Well, the iPhone event left us with a lot of unanswered questions. Here’s a short recap of what we got last month:
-iPhone 5S: 64-bit A7 processor, upgraded cameras, Touch ID, “space gray” and gold color options, leather cases
-iPhone 5C: iPhone 5 in a polycarbonate shell, 5 different color options, upgraded cameras, cheese-grater cases
-iWork & iLife apps: free for new iOS 7 devices
With little else updated, Apple will have a lot to cover on Tuesday. Here is what we expect to be announced:
New iPads are a given. We’ll see a 5th-gen iPad with an A7X, upgraded cameras, slimmer bezels (like the iPad Mini) and the new “space gray” color option. The 2nd-gen iPad Mini will be sporting a Retina display, A6 or A7 processor, upgraded cameras and “space gray” color option. We could possibly see a gold color option and Touch ID for either of these as well, but not very likely at this point. The iPad 2 should finally be dumped and the cheaper iPad seat will go to the 4th-gen iPad and original iPad Mini. The current Mini could possibly see a spec bump, depending on how the new Mini handles battery life with the Retina display. Price points will stay the same and they’ll be released on November 1.
iOS 7.1 will probably make an appearance. Apple has been testing it internally for a couple weeks and should roll that out with the new iPads. The only major feature change will be the return of iCloud Keychain. For more on that….
OS X 10.9 Mavericks will finally get a release date. Apple has been working diligently to get this thing ready to go and developers were given notice early last week to start submitting apps compatible with it. Apple typically releases its desktop OS right after an earnings call. Isn’t it convenient that Apple has one scheduled for next Monday the 28th? This means Mavericks should be available for download on the 29th, unless they decide to surprise us and offer it sooner. We should also get updated versions of the iWork and iLife suites, as well as an official rollout of iWork for iCloud and an update for Final Cut Pro X to support the new Mac Pro and 4K displays. Speaking of which….
Apple will unveil the finalized configuration of the brand new Mac Pro, along with its price. We’ll also get 802.11ac wireless and Haswell updates for the Mac Mini and MacBook Pros. The Retina MacBook Pros should also get super-fast PCIe flash storage like the Air, iMac and new Mac Pro. It would make sense that they would update the Thunderbolt ports to version 2.0 with the new Mac Pro. This could also be the end of the line for the non-Retina MacBook Pro, the last computer Apple sells with a built-in optical drive. If that happens, we should see a significant price drop and the Retina MacBook Pro losing its “retina” moniker, as the distinction will be unnecessary. We’ll finally see an Apple computer lineup that’s been fully updated across the board for the first time in years! The Mac Pro might not be available until mid-November, but the others should all be available for purchase that day. Might there be just one more thing….
Steve Jobs was notorious for utilizing that line to try to surprise us with something we might not have seen coming. There are a couple of wildcards that we might see get a mention at this event. The first is the Apple TV, which is due for an update. It could be as simple as a spec bump (A6 processor, gigabit Ethernet, 802.11ac) and/or a whole new interface with some exciting new content deals. They’ve been adding more and more “channels” and are almost ready to square off against the cable companies. The other wildcard is a new Thunderbolt Display. When Apple gave us the sneak peek of the new Mac Pro back at WWDC, they touted that it would support three, 4K displays. The Thunderbolt Display has not received an update since it was introduced in July 2011. With the introduction of Thunderbolt 2.0 on the new Mac Pro and USB 3.0 included throughout the lineup, those would be easy updates to predict. However, Apple could disrupt the high-resolution display market by upgrading the already-awesome 2560×1440 Thunderbolt Display to 3840×2160 (4K). They promised us an update to Final Cut Pro X to fully utilize the three, 4K displays the new Mac Pro supports. It only makes sense that they would offer a 4K display of their own. With their profit margins as they are now, Apple could afford to put a 4K panel inside and not make as much profit on a display that many professionals will be clamoring for to pair with their new Mac Pros.
This is going to be a really exciting event!