Why the massive venue for Apple’s September 9th special event?

“One of the mysteries of the September 9 event just announced by Apple is why the huge venue, San Francisco’s Bill Graham Civic Auditorium,” Mark Hibben writes for Seeking Alpha. “At 7000 seats, it more than doubles the capacity of previous iPhone events. Are there really 7000 media people willing to travel to S.F. just to see the new iPhone and Apple TV? This feels much bigger than what we Apple analysts have been assuming.”

“The launch of a new iPhone is a big deal, I realize, so maybe there really are 7000 people going to San Francisco to see it,” Hibben writes. “My sense is that there could be much more on the menu. Not that iPhone won’t still be center stage. It will.”

“Despite the fact that a new iPhone and Apple TV form a very credible basis for a special event, I can’t escape the feeling that I’m missing something. The size of the venue makes me suspicious that Apple has some big surprise planned,” Hibben writes. “I’ve been wracking my brain trying to come up with a possible new product. Apple Car? Naaah, waaay too far in the future. If Apple even has a rolling test bed, I’m sure it’s nothing they want to show at a special event. The only other thing I can think of might have something to do with virtual/augmented reality.”

Read more in the full article here.

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It’s official: Apple sends out September 9th special event invitations – August 27, 2015
Apple expected to hold massive special event at Bill Graham Civic Center in San Francisco on September 9th – August 27, 2015
Mystery company books San Francisco’s massive Bill Graham Civic Auditorium through September 13th – August 24, 2015

28 Comments

  1. MDN: Please, please, please stop running anything from Seeking Alpha. Please. It’s water cooler trash written by complete amateurs.

    The bad thing is that ridiculous assumptions turned into inept blogs by Seeking Alpha contributors get picked up by Business Insider, which then gets picked up by CNBC, which then gets picked up by Yahoo! Finance, which then gets picked up by USA Today, and next thing you know, The Wall Street Journal, not to be left out, runs a “sources who declined to be named” story about the completely false rumor.

    Then, inevitably, Apple stock swoons when the rumor arrived at by anatomic extraction proves to be totally worthless.

    For investors, anything from Seeking Alpha should come with a warning label.

    “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”
    – Jonathan Swift

  2. Not a bad bit of surmising. It’ll take 2 years to produce millions of vehicles and all that time the whole world will know what’s happening. You don’t hide that kind of operation. THEREFORE Apple will want to announce on their own terms; THEREFORE Apple will announce years before the debut; THEREFORE hold on to your butts.

    (If this is wrong Apple will shoot it down in no uncertain terms asap, because disappointment devastates their stock. Waiting on Dalrymple…)

    1. Teleportation. Pure and simple. LOL
      Tim will strut into one box, lights flash, and he walks out of the other.

      Nuff said. Apple stock worth 20,000$ per share. !!!

      Hey. A guy can dream!!

  3. It’s the official launch of Apple Music so they need a big venue for a band(s). The iPhone of course and maybe the TV/iPad Pro too but it’s the phone and music for sure.

    1. Didn’t they already launch AM at WWDC? Remember Drake telling a story and Eddie doing dances? If they relaunch, “official” launch or whatever AM and only introduce the next iPhone and Apple TV then they will be laughed out of SF, unless the Apple TV is completely mind blowing.

  4. What seems odd about this is that the venue itself is so much bigger because the seating capacity is so much bigger, as opposed to the stage or potential demo areas being so much bigger.

    This venue has 7,000 bolted down seats. Other venues, like the California theater has 1,122 seats, and Yerba Buena has 755 seats. Even Flint Center in Cupertino (where the Apple Watch was revealed) has only 2,300 seats.

    So there’s two questions here…

    One is what is Apple intending to do with all of those seats, or rather who is Apple intending to fill those seats with?

    And why haven’t we heard about anybody getting invites who would otherwise not be invited to an Apple event (especially one where iOS and the iPhone are expected to be the highlights).

    In other words, if Apple is announcing something like a car (highly doubtful at this time), it may make sense that the auto industry press would be invited (but we’re not hearing that).

    It just seems weird that this event has almost 10x as many seats as we’d expect, and nobody seems to be talking about who has been invited who otherwise wouldn’t be there.

    Here’s the thing…

    You can’t invite up to 8,000 people to anything without at least one of them leaking information about it. So what if they haven’t been invited yet?

    That would narrow down the list of potential groups of people to a select few who could be invited at the last minute, and be compelled to attend.

    The most likely group of people would be Apple employees. Announced at the last minute with company provided transportation.

    Thus, yes it will be a huge event in terms of the number of people in the audience, but don’t expect some massive “one more thing” that is going to surprise us all, that required this venue.

    I expect:
    State of the Apple
    El Capitan
    Watch OS
    iOS
    iPhone
    iPads
    Apple TV

    That’s it, and I’m totally excited about it.

    1. Would Apple say to themselves, ” We have something big to announce, so we need a bigger venue to fit more people to announce it to.”

      No. The iPhone was a huge announcement for Apple as a company, and they didn’t make a point of getting the biggest venue they could find.

      I don’t believe there is a correlation between the “hugeness” of the announcement and the size of the audience.

      I believe the size of the venue has more to do with THE WAY they are going to announce something, not what they are announcing.

      My theory is that Apple is building a structure of some sort inside the venue. Something that 1000 or so people can walk around in and experience.

      Apple has clearly hinted something involving Siri, and has made mention before of extending HomeKit automation with a robust Siri UI.

      So I think Apple is going to announce a home automation system, probably with the new AppleTV at the center. I think to showcase this technology they are building a house inside the venue, or a large “set” of residential “rooms” (kitchen, bedroom, living room, etc) to create a hands-on “walkthru” demo of a Homekit-enabled house for attendees to experience right after the announcement.

      We’ll soon see, but I think it’s a better guess than “Gee, maybe the iPhone 6S really IS a big deal.”

      1. “My theory is that Apple is building a structure of some sort inside the venue. Something that 1000 or so people can walk around in and experience. “

        I would agree with this, and the rest of the comment as well, but have you ever been to the venue? It’s not well suited for this at all. A repeat of Flint Center would’ve been much better, or for that matter even Yerba Buena.

        The Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, is a good venue for concerts, but the problem with what you suggest is that the bolted seats are far back and above. It’s a terrible place to put your press. The front stage would be very far away and there would be no ability to look down into the demo areas.

        There’s floor space, but with the press sitting there, there’s no room for demo “home” space (since you can’t put that in the bolted seat area) .

          1. “It’s possible the other venues weren’t available”

            True, except for the fact that they are available. Literally all of the Moscone venues are available that week, which has everything needed for a stage show and floor demos… that’s specifically what it’s there for and there are 3 different venues there to choose from. Even the California Theater would be better suited and it’s available the whole week. Yerba Buena… even better than the California Theater for floor demo space, and it’s available the whole week as well. Flint Center, with a proven ad-hoc demo area, yep available that whole week too. The Fillmore does have some no-name act the evening of September 10, but other than that, they’re clear, and would be a better venue for a HomeKit demo as well.

            “Also, Apple can remove every single seat in the venue and setup the stage/audience wherever they want.”

            It really sounds like you haven’t been there. The seating area where the seats are bolted, even if Apple wanted to throw big bucks at them, the area is severely slanted. If Apple wanted a demo area for homekit like demos, this would be very low on a list of readily available venues that are much better suited for such demos.

            1. According to news reports, Apple has occupied the Bill Graham Center from Aug 25 (possibly earlier), and have it booked through September 13. Neither Moscone nor Flint had availability through those dates, according to their online calendars.

              BGC is a huge, multipurpose space which plenty floor space to build the structures I theorized and still easily seat 1000 people.

            2. Those news reports are funny because there’s absolutely nothing going on at location right now. No movement in or out. And again, there are other, much better venues even with those extended dates. BGC is huge, but as I mentioned before, unless you want everyone walking through your demo rooms at severe angle, or unless you want the press sitting an an unreasonable distance from the stage, it’s ill-suited.

              Let’s see, are you willing to come back September 9 and admit you were wrong?

              There’s simply no way Apple is building out HomeKit room demos for the September 9 event. I’ll bet $100 to the online charity of your choice.

      2. I agree. The venue was chosen not for the number of seats. It was chosen because Apple can create a huge demonstration area on the arena floor.

        There will likely be no more than 1,000 or so invitees (with the +1 crowd possibly bringing that up to 2,000 as news outlets might send two reporters or a reporter and cameraman). But in any case, the number of attendees won’t come close to 7,000.

        The venue floor will then be a place for those 1,000 to 2,000 to get “hands on” with whatever new tech is announced.

  5. In 1977 Apple showcased the Apple II at this building. That computer changed everything. One of Siri’s hints says there will be big announcement. Why create this extreme hype? If they only introduce product iterations then the feedback loop could turn very negative and damage the company.

    1. An iPhone refresh and a new AppleTV will get the stock slammed! These aren’t bad things, just not enough to move the needle on such a huge company. I’d sell AAPL before September 9. If the large venue and closing the streets is all about Home Kit, AAPL will drop like a rock. Eddie Cue, you’d better get the job done with streaming TV. And soon!

  6. Unless Apple plans a peak at the propulsion system that it is rumored to be working on. But, I would not even believe Apple would consider it; However, Tim is in charge and what he might do could be different than what is expected.

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