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Why Apple is probably skipping the spring event this year

Saturday February 25, 2023. 04:00 PM , from Macworld UK
Welcome to our weekend Apple Breakfast column, which includes all of the Apple news you missed this week in a handy bite-sized roundup. We call it Apple Breakfast because we think it goes great with a morning cup of coffee or tea, but it’s cool if you want to give it a read during lunch or dinner hours too.

The year without a spring

Human beings are creatures of habit, and we love the comforting predictability of routine. For Apple fans, that means the seasonal procession of press events. The year’s major launches usually begin with a spring event in March or April, followed by software news at WWDC in June, before the announcements are brought to a close with iPhone and Apple Watch releases in the fall. Thus it has been, and thus ever more it shall remain.

In fact, Apple’s cycle of events has never been quite as predictable as all that. The September iPhone launch feels so well established that the first spec sheets might as well have been carved into stone tablets, but that tradition didn’t begin until the launch of the iPhone 4s. The first four generations were unveiled at WWDC in the summer, or at the Macworld Conference (remember that?) in January. The fall announcements, for that matter, have sometimes occupied just one event, sometimes two, and on one memorable occasion three. WWDC used to regularly take place in May, and once was scandalously held in August. And there have been plenty of years with no spring event at all. Including, most likely, 2023.

Second-guessing Apple’s plans is a fool’s errand, and the company may yet surprise us. But my suspicion is that we won’t get to see any Apple execs cavorting around a stage, virtual or otherwise, until WWDC.

The problem is that Apple’s mixed-reality headset reportedly won’t be ready in time for an event in March or April. This exciting but faintly cursed project keeps getting pushed back; at one stage it was expected in January, then spring, then WWDC, and one pundit now thinks it will accompany the iPhone 15 in the fall. Setbacks are understandable when you’re launching an entire new ecosystem of products, and as I wrote last week, it’s better to be late than rubbish. But this leaves Apple without a headliner for its spring bonanza.

That’s not to say there aren’t products, their hour come round at last, slouching towards Cupertino to be born. A new larger MacBook Air, for example, appears to be very imminent indeed, and Apple is also believed to be working on a faster Apple TV as part of its smart-home push. There’s also the Mac Pro, which could arrive at any moment. But the question remains: Are any of these big enough to be the flagpole announcement of a press event watched by millions around the world? Apple knows it can grab our attention whenever it wants, but doesn’t like to squander that attention on anything minor. That’s why the new M2 Macs and second-gen HomePod were released via press release last month and not with fanfare on a virtual stage.

So no, I don’t think Apple will bother with a spring event this year, barring last-minute miracles that mean the AR headset is ready after all. Of course, I could be wrong. Because the last thing you can call Apple is predictable.


Trending: Top stories of the week

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The rumor mill

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Podcast of the week

Just when you thought it was dead, the HomePod is back! And we have HomePod 2.0 in the house! We’re talking HomePod in this episode of the Macworld Podcast! Stay tuned!

You can catch every episode of the Macworld Podcast on Spotify, Soundcloud, the Podcasts app, or our own site.

Software updates, bugs & problems

A ‘large new class of bugs’ has left Messages and Photos vulnerable in iOS and macOS.

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Apple pushed out a stealthy security update to macOS this week. There’s a new version of the XProtect antivirus utility.

Apple just gave us another reason to update our Macs and iPhones ASAP.

Linux 6.2 is up and running on M1 Macs but still missing many key features.

And with that, we’re done for this week. If you’d like to get regular roundups, sign up for our newsletters. You can also follow us on Twitter or on Facebook for discussion of breaking Apple news stories. See you next Saturday, enjoy the rest of your weekend, and stay Appley.

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