As sure as kids going back to school and leaves changing color, September is also the time of year when Apple reveals new iPhones to the world.
Now that we have a good idea of when it will happen — a new report says Apple will make its annual offering to the smartphone gods on Sept. 12 — we actually know a lot more than just when we’ll get our first look at the iPhone 8.
Working backwards from the event date, we can make educated guesses about the on-sale date, when the first reviews will post, and the exact time iPhone users will be able to download iOS 11. That’s because we’ve done this before (several times), and over the past few years, the iPhone release schedule has fallen into an impressively predictable pattern.
However, there’s a big exception that could mess with our calculations. This is (reportedly) the year Apple will break from tradition and actually release three new iPhones: the iPhone 7S, iPhone 7S Plus, and the straight-from-the-future iPhone 8.
Apple, true to form, hasn’t said word one about new iPhones in any kind of official capacity.
Given that, before we start throwing around dates, let me add two very important caveats. First, Apple, true to form, hasn’t said word one about new iPhones in any kind of official capacity. The event date is based on a report citing anonymous sources, so it could all be wrong. Secondly, even if the date is correct (an earlier rumor gave the Sept. 12 date, too), exactly what Apple will announce is still very much up in the air.
But the date fits the pattern of Apple events in previous years, so let’s proceed as if it’s the real deal. From there, a number of other dates become much clearer. So for the next few paragraphs, assume the word “probably” is peppered throughout:
First, the invites. Apple almost always sends invitations to the event about a week before, so we’re talking the day after Labor Day in this case: Apple will send invites to the 2017 iPhone event on Sept. 5, at 12 p.m. PT or a little after.
The iPhone 7S and iPhone 7S Plus will go on sale Sept. 22. This date fits the pattern of iPhones going on sale the Friday the week after the launch event. Pre-orders will start at midnight PT the previous Friday, on Sept. 15.
iOS 11 will be available for everyone to download on Wednesday, Sept. 20. Anyone with an iPhone 5S or later, iPad Pro, iPad Air, iPad Mini (except the first one), or a sixth-generation iPod Touch will be able to update their devices to Apple’s new operating system starting at about noon two days before the latest iPhones go on sale.
The first reviews of the new iPhones will publish on Tuesday, Sept. 19. Apple sometimes varies the exact time of the reviews, but they almost always go up on the Tuesday before the on-sale date.
Apple is also rumored to be unveiling a new Apple Watch, likely called the Apple Watch Series 3. The wearable is a little too young to have a predictable release pattern, but if it does debut at the event, there’s a very good chance it’ll launch alongside the iPhone 7S and iPhone 7S Plus, with the same pre-order and release dates. At least that’s exactly what Apple did for the Apple Watch Series 2.