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By Jason Snell for Macworld
There was a time when everyone thought they knew what an Apple product launch looked like. The archetypal Apple product launch was Steve Jobs standing on a stage in San Francisco in front of a large crowd, announcing another world-changing product.
That was never actually true. Even before Jobs’s illness forced other Apple execs into the spotlight, Apple had different levels of product launches. I’ve sat in the front row of a huge crowd of fans at Macworld Expo, way off to the side among raucous Apple developers at the Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC), in the back row behind VIPs at the Steve Jobs Theater, and crowded into tiny seats with other members of the press at Apple’s old intimate Town Hall briefing center at Infinite Loop. Not to mention weird one-off locations in places like Chicago and Brooklyn. Different events have different flavors.
But when the pandemic arrived in 2020, Apple was forced to rethink things. Live events were impossible to have, so Apple switched gears and began producing video “events” while briefing the members of the media by videoconference.
But now we’re entering a new phase. So far in 2022, Apple has held two “in-person” events at its Apple Park campus. Rumors are strong that more Apple product announcements are imminent. But what will that mean in practice? Is Apple going to invite people to Apple Park again? Will there be a video? Will there only be a press release? It all depends on which tier of Apple product announcement this month’s products fit into.