On October 11th, Apple announced their “It’s been way too long” event. Tomorrow is that event. You can watch it live at Apple.com at 10AM Pacific, or 26 hours from the time that this was posted. With that, I thought I would share my predictions for what we will see.
Just like with iPhones, new iPads have become a yearly occurrence. This year should not be any different.
I am thinking we will see an updated iPad Air that encompasses Touch ID, is slightly thinner, has the same A8 and M8 co-processors and incorporates the same 802.11AC wireless chipsets, along with the same Retina HD screen as the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Right now, the iPad Air only comes in two colors, Black and White. It is possible that the new iPad Air may come in Silver, Gold and Space Gray, much in the same manner as the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Outside of these slight improvements, there may not be much for the iPad Air.
iPad with Retina Display
This line is currently the 4th Generation iPad. My prediction is that this model will disappear and is replaced with the current iPad Air; all at the same price point.
The iPad Mini was originally released in November of 2012 and received an update in 2013 with the introduction of the iPad Mini with Retina. It is my prediction that the iPad Mini will disappear and be replaced by the current iPad Mini with Retina. The new iPad Mini with Retina 2, will mimic the iPad Air, except that it will be smaller. The possible new features include Touch ID, a thinner form factor, 802.11AC wireless, and Retina HD Screen. The iPad Mini may also come in the same three colors, Silver, Gold, and Space Gray, as the other devices.
The current Apple TV was last released in March of 2012 and has not been appreciably updated since then. There was a slight upgrade called 3rd Generation Revision A. The only change The 3rd Generation Apple TV uses Apple’s A5 Chip. This is chip that was released with the 3rd Generation iPad, iPhone 4S, 5th Generation iPod Touch and original iPad Mini. The Apple TV presently supports 1080p playback. It is my prediction that Apple will release a new Apple TV, running an shrunken down A7 chip that supports 4K playback and 802.11AC wireless, and has Gigabit connectivity. I know that adding 4K playback is a stretch, but given the future capabilities of 4K, it is not inconceivable that Apple may introduce this. The 4K version of the Apple TV may be considered a new product, like the Apple TV Pro and may also be at an increased price point.
OS X 10.10 Yosemite
Every year Apple releases a new version of OS X, at least this has been the case since 2011 when Apple introduced Mac OS X 10.7 Lion. As I am writing this, OS X 10.10 Yosemite was at Golden Master 3. It is almost 100% certain that we will see the release of OS X 10.10 Yosemite. It will almost certainly be a free upgrade for existing OS X users whom are running Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard or later.
OS X 10.10 Yosemite Server
In a similar fashion to OS X 10.10 Yosemite, we will see OS X 10.10 Yosemite Server. Apple has had a habit of reducing the price of OS X Server. Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard Server was $499 for the unlimited-client version, OS X 10.7 was $49.99, and OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion and OS X 10.9 Mavericks were both $19.99. I have a suspicion that Apple may reduce this to $9.99, or, as a bold move, make it entirely free. Honestly, I do not see Apple making it free, but it would be a nice change.
With a new version of OS X there are typically new Macs to go along with the new Operating System. Any new Mac purchases will likely have OS X 10.10 Yosemite on them.
The non-retina MacBook Pro has not seen an update since June 2012. It is possible that Apple would update this line, but it is not likely. This is the old MacBook Pro, and last model, that includes an optical drive built-in. This is legacy way of doing things, and once the sales diminish to a point where Apple does not think this is a viable option, they will kill off this model entirely. It may be this event where this occurs. I do not expect any update to this model.
MacBook Pro with Retina
I do not foresee the MacBook Pros with Retina receiving any update, besides having OS X 10.10 Yosemite installed by default. These just received a minor speed bump and a default memory increase and a price reduction in July. It is not impossible, but it is not likely at all.
The MacBook Airs last saw an update in April of 2014. That’s about 6 Months ago. It is not likely that Apple would introduce a new model of MacBook Air. However, what Apple could do is increased the default memory from 4GB to 8GB. This would provide a minor refresh, but would not warrant a big model refresh.
The Mac Mini is Apple’s entry-point Mac. It is the Mac that has been on the market, in its current configurations, the longest. The Mac Mini was last updated in October of 2012. It is definitely time to refresh the Mac Mini. The updates to the Mac Mini could be the default configuration of RAM at 8GB, 802.11AC wireless, two Thunderbolt 2 ports, and Intel’s Haswell or Broadwell M chipsets.
The top of the line Mac, the Mac Pro, will probably not see an update. The updated Mac Pro was unveiled at Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) in June of 2013. It was released in late December of 2013. The Mac Pro does not follow any sort of typical pattern. The Mac Pro is a machine that is designed for professionals and a standard upgrade cycle does not apply.
The iMac received a “new model” in June. This model created a new low-end model. The model is a 21.5″ is running the same internals as the MacBook Air. The remaining 21.5″ and 27″ iMacs were updated in September 2013. The rumors swirling around the iMac is that the new iMac will have a Retina Display. This may be an exclusive option to the 27″ models. It is also possible that the Retina iMac is a new line entirely. The existing iMacs may not be updated at all. They already has all of the same updates that we may see in the MacBook Pro with Retina and Mac Minis.
27″ Retina Thunderbolt Display
Apple’s Thunderbolt Display was released in July of 2011. This has been the last update to it. One could argue that the Thunderbolt Display does not really need an update since it does serve its purpose of being a display. The current resolution of the 27″ Thunderbolt Display is 2560 by 1440. If a new Thunderbolt display was to be released, it would like be a 4K Model. Now, this poses some issues given that to push a Full 4K monitor at an aspect ratio of 16:9 and a resolution of 3840 × 2160, you would need more than a Thunderbolt Display can handle with just one cable. Two cables could possibly support it, but none of Apple’s products, except the Mac Pro, have two direct Thunderbolt connections.
Overall I think the Apple Event will bring a bunch of new hardware and software. I am hoping that the Mac Mini and iPad Air are updated. These are almost guaranteed to occur. It is 100% likely that OS X 10.10 Yosemite will be released very very soon. I would expect to see a new iMac with Retina. If we do see any of these we will know tomorrow.