Apple Event September 2021 recap: iPhone 13, Watch 7, new iPad but no AirPods 3

What just happened? At Apple's September 14 event, quite a lot

iPhone 13
(Image credit: Apple)

The latest big Apple Event has just finished, so here's your guide to everything key that was announced, as well as what we saw in previous Apple events, and when we expect the next one to be.

The September event delivered news on iPhone 13, iPad and Apple Watch Series 7, though not AirPods 3, as expected. Here's the summary:

• iPhone 13 is official! Smaller notch as expected, and new camera layout. Bigger battery, 28% brighter screen (800 nits typical, 1200 nits HDR). Apple A15 chip, fastest every (naturally). New camera sensors pick up more light, sensor-shift OIS comes from the Pro – better low-light images all round. Cinematography mode adds film-making tricks to video recording. 2.5 hours more battery life than iPhone 12. From $699/£679 for iPhone 13 mini, $799/£779 for regular size. 128GB, 256GB and 512GB version available – that's double the storage for the cheapest model. New colours, too.

• iPhone 13 Pro is here too: Also gets smaller notch, chunkier camera system. Bigger battery (1.5 hours longer for 13 Pro, 2.5 for Pro Max), A15 chip has a better GPU than the regular iPhone 13. ProMotion 120Hz screen as predicted, and much brighter display (up to 1,000 nits in outdoor typical use, 1,200 nits in HDR). Two sizes again, as last year. New 3x optical zoom telephoto, largest ever wide-angle sensor, improved ultra-wide cam that can now do macro photography. Night mode comes to telephoto for the first time. ProRes video will come later, too. $999/£949 for 13 Pro, $1,099/£1,049 for 13 Pro Max. Now with up to 1TB of storage. Pre-order Friday, released Sept 24th.

• New iPad (9th Gen) announced: With 20% faster Apple A13 processor, and new Centre Stage front camera, which follows you if you move during a video call. Also includes True Tone at last, plus an improved rear camera. Starts at $329/£319 with 64GB of storage, available to order today for release next week.

• New-look iPad mini! Now with the same look as the iPad Air, meaning no button, and a larger 8.3-inch screen. 40% faster than the previous model, USB-C port, 5G connectivity option. 12MP rear camera, front camera features Centre Stage. New stereo speakers, and full Apple Pencil 2 support are here too. From $499/£479, order today for release next week.

• Apple Watch Series 7 is here: a new larger display that's 20% larger than Series 6 – it goes right to the edge of the glass, and is up to 70% brighter in its always-on dimmed mode. The most durable so far as well, IPX6 dust- and WR50 water-resistance. 33% faster charging, same battery life. More colours, still in aluminium, steel and titanium. $399/£TBC (but probably £379), available "later this fall". Read more about Apple Watch Series 7 here.

It's likely that there will be another Apple event before the end of 2021 in addition to this, but the dust will be left to settle on the iPhone before that becomes official – you can read more about what we expect from it below.

In this guide, we'll match likely products to the events that have been leaked and rumoured (or are just regular events that probably won't change). These won't be the totality of Apple's product announcements, of course – it also likes to drop some releases without all the fanfare of a keynote – but for fans wondering when to expect something big, they should help you get some idea of what's up.

We'll update the list whenever we get more official or rumoured information about events, of course, and we'll let you know whether an event actually is officially scheduled by Apple or whether it's just expectation.

Apple Event 2021: what's coming up

October-December 2021 Apple Event

In several recent years, Apple has also held an event later in the year, to introduce new iPads or Macs. The timing has varied, so it's hard to say exactly what Apple will decide on. We're expecting one this year, with an updated version of the cheaper iPad and iPad mini, plus new MacBook Pros powered by Apple's own processors. There may be a MacBook Air that's even thinner and lighter too, though other rumours have pushed that to 2022). Perhaps AirPods 3 will appear at this event, or perhaps they'll slip out on their own between now and Christmas.

Spring 2022 Apple Event

There are rumours that Apple is planning an update to the iPhone SE in 2022, and the SE is traditionally updated in the Spring, giving it a nice wide berth from the high-end iPhone launch. We might also expect to see the new MacBook Air in this event – the iMac 24-inch (2021) was unveiled in this period.

June 2022 WWDC Apple Event

Apple holds its big developer conference in June every year, and we expect that to stay true in 2022. At this event, it will reveal the big features for the next updates to iOS, watchOS, macOS, iPadOS and tvOS. Recently, hardware hasn't appeared at these events, though don't rule it out – especially if it's something developers will need to learn more about.

iPhone 12 models in theatre space

(Image credit: Apple)

Apple Event 2021: what we've had recently

14 September 2021 Apple Event

Apple announced the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro, plus a redesign of the iPad mini, and update to the cheapest iPad model. The Apple Watch Series 7 also got a subtle redesign with a larger screen.

7 June 2021 WWDC Apple Event

Apple announced updates to the software for all of its products (from Mac to AirPods to iPhone to HomePod) at this event. It also discussed iCloud+, and new plan that includes cloud storage as well as innovative new privacy features for your Apple devices.

20 April 2021 Apple Event

This jam-packed Apple event included the long-awaited AirTags, the iPad Pro (2021) with Apple M1 chip, the 24-inch iMac also with the M1, the new Apple TV 4K (2021), and a fetching new purple hue for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini.

10 November 2020 Apple Event

At this event, Apple launched the first products made with its own Apple M1 processor: the MacBook Air (M1, 2020), the MacBook Pro 13-inch (M1, 2020) and Mac Mini (M1, 2020). It also revealed the release date of the latest macOS version.

13 October 2020 Apple Event

Lucky for many, this event included the launch of the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro models, as well as the HomePod mini. As mentioned above, it was unusual for the iPhone to revealed in October, and we don't expect this to repeat.

15 September 2020 Apple Event

This event was big on Apple Watch, with the Apple Watch Series 6 and Apple Watch SE both appearing for the first time. The new-look iPad Air (2020) was also unveiled.

Matthew Bolton
Matthew Bolton

Matt is T3's master of all things audiovisual, running our TV, speakers and headphones coverage. He also handles smart home products and large appliances, as well as our toys and games articles. He's the only one on the team who can explain both what Dolby Vision IQ is and why the Lego you're building doesn't fit together the way the instructions say, so is truly invaluable.

Matt has worked for tech publications for over 10 years, in print and online, including running T3's print magazine and launching its most recent redesign. He's also contributed to a huge number of tech and gaming titles over the years. Say hello if you see him roaming the halls at CES, IFA or Toy Fair.