Apple will unveil new versions of some of its most popular devices later on Tuesday, but a new iPhone is unlikely to be announced.
The impact of the coronavirus pandemic means the iPhone 12 is expected to be delayed by several weeks and so is not set appear during the virtual event.
Instead, the technology giant is reportedly set to unveil a new generation of the Apple Watch and the iPad Air, as well as new audio products such as an updated HomePod smart speaker and the first set of Apple-branded over-ear headphones.
In an earnings call earlier this year, Apple said it expected “supply to be available a few weeks later” than its traditional September release date, because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The absence of Apple’s signature smartphone will not be the only unique aspect of the event, as the tech giant holds the launch entirely virtually for the first time because of the ongoing pandemic and the need for social distancing.
Industry experts believe Apple could also use the keynote to reveal new offerings around its services business – the Apple Music and TV+ streaming services as well as its news and gaming subscriptions – which have become an increasingly lucrative part of Apple’s business.
Thomas Husson, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester, said Apple could use the event to announce a new bundle of its various services.
“While I’d expect the new range of iPhones to be announced later in the year, Apple is more likely to showcase new innovation on their iPad and Apple Watch product lines,” he said.
“Moving forward, to accelerate the success in this innovation journey and enter adjacent territories like health or finance, Apple must also build a long-lasting trust relationship with its community and create a dialogue with its customers.
“As such, the brand must accelerate the shift towards creating a digital relationship with its own customers. The announcement of an all-in-one bundle to services – Apple Music, News, TV+, Arcade, iCloud – could help such a strategy in a context where the competition on streaming services is accelerating.”