Apple Watch Series 7: A Review

Much like the iPhone, the Apple Watch sees a new model being introduced every year, usually at the same event as the iPhone, but if not, then sometime very close to it.  Some years the Apple Watch will bring new capabilities through sensors, while other years there are other changes, like screen size. This year is one of the years where the latter has occurred.

There are only a couple of new features to cover, the screen and color choices. We will get to those in due course, but let us look at the order process first.

Order Process

I think it is safe to say that this year’s Apple Watch Series 7 launch was bungled. The order process worked for me, and I did not have any hiccups, but it seems like the overall launch was bungled. The reason for this is quite simple, no details prior to pre-order day.

Unlike in previous years there was no gallery to see the possible combinations there might be, nor was there any sort of pricing, at least not prior to the beginning of the pre-order time. I can completely understand not having a pre-order system like they did for iPhone 13 models, but the minimum benchmark should be having the possible color combinations and pricing available before pre-orders go live. This would have allowed many to determine what they were hoping to order once pre-orders did begin.

Apple Watch Series 7 Midnight Box and Midnight Sport Band Box
Apple Watch Series 7 Midnight Box and Midnight Sport Band Box

With not having any time to look at models beforehand, anyone who might have wanted to get their Apple Watches as soon as possible had to frantically choose their watch case, color, and band as quickly as possible. Luckily, for me anyway, I was able to get the Midnight Sport model with Midnight sport band. The reason I chose this is because it was available for pickup at my local Apple Store on October 15th. I opted for pickup because, like the iPhone, I did not want to wait all day for it to arrive. I was able to get a 10am pickup time, so I could be one of the first in the store to pickup my order.

Next, let us jump onto the into color choices available.

Color Options

The Apple Watch has always come in a variety of colors. Which colors are available depend on the case material you choose. The Series 7 is the first time that Apple has not offered either a Space Gray or Silver as an option for the aluminum model. For the Series 7 aluminum models the available options are Midnight, Starlight, Green, Blue, and PRODUCT(RED).

Lack of Neutrality

As you likely surmised, there is no Space Gray or Silver color option for the aluminum models. For many they opt for the Silver because silver can generally go with anything. Starlight looks to be silver, but more of a gold-tinted Silver. For many, this is acceptable, however it is not likely to be as neutral as a Silver model would be.

Midnight 

Midnight Sport Band in its box opened up.
Midnight Sport Band in its box opened up.

As mentioned, I opted for the 45mm Midnight Apple Watch with the Midnight band. When you first look at the ‘Midnight’ watch case you may think that it is a black. But there does seem to be a tint of blue in the case. If you compare the Apple Watch Series 6 Space Gray  to the Apple Watch Series 7 in Midnight, you will notice that the Midnight is definitely darker than the Space Gray and that the Midnight might be a better overall “go with anything” type of watch.

While the Midnight case is darker, the pairing of the the Midnight watch band do not match. The Midnight band is more of a blue and it does work okay with the Midnight watch, but it is not the best pairing.

This is not all that uncommon, because often the Space Gray watch bands do not match the paired black bands. At the same time the Midnight watch band does not seem to be a good match with the Midnight watch. The case of the Midnight Watch is more of a black than the blue-black of the Midnight watch band.

Midnight Sport Band and Black Sport Band
Midnight Sport band on the left and a Black Sport Band on the right
Apple Watch Series 6 in Space Gray and Apple Watch Series 7 in Midnight
Apple Watch Series 6 in Space Gray on top and Apple Watch Series 7 in Midnight on the bottom

The ‘Midnight’ Apple Watch is not the only device with an accessory that comes in “Midnight”. There is also a MagSafe case for the the iPhone 13 line that comes in “Midnight”. At least when it comes to the “Midnight” color of the Midnight iPhone 13 Pro Max case and the Midnight Apple Watch Band, they are the exact same color. Therefore, if you are looking to match your Apple Watch band and your iPhone 13 case you can be assured that these two will match perfectly.

Midnight Aluminum Sport Band and iPhone 13 Pro Max Midnight Case

Now that we have covered the coloring, let us look at the actual setup of the Apple Watch.

Setup

If you are setting up a new Apple Watch and you have never owned an Apple Watch the setup process is pretty straight-forward because you do not have any existing settings or configuration to worry about. However, if you have a previously paired Apple Watch and you want to transfer its setting to your new Apple Watch it may be a bit cumbersome and require jumping through some hoops.

Apple Watch 45mm Series 7 in Midnight with Midnight Sport Band
Apple Watch 45mm Series 7 in Midnight with Midnight Sport Band

The reason that it may be problematic is because if the version of watchOS on your old Apple Watch is newer than the version on the new Apple Watch you will not be able to transfer your current watch to your new watch. There is a workaround though. You can use the following steps to get your old Apple Watch settings onto your new Apple Watch.

  1. Begin Pairing new Apple Watch
  2. Setup as a new watch.
  3. Complete Setup of the Apple Watch
  4. Open Settings -> Software Update
  5. Update Apple Watch to latest version
  6. Unpair Apple Watch
  7. Begin pairing of the Apple Watch
  8. Use your current watch’s settings. It will have the text “(Current Watch)” next to your current watch. It will be similar to the image below.

For most people setting up an Apple Watch as new may not be too much of a problem. This is because things like cards added to Apple Pay will all need to be added again anyway. This is because each card added to Apple Pay has its own unique device specific identifier and those cannot be transferred between devices. 

It is important to make sure that you choose the proper device since there will also be a backup of your recently unpaired Apple Watch.

Now that the Apple Watch is setup, let us see the most notable change with the Apple Watch Series 7, the screen size.

Screen Size

The screen sizes of the Apple Watches has only increased by a single millimeter, or about 0.04 inches. However, the screen resolution has increased from 368×448 to 396×484, which is a 16.3% increase in screen resolution. This increase in screen resolution is absolutely noticeable, no matter which previous model you had, including the Series 6. You will also see some slightly higher percentages for the 41mm Series 7 as well when upgrading from a 40mm or 38mm model.

Apple Watch Series 6 and Apple Watch Series 7
44mm Series 6 on the left and 45mm Series 7 on the right

The first screen size change for the Apple Watch was with the Series 4, when the sizes went from 38mm and 42mm to 40mm and 44mm. This screen size change was an increase of 35.5%. If you are going from an Apple Watch Series 3, or earlier, to a Series 7, you will see an increase of 57.5% increase in screen resolution, which will absolutely be noticeable. 

42mm Series 3, 44mm Series 6, and 45mm Series 7 Apple Watch
42mm Series 3, 44mm Series 6, and 45mm Series 7 Apple Watch

When it comes to the Apple Watch any increase in screen size is welcome. This is because a watch cannot be nearly as large even the smallest iPhone and therefore the larger the screen size, the more easily you can see the time as well as the complications. This screen size increase has also allowed for one new feature, a full QWERTY keyboard.

Keyboard

The manner in which you are able to enter in text on an Apple Watch can vary, depending on the current context. You can use Scribble, emoji, Animoji, or even voice entry. With the new 41mm and 45mm screen sizes you can have the option of entering text in via a keyboard. 

One thing I have noticed while doing this is that I am so accustomed to the standard iOS keyboard that I forget that the backspace button is in the upper right corner. The backspace key is the same place as with the previous Apple Watches when using Scribble. The full keyboard is in the same place where Scribble was previously.

Apple Watch full QWERTY keyboard
Apple Watch full QWERTY keyboard

By default, Scribble is replaced by the full keyboard. This makes some sense given that you can be much quicker with the full keyboard than with Scribble. With the keyboard you can either tap on the individual characters or even use swiping between characters to enter in the text. When you use Swipe the Apple Watch will use predictive text to try and provide the correct word.

Scribble is still available if you want to use it. This is accessed by swiping up from the bottom of the Apple Watch to bring up the option of using Scribble or the full keyboard (Thanks to Michael @bearsfan34 on twitter for pointing me in the right direction). You can easily switch between the two depending on your preferred input method. 

Series 7 Only

Not having a full keyboard on the 38, 40, and 42mm makes sense given that the screens would be too small. Having the 41mm support a full keyboard does make sense given that the screen is more edge to edge. Yet, what seems odd is that the the full keyboard is not supported on the 44mm screen. Sure, it would be a slightly more cramped, but it would still likely be quite useable. My guess is that the full keyboard is designed to be exclusive to the Series 7 Apple Watch as a differentiating factor for the Watches.

Personally, I do not know how often I will end up using the full keyboard, but it is inevitable that having a full keyboard on the Apple Watch Series 7 will come in handy at some point. Let us now look at the new watch faces on the Series 7 Apple Watches.

New Watch Faces

Add Watch Faces - New Watch Faces
Add Watch Faces – New Watch Faces option

The biggest aspect of the Apple Watch is the ability to customize the faces of the Apple Watch. All watch faces, regardless of them being digital or analog watches, have a thing called complications. Complications can display a number of things, like the current date, a calendar, or even the phase of the moon. Complications on an analog watch, as the name indicates, makes the watch more complicated to create. 

Similarly on the Apple Watch complications allow you to show items on the face of the Apple Watch. There are a number of different complication sizes, small, medium, large. Apple has a set of built-in complications, but third-party applications can also provide their own complications for people to use.

Apple adds new watch faces periodically. There are generally two instances when Apple adds new watch faces, either with a new version of watchOS or a when there is a new Apple Watch screen size. watchOS 8 includes two new watch faces, called “Portraits” and “World Time”. These watch faces are available to any Apple Watch that can support watchOS 8, meaning anything introduced after the Apple Watch Series 3.

As mentioned, the second possible instance for a new watch face is with a change in screen size. When there is a new screen size it is likely that new watch faces are introduced, or existing watch faces are modified, to take full advantage of the new screen size. The Apple Watch Series 7 has a couple new watch faces that are designed for the new screen sizes. Let us look at each one individually.

Contour

Contour watch face
Contour watch face with color dial

The Contour watch face is an interesting one. The Contour watch face is an analog watch face that has the hours around the outside edge of the watch face. As the name suggests the hours contour to the screen while the analog watch hands move around the watch face to provide the current time.

The Contour watch face allows you to set a specific color as well as add two sub-dial complications. One small complication that is towards the bottom of the screen as well a personalization complication. The personalization complication can be one of the following items:

  • Today’s Date (default)
  • Monogram
  • Stopwatch
  • Digital Time
  • Timer

There are some other options that you can set, including the style as well as the dial color. There are two style options, “Regular” and “Rounded”. These watch face are different, but only subtly. The “Rounded” style takes the bottom portion of the hours and rounds them out so that the edges of each hour will be rounded. This is a very subtle difference. The easiest number to notice the difference is the “10”, but other numbers also change.

There is one last option called “Dial Color”. The “Dial Color” option will allow you to set the entire dial to your selected color or even a multi-color. Let us look at the other new watch face, Module Duo.

Modular Duo

Apple Watch Modular Duo watch face
Apple Watch Modular Duo watch face with Activity rings at the top, Weather in the middle, and Now Playing at the bottom

One of the watch faces that has been available since the original Apple Watch running watchOS 1 has been the Modular face. The Modular face allows you to choose the complications that will appear on the watch face. You can choose up to six complications, four small, one large, and an optional date in the upper right corner. On the Modular face there are three complications on the bottom row, the large complication in the middle, and one more small complication in the upper left corner. 

The Modular Duo face allows you the choice of three complications. There are two large complications and one small complication. The large complications take up the bottom two thirds of the Apple Watch face and the small complication is in the upper left corner. 

The Modular Duo watch face is a decent face that will help you quickly see information if you only have two large items and one small item you want to be able to see at a glance.

While I like the Modular Duo watch face, I think I am going to stick with my Infograph Modular watch face which was introduced with the Series 4. It provides me with the most number of complications so I can quickly get the information that I need. If you need only a couple of large complications, then the Modular Duo is a great choice.

Both of these new watch faces work well with the new 45mm Apple Watch Series 7 screen. There is one last feature to cover and that is around charging.

Fast charging

Apple Watch charger with metal base
Apple Watch charger with Metal Base that supports Fast Charging

All of the Apple Watches have been capable of getting a decent level of charge fairly quickly. How quickly you can get an 80% charge, as well as a full charge, depends on the model. For the Apple Watch Series 3 you can get an 80% charge in about 90 minutes with a full charge in about 120 minutes. The Apple Watch SE takes about 90 minutes for an 80% charge and 150 minutes for a full charge. These charge times also similar for the other models as well. 

The Apple Watch Series 7 is different. It is capable of charging to 80% in 45 minutes and a full charge in 75 minutes. This means that you can charge the Apple Watch in half the time. This is great particularly if you do not have a lot of time to charge your watch, but you want to make sure it has enough charge. There are some limitations to this though.

First, you need a Fast Charge Apple Watch charger. This part is taken care of, because one is included in the box of your Apple Watch Series 7, so that will not cost you anything extra. The Apple Watch chargers that support fast charging can be easily identified because they have band of metal around the charging puck as well as around the USB-C plug.

The second thing you need is a USB-C charger capable of supporting USB Power Delivery, or USB-PD. This will need to be 5-watts or higher. This does not need to be an Apple USB-C adapter, but some of those are supported as well. The list of Apple power adapters that is supported include: 18W, 20W, 29W, 30W, 61W, 87W, and 96W USB-C adapters. If you have one of these adapters it will work. 

You can still use your other Apple Watch chargers, they just will not allow for fast charging. Therefore, if you have a favorite charger, you can continue to use it. You can replace them when the time is right for you.

Fast charging is a great addition to the Apple Watch given that there are no new sensors on the Apple Watch Series 7.

Closing Thoughts

If you currently have an Apple Watch Series 5 or Series 6, I am not sure how much of an upgrade you would notice. There are no new “must have” features that most users would notice, outside of the screen and full keyboard. However, if you upgrading from a Series 4, or as one person I talked to at the Apple Store, a Series 2, this will be a fantastic upgrade.

The increase in screen size will be very welcome and noticeable right away. The faster charging may not be immediately noticeable, but if you need to get a charge of 80%, it will take half the time, provided you use a compatible adapter that support USB Power Delivery, also known as USB-PD.

If you are in the market for a new Apple Watch the Series 7 is a great choice, whether you go with the 41mm or 45mm, you cannot go wrong. As of this writing there are many models that have a delivery date of early December, so you should order an Apple Watch sooner rather than later, if you are intending to order from Apple in time for the holidays. If you are new to the Apple Watch you will not be disappointed.

Apple ‘Unleashed’ Event Predictions Results

Apple held their ‘Unleashed’ event earlier this week and like every other event, I made a set of predictions for the event. Here is what I predicted as well as the results.

New 14-inch Mac Book Pro/New 16-inch MacBook Pro

I got these two predictions correct. I am combining these two into one because Apple did announce two new MacBook Pros, a 14-inch and a 16-inch. The reason that these are being combined is because they are effectively the same except in a couple of small ways.

There is a new 14.2-inch MacBook Pro and a 16.2-inch MacBook Pro. These both have either an M1 Pro or an M1 Max that can be configured up to 64GB of unified memory and up to 8TB of storage. You can order one of the new MacBook Pros today, the 14-inch model starts at $1999 and the 16-inch model starts at $2499.

Higher-End Mac mini

Unfortunately, I did not get this one correct because there was no new higher-end Mac mini announced at today’s event.

New AirPods

I got this one correct as well. There are a new pair of 3rd generation AirPods that have a new contour shape that supports spatial audio, wireless charging via Qi or MagSafe. The 3rd generation AirPods cost $179, you can order them today for delivery next week.

macOS Monterey release date

This one is a tough one because Apple did not actually announce a release date at the event, but there is a release date for macOS Monterey. That date is next Monday, October 25th. It will be a free download for all users.

Recap

Overall, out of the five predictions I made, I got four of them correct, 80% is not a bad percentage for a results. You can read more about all of the announcements at the ‘Unleashed’ event in my event recap post.

Apple ‘Unleashed’ Event Announcements

Today Apple held their ‘Unleashed’ streaming event. Given that it was only 50 minutes, it was packed with a number of announcements. As anticipated it was an event that focused on two areas, Music and Macs. Let us go in order discussed with the event, starting with Apple Music.

Apple Music Voice

Apple Music Voice with AirPods, HomePod, and iPhone

Apple announced their streaming service back in at WWDC 2015. At the time they indicated it would be available in July. Since the initial announcement there have been two plans, an individual plan for $9.99 a month and a family plan for $14.99. If you have an Apple One plan, it is included. Today Apple announced a whole new plan called the “Voice” for $4.99

The Voice Plan will allow you to use only your voice and ask Siri to play a playlist, an artist, or any song from the catalog of 90 million songs and even the playlists that Apple Music has to offer. 

Apple Music Voice is limited in what it offers. For instance, you do not get Spatial Audio, Lossless Audio, Lyrics, or Music Videos. These require the Individual or Family plan.

Users can subscribe to the Apple Music Voice Plan through Siri by saying “Hey Siri, start my Apple Music Voice trial,” or by signing up through the Apple Music app. Once subscribed to Apple Music Voice, users can request music be played across all of their Siri-enabled devices, including HomePod mini, AirPods, iPhone, or any other Apple device, and when using CarPlay.

Apple Music Voice plan will be available later this fall in 17 countries. It will cost $4.99 per month. If you do sign up for an Apple Music Voice Plan you will need something to play it on, say a HomePod mini. That is the next item on the agenda.

Source: Apple Newsroom

HomePod Mini

The HomePod mini is a great device for being able to listen to music, audiobooks and podcasts. The HomePod mini can also be used 

When introduced there were only two colors available, White and Space Gray. There are three new colors, Blue, Orange, and Yellow. These are functionally the same as the existing Space Gray and White HomePod mini, but these can add some additional pop and color to match your existing palette or style.

These HomePod minis will be available in November for $99 each. Next, is something else you can use to listen to music, AirPods.

HomePod mini 2021

Source: Apple Newsroom

AirPods

3rd Generation AirPods

Apple has been in the headphones market a long time, ever since the original iPod introduced 20 years ago in October of 2001. Apple’s first pair of Wireless headphones was the AirPods introduced in December of 2016. Two and a half years later the 2nd generation AirPods were introduced in March of 2019. Today, the 3rd generation of AirPods have been introduced.

The third generation AirPods have an all new design similar to those of the AirPods Pro with shorter stems. They also have force touch support on the stems instead of having to tap on your ear. There are two big changes for the 3rd generation AirPods, support for Spatial Audio, improved battery, and wireless charging.

The third-generation AirPods support Spatial audio, so you can be immersed in whatever audio you are listening to, whether it be a song, music, or a podcast. If you are watching a video that support spatial audio you will also become immersed in the audio. This is possible through  a new contour design on the AirPods that allow the Spatial audio to be directed right towards your ear. 

The battery life has improved to 6 hours on a single charge with the case being able to five full charges for a total of 30 hours of charge. When you need to charge the 3rd generation AirPods you have three options, wired, using the USB-C to lightning cable, using a Qi-compatible charger, or using MagSafe.

The last item to cover is the MacBook Pro.

Source: Apple Newsroom

MacBook Pro

The MacBook Pro is the laptop designed for Pro Mac users and it just got a whole lot more pro. There are two all-new designed MacBook Pros, a 14-inch and a 16-inch. These are identical in their capabilities. We will get to those in a moment, but first we need to cover the chips that power these machines. These are the new M1 Pro and M1 Max chips.

M1 Pro and M1 Max

M1 Pro and M1 Max Chip logos

The M1 Pro and M1 Max chips take the features of the M1 and crank them up. The M1 Pro ranges from an 8 cores CPU and 14-Core GPU, to a 10-core CPU and 16-core GPU. The M1 Pro has a memory bandwidth of 200 Gigabytes per second. The M1 Pro has a hardware video decode engine, a dedicated video encode engine, and a dedicated ProRees encode and decode engine built right into the chip. The maximum amount of memory on the M1 Pro is 32GB.

Meanwhile, the M1 Max comes in a 10-core CPU and 24-core GPU or a 10-Core CPU and 32-Core GPU configuration. The M1 Max has double the memory bandwidth to 400 gigabytes per second, and also doubles the number of video encode engines and the number of ProRes encode and decode engines. The M1 Max can have up to 64GB of memory.

The M1 is a system on a chip and has a unified memory architecture. This means that the memory is shared, resulting in up to 64GB of video memory when you have an M1 Max with 64GB of memory. These chips also have a dedicated display engine. This display engine allows the M1 Pro to have up to two Pro Display XDRs connected at the same time. The M1 Max can support three Pro Display XDRs and 4K tv at the same time. 

According to Apple, these chips are up 2x faster in CPU performance, and 4x faster in GPU performance than the standard M1. Apple states that the M1 Max uses 40% less power than a comparable Pro PC with laptop graphics, while using up to 100 watts less power. 

Source: Apple Newsroom

14-Inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros

14-inch MacBook Pro and 16-inch MacBook Pro

The 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros are entirely new designs that have a bunch of new features. These features includes new displays, new connectivity, and a new camera. 

Display

The displays on the new MacBook Pros are 14.2-inch and 16.2 inch respectively. This is possible because the area around the screen has been reduced to 3.5mm on all sides. These displays use the Mini-LED technology from the iPad Pro to create super thin, but bright displays with up to 1000 nits of standard brightness and a peak of 1600 nits. The new display provides a new resolution of 3024×1964 on the 14-inch, and 3456×2244 on the 16-inch.

Since these are the same technology as the iPad Pro displays, this means that the new MacBook Pros now also feature ProMotion, which can be up to 120Hz refresh. This should make everything super smooth when using macOS. While this adaptive refresh rate is on by default, it can be set if you need a specific refresh rate for what you are working on.

Connectivity

The MacBook Pros have a slew of connectivity. When the 2016 MacBook Pros were introduced they switched entirely to USB-C for everything. This mean that you would need a dongle to connect to have access to any port beside USB-C. That changes with these new models. 

Both models feature 3 thunderbolt 4 ports, a headphone jack with support for high-impedance headphones, a dedicated SD card slot, a dedicated HDMI port, and, the best part of all, the return of MagSafe. MagSafe 3 also allows fast charging, meaning that you can get a 50% charge in 30 minutes. Battery life in the 14-inch is up to 17 hours, and the 16-inch will get you up to 21-hours of usage. 

Camera

The FaceTime camera on the MacBook Pro is in a notch and has been upgraded to a 1080p camera with an f/2.0 lens, which means that it has even better low-light performance. macOS handles the notch by extending the Menu Bar and keeping all of your content visible.

Other Specs

The 14-inch MacBook Pro starts at $1999 for a machine with an M1 Pro that has an 8-Core CPU, 14-Core GPU, 16GB Unified Memory, and 512GB SSD Storage. There is a slightly better model that is $2499, and comes with a 10-Core CPU, 16-Core GPU, 16GB of Unified Memory, and 1TB SSD Storage. 

The MacBook Pro no longer has a TouchBar. In its place are the standard function keys. Physical function keys are generally more usable for professionals as opposed to the Touch Bar. There is still the Touch ID sensor in upper right corner of the keyboard.

With either model you can configure up to 64GB of unified memory and up to 8TB of storage. There is also Apple Care available. There is a new option for Apple Care, an Annual payment for $149 or three years of coverage for $399. You can choose between Space Gray and Silver cases options.

The 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro are available to order today with delivery starting next week. As of this writing, which is only a couple hours after the end of the end of the announcement, delivery dates have already slipped to early November for many configurations, and for some M1 Max models it is early December.

Source: Apple Newsroom

Closing Thoughts

The things announced today are a definite improvement. The new Apple Music Voice plan is great for those who may only have a HomePod mini or only want to stream music without having to spend a lot. 

The new colors of the HomePod mini can definitely spruce up ones place and the addition of colors is great to see. I hope to keep seeing new color options in the future.

The 3rd generation AirPods are a bit more at $179, instead of the $159 price of the 2nd generation, but they now include the wireless charging case and support for spacial audio. They should be a good improvement over the 2nd generation. I have purchased a pair of these for myself and will have a review of them sometime after I get them. The 2nd generation AirPods is still around at a new price of $129. You can order the 3rd generation AirPods today and they will begin delivery next week.

The star of the show are the new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros with the M1 Pro and M1 Max chips. These chips provide significant performance increases over the standard M1 and even more improvement over the previous Intel versions. The new Mini-LED displays allow for even better performance due to the capabilities of the M1 Pro and M1 Max chips, but also due to the addition of ProMotion. The battery life has significantly improved to 17 hours for the 14-inch model and up to 21 hours on the 16-inch model. You can order these starting today and they will begin shipping next week.

Apple ‘Unleased’ Event Predictions

While it is quite common, it is not 100% certain that Apple will hold an October event. However, they tend to hole one more often than not. Since 2008 they have held an October event every year except for 2009, 2010,  2015, and 2017. So, 69.2% of the time they do hold an October event.

September is generally reserved for iPhones, the is particular true for 2012 going forward. The October 2011 event was when they introduced the iPhone 4s, but the fact that the iPhone was not going to be available in June was announced in June of that year, at Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference. 

The October event can usually include updates on the iPad and the Mac. Last year was an anomaly due to everything related to COVID. Apple had three fall events last year, the September event was iPads, October’s event focused on the iPhone, and the November event was the introduction of the first Apple Silicon Macs. 

Since we have already had the iPhone and iPad event, this event will likely focus on Macs. We have already seen some Macs with Apple Silicon. These are the 24-inch iMac, 13-inch MacBook Air, lower-end 13-inch MacBook Pro, and the Mac mini. I think that this event will focus on Macs and there will be some Macs announced. Here are my predictions for the event, starting with the Higher-End MacBook Pro.

Higher-end MacBook Pro

Prior to Apple Silicon there was no simple differentiation that you could point to say one device is considered more of a “pro” machine. However, I think there will be a 14-inch MacBook Pro as that will be the higher-end MacBook Pro. Along with this I think there will be a replacement for the 16-inch MacBook Pro. I think that both of these models will be aimed at professionals.

14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros

The most professional MacBook Pro that Apple has is the 16-inch MacBook Pro. The 16-inch MacBook Pro is designed to be the best machine that Apple has to offer and also provide the greatest flexibility. If you were to get a laptop that could be a desktop replacement  the you get a 16-inch MacBook Pro.

As an example, you can configure up to 8TB of storage and up to 64GB of memory. With the 16-inch MacBook Pro you can do just about everything. I think that this will continue to be the case. However, even though the 16-inch MacBook Pro is the highest of the high end, it is not always the most portable. Because of this, I think there will be a smaller 14-inch model.

I do not think that the two models will have many differences, excluding battery, screen, and weight differences. There are many rumors about what might be in these higher-end MacBook Pros.

The most notable of these rumors if the return of some ports, like an HDMI and an SD Card slot. I am not sure if we will actually see both of these. I could see the HDMI making a return, or even the SD Card slot. This would make the devices more similar to what many consider the “best” MacBook Pros, the models introduced before the butterfly keyboard.

I do not think the MacBook Pros are the only Macs to be introduced. I think there will also be a higher-end Mac mini.

Higher-end Mac mini

When Apple introduced the first devices with the Apple Silicon chip called the M1, the included the lower-end Mac mini. Even when they introduced the M1 Mac mini they kept the Intel version in the line up. If they were looking to have only model of Mac mini they would have removed the Intel version. Since they have not, I think as though there is still a newer Mac mini model left to be introduced. 

I think it will use the same processor as the MacBook Pros. I think this Mac mini will have two additional USB-C/Thunderbolt 4 ports, bringing the total to four. If the MacBook Pros have an SD Card slot, my guess is the Mac mini will as well.

Macs require an operating system to run and that operating system will be macOS Monterey.

macOS Monterey

Given that this is likely to be a Mac-focused event, I think that Apple will announce the date for macOS Monterey at this event. It is already halfway through October and it is likely that macOS Monterey will be released later this month. Possibly on the 20th, 26th, or 27th. It is possible that macOS Monterey will not be released until November as well, given that macOS Big Sur was not released until November 12th. 

There is one last possibility of a topic and that would be the AirPods.

AirPods

It is possible that we might see some new AirPods being released, if they are ready and available in enough quantities. I would not be surprised if Apple wanted to have them out last month with the new line of iPhone 13s but they may not have been ready yet. 

If they do introduced these, I think these will be more in the style of the AirPods Pro, but not have the noise cancelling features nor the silicone tips that insert into the ear canal. Instead, I think these will be like the second-generation AirPods and have less of a stem on each individual AirPod.

Prediction Recap

Here is a recap of what I think we will see at the “Unleashed” event.

Prediction
New 14-inch MacBook Pro
New 16-inch MacBook Pro
New higher-end Mac mini
New AirPods
macOS Monterey release date

Overall I think

Apple’s “Unleashed” event streams on Monday, October 18th, 2021 at 10am pacific time. As always, I will have a recap of what was announced as well as a prediction results post later in the week.

Apple Announces ‘Unleashed’ Event

Today Apple announced that they will be holding an event on Monday, October 18th, 2021 at 10 a.m. Pacific time. The theme for this event is ‘Unleashed’. Just like many of the recent Apple events, if you go to the Apple Events page on your phone, you can tap on the icon and see an augmented reality presentation.

As is the case with all of Apple’s events, I will post my predictions for the event prior to the event.