Next Apple event 2021: when to expect the next big reveal

Whatever point of the year we’re in, there’s always an Apple event on the horizon, as the company tends to hold a handful of events in any given year. Apple has confirmed that its next big event will be on October 18 at 10am PDT, but it's still a mystery for what we'll see.

These include the launch of new iPhones and Apple Watches in September, the launch of new iPads at various points in the year, and also launches for Macs, AirPods and more. 

Apple finally released an invite for the next event, happening on October 18. As usual, there wasn't much info on what's coming, but Apple SVP Greg Joswiak made plenty of reference to speed and 'unleashed' hardware, leading us to suspect the event will reveal new computers like the next MacBook Pro.

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 Some of these events happen like clockwork, making them easy to predict, while others are more haphazard, but thanks to leaks and rumors we usually have a good idea of what’s coming next. Below then, we’ll look at when the next Apple event is likely to happen, and what we’re likely to see there.

Next Apple event date

We know for sure the next Apple event date: October 18 at 10am PDT, thanks to an official invite from Apple. While we don't know for sure what will be announced, we've heard plenty of rumors for the release lineup.

It’s been extensively rumored that both the AirPods 3 and MacBook Pro 14-inch (2021) could land before the end of the year. In the case of the former, we’ve most recently heard from sources speaking to Bloomberg that the AirPods 3 could land this ‘fall’ (meaning September-December).

Similarly, respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has said that Apple will start producing new AirPods models in the “third calendar quarter of 2021”, according to Apple Insider, while other reports suggested suppliers had started shipping components in June, which itself suggests the AirPods 3 should be coming soon.

A MacBook Pro M1 from the back, sat on a table

A new MacBook Pro could be next in line from Apple (Image credit: Future)

As for the MacBook Pro 14-inch (2021), multiple sources have pointed to a third quarter launch for that. That can’t really happen now, but we might still see it in October – just after the third quarter.

Most recently Bloomberg's Mark Gurman suggested that an October launch event was highly likely in the most recent of his Power On newsletters. Gurman has been on the money with Apple leaks in the past and this event’s timing would fit with Apple’s usual schedule which typically includes an October Mac-centric event.

As for exactly when this event might be, there’s less news on that, but there’s some suggestion that Apple could hold its event on October 12, which not coincidentally would be the day after the company’s European Back to School promotion ends.

We’re not at all confident of that date, but if there’s going to be another Apple event this year then October seems the obvious time for it – it gives the September iPhone 13 event some breathing room, but still comes ahead of the year-end sales season, when people tend to look more towards older discounted tech than new releases.

What will we see at the next Apple event?

As noted above, the next Apple event is likely to include the AirPods 3 and the MacBook Pro 14-inch (2021). We might also see a 16-inch MacBook Pro and a new Mac mini.

There’s even a chance that we’ll see the iPad Air 5, given that the iPad Air 4 landed in October of 2020, but with Apple having recently launched the iPad 10.2 (2021) and the iPad mini (2021) we’re not so sure, especially as some rumors point to a 2022 launch.

In any case, the AirPods 3 will reportedly have shorter stems than their predecessors, with a similar design to the AirPods Pro.

Airpods Pro against a black background

The AirPods 3 could be coming soon with a design like the AirPods Pro (pictured) (Image credit: Apple)

They might also have improved fitness tracking capabilities thanks to new sensors, along with better battery life, active noise cancelation, and support for Spatial Audio.

The new MacBook Pros meanwhile might have new M1X chipsets, MagSafe charging, mini LED screens, and no Touch Bars. If there’s a new Mac mini then that could also get an M1X chipset, offering a significant performance boost on the Apple Mac mini (M1, 2020).

And in the unlikely event that we see the iPad Air 5 at this event, we’ve heard that it might have a 10.9-inch OLED screen, rather than the LCD of the current model. It might also have the A15 Bionic chipset found in the iPhone 13 range, plus a dual-lens camera (with an ultra-wide lens being added), and 5G.

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