the impression of gliding in swanlike serenity above the water, even if activity behind the scenes is somewhat busier and splashier.
This may be the last update from Apple before the keynote on September 12, so it is the lull before the storm. As soon as the phones are out in the open, there will be frantic, excitable coverage of the announcements. I haven’t put that in the schedule, either but frankly, it’s a given.
Then, a likely busy pre-order weekend, the release of the iPhone software (read here exactly when that will happen), the appearance of the first reviews, and the climactic release on September 22.
Fasten your seatbelts.
September 6 update. A new wrinkle has been added to the schedule by a reliable Apple leaker, Mark Gurman. In a post on X, Bloomberg’s writer says, “Apple retail stores will be doing updates the night of September 12th, after the event. This implies that some new products could see near-immediate availability — or that they’ll simply be quickly putting up new marketing materials.”
Okay, let’s dissect this. First of all, Apple loves to update its marketing materials at speed. I can remember going to Apple events at the Moscone Center in San Franciso, and seeing swathes of black material shrouding banners as I went into the keynote. An hour or so later, these had all been updated to reveal Apple’s new messages—in that particular year, describing the announcement of the Apple Apple Store.
So, marketing materials are a shoo-in. But products gong on sale on September 13?
For sure, it won’t be the iPhones or Apple Watches we’re expecting to see. Apple likes to get press reviews under its belt before sales begin and literally nobody will see review samples before the keynote. One day would be too short for even the fastest reviewer to turn around a considered verdict. The iPhone and Watch releases will be September 22, right on time, I believe.
I think the only product, the only one, that could be released early, would be the AirPods Pro with USB-C charging case. I may be proved wrong, but I’m 99% sure of this.
September 7 update. Speculation about the release date for the iPhone 15 series is now rampant. Chance Miller at 9to5Mac has compiled a detailed look back at previous years to deduce a pattern in Apple’s thinking. As he says, “Historically, each year’s new iPhone has been made available for pre-order the Friday following the event itself and released one week later.”
That, of course, points to the Friday in the week after the event for this year, as well. Which means the September 22 date that has been suggested all along. Of course, just because it’s always been like that doesn’t mean there can’t be an upset this time around. However, Apple is a company that likes its routines, and release dates are certainly a part of that.
Miller also comments on the rumors that the most expensive iPhone could be late to the party. Miller says, and I agree, that even if stocks are thin on the ground, “the expectation is that it will still be released on September 22. You just might have to be ready to throw some punches to get one for launch day delivery.”
There’s another leak which is also worth a look. It’s from Majin Bu, who says, “It looks like the last Apple Internal recap event will be held on September 21st. This suggests that the new products that Apple will present on September 12th will be available on September 22nd.”
This claim is accompanied by screen grabs seeming to show a series of internal meetings called, “What’s new with Apple,” and 22 options to choose from. Assuming its legit, it suggests not that there will be 22 different ways the launch could go but rather multiple timings staffers can sign up for.” I’ve never seen items like this, so I can’t say.
What may add to the impression that they are what they say they are is that not a single fact is shared in them about the announcement that’s coming next Tuesday. The leaker’s point is that since they finish on Thursday, September 21, that it seems to point to a September 22 onsale date.
Well, I agree with that bit.