As Apple’s Sept. 9 event draws closer, there’s something about the event I’ve yet to figure out: Why is it being held at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco?
Typically Apple (AAPL) has used the much smaller, more intimate Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater for its product announcements, while sometimes hosting the occasional event at its own Town Hall auditorium.
The Yerba Beuna theatre seats 757 people, while Apple’s Town Hall seats around 300. The Bill Graham Civic Auditorium—a venue that has hosted shows by Janis Joplin and The Red Hot Chili Peppers—seats 7,000.
Last year’s event—which introduced the Apple Watch alongside the iPhone 6—was held at the Flint Center, which seats 2,300.
So, why does Apple need all that extra space? I have a few theories:
A series of living rooms
The Apple TV belongs in a living room, so it only makes sense to let those in attendance test out the set-top box in an actual living room.
I envision several different living room setups, each serving a different purpose. The first would be a gaming room, where those in attendance can play games and review Apple TV’s overall gaming experience.
Another room, perhaps tucked away in a quiet corner, would be designed for critics to test out Siri’s latest upgrades, perhaps, by asking her for movie and TV show recommendations.
Meanwhile, a third living room would put Apple’s HomeKit front and center. It would be the perfect place to showcase upgrades made to its fourth-generation Apple TV and the company’s home automation control system.
Apple Music Festival mini-preview
Apple tends to invite special musical guests to its product announcements. Last September’s announcement featured a performance by U2, and in June, Apple closed the keynote address at its developer conference with a performance by The Weeknd. This year’s event will likely be no exception, and critics should expect some type of musical act to make an appearance.
Also, it’s a great opportunity for the company to preview its upcoming Apple Music Festival, which will take place later this month in London, U.K. An auditorium with a large stage and enough room for 7,000 screaming fans is just begging for a star-studded preview.
New Apple Store designs
Apple’s retail stores are due for an update, and recent reports point to it happening sooner rather than later.
Reproducing the new store design within the auditorium will give Apple a chance to walk attendees through its new upgrades, while simultaneously using the space as a demo area for its newly announced products.
Apple is known for obsessing over every detail and displaying its products (yes, Apple’s retail stores are also considered products) to fit its preferred narrative.
The Bill Graham Civic Auditorium was chosen to showcase whatever Apple is getting ready to share with the rest of the world.
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