What Is an Apple Education Event vs. a Regular Keynote?

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You may have noticed that today’s March 27 Apple event is being called an “Education” event, rather than a typical Apple event held on its campus in California. So how is this different from what Apple usually does? The answer is that no one is completely sure. Apple has only called one other event an “Education” event and that was back in 2012. That event focused on announcing software specifically related to education. Here’s what we know so far about today’s event and how it differs from regular keynotes.

Each year, Apple typically hosts at least two keynote events: an annual September event that typically features a new phone and the WWDC event (Worldwide Developers Conference) in June. Sometimes Apple will also add a special event in addition to these two, typically in October or March. But they’ve only labeled an event as an “Educational” event once before, back in 2012. Here’s a list of the events that Apple has had in the recent past and what was announced at each:

  • Annual September 2017 Event: Announcing iPhone 8, iPhone X, new Apple Watch, Apple TV 4K, and more
  • WWDC June 5, 2017: Announcing new iPad Pro, HomePod, and Mac performance boosts
  • Special Apple Event October 27, 2016: Announcing new MacBook Pro and TV App for Apple TV
  • Annual September Event 2016: iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, Apple Watch Series 2, wireless AirPods
  • WWDC 2016 in June: iOS 10, macOS Sierra, and other software features
  • Special Apple Event March 21, 2016: iPhone SE, new iPad Pro, new Apple Watch bands
  • Annual September Event 2015: iPhone 6s, iPhone Plus 6s, iPad Pro, new Apple TV
  • WWDC 2015: OS X El Capitan, iOS 9, Apple Pay (UK), Apple Maps changes, other software changes
  • March 9, 2015: Apple Watch, MacBook redesign, iOS 8.2
  • October 16, 2014: iOS 8.1, OS X Yosemite, new iPad Air 2, new iPad mini 3, new iMac, and an update on the September 2014 event
  • Annual September Event 2014: iPhone 6, iPhone Plus, Apple Pay, Apple Watch
  • WWDC 2014: Yosemite OS X, new iOS, Swift programming language
  • October 22, 2013: iPad Air, OS X, updates on new MacBooks, new Mac Pro, new MacBook Pro, and updates from the September 2013 event
  • Annual September Event 2013: iPhone 5C, iPhone 5s, Touch ID
  • WWDC 2013: New Mac Pro, AirPort Time Capsule, AirPort Extreme, updated Macbook Air models, OS X Mavericks, iOS 7, iWork, iTunes Radio
  • October 23, 2012: iPad Mini, new iMac, 13-inch MacBook Pro
  • Annual September 2012 Event: iPhone 5
  • WWDC 2012: Refreshes on MacBook displays & hardware, eyes on next-gen MacBook Pro, no more 17-inch MacBook Pro, iOS 6,
  • March 2012: iOS 5.1, Japanese Siri, new Apple TV, new iPad
  • Apple Education Event on January 19, 2012: iBooks Author for Mac, iBooks 2, iTunes U app for iPad

Apple streams all of its events. In fact, the last event it didn’t have a live stream for was the last Educational event it hosted in January 2012. So this is definitely rare. The last Education event was focused on education-specific software, including iBooks and iTunes U. Apple’s invitation for today’s event described it this way: “creative new ideas for teachers and students.” Today’s event will be held at the Lane Tech College Prep High School in Chicago, rather than on Apple’s campus like most of its keynote events.

It’s unclear what to expect at an Education event. Some people believe we won’t see any new products except education software announced, just like the Education event in 2012. Others believe we will see new hardware products that are education-focused, such as a low-cost iPad or a low-cost MacBook. There have also been rumors of a new iPhone X in a different color or an iPhone SE 2, since past March events have announced iPhones. But Apple still has a WWDC event coming up in June, so it may save iPhone product announcements for then. This would be unusual for a WWDC event, however. If a phone isn’t announced today, we likely won’t hear about one until September.

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