September has been a busy month for the tech world. In the short span of just 30 days we’ve had a Canon event for the Canon EOS R3, an Apple event featuring the iPhone 13 and Apple Watch 7, and now the month will end with an Amazon event on September 28.
The difference between what Amazon has planned, however, is that it won’t be available to members of the public – only the international tech press will have access to the livestream.
The good news? TechRadar is on that list, which means we’ll be able to get you as close to the action as possible with up-to-the-minute products news and tentative first-looks at all of Amazon’s upcoming wares.
What you’ll find below are our predictions for the event as well as pertinent information you’ll need to know if you want to follow along with us on September 28.
September Amazon event: when is it and what time is it?
Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, Amazon has chosen to hold its annual event in a virtual format. The catch here is that the livestream of the event is only available to members of the media, and it’ll be hard to find a publicly available livestream.
That said, many outlets including TechRadar will have an up-to-date liveblog and up-to-the-minute news coverage of the event as soon as it kicks off on Tuesday, September 28th at 12PM EST / 9AM PST / 5PM BST.
The event will likely last between one to two hours, and we’re likely to hear all about Amazon’s newest products ahead of the two most popular shopping days of the year, Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2021.
Amazon event: what do we expect to see there?
While an Amazon device-focused event may not have the same sex appeal as other industry events, Amazon really pulls out all the stops for its annual parade of products.
In previous years, this is the place we’ve seen upgrades to the Amazon Echo, Amazon Echo Show and Amazon Echo Dot smart speakers – but also some more eclectic surprises like the Alexa Wall Clock, Echo Frames and the Amazon Smart Microwave.
In addition to all the hardware that’s on display, Amazon also uses its annual event to talk about the latest software and services it’s rolling out to customers. Last year, we got Amazon Luna – Amazon’s answer to Google Stadia and Microsoft xCloud – as well as a number of quality-of-life enhancements for Alexa like nationwide calling.
Predicting what’s going to be on display, therefore, isn’t easy – but we’ll still take our best stab at what we’ll see on September 28.
Prediction #1: New Amazon Echo and Echo Show devices
This is the safest bet we can make, as it’s nearly a guarantee that we’ll see at least a few new Amazon Echo devices at the event. That’s because the Amazon Echo and Amazon Echo Show are on annual upgrade schedules – each year, there’s at least one new model in the lineup that phases out an older model.
So which model will get the boot? Our money is on better versions of the Echo Flex and Echo Spot. Amazon might re-introduce the Amazon Echo Plus and go even bigger than the already-large Amazon Echo Show 10. No, the world probably doesn’t need a 13-inch Amazon Echo Show, but that probably won’t stop Amazon from making one.
Prediction #2: An on-sale date for the Ring Always Home Cam
At last year’s Amazon event, we saw the debut of Ring’s Always Home Cam – an autonomous indoor drone that flies around your home providing access to a live, mobile feed of your property if it spots an intruder or emergency. At the time, Ring said the security device would launch in 2021, but it’s currently not dropped. We hope to finally see an on-sale date for this unusual security camera, along with detailed specs including the video resolution and the battery life.
We’re unlikely to see any new Ring video doorbells, as the brand launched a new version of its top-of-the-range wired doorbell, the Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2, in February this year, and a new battery-operated doorbell, the Ring Video Doorbell 4 in April. Ring might look to overhaul its indoor home security camera, the Ring Indoor Cam, with a privacy shutter that will help quell fears about being watched in your own home, just as rival Arlo did with its Essential Indoor Camera, earlier this year.
Prediction #3: Amazon will try to put more wearables on you
Two years back, Amazon went hard on wearable technology, announcing both the Echo Frames and Echo Loop. This year, we’re expecting Amazon to show up with at least one more wearable device along those same lines. Potentially, that could be a new version of the Echo Frames that have improved sound quality – though we’ve yet to hear anything like that.
Wearables have been alluring to the big tech manufacturers for years. Google had the Google Glass that it thought would take off and now Facebook has a pair of shades, too. Amazon won’t want to be left behind in this space – so it’s safe to expect something in the wearable arena next week.
Prediction #4: Expect Alexa to be everywhere
One of the biggest trends we’ve seen at these Amazon events is a big focus on Alexa going everywhere with you. First we heard about Alexa in our house. Then it was Alexa in our car. Now it’s Alexa in our headphones, TVs and sound systems. It’s clear that Amazon’s end-goal is to put Alexa within earshot of everyone at all times.
So where else can it go? Well, Alexa still isn’t widely used in public spaces yet – but that could change as Sidewalk continues to roll out. The ability for an Alexa device to borrow Wi-Fi from another Amazon device could allow the Internet of Things to grow exponentially, allowing Amazon to equip more public spaces with Alexa that were previously outside of Wi-Fi range.
We’re not quite sure if that sounds convenient or Orwellian, but you can bet we’ll be watching this area incredibly closely over the next 12 months.
Prediction #5: Amazon Prime Video will get some praise – and maybe a trailer?
While it’s never a huge talking point at these events, Amazon will at least mention its Prime Video service at some point in the presentation. It’s then we’ll hear about how well its shows and movies are doing in the awards circuit – though this year wasn’t great for Amazon at the Emmys – and there’s even a slight chance we’ll see a trailer or two if they can squeeze it in.
What we’d really like to see if Amazon unveils anything is a first look at its wildly expensive Lord of the Rings TV show – and a teaser trailer would do just that. Seeing the actors in costumes on set would really go a long way in giving us confidence that J.R.R. Tolkien’s masterpiece is in the right place and would be just enough to tide us over while we wait for the show to drop in 2022. Another potential contender is The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, one of Amazon’s most popular shows year after year or a second Wheel of Time trailer before the show drops in November.