Next week, on Oct. 16, Apple will host yet another press conference, again delivering on its promise to introduce new products by the end of the year.
This time will be different than last, however, as we think the discussion will largely revolve around its iPad and iMac product lines, in addition to some discussion about hardware. We’ve been digging through the rumors over the past several weeks and think we have a pretty good picture of what to expect from Apple next week. There are a ton of possibilities on deck, including news on OS X Yosemite, iPads, iMacs, Apple Pay, Apple Maps, split-screen software and more. This is definitely going to be an exciting event.
Let’s take a look and what we’re expecting now.
New iPads With Touch ID, Faster Processors
This seems almost definite. Apple is due to refresh its iPads and we’ve seen several leaks that are at least pointing to a new iPad Air 2. It looks like the device will sport a thinner profile than last year’s model while also packing in some additional hardware.
For one, we think Apple will add Touch ID to this year’s iPad Air 2, as well as a beefier A8 or A8x processor. Also, rumors from the supply chain suggest Apple will offer 2GB of RAM in this year’s model, the first jump from 1GB, and that could help power some additional software features we’ll get into later. iOS 8.1 beta 2 code also revealed that we might see a sharper screen added this time. It’s also possible we’ll see an update to the iPad mini with Retina display with Touch ID and an A8 processor, though we haven’t heard as much on that front.
There’s been discussion of Apple adding Apple Pay and NFC to the iPad Air 2 as well. While we don’t think this is necessarily the right product for making purchases at a point-of-checkout, maybe Apple has plans to allow the iPad Air 2 to accept payments, since it’s commonly used with other solutions like Square. That’s just a guess, we’re not quite sure whether or not we’ll really see NFC or not.
OS X Yosemite Launch News
Apple is already seeding out the GM of OS X Yosemite to developers, which means the final release is just around the corner. The company has promised several new features that work with iOS 8 to launch in October, which means OS X Yosemite is probably due to launch this month as well. Apple will very likely announce the launch date of OS X Yosemite and, if that is indeed some focus, it will probably have some new hardware to show off too.
OS X Yosemite adds plenty of amazing new features, but it also offers a lot of user interface tweaks that make it cleaner looking than before. Features like Continuity and Handoff work seamlessly with iOS 8 powered devices, allowing you to answer text messages and phone calls from your computer, or pick up an e-mail that you started on your iPhone and continue it on your Mac.
Unfortunately, one feature called iCloud Photo Library, might not be ready in time. It seems it was pushed out of earlier iOS 8 betas and we haven’t heard much news on that front. Apple was the focus of controversy related to phishers accessing photos in iCloud, so maybe it will be a more quiet launch this time.
iMac With Retina Display
Apple is due to launch an iMac with a Retina display and this would be a good event to get that out the door, particularly if there’s any discussion of OS X Yosemite. Current rumors suggest it will pack a 5K 5120 x 2880-pixel display and will ship by the end of the year.
That’s going to be an expensive product, likely, so Apple will probably use it to complement existing iMac models that will stick around in the product family. It’s also expected to pack Intel’s Haswell processor and possibly graphics from AMD, which would be a switch from the NVIDIA GeForce cards it uses in all of the other iMac models.
How much will this all cost us? That’s one thing we’ll be keeping an eye out for.
Apple Pay News?
It’s possible Apple will fill us in on when Apple Pay will launch for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus owners. The company promised the service will go live sometime in October, but it hasn’t provided a firm date yet.
The launch will likely coincide with iOS 8.1, which is already in beta testing with developers and includes Apple Pay. Once that hits, users should find the option to add credit and debit cards from supported banks into Passbook to call up for payment. We’ve also learned that Siri will play a roll in Apple Pay and that users will be able to ask Siri for a specific debit or credit card with the tap of a button.
The latest rumors suggest the Apple Pay launch date will be Oct. 20, so we’ll see if that’s accurate.
Apple Maps Discussion
Apple has reportedly been building a huge upgrade to Apple Maps, according to news published by 9to5Mac. Is it too early for that release?
It could be, but it could also be the perfect time to talk about the product. iOS 8 is already in the hands of millions of consumers and with OS X Yosemite on the horizon now is a great time to talk about the feature that will work across both platforms.
We don’t really know how Apple Maps has improved, but 9to5Mac has suggested that Apple put a huge focus on public transportation, a glaring omission in the current version, and beefing up points of interest.
iPad Split-Screen Multitasking
Code inside iOS 8 has suggested that Apple may implement a new feature into some software for iPads that allows users to run two applications side-by-side, similar to what we’ve seen on Windows and Android machines.
This might be why Apple is adding 2GB of RAM into the new iPad Air 2, though we don’t know what kind of requirements will be needed to run this feature. It seems plausible that there’s enough power in older models for this feature to work, but Apple may limit it to the bigger-screened iPads instead of the smaller iPad mini devices.
We don’t know very much on this topic, but we’re excited to hear more about it next week if it’s indeed in the works.
We don’t know what else Apple may have on deck. The Mac mini is long overdue for a refresh and we’d love to see something on that front. Apple’s invitation said “It’s been way too long,” so that suggests it’s going to talk about something that we haven’t heard news on in a while.
New Apple TV software or hardware? That would be awesome and has been rumored for a long time. Apple also hasn’t talked about iPods in a while, but we’re not quite sure that’s going to be mentioned at all during the event, especially since there hasn’t been any news on that front from the supply chain.
Next week is going to be exciting and we’ll be reporting all of the news as it breaks, so be sure to check back on Oct. 16.