This year’s iPhone event likely to be all-virtual for the second year running

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iPhone 13 dummy leak
Not too much longer to wait.
Photo: Geek Village Chief

As predicted, Apple’s next special event — dedicated to the iPhone 13 and, possibly, new AirPods — will take place virtually, Mark Gurman reports in his weekend “Power On” newsletter.

Gurman also said that, in keeping with the company’s approach during COVID-19 times, Apple will focus on online sales. That’s a far cry from Apple’s classic launches, where the iPhone unveiling event was attended by hundreds of tech journalists, while fans lined up outside Apple Stores to get their new handsets.

Apple’s first virtual event was 2020’s Worldwide Developers Conference. This came a few months after the coronavirus pandemic apparently caused Apple to call off plans for a live March event. The virtual events became a big success, with some (including myself) calling for Apple to make them a permanent fixture.

Gurman’s report suggests Apple may be thinking about returning to the old in-person model.

“If all Apple employees were back in the office as originally planned, and if cases of infections were low, it’d be plausible to think Apple would be gearing up for its first in-person product event since 2019,” he wrote. “Instead, expect another promotional video on Apple’s website and YouTube, plus a focus on online sales.”

This would mark the second year running in which Apple debuts new iPhones at a virtual event. There is currently no official word on when the event might take place. However, Wedbush analyst Dan Ives recently predicted that the iPhone will make its debut in the “third week” in September. Since Apple keynotes typically take place on Tuesdays, that would peg the date as September 14.

In other words, it’s exactly 50 days until the iPhone 13 makes it debut.