Apple sent out invites for a special media event on October 16 earlier in the week. It is widely expected that the event will unveil new iPads, new Macs and announce the public release of OS X Yosemite. Read ahead for a comprehensive roundup of what you can expect Apple to talk about at its Town Hall auditorium next Thursday at 10:00 AM Pacific.
First and foremost, multiple reports have confirmed that new iPads will be a focal point of the event. Apple is expected to unveil the second-generation iPad Air alongside a new iPad mini with Retina display, while there is a slim chance that we could also hear about the 12.9-inch “iPad Pro” that has been rumored about in the past few months.
The full breakdown of the event is listed below based on various reports and rumors, although there is always a chance that Apple does not follow through with everything that has been speculated about.
The focus of Apple’s media event on October 16 will undoubtedly surround the unveiling of the iPad Air 2 and next-generation iPad mini with Retina display. Based on rumors, the iPad Air 2 could feature a Retina HD display, thinner and lighter design, Touch ID, Apple A8 chip, 2 GB of RAM, anti-reflective coating and 8-megapixel iSight camera.
- Retina HD Display: The discovery of “@3x” images in the iOS 8.1 beta 2 frameworks indicates that the iPad Air 2 could have a higher-resolution Retina HD Display as found on the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. The current iPad Air has a 2,048 x 1,536 pixels resolution, but it is unknown what the resolution of a Retina HD display could be.
- Touch ID: It has long been rumored that the iPad Air 2 will gain a Touch ID fingerprint scanner that would enhance the security of the tablet and potentially provide compatibility with Apple Pay mobile payments in the future. A string from the iOS 8.1 beta source code recently surfaced that hints Apple is testing the feature internally.
- A8 Chip: The next-generation iPad Air 2 will receive the same or a more powerful version of Apple’s A8 chip treatment as the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. The new A8 chip features second-generation 64-bit desktop-class architecture and an advanced 20-nanometer process that, based on the iPhone 6, delivers performance up to 50 times more fast and efficient.
- 2 GB RAM: Leaked photos surfaced this week from third-party repair service GeekBar that reveal 2 GB RAM modules that are likely for the iPad Air 2. It has been reported since at least August that the iPad Air 2 could feature 2 GB of RAM, a sizeable upgrade from the 1 GB of memory found inside the current-generation iPad Air.
- Thinner and Lighter: A recently leaked gallery of photos showcasing the iPad Air 2, which we have embedded below, reveals details about the design cues of the upcoming tablet. The iPad Air 2 is expected to be 7 mm thin like the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, lighter and have narrower bezels along the left and right side of the screen.
- 8-Megapixel Rear-Facing Camera: iPad Air 2 is rumored to have an all-new iSight camera that includes an 8-megapixel rear-facing module, a bump from the 5-megapixel rear-facing camera on the current iPad Air. The new camera module will enable the iPad to gain iPhone-exclusive features like slow-mo and burst modes.
- Anti-Reflective Coating: It was reported by multiple publications over the past few months that both the iPad Air 2 and next-generation iPad mini with Retina display will feature anti-reflective coating that enables users to use the tablet outdoors and in the sun with less glare, a welcomed improvement for those that read lots of e-Books.
While the iPad continues to be the number-one selling tablet worldwide, the tablet has faced modest declines in year-over-year sales for the past two consecutive quarters. In an effort to kickstart sales of the tablet again, Apple may also offer the iPad Air 2 in a gold color option.
Meanwhile, the next-generation iPad mini with Retina display could also have Touch ID, an Apple A8 processor and a thinner design as listed above. A separate report mentions an iPad mini Air that could be 30-percent thinner than the current iPad mini with Retina display.
- iPad Air 2 may come in Gold color option
- iPad Air 2 rumored to launch in October again, iPad mini with Retina 2 sometime later
- iPad Air 2 will get gold color option, anti-reflective display coating and be announced on September 9 says analyst
- Apple supply chain ramps up production of components for thinner and faster iPad Air 2
- New iPad Air 2 rear shell photos reveal minor changes
- iPad Air 2 GPS Antenna, Microphone and Wi-Fi Module Leaked
- Rumor: ‘iPad mini Air’ could be be 30% thinner
- Next-Generation iPad mini mocked up alongside iPhone 6 without thick antenna lines
- Analyst: iPhone 6, iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 will feature Touch ID fingerprint sensor
iPad Air 2 Gallery (click images to view full size):
Another focal point of the October 16 media event could be new Macs, perhaps including the all-new iMac with Retina display. It is virtually impossible that we will see any updates to the MacBook Pro with Retina display lineup, as those notebooks just received a refresh a few months ago, but the MacBook Air is also overdue for an upgrade.
Apple last refreshed the MacBook Air in April with the latest Intel processors and a slight price decrease by $100 off each model. It has also been rumored that Apple is working on a 12-inch MacBook Air with a much thinner design that could slide in between the current 11-inch and 13-inch model notebooks available. That notebook isn’t expected until next year.
There is also a likelihood that Apple updates the Mac mini, which has not received a hardware refresh since gaining the latest Intel processors in October 2012. The entry-level Mac is long overdue for an upgrade, which could be a reason why Apple sent out its invites with an “it’s been way too long” tagline.
- Mac mini mid-2014 gets listed on an Apple Support page for Boot Camp
OS X Yosemite
Apple announced earlier this year that it will be publicly releasing OS X Yosemite, which has been in beta testing for the past several months, at some point this fall. It is more than likely, based on the past release cycle of OS X, that Apple will announce the release date for OS X Yosemite at the event.
This media event will likely recap some of the major features and important points about OS X Yosemite and detail full availability information for Mac users. The software update will be free for new and existing users of OS X Mavericks and previous versions.
- OS X Yosemite Public Beta is now Available for Download
- OS X Yosemite GM has support for SMS Forwarding when paired to iOS 8.1
- Apple releases OS X Yosemite Preview 7 to developers
One More Thing
There is also the possibility that Apple uses its famous “one more thing” tagline and introduces new products and services not mentioned above. It has long been rumored that Apple is working on an HD television set, although we are unlikely to see any news about that product until at least next year — it is still very much a rumor.
If you read into Apple’s “it’s been way too long” tagline that it included on the invites for this event, there is also a possibility that a new iPod touch is released after a two-year hiatus. There could also be further news and announcements about Apple Pay as the mobile payments service rolls out this month for iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and older iPhones (for in-app purchases).
Which announcements are you most excited about?