By John Gruber
Shortcut is project management for software teams. Try it for free.
Last year Apple held an event in Brooklyn on October 30; invitations to the media were sent on October 18. In 2016, they held an event on October 27 at the Town Hall theater on the old Infinite Loop campus; invitations to that event were sent October 19.
We’re running out of time for Apple to hold an event in October. Still possible, of course — those 2016 invitations only went out eight days in advance. But I think if it were going to happen, the invitations would’ve gone out today at the latest.
But what about new products? We should see the new Mac Pros launch before the end of the year. It sounds like we might be getting a new 16-inch MacBook Pro with a new keyboard that returns to reliable better-feeling scissor switches, and maybe new high-end AirPods with noise cancellation.
Apple could still hold an event in October. They could hold an event in early November, although I don’t recall that ever happening. But recall that Apple held no October event in 2017, even though the iMac Pro was slated to ship before the end of that year. Instead of a keynote event, Apple held private media briefings in New York City and Cupertino — in mid-December.
Updated AirPods are something Apple would ideally want to announce sooner rather than later, to make them available for holiday gift purchases. Mac Pros and high-end MacBook Pros aren’t holiday gifts. If Apple still intends to hold another 2019 keynote event, they’d want to announce everything remaining for 2019 at the event. If they do private media briefings though, they could easily hold separate briefings for the AirPods and Mac hardware.
Another factor: I just don’t think these three products — assuming all three will launch this year — add up to a cohesive event. Apple doesn’t hold events willy-nilly just because there’s something new. They tell stories at events. There’s a narrative flow to them. AirPods, a slightly bigger MacBook Pro, and a Mac Pro that was unveiled in June at WWDC don’t make for an event. And the most interesting thing about the new MacBook Pro — the keyboard — isn’t something Apple would want to talk about on stage.
Bonus nugget: On the upcoming episode of my podcast, special guest Rene Ritchie says his understanding is that Apple has its hands full dealing with the November 1 launch of TV+ and the premiere events for its various original shows. I fully expect more Apple hardware before the end of the year, but not another keynote event.