Apple’s “Time Flies” keynote will take place tomorrow, September 15, live from Apple Park:

I’ve been following Apple keynotes for many years (since at least 2005), and they often generate irrational expectations for disruptive, innovative products. Over the past few years, pundits have regularly questioned Apple’s ability to innovate while continuing to grow the iPhone business in a competitive smartphone market. The company’s successful pivot in services and ability to create a new market from scratch with the Apple Watch proved them wrong. Apple’s performance in the latest quarter also speaks for itself: Despite the current economic situation and a declining smartphone market, Apple has outperformed competitors with the iPhone while it has significantly grown its business with the iPad and iMac.

While I’d expect the new range of iPhones to be announced later in the year, tomorrow Apple is more likely to showcase new incremental innovation on its iPad and Apple Watch product lines. Moving forward, to accelerate the success in this innovation journey and enter adjacent territories like health or finance, Apple must also build a long-lasting trust relationship with its community and create a dialogue with its customers. As such, the brand must accelerate the shift toward creating a digital relationship with its own customers. The announcement of an all-in-one bundle to services (Apple Music, News, TV+, Arcade, iCloud) could help such a strategy in a context where the competition on streaming services is accelerating.

From a strategic perspective, Apple’s challenge is to simultaneously maintain loyalty to its ecosystem both with consumers but also with brands and developers. In this regard, advertisers and publishers welcomed Apple’s recent decision to delay new iOS privacy and app-tracking settings to 2021. No doubt they’re also watching with interest the Epic Games/App Store policy battle.

I’ll be following the keynote on Twitter (@Thomas_Husson) and may publish another blog outlining implications for marketers and advertisers based on what’s finally announced. Stay tuned.