Apple September 2021 event

By Samantha Murphy Kelly, Rishi Iyengar, Clare Duffy and Kerry Flynn, CNN

Updated 6:08 PM ET, Tue September 14, 2021
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1:30 p.m. ET, September 14, 2021

Apple unveils new iPad and 5G iPad mini

From CNN Business' Samantha Kelly

Apple's first big product reveal at the event was the latest version of the iPad and a 5G-capable iPad Mini.

Here's a look at some of the specs:

The iPad

Under the hood, the 10.2-inch iPad features a powerful A13 chip with 20% faster performance than the previous model. Apple says it's now 3 times faster than a Chromebook. It comes with a new 12MP ultrawide camera with Center Stage, which uses machine learning to adjust the front-facing camera during FaceTime video calls, and more accessory support that works with the first-generation Apple Pencil. It also supports a True Tone feature that adjusts the screen's color temperature to ambient lighting.

It costs $329 for 64GB storage -- double the storage that typically ships on an entry-level iPad. For schools, the device costs $299. Pre-orders start today and shipping begins next week.

iPad Mini

The 8.3-inch iPad mini now comes with smaller bezels, more rounded corners, upgraded cameras on the front and back, Apple's Liquid retina display, USB-C support, magnetic support for Apple Pencil, an updated speaker system and new colors, such as pink and purple. It starts at $499.

1:23 p.m. ET, September 14, 2021

Tom Hanks and Ted Lasso kick off Apple event

From CNN Business' Frank Pallotta

Apple events are known for their product announcements, but Tuesday's much-anticipated showcase kicked off with Tom Hanks and Ted Lasso rather than an iPhone or iPad.

"We're so proud this year that Apple TV+ has 35 primetime Emmy nominations," Apple CEO Tim Cook said, before showing off a sizzle reel of Apple TV+'s biggest hits. "And we're just getting started."

Apple TV+ may not get the headlines the way that Netflix and Disney+ do, but it's vitally important to the evolution of the company. If Apple's past was Steve Jobs debuting devices, a big part of Apple's future is Tim Cook telling you what you can watch on those devices.

Apple's foray into the streaming world, which kicked off roughly two years ago, has had its fair share of successes thanks to "Ted Lasso" and critically acclaimed films starring Hollywood heavyweights such as Tom Hanks, so its inclusion right at the top says a lot about Apple's focus on streaming.

That said, the most important part of an Apple event is the end, so that says something about their focus as well.

11:00 a.m. ET, September 14, 2021

Tim Cook appears to be hanging out in the desert ahead of iPhone event

From CNN Business' Samantha Kelly

While iPhone events typically take place at Apple's Cupertino, California headquarters, CEO Tim Cook tweeted this morning it will be streaming "from somewhere a little different this time."

He included an image of what appears to be the desert. This could be the location where Apple will show off the rumored tool for taking pictures of the night sky.

9:11 a.m. ET, September 14, 2021

Apple's biggest event of the year takes place under a cloud of uncertainty

From CNN Business' Rishi Iyengar

Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks onstage during a product launch event at Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, California on September 10, 2019.
Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks onstage during a product launch event at Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, California on September 10, 2019. Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images

Apple’s biggest event of this year is taking place under a cloud of litigation, regulatory scrutiny and developer dissent. 

Just days before the event, a judge in California forced a big change to the company’s App Store — ruling that Apple (AAPL) can no longer prohibit app developers from directing users to payment options outside the App Store. The decision, in response to a lawsuit filed against Apple by video game maker Epic Games, gives developers an easier way to avoid Apple’s comissions of up to 30% on in-app purchases.

Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers did grant Apple a partial victory, declining to deem the iPhone maker a monopoly and ruling in its favor on the suit’s other claims. (Apple framed the decision as a victory; Epic has vowed to keep fighting, and filed an appeal against the court’s decision on Sunday.)

It's far from the only antitrust pressure Apple is facing. The company is still confronting scrutiny by the US House and Senate, as well as regulators in the United Kingdom and Europe. South Korea has already taken one of the most severe actions against Apple's in-app payment restrictions, passing a law in early September that requires Apple and Google to offer alternative payment systems to their users in the country.

Apple is also facing controversy over its efforts to combat child exploitation, pausing testing on a planned tool to detect child abuse imagery after backlash over its potential privacy implications.

The company will be hoping those controversies don’t overshadow the launch of its latest iPhone. An Apple representative said during a press call Monday that the company is set to keep the focus on its products during Tuesday’s event.

10:25 a.m. ET, September 14, 2021

Easter Eggs in Apple's press invites 

From CNN Business' Samantha Kelly

Every time Apple sends out an invite to a big event, Apple watchers analyze it for "hidden" clues. This year, the tagline listed on the invite is “California Streaming,” a potential nod to more shows coming to the company’s streaming platform. Apple TV+ has seen success with some original titles such as Ted Lasso and The Morning Show, so it wouldn't be a surprise if Apple teased what else it has coming down the pipeline.

Beyond that, the invite’s photo features an Apple logo over a lake. When you tap the same picture on the Apple website, it opens an augmented reality tool where the logo can be superimposed onto whatever you're looking at through the iPhone's camera. Stars appear when the image is zoomed in, potentially playing into rumors the company will be adding astrophotography support to better take pictures of the night sky.

9:11 a.m. ET, September 14, 2021

How to watch Apple's iPhone event

From CNN Business' Samantha Kelly

Tim Cook, CEO of Apple Inc., stands onstage during a virtual product launch seen on a laptop on October 13, 2020.
Tim Cook, CEO of Apple Inc., stands onstage during a virtual product launch seen on a laptop on October 13, 2020. Daniel Acker/Bloomberg/Getty Images

For the second year in a row, Apple's big fall iPhone reveal will largely take place remotely, rather than in front of a packed auditorium, due to the pandemic.

You can tune in by going to Apple.com or YouTube.

9:11 a.m. ET, September 14, 2021

Will Apple avoid unlucky number 13 for the latest iPhone?

From CNN Business' Samantha Kelly

An iPhone XS Max, center, and iPhone XS smartphones sit on display during a sales launch at a store in Chicago, Illinois on Sept. 21, 2018.
An iPhone XS Max, center, and iPhone XS smartphones sit on display during a sales launch at a store in Chicago, Illinois on Sept. 21, 2018. Daniel Acker/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Apple’s next-generation smartphone is widely expected to be called the iPhone 13, but it’s always possible the company may choose a different moniker and skip that number altogether -- much like some buildings omit floors numbered 13 because it’s considered unlucky.

While unlikely, it wouldn’t be totally unheard of. Apple skipped the iPhone 9 and went right to iPhone X. Likewise, Microsoft jumped from Windows 8 to Windows 10. At the time, both companies reportedly skipped the number 9 for marketing purposes, not for any superstition.

9:11 a.m. ET, September 14, 2021

Inching closer to a wireless future

From CNN Business' Samantha Kelly

 Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto/Getty Images
Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto/Getty Images

For months, rumors have circulated that Apple (AAPL) is about to drop the Lightning port from its iPhones. The move in that direction started years ago with the removal of the cord and plug from the box and continued on with the introduction of MagSafe, a magnetically attached wireless charger that snaps on and off to the back of an iPhone case.

Axing the port won't likely happen this year -- for starters, Apple's MagSafe partners need to be ready with more wireless chargers -- but the company is said to be working on expanding and improving compatible accessories to get its iPhones more primed for a wireless future.

Apple killed the floppy disc, the headphone jack and the Home button. It may only be a matter of time before it does the same to the port.

9:11 a.m. ET, September 14, 2021

New AirPods and Apple Watch?

From CNN Business' Samantha Kelly

AirPods products displayed at the Apple Park Visitor Center in Cupertino.
AirPods products displayed at the Apple Park Visitor Center in Cupertino. lex Tai/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images

The iPhone may be the focus of Apple’s big event today but the company will likely show off other new products, too. 

The Apple Watch Series 7: Apple may announce a new Apple Watch with a slightly larger screen, slimmer borders, a faster processor and a better battery life. However, it’s unclear if any of the reported production issues of the new Apple Watch will delay when people can actually get their hands on them.

AirPods: Apple’s next-generation AirPods are expected to feature a design more in line with the higher-end AirPods Pro. The earbuds are rumored to come with spatial audio support, touch controls and redesigned charging case that includes a 20% bigger battery so people can get more usage out of one charge.

Other possible products: An iPad, iPad mini, MacBook Pro and new Apple TV+ content.