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
7 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
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.

10:12 a.m. ET, September 14, 2021

New iPhones are coming

From CNN Business' Samantha Kelly

Various iPhone models sit on display at the official opening of the new Apple Store Via Del Corso, in Rome, Italy on May 27.
Various iPhone models sit on display at the official opening of the new Apple Store Via Del Corso, in Rome, Italy on May 27. Antonio Masiello/Getty Images

Apple (AAPL) is expected to unveil four new iPhones today during a virtual media event held from California: the iPhone 13 mini, the iPhone 13, the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max.

The devices likely won't have any groundbreaking design changes or features -- or at least compared to last year’s 5G announcement. But there's a long list of potential feature changes under the hood that could be coming.

Here’s what to expect:

Changes to the display: Apple could finally do away with the "notch" at the top of its display, which holds its TrueDepth camera, speakers, microphone and other sensors, to give a less obstructed view of the touchscreen. It could also get an always-on display and an under-display Touch ID.

Updated camera system: The iPhone 13 and more budget-friendly iPhone 13 mini are rumored to have two rear-camera lenses placed diagonally for the first time, potentially to make room for a larger sensor. Meanwhile, the three rear-camera lenses on iPhone 13 Pro models could come in different sizes and sit inside a thicker bump, reportedly for advancements with stabilization. 

Advanced camera features: Apple could offer Portrait mode for videos and astrophotography support to take pictures of the night sky

A massive storage option: In a recent investor note, Wedbush analyst Dan Ives said the iPhone 13 may come with a 1 terabyte storage option, double the Pro's maximum current storage capacity of 512 GB.

Other bells and whistles: Satellite technology support for sending messages in emergency situations, a faster refresh rate for better gaming, an improved 5G chip and a bigger battery that promises to last all day