For the second month in a row, Apple has sent out press invitations for a big product unveiling in California. September’s iPhone 6 extravaganza wound up being one of the company’s biggest and buzziest events ever, and though Thursday’s won’t likely top that, there should still be enough excitement to go around — especially if you’re about to go tablet shopping.
So, based on rumors and various reports from sources claiming to have knowledge of Apple’s plans, we have compiled our list of everything we expect to see at the company’s Oct. 16 shindig.
Not only will Apple be video-streaming Thursday’s 1 p.m. Eastern keynote, but we, Yahoo Tech, will be liveblogging about all the news as it happens, complete with commentary from our lead columnist David Pogue. Also, each important bit from our list of things we think Apple could announce will be featured on our liveblog rumor scorecard, so you can log in and follow along live to see what panned out and what didn’t.
iPad Air 2
With even more leaks of the purported iPad Air 2 popping up in recent days, it seems all but guaranteed that Apple will introduce an updated version of its full-sized tablet Thursday.
Rumors of Apple’s Touch ID fingerprint sensor finally coming to iPad are now backed up by images of what look to be internal components from the upcoming Air 2 (below, right). The same set of images also seemingly reveals that Apple’s new iPad will pack an A8X system on a chip (below, left), which should give it a bump in performance capabilities over the now-month-old A8 found in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.
Other than its trimmed-down thickness, change in volume button placement, and new option of a gold-colored model, the iPad Air 2 should look and feel a lot like the original Air. Of course, for all the reasons just listed, the Air 2 should be a nice upgrade, as well.
UPDATE: Someone over at Apple may be in big trouble. Images from a new edition of the iPad User Guide ebook just leaked on iTunes (screenshot below), showing off detailed looks at both the “iPad Air 2” and the “iPad mini 3.” This “oops” seemingly confirm some of the rumors we’ve seen, including Touch ID on both devices.
Third-generation iPad mini
Though not quite as heavy on the pre-launch details, a new iPad mini is expected to come alongside the new Air, according to the same blog that offered up a deep dish of alleged specs on Apple’s next 9.7-inch tablet.
And it sure would make sense, as the company has launched new versions of its two iPad variants together each October since the initial introduction of the iPad mini in 2012. Whether the iPad mini, like the Air 2, will get the same beefy processor, improved set of cameras, thinned-down body, and Touch ID sensor remains to be seen (or even heard about). But you can mark us down as surprised if Apple doesn’t show off a refreshed 7.9-inch tablet Thursday.
OS X Yosemite
An updated iOS-like design, a better Spotlight system search, and more real-time integration with iPhones and iPads; Apple has revealed just about everything there is to know about the newest version of its Mac computer operating system. Everything, that is, except for when exactly the full version will be available for download.
We have a good feeling we’ll be updated with a hard date on Thursday, or maybe even see a full release from the stage, as Apple almost always announces major software availability info at events like the one upcoming. During last year’s October iPad keynote, Apple sent off its Mavericks version of OS X by pronouncing it “available today, for free.”
Let’s hope Yosemite gets the same treatment.
iMac models with Retina display
Apple CEO Tim Cook said at last year’s October event that his company hadn’t given up on personal computers. If current hints and rumors pointing to a new Retina line of iMacs turn out to be true, then we can safely say he and Apple still feel that way.
When the Yosemite preview was first released this June, developers uncovered a dormant piece of code that accommodates a version of Apple’s all-in-one PC with a high-resolution display. And the latest report from sources cited by AppleInsider.com claim that we should expect Apple to show off that iMac, a 27-inch model, this Thursday, and bring a 21-inch version to market next year.
Don’t hold your breath on …
Considering reliable reports from The Wall Street Journal, we’re inclined to believe that Apple has been developing a larger tablet, possibly called the iPad Pro, for some time now. Very little beyond the purported screen size (12.9 inches), however, is currently known about this apparent project. That makes it unlikely that Cook will be on stage with one in his hands Thursday.
The same can be said for a potential MacBook Air with Apple’s high-resolution Retina display. Rumors have the company eventually scrapping its 11-inch Air laptop and replacing it with a 12-inch screen; the latest intel says this plan is now scheduled for next year.
Other than these two Apple projects that are believed to be “in the works,” the rumor mill is noticeably quiet on all other fronts. (Don’t hold your breath for an Apple television set; we’re pretty sure that’s not coming Thursday, either.)
There’s always the chance that Apple could pull a “One more thing …” and show off an updated model of any of its oft-forgotten devices, like one of the remaining iPod models, or the Mac mini, or the Apple TV streamer. The handy buyer’s guide at MacRumors.com shows “Days since last release” counters for all the company’s devices, so anything on there that seems overdue for a refresh could be a wildcard.
One thing we can bet we won’t see Thursday: the iPhone 7, as the line was refreshed only 33 days ago. Of course, this doesn’t mean we wouldn’t put it past some of you superfans to pawn your new, month-old 6 Pluses and get back in line at the Apple Store, anyhow.
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