What I Expect From Apple’s Presentation Tomorrow

This year has been pretty light in terms of Apple presentations. Thus far, we’ve had the Worldwide Developers Conference which took place in June. As expected, it was mainly a software oriented day. There, we got a preview of OS X Mavericks, the Mac Pro, and got to see an unveiling of iOS 7. We also learned about iWork for iCloud, a great way to use iWork in the browser on all major platforms.

Then, on September 10th, Apple unveiled two new iPhones: the iPhone 5c and the iPhone 5s. While they played center stage to the event, we also were treated to the release of iWork and (most of) iLife apps ((iPhoto and iMovie; Garageband is still $5… for now.)) for free on the App Store (for newly activated iOS devices).

On October 22nd, Apple is holding another event. Rumors about what we’ll see have been rampant on the web. I thought I’d share what topics I personally expect to see touched on from the event and how likely I think we’ll see it.

iPads (Definitely)

It has been a year since Apple released the iPad (4th Generation) and the iPad mini. The iPad update came just six months after the release of the third generation model and, honestly, caught quite a few people off guard. It did, however, bring the relatively new Lightning connector to the iPad line, thus given the latest iPad models the smaller connectors.

Both the iPhone 5 and the iPad mini showed a new design, with an aluminum body with chamfered edges. This year, the full size iPad is supposed to be given that same design. If the leaks are to be believed, this will also make the iPad thinner and lighter. If so, I definitely am excited for this. While the 9.7″ iPad is my personal preference (great for both content creation and consumption), a lighter model would increase the usability of the device. It would make it easier to hold in many positions, especially when laying in bed.

The iPad mini, meanwhile, is to keep the same design as last year but possibly may include a Retina display. I think the Retina display is the only way the iPad mini can really be advanced this year, and I am expecting to see that tomorrow. Supposedly, including such a display would add a bit of thickness to the iPad mini, but such a change would likely not be a big deal.

Internally, the iPad has typically had the latest processor found in the new iPhone model for that year. Thus, I would not be surprised to see an A7X chip in the fifth generation iPad. This would be the same 64-bit A7 chip found in the iPhone 5s but with extra graphics power. Such a chip would bring 64-bit capabilities to the iPad (a great future-proofing move on Apple’s part) and likely the capability for Touch ID, letting us secure our iPads with our fingerprints.

To keep the battery life on the iPad mini, however, I’m not expecting it to receive the A7X. Instead, I’m leaning more towards an A6X. It currently powers the fourth generation iPad and does a fantastic job. It would definitely be capable of running a Retina display, and presumably the power usage would allow the iPad mini to stay mini while providing the power needed to up the display.

Summary: New iPad 5 with slimmer design and A7X chip; iPad mini (2nd generation) with Retina display and A6X chip

OS X Mavericks (Definitely)

In June, Apple gave us a preview of the next release of OS X, Mavericks. Since then, developers have had beta access to the first non-cat OS X release. The last beta release, on October 3rd, was a Golden Master release, meaning that the public release is soon to follow. ((Apple released another build on October 20th, which also is a Golden Master release.))

Tomorrow, Apple should be announcing when Mavericks will be publicly available. It could be as early as tomorrow, though part of me thinks later in the week might be a better guess.

I personally am looking forward to Mavericks, as it will bring us some nice new enhancements to OS X. Timer coalescing and App Nap should help reduce CPU and power usage. As someone that likes to study ePub documents on the go, I am glad that iBooks is coming to the Mac. Finally, I’ll be able to study magazines and books and then sync those notes and highlights to my iPad. A new built in Maps app will let users bookmark locations and routes and then send these to their iPhone when they’re ready to go. Nifty!

Summary: OS X Mavericks release date, likely this week.

MacBook Pros (Likely)

It’s been over a year since the MacBook Pro (non-Retina, that is) was updated. Given the upgrade the MacBook Air received this year, it’s likely we’ll see the MacBook Pros also brought up to speed. If so, they likely will get Intel’s Haswell chip and, like the Air, improved battery life as a result. The MacBook Pro with Retina may also get this update. (I’m more interested in the former, as I’m not ready to shell out for a ‘next generation MacBook Pro’ yet).

Summary: MacBook Pros with Haswell chip, improved battery life

iPods (Not Likely)

The iPod, formerly Apple’s top product, has typically seen updates in the fall. However, given how the iPhone and iPad have both eclipsed the music players, I don’t necessarily expect to see any new iPods. I wouldn’t be shocked, but I think it is more likely that we’ll see iPod updates next year.

Apple TV (Likely, But…)

Word has gone around that there is an Apple TV update coming. I think the safest bet is that it’s just a small spec update for the TV box. The current Apple TV runs an A5 processor internally. While Apple still is selling devices running the A5, I think they may want to put either an A6 or, maybe, even an A7 in the Apple TV.

I don’t think we’ll hear about any other big change for Apple TV, but I also think Apple’s plan isn’t to create a full TV but, rather, to change the way we experience television and use our TVs by means of the Apple TV box. If so, I wouldn’t be surprised with them putting in an A7 chip. Why? Because I see Apple opening up Apple TV for app developers. iOS 7 includes game controller support and has added APIs for game development such as SpriteKit. Could Apple be a major player in the console wars with Apple TV? I think it’s a likely scenario.

Summary: Apple TV update with either A6 or A7 processor

iWatch (Doubt It)

I doubt Apple’s mythical high-tech wearable will make a debut tomorrow. Samsung may have struck first with their launch of Galaxy Gear, but Apple doesn’t need to quickly fire back to make a difference. Apple will reveal products when they’re ready to, and I think there is more to be gained for them by perfecting any such product that quickly reacting to Samsung’s unveiling.

So, with this list put together, now we wait until tomorrow to see how close I was. What about you? What do you think we’ll see tomorrow?

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