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

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iphone 5 ipad mini concept

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.