What’s Up With this December Apple Event?

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So we all thought there would be an Apple event back in October. It fit the pattern of recent years. There was hardware that we all thought would be released before the Holiday shopping season. The AirPods Pro and 16″ MacBook Pro seemed event-worthy when paired. Add in a rumored iPad Pro refresh, AirTiles and an Apple TV update, and it all seemed to make sense. But then October came and went with no event.

The AirPods Pro and MacBook Pro came out via press release, followed by the new iPhone 11 and 11 Pro Smart Battery cases just last week. The rest seems to have been put off until a later date. However, now we get an event in December? Even stranger, this December 2nd event will have nothing to do with hardware and will instead be focused on Apps. Well, Apple’s events have been harder to figure over the last year and this is just another example.

It isn’t unusual for Apple to highlight its favorite apps and media at the end of the year. As you can see here, they have been releasing a list of the top Apps, Music, Podcasts, Movies and Videos and Books in early December in recent years. For example, they highlighted their favorites in each category and the also linked to the current charts last December:

Best Apps of the Year
App Trend of the Year – Self-care
Game Trend of the Year – Battle Royale-style gaming
iPhone App of the Year – Procreate Pocket
iPhone Game of the Year – Donut County
iPad App of the Year – Froggipedia
iPad Game of the Year – Gorogoa
Mac App of the Year – Pixelmator Pro
Mac Game of the Year – The Gardens Between
Apple TV App of the Year – Sweat
Apple TV Game of the Year – Alto’s Odyssey
Favorite Watch Apps of the Year
Charts
iPhone users running iOS 11 and later will view iPhone charts below; iPad users running iOS 11 and later will view iPad charts.

This makes total sense as a press release. So why is Apple now turning this into a media event? To be honest, I have no idea and they run the risk of this becoming a snooze-fest that they get called out for if they don’t deliver something compelling. Surely they know that, though.

I get that Apple is in the midst of a big services push and that this event is undoubtedly related to that. That said, this isn’t the first event that Apple has dedicated to services this year. Their Spring event, which had been used in the past for iPads and education initiatives (which included iPads), became a showcase for News+, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade and the Apple Card this year.

Reviews of that event were pretty mixed, as some of the services went over very well (Apple Card and Aple Arcade), but the TV+ portion that closed the show was vague, confusing and poorly organized. I get why Apple used this event to showcase new services, but it could have been a lot better than it was. The criticism wasn’t terrible, but it was warranted.

So what about December 2nd? If Apple does nothing but run down the same list that I linked from last year, then they will be deservedly torched by the tech media for it. If they were able to do this as more of an awards show format, then it might actually be pretty cool. Apple could use it to highlight the work of a lot of developers, podcasters and artists that don’t get a lot of media attention. If done well, that would probably be received in a positive light. However, we have no clue what direction they will take this event in right now.

One thing you can be sure of is that, other than possibly running down some Holiday sales numbers, there will be little to no discussion of hardware on 12/2. It looks like this will be all about Apps, Music, Podcasts, Movies and Videos and Books. What form that takes on stage is anyone’s guess, but we will all know in less than three days.

I will be driving to Rockford, IL on Monday, but I will definitely be tuning in to see how it goes from the road. Hopefully my cell signal will cooperate while I’m somewhere in the middle of Missouri.


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