Last week, Apple sent out media invitations for an event set to take place on Tuesday, October 22 at the Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco, California. It’s believed that the event will focus on new iPads, but OS X Mavericks and new Macs are also expected to get some on-stage time.
On the iPad front, we’re anticipating a new 9.7-inch model with a redesigned shell, an A7 processor and other upgraded internals. And as for the iPad mini, it sounds like Apple’s tiny tablet is finally going to be getting that high resolution Retina display everyone has been asking for.
What else? Keep reading for our full rundown of what to expect from this week’s event…
The media has been referring to Apple’s fifth generation 9.7-inch tablet as the ‘iPad 5,’ but there’s no telling what Apple’s going to call it. The company has toyed with a few nomenclatures in the line, including the ‘iPad 2,’ the ‘new iPad,’ and as it currently sits, the ‘iPad with Retina display.’
On the outside, the tablet is expected to look different than its predecessors. We’ve been seeing photos of purported ‘iPad 5′ shells since January, and they all collectively suggest that for the first time since the iPad 2 debuted in 2011, Apple has given the hardware a fairly significant overhaul.
That overhaul includes a big size reduction. It’s believed that the new tablet will be lighter than the current iPad, and 2 mm thinner. And if these recently-leaked schematics are accurate, it will also be 1mm shorter and—thanks to narrower side bezels—shrink in width by as much as 16mm.
As for the inside of the iPad 5, we’re expecting it to be running a variation of Apple’s new A7 processor. We actually haven’t seen any logic board leaks for the tablet yet, but the 64-bit chip has received a ton of praise thus far for its performance in the iPhone 5s, so we can’t imagine Apple not using it.
The new slate is also believed to be getting an iSight bump, moving from a 5mp camera sensor to an 8mp one. Highly regarded analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says it will feature some of the same tech found in the 5s, like a larger aperture, but outside of his predictions, we haven’t heard or seen anything about it.
There are still a number of unknowns here, like will the iPad 5 feature the M7 chip? It’s possible. Apple’s co-processor would help the tablet read the accelerometer without using too much power. And what about Touch ID? We’ve seen a few sketchy photos, but nothing concrete.
iPad mini 2
Again, the media has been referring to the second generation iPad mini as the ‘iPad mini 2,’ but Apple could really go a number of ways with this. ‘The new iPad mini’ seems like a mouthful, as does ‘the iPad mini with Retina display.’ The iPod approach could work though, ‘the iPad mini (2nd gen).’
Unlike the iPad 5, the iPad mini 2 isn’t expected to look much different on the outside than the current model. If anything, it’s been said it may be a little thicker, due to the Retina display needing a larger battery. But as far as the actual design, we think it’ll be very similar. And purported shell leaks concur.
One difference you will notice on the outside though, again assuming that the bevy of reports we’ve seen over the past 6 months are accurate, is the new crisp Retina display. It’s said to feature the same 2048 x 1536 resolution as its larger sibling, but because it’s more compact, it’ll have a much better 324 ppi.
Not much has been said about the iPad mini 2′s internals thus far, and again there’s been nothing in the way of logic board leaks, but Ming-Chi Kuo is calling for a variation of the A7 chip. Its size shouldn’t be a problem, considering Apple uses it in the 5s, and with a Retina display, the new mini could use the power.
Kuo is also calling for the mini 2 to get an iSight sensor bump, like the iPad 5, to 8 megapixels, with a larger aperture. Again, we have yet to see any proof of this—or anything else for that matter. Touch ID, despite these convincing photos that surfaced last month, is still a question mark, as is whether or not it will sport the M7.
We’ve seen a number of reports claiming that the new iPad mini is going to be hard to find on launch day, due to very constrained inventory. It seems Apple is having trouble mass-producing the Retina displays for the compact tablet, to a point where the companyallegedly considered delaying the launch until next year.
We should see a few new Mac products on stage at this week’s event, including the redesigned Mac Pro and refreshed MacBook Pros. Apple is running out of time to make its ‘fall’ deadline with the Mac Pro, and the MacBook Pros are long overdue for their Haswell updates. We wouldn’t be surprised if non-Retina models weren’t mentioned.
With OS X Mavericks—this year’s update for Apple’s desktop OS—already in Golden Master and Apple asking developers to submit their updates for the new software, we imagine it will get a fair amount of stage time. The company will likely go over a few of its new features, as well as offer update pricing and availability details.
As for other software, Apple has a number of iOS apps that have yet to receive their iOS-7 makeovers. And since the company likes to pitch its iPad as a productivity tool, we imagine we’ll at least get updates for the iLife and iWork suites—redesigned icons for GarageBand and iPhoto have already been spotted.
Finally, remember that the tagline on the invites for the event reads ‘we still have a lot to cover,’ so there’s really no telling what else will show up. We wouldn’t be surprised to see a new version of Apple’s set-top box announced though, considering it’s been over 500 dayssince its last refresh and these recent Amazon ads.
Although it may seem like just another iPad unveiling, consider these 3 things: 1. Apple forewent its usual iPad event in the spring of this year, making for a lengthy 12-month gap in major product releases. 2. There have been [comparatively] few iPad part leaks—we knew the iPhone 5s and 5c right down to the packaging.
And finally, 3. The event is being held at the Yerba Buena Center, which is a much larger venue than Apple’s on-campus auditorium it used for its iPhone 5s event. It holds a lot more people (more than double the amount of people according to John Gruber). Why did Apple choose the larger space? Good question.
We’ll be here all day Tuesday to cover the event live and bring you additional announcements and commentary. The keynote is scheduled to kickoff at 10am PDT / 1pm EDT. Until then, feel free to offer up your own predictions in the comments below!