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Summary:

The question isn’t whether there will be another Apple event in 2009. The release of Snow Leopard and the introduction of new iPods guarantees that. The real question is whether there will be two events. Not surprisingly, predicting what will happen with Apple has a lot […]

The question isn’t whether there will be another Apple event in 2009. The release of Snow Leopard and the introduction of new iPods guarantees that. The real question is whether there will be two events.

apple_events_2009

Not surprisingly, predicting what will happen with Apple has a lot to do with what has already happened. A good way to visualize Apple events and product updates is to imagine us all living on planet iEarth revolving around the sun that is Apple — really more like a collapsed star, so little information about new products escapes Cupertino, but still a solar mass. Apple events and Mac updates occur with (mostly) seasonal regularity. What follows this year follows from previous years, and that makes the remainder of 2009 very interesting indeed.

Until Apple effectively ended Macworld Conference & Expo in 2009, it always took place in January. The World Wide Developers Conference has taken place in June for six out of the last seven years, the last three of which featured new iPhones. Since 2005, Apple has held a music event every September to introduce new iPods. The last two years have seen an iPhone OS event in March. Updates to Macs most often occur in spring and fall, often March and October, and this is where stating the obvious becomes more interesting.

While the 13” MacBook Pro was praised by many in June, more than a few may have felt a little disgruntled. Unibody MacBook buyers from as late as May saw their shiny, silver laptops depreciate an extra $100 with the 13” MacBook Pro price drop, probably more considering the FireWire port and improved battery life. Of course, the Apple obsessed knew something was coming as soon as the unibody MacBook was passed over during the March update for Macs. Now, all the laptops have been updated, which brings us to the update history of Apple’s flagship desktop, the iMac.

apple_events_2009_imacs

Looking at the calendar, the spring/fall update cycle for the iMac is pretty obvious. 2006 was an outlier, that being the introduction of the Intel iMac. Also, last year the iMac missed an update, possibly because of the focus on the major redesign of the MacBook. Coincidentally, that redesign came a little over two years since the first MacBook was introduced. It’s now two years since the polycarbonate iMac was replaced with glass and aluminum model.

It’s time for the next major revision of the iMac. Rumors of Blu-ray drives and secret features aside, the announced release of Snow Leopard in September would seem to indicate an Apple event for Macs is imminent. The only problem is the imminent Apple event for iPods, and possibly a tablet, too.

apple_events_2009_ipods

While past performance is not necessarily an indication of future Apple events, there has been a pattern of iPod updates taking place after Labor Day. Whether this has been because Steve Jobs has been busy prepping for his tofu barbecue on the holiday weekend, or because there has been no Tuesday in September before Labor Day, has not been tested, until now.

That’s the first possibility, that there will be an Apple event on the first Tuesday or Wednesday of September, in which case the event will be announced around August 24. The best reason for an early September event for iPods, and possibly a tablet, would be a late September event for Snow Leopard and the iMac. It’s hard to imagine two events in September with the first one occurring on Wednesday, September 9, leaving just three weeks until the second. That’s a lot of preparation in a short time for a company as image-obsessed as Apple.

The other possibility would be a single event combining iPods, Snow Leopard, a new iMac, and possibly a tablet. This would be the mini-Macworld option, but if there is a tablet that seems unlikely. The tablet is a big, big deal, and more of a device for media consumption, like the iPod, or the Apple TV. The Apple TV was introduced at the Apple event for iPods in September 2006.

Of course, the third possibility is that Snow Leopard will be a silent update. Instead of an Apple executive introducing “the world’s most advanced operating system” on a brand new iMac, maybe with Blu-ray, the company will just quietly ship it to the stores. After all, it’s not like any other operating system will be launched this year.

So, two Apple events, first and last Tuesday in September, you heard it here first.

  1. There’s no question that there will be an iPod (or Music) related event and even if they will not announce an “iTablet”, there will be enough news-worthy stuff (new iPods, new Touch, some new Music deal = solid 60 minutes).

    I cannot see them doing a big event for Snow Leopard. Everything’s been pretty much announced. So unless there’s a major hardware bump coming (Blu-Ray alone is not that newsworthy, either) or they want to focus on the suites (iLife’10 and iWork’10) with major new features, they don’t have enough to announce. So the second announcement could happen, but I would not be surprised either at a “One more thing: Snow Leopard is shipping on Day X” at the iPod event

  2. What to read on the GigaOM network Tuesday, August 11, 2009

    [...] Edit Staff | Tuesday, August 11, 2009 | 11:22 AM PT | 0 comments Will there be two more Apple events this year? (TheAppleBlog) On open source, the services model, and long-term software quality (OStatic) In the [...]

  3. I would love to see an upgrade to their monitor line. I’m in the market for a big monitor and would love to have the iSight camera built in. Any word out there in the ether, about a refresh. And I’d love to see a Mac desktop bump around the Snow Leopard announcement. Mainly to show off the GPU acceleration and the overall speed. Blu-ray is a bonus.

    1. I think the LED Display is the last update we’ll see for awhile. That must be the sweet spot for screen size, at least as far as Apple is concerned.

  4. The author misses the distinct possibility that there is only going to be one iMac update a year from now on and that this update would be in the Spring. This is exactly what happened in 2008, which he calls an anomaly and finds and excuse for. Could be this is true, could be they are moving to one event a year. There’s not enough evidence here to say either way.

    1. I don’t know, I think I just found a different point. The first question is whether Apple will do anything special for Snow Leopard. With Windows 7 being released in October, it’s hard to imagine them not. The second question then becomes what will Apple show it off on, previously released MacBook Pros?

      I don’t think so. Add to that the fact that it’s been two years since the last major revision of the iMac, which lasted about two years from the previous revision, and you have to wonder. True, Apple may have moved to spring updates, but the iMac does have a history of fall updates, too. There is one additional point I missed, or left out: Clarkdale.

  5. I agree that the tablet will be a big, big deal, but not that it couldn’t be combined with a larger event announcing other products. Does, “Oh, and one more thing” ring a bell? This will be Jobs’ first appearance with the new liver (LOL!), so that would be just like him, IMO.

  6. How will Apple de-feature the 3rd gen iPod Touch? Friday, August 14, 2009

    [...] gen iPod Touch popping up as we get closer to the yet-to-be-announced iPod/Music event that Apple traditionally holds in September, there is still one question that I keep [...]

  7. Purported Video of iPod Touch With Camera Surfaces Monday, August 17, 2009

    [...] this particular video is a fake, there will almost certainly be an iPod touch with a camera at an Apple Event in a few weeks. Fact or fiction, it’s all [...]

  8. I don’t see why Apple would need to announce Snow Leopard, they have already focused on it at other events (WWDC) so unless they plan on pulling a rabbit out of their hat there is nothing more to talk about, just push it out to retailers and release a press release.

  9. I’m thinking of buying a macbook pro 13 inch. Should I wait until October? Apple seem to have upgraded the macbooks in October. What do you guys think?

  10. im with eddy!

    i want to get a macbook pro 13inch..

    and wonder if the june version will hold up for .. quite a while.

    but since it is october… when is this event gonna be???

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