Apple isn’t done.
Fresh from its launch of no less than three new iPhones and a new Apple Watch, the tech giant is poised to reveal what’s next for its other major products: the iPad and the Mac.
Apple sent out invitations to the press for an event on Oct. 30. Surprisingly, the Cupertino, California-based company is holding the event on the East Coast, at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York City.
Does the choice of venue have any special meaning? Probably, although Apple probably won’t say exactly what that is until the keynote gets underway at 10 a.m. ET that morning. But it seems fairly safe to speculate that the news will emphasize the creative tools that Apple’s Macs and iPads are known for.
So what will Apple reveal? Let’s kick off our informed speculation with some basics: Apple, in recent years, has usually saved its major refreshes of the iPad and Mac for its October events, and the rumor mill appears to confirm this. Various Apple products are due for a refresh, and the company still needs to make good on some promised releases (AirPower, where art thou?).
Given all that, here’s our best (educated) guess on what Apple will unveil at its “There’s More in the Making” event:
iPad Pros get a refresh
Even absent any leaks, it’s easy to tell that Apple is planning for new iPad Pros. For starters, the line hasn’t been updated since June 2017, when Apple refreshed the 12.9-inch model and introduced the 10.5-inch version, so they’re definitely overdue for a revamp (they’re still rocking A10X chips, now two generations old).
Add to that the competition among productivity-oriented touch devices has intensified. In the past few weeks, we’ve seen new high-end tablets and “convertibles” from Google, Microsoft, and others. A slew of laptops and higher-end machines are putting the pressure on Apple’s long-in-tooth tablets, which are explicitly aimed at creative professionals
Then, of course, there are the leaks. For months, reports, renderings, and various bits of code have strongly pointed to an iPad Pro refresh, but with an expected twist: The new models will be the first iPads with edge-to-edge displays and no home button, which all but guarantees Face ID will be a feature as well.
In the era of the iPhone X, that’s probably no surprise, but this is: Reports also strongly suggest the new iPads will have USB-C ports instead of Apple’s proprietary Lightning connector. Jury’s still out on this detail, but Apple would only open up its typically walled garden in this way if USB-C enabled something essential that Lightning can’t do (like exporting 4K video to an external display at a high frame rate). In other words, possible, but still highly questionable.
New iPad Pros also means the possibility of a new Apple Pencil, with even greater capabilities and possibly a new form factor. Finally, will there be a new, possibly edge-to-edge iPad mini? Apple’s said to have plans for that, but with a target release date in 2019, so don’t look for it at this event.
The Mac gets interesting again
Apple hasn’t had a good, modern entry-level laptop since the release of the skinny MacBook in 2015. While many expected that machine would eventually get cheaper and take over the entry-level spot from the MacBook Air, that hasn’t happened.
The MacBook Air still has point position in Apple’s laptops, starting at $999, but it’s an inferior machine compared to the MacBook and MacBook Pros by almost any standard. Over the years it’s been often predicted Apple would at least update its screen to a “retina” display, but that so far hasn’t happened.
A tantalizing report from the summer, however, suggests Apple may be doing something else: a new entry-level MacBook with a retina display and thinner bezels that looks similar to the MacBook Air. It’s unclear what ports it would have, but presumably more than the single-port design MacBook. If this new species of MacBook is indeed in the works, we may get our first look at it on Tuesday.
Besides the new MacBook, Apple is due to update its iMac desktop computers, which last got a refresh in summer 2017. And CEO Tim Cook has promised that Apple hasn’t forgotten about the Mac mini: the square gray box that requires an external monitor, keyboard, and mouse. Expect both lines to get formal introductions at Tuesday’s event.
What about a new iMac Pro or Mac Pro? It’s possible, though the iMac Pro hasn’t even been in the market for a full year, so that’s unlikely. The Mac Pro, which Apple has said it’s working on, is now expected to arrive in 2019. However, Apple could use its event to formally unveil it, since it would be appropriate to tease such a high-end appropriate device several months early.
Finally, Apple may tick off a box it failed to do with the MacBook Pro refresh in the summer: a non-Touch Bar model with updated Intel chips.
Apple’s to-do list
Even if you stick to products, features, and services Apple has already talked about, the company has a lot of catching up to do. Here’s the rest of Apple’s to-do list, ranked from most to least likely.
iOS 12.1 update with Group FaceTime: Group FaceTime was a major unveiling back at WWDC in June, but it wasn’t fully baked enough in time for the launch of iOS 12. This would be a good time announce its official arrival date.
Dual-SIM support for eSIM phones: The current generation of iPhones are the first to support dual-SIM, but on all phones outside of China (whose iPhones have two SIM card slots), that’s enabled by eSIM technology. Again, that wasn’t ready in time for the phones’ launch, so we’ll probably hear exactly when the feature gets turned on.
AirPower: We haven’t heard word one about AirPower since Apple unveiled the triple-play wireless charging mat for iPhones, AirPods, and the Apple Watch in June 2017. Rumors have swirled about why AirPower is so massively delayed (most credible explanation was Apple couldn’t get the charging plates to align in way that didn’t overheat), but with the holiday around the corner, it definitely feels like it’s time for an AirPower launch.
AirPods 2: Apple is certainly working on a new generation of wireless earbuds, but as for when they’ll debut, it’s unclear. A hands-free Siri moment in the iPhone keynote video suggested a new model was coming with the feature, so if it exists and is close to being done, this is the time to release it. However, if it was just keynote hijinks, AirPods 2 will probably be a no-show until next year.
Apple TV service: With all the talent Apple has been hoovering up — from Oprah Winfrey to Steven Spielberg — something major is definitely in the works, and it will almost certainly throw an event to debut it. However, it’s a little incongruous to use a single event to launch both new iPads and a major over-the-top video service, so we probably have a while to wait before we see exactly how Apple plans to take on Netflix et al.
Whatever Apple has in store, Mashable will be right in the middle of it. Our team will be a Tuesday’s event, so stay tuned for news, analysis, LOL-worthy GIFs, and more.