Why It Makes Sense For Apple To Hold Two Separate Events For The iPhone 5 And iPad Mini This Fall

Why It Makes Sense For Apple To Hold Two Separate Events For The iPhone 5 And iPad Mini This Fall

For months rumors have been saying that Apple is getting ready to launch two major, new products this fall: the iPhone 5 and iPad mini. Both of these names are placeholders for what will be the sixth-generation iPhone and a 7-inch version of the current iPad. Everyone pretty much agrees that the new iPhone will be announced on September 12th, but opinions are split on the possibility of Apple also announcing the iPad mini during the same event. While it’s nearly 100% confirmed that a unibody iPhone 5 will be announced on the 12th and then ship on the 21st, specific dates have not surfaced for the elusive iPad mini—we haven’t even seen so much as an incriminating part leak.

While some think that Apple will announce both the new iPhone and iPad mini at its September event, it actually makes more sense for Apple to hold two separate media events this fall for each product. Here’s why.

Fighting For Attention

First off, Apple doesn’t need to announce both products at once. Sure, Amazon may announce the Kindle Fire 2 next month, but you can bet your tuchus that Apple doesn’t care. There’s been so much hype built up around the iPhone 5 and iPad mini that it’s going to be hard for Apple to not dominate the tech news cycle until Christmas. But why put all your cards on the table at once? Why not deliberately unleash a new iPhone (which a lot of people want) and then wait to unleash a smaller, cheaper iPad (which a lot of other people want).

John Gruber of Daring Fireball theorizes:

I’m thinking it makes more sense for Apple to hold two events. First, an iPhone event, focused solely on the new iPhone and iOS 6. Then, the iPhone ships nine days later, and there’s another wave of iPhone-focused attention as the reviews come out. Then, in the first or second week of October, Apple holds its traditional “music event”, exactly along the lines of the events at which they’ve been debuting new iPods for the last decade. (Maybe more of an “iTunes event” than just “music event”, given the rise of other media like TV shows, movies, and books.)

An event where the iPad Air (cool, but just a smaller thinner cheaper iPad), new iPod Touch (cool, but just an iPhone without the phone), and maybe even new or at least updated iPod music players (eh) share the stage, tied together with the theme of consuming iTunes media content — that I can buy.

Gruber notes that the iPhone is worth more than the entirety of Microsoft. A new iPhone—and what’s more, the major iPhone redesign people have been anticipating since the iPhone 4—deserves its own spotlight. Reviews will be written, and the news will be talking about it nonstop for a solid month. Once the noise starts to fade, a cheap, 7-inch iPad comes out, thereby triggering another solid month of nonstop news coverage.

That’s September and October. Seems like plenty of momentum to propel Apple into a record-breaking holiday season.

Jim Dalrymple, another well-sourced pundit in the Apple community, seems to agree with Gruber’s premise. A new iPhone and iOS 6 release next month, followed by an early-October iPad mini (Air?), iTunes-centric event.

If you comb through the rumors, iMore is really the only site that’s predicted a new iPhone and iPad mini announcement for September 12th. Back in May, iMore said that a 7-inch iPad was shipping in October. The September 12th date wasn’t reported until July:

The iPad mini will be announced at the same September 12 event, as will the new iPod nano. We haven’t heard a release date for the iPad mini yet, but it could be the same as the iPhone 5. It seems likely the new iPod touch will make an appearance on September 12 as well, though we haven’t heard any specific information about that yet either.

Bloomberg has only said that a smaller iPad “may be” announced “by October.” All The Wall Street Journal really said was that “a launch for the device is near.”

There’s no need to overwhelm the press and consumers with two major product announcements at once. Apple doesn’t want the new iPhone and 7-inch iPad to compete for attention. That’s why it makes more sense for there to be two separate events. It’s more of a focused, deliberate approach. It sounds more like Apple.

  • Tallest_Skil

    The only thing that doesn’t make sense is the smaller iPad itself.

  • The_Truth_Hurts

    At least 1 Samsung event.
    At least 1 Nokia event.
    At least 1 Motorola event.
    At least 1 Amazon event.
    At least 1 Microsoft event.

    We probably will have a Google/Nexus event.
    Windows Phones events? Samsung, HTC, others. Don’t know if that will be together or separate.
    Dell, Asus, Lenovo, HP, others, Windows 8 tablets events? Don’t know if together or separate.

    I can say for one thing for sure. This fall is going to be freaking crowded.

    Maybe a xBox/Halo event? I know no new xBox, but with the next halo game out, I can see Microsoft doing an xBox event to show off some new stuff.
    Maybe a Nook event? (Don’t remember when the last nook came out exactly)

    Everybody will probably be “evented” out by christmas.

  • Whodakat

    Personally, if I was in charge over at Apple I would take advantage of the fact that we hadn’t announced any dates at all, and yet we have our competitors scrambling to announce first. Now that they have all jumped out and announced their dates, I’d step up and announce for September 3rd. Just to *$%# with them. With everyone worked up into a frenzy waiting for an Apple event the competitors thought they could announce a few days ahead of time and grab some press before the real event but beating them to the punch would seriously take what little wind they had left, out of their sails.

  • theobserving

    Maybe they’ll have a separate event for each type of iPod, too. Then you guys will have something to write about. Just a hunch.

  • fithbeatle

    the ipad is small enough.

  • technochick

    Or maybe the lack of leaks is that there is no iPad mini and Apple has been playing Gruber etc with just enough info via these ‘anonymous sources’ to make them look like idiots to the public so they will stop posting such leaks

  • technochick

    , I’d step up and announce for September 3rd.

    US national holiday.

    That said why not no event at all. Just take the site off line overnight and suddenly there it is ready to preorder, for at home delivery or in store pickup starting that same weekend. No walkins for the first week or two, just reservations

    That would really screw with the other boys.

  • calitb

    Just to remember, last year there wasn’t a music event, Apple hasn’t update the iphone since 2010. So, maybe this year we will have only one more event like last year

  • UGenya

    When will Apple announce the 13 inch retina MacBook? I have been waiting on this since June!

  • Alfred2612

    New iPhone due, new iPods due, new iMacs due, and rumours of an iPad mini.

    That’s a LOT of stuff for one event.

    I predict:

    New iPhone and iPods in September at one event.
    iPad mini in October OR in the Spring 2013 to coincide with the next regular iPad.

    “New” iMacs will simply be a speed bump with the same form factor, no event needed, will just appear in the store probably within the next 1 or 2 months.

  • The_Truth_Hurts

    @Whodakat

    “With everyone worked up into a frenzy waiting for an Apple event the competitors thought they could announce a few days ahead of time and grab some press before the real event but beating them to the punch would seriously take what little wind they had left, out of their sails.”

    It’s really the media who is worked up into a frenzy waiting for an Apple event, not the general public.

    Beating everyone to the punch could result in “disaster”. First, Apple will be done “first”. Thus, Apple will be “over”. The media will talk about Nokia, Samsung, HTC, Dell, HP, Microsoft, Google, whoever is after Apple. Yes, they may speak about Apple, but will be more “focused” on the others.

    What if the other manufactures come out with “amazing” products? That “wow” the public? Yes, Windows Phones are sort of “meh”. The primary reason is that the restrictions that were in place. Windows Phone 8 has more “freedom”, thus allowing Windows phone 8 (basically) to be on par with Android phones. Galaxy S III? HTC One X? similar devices? can run windows. Which will put Windows Phone 8 on the same platform as Android.

    This year, more so than any other year, you have competition. very tough competition. And competition of stuff that is on par, if not better than what Apple makes/has.

    Apple will blow the competition out of the water? Destroy their sales? The only thing that could happen, will be that the others blow Apple out of the water and destroy Apple’s sales.

    Especially in America, it’s the carriers that “matter”. If Nokia, HTC, Samsung, and others can put their phones on all carriers? Apple will have a huge fight. If Not…? Apple will still be able to cruise.

About the author

Alex HeathAlex Heath is a staff writer at Cult of Mac and co-host of the CultCast. He has been quoted by the likes of the BBC, KRON 4 News, and books like "ICONIC: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation." If you want to pitch a story, share a tip, or just get in touch, additional contact information is available on his personal site. Twitter always works too.

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