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OnePlus 8T might launch at the same time as the iPhone 12

Published Sep 21st, 2020 4:08PM EDT
OnePlus 8T Pro
Image: OnePlus

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  • OnePlus confirmed on Monday that it will launch the OnePlus 8T series on October 14th.
  • OnePlus teased on social media that the new flagship series would launch soon and then revealed the October 14th announcement date.
  • OnePlus might have to change its launch plans if Apple announces the iPhone 12 press event for October 13th or 14th, as some leaks indicate.

The novel coronavirus pandemic changed everything about product launches in the tech world, from product announcements to availability. Social distancing guidelines still make in-person press conferences or tech events impossible, and previous lockdowns and travel restrictions have contributed to launch delays.

Google’s Pixel 4a is one such example — a phone that was expected to launch in the second quarter of the year took a while longer to arrive. The iPhone 12 is also a victim of the health crisis. Apple confirmed back in July that the new iPhones will not make their usual late September launch and will be delayed by a few weeks. Apple held a virtual press conference last week to launch the new Apple Watch and iPad models, as well as the new Apple One and Fitness+ subscriptions. But Apple made it clear from the start of the show that it would not talk about iPhones. It turns out that the iPhone delay might impact the launch of another anticipated smartphone, the OnePlus 8T.

A series of unconfirmed reports said a few weeks ago that Apple aims for a mid-October iPhone launch event. October 13th or 14th are considered the most likely dates for a press event. Apple will likely issue invites for its iPhone virtual announcement soon, at which point one of those dates might be confirmed.

Why would all that iPhone action matter for the OnePlus? The OnePlus 8T already appeared in a variety of leaks, and that’s hardly surprising. The Chinese smartphone maker has been launching two new flagships per year for several years. We’re now looking at flagship series, given that OnePlus is pushing multiple devices at the same time, but the principle is the same. After the OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro in the spring, we’re now waiting for the OnePlus 8T and OnePlus 8T Pro to arrive.

OnePlus has already confirmed the OnePlus 8T is coming, and a report from MySmartPrice gave us a tentative date. Teenage leaker Ishan Agarwal, who provided plenty of accurate information about OnePlus launches in the past, told the blog that OnePlus plans to launch the handset on October 14th. The leaker said there might be slight changes due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Since then, OnePlus confirmed the event date on Twitter.

The actual reason why OnePlus might postpone the launch is the iPhone, of course. Nobody in their right mind would launch new products on the same day when Apple unveils new devices of its own, especially if those devices are iPhones. That’s because Apple products command the most attention during launch events and in the days that follow, especially the iPhone. Virtual press events might make it easier for OnePlus to compete against Apple rather than in-person press events, but it’s still foolish to go against one of the most anticipated products of the year.

There’s plenty of precedent for all of this. The iPhone is the reason why Samsung moved its Note events to early August. The Note phones were initially unveiled in late August or early September, several days before the new iPhone launch. But it’s OnePlus that found itself forced to change the launch event date of one of its T phones after Apple had scheduled a late October event in 2018. That wasn’t even an iPhone press event, but an iPad and Mac announcement. At the time, OnePlus settled for moving the event one day before the Apple press conference.

But this time around, the OnePlus 8T would compete against the latest iPhones, and OnePlus would have to postpone. The OnePlus 8T series might be an exciting upgrade for buyers on older hardware, but it’s no match for the iPhone, especially the iPhone 12 series. The new iPhone will bring over a new design, four models to choose from, and 5G connectivity. And the cheapest iPhone will likely be less expensive than the OnePlus 8T Pro.

The new OnePlus 8T Pro will offer almost the same specs as the OnePlus 8 Pro, although an upgrade to the Snapdragon 865+ is expected. A 120Hz display is reportedly in the cards for the 8T as well.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.