Prediction: No big iPhone launch event this year
Reading between the lines it looks like the launch of the next iPhone will be an online only event just like WWDC 2020 this year, as COVID-19 crisis continues.
Apple’s not said it (yet), so I will
Apple hasn’t said anything about its iPhone launch plans.
Typically, it holds a special event in September at which it introduces the new device, but this year it seems unlikely to do the same on strength of the pandemic.
The reason I think this is because the company is closing stores, urging retail staff to work from home, and has told its U.S. office staff that it doesn’t expect a full return to the office this year.
(The only exceptions being teams involved in top secret development that must be on-site and workers who need to be in an office because they can’t work at home.)
The thing is, if Apple doesn’t see a return to office work as sensible for its employees, it seems to me unlikely it will want to invite its closest partners, employees, staff and media to a special event for precisely the same reason; particularly as most commentators now expect a second spike of infections will begin to emerge this fall.
These are precisely the same reasons Apple chose to run WWDC online this year.
The inconvenient truth being that at present some of the world’s most populous countries still don’t appear to have bought the problem truly under control.
As the fire rages on
Apple let its staff know of its plans in a memo from retail and people head, Deirdre O’Brien.
She urged retail employees to register to provide remote tech support to customers who (she notes) are “really dependent on their devices” during the current crisis. Apple’s U.S. office employees have also been told the company now doesn’t expect a full return to office work this year.
Meanwhile, we wait for the emergence of some form of united global leadership to help find a constructive way through the crisis, which now sees almost 13 million recognized as infected worldwide with in excess of half a million deaths so far.
Apple notes the recent spike in U.S. infections in its latest message to staff in which it urges employees to work from home and promises to send employees Covid-19 testing kits to help them monitor their health.
I don’t think we’ll be seeing an iPhone launch event in this context.
It seems unrealistic to expect Apple to host a public gathering of this kind, given the circumstances we face. The new normal seems set to remain an uncomfortable place for the time being, and I’m truly sorry about that.