Since Apple’s second event of the fall is right around the corner, we thought it would be fitting to entertain ourselves with the following Mashable article pasted below. Check it out–
Has it only been a month since Apple CEO Tim Cook took the stage in Cupertino, California, to reveal not only two new iPhones, but its first entry into a new product category since the iPad, the Apple Watch?
Considering all that’s gone on since — the millions of phones sold, a major iOS 8 flub and a nonstop rumor mill — you might think many months or even a year had passed. But no; it’s only October, and Cook is clearly keeping his word of making this a very busy fall.
See also: Apple iPhone 6: The Review
With Apple’s upcoming iPad event on Thursday, almost no one is expecting entries into new product categories. “[It’s a] low-key event on campus, so I don’t anticipate any big news,” Van L. Baker, vice president and research director for Gartner’s Mobile and Client Computing Services, wrote in an email.
The new iPads — expected to be the a second-edition Apple iPad Air and a second-edition iPad mini with retina display — will likely resemble the iPhone 6. I suspect the Gorilla Glass displays will meet the anodized aluminum case in a similarly seamless way. However, don’t expect either iPad to get much slimmer; each is currently only 0.02-inch thicker than the iPhone 6 and 0.01-inch thicker than the 6 Plus. Apple probably won’t want to give up that sliver of battery, which on a device as large as an iPad can account for an hour or more extra battery life. What’s more, if Apple can avoid having the iSight camera stick out of the case, I think it will.
If Apple does introduce a thinner iPad, it may have to confront an unanticipated issue. Prior to the iPhone 6 Plus, there was no such thing as “Bendgate.” Now, people are walking into Apple stores simply to bend products. Apple has been developing the new iPad for months, and the company certainly could not have made any significant design changes in the last month to account for bendability.
Design aside, there are some pretty sure bets for the upcoming iPad. It’s a no-brainer for Apple to add the Touch ID fingerprint reader, and leaked photos show them doing just that. It’s less clear whether Apple will also add near-field communication (NFC) chips to the new tablets.
Apple Pay, the secure mobile payment system introduced last month, relies on both the biometric Touch ID fingerprint reader and NFC to complete transactions with the iPhone 6. While Apple Pay hasn’t launched yet (more on that later), it’s probably not because Apple was waiting for the new iPads.
For now, Apple’s NFC implementation is only for Apple Pay; third parties can’t yet tap into the chips. So the only reason to include NFC in an iPad would be for mobile payments, and I just can’t wrap my head around any shopper pulling out an iPad — or even an iPad mini — to hold it near a transaction reader. It would make sense for Apple to include NFC in the updated iPad mini, but to leave it out of the full-sized tablet.
Not everyone agrees with that, though. Tim Bajarin, the president of Creative Strategies and longtime Apple watcher, thinks we should expect Touch ID and NFC in both new iPads.
Rumors of a much larger iPad also bound, a 12.9-inch device that might appeal to design professionals and mobile office workers. I think Apple will announce this product on Thursday, too, but it won’t ship until next year. Bajarin thinks it’s unlikely we’ll see or hear anything on the 12.9-inch iPad in 2014 at all.
Pricing, storage and gold
Apple should introduce its first gold iPad. OK, so it won’t be real gold, like the 18-karat gold Apple Watch that the company showed off last month, but for some, even faux gold is a status symbol of sorts.
The company’s decision to change up storage sizes on the iPhone 6 (16GB, 64GB and 128GB, but no 32GB), may indicate a new storage strategy. Perhaps these iPads will start at 32GB and then offer 64GB and 128GB options. That, however, seems unlikely. I still expect a 16 GB iPad, but there may not be a 32GB offering any longer.
Apple will likely also retire the heavier and slower iPad with retina display (the “iPad 4“). As for pricing, the original iPad Air will likely continue running the now older A7 chip and sell for $399. Base price for the new iPad Air 2 will still be $499, and an iPad mini running the A7 chip may fill the low-end iPad space and sell for $299. Base price on the new iPad mini will probably still be $399.
Apple Pay, OS and the kits
It’s no secret that Apple will announce Apple Pay going live at hundreds of stores around the country on Thursday. Tim Cook may use the occasion to give a much deeper dive into Apple Pay than he did last month, and he also may walk us through the setup and reveal tidbits like how it can be used to manage and renew credit cards and merchandise returns.
While much of the event will have a mobile focus, Apple will also likely use the event to officially launch OS X Yosemite, especially because of the way the desktop and laptop OS now integrate with its mobile platform.
Apple stopped calling Apple TV a hobby ages ago, but aside from software and component updates, Apple hasn’t paid much attention to the product’s design since the 2011 update. I suspect that Apple may finally do something about that; it could turn Apple TV into a dongle that gets plugged directly into an HDMI port (a la Google Chromecast). But I think Apple likes the idea of a box that can still accommodate an ethernet cable. The Apple TV box may, however, get a lot thinner — and, like everything else Apple is doing these days, lose all its sharp edges.
More significant than the design changes, though, will be Apple’s introduction of HomeKit for Apple TV. Bajarin said he expects Apple to demonstrate more HomeKit and HealthKit apps, but the biggest news may be deep integration of smart home automation inside Apple TV. Gartner’s Baker, however, agrees with Bajarin, saying he is less sure about any Apple TV updates at this launch.
Systems and 4K
Missing from last month’s Apple event was any mention of desktops and laptops, increasingly the likelihood that Apple will unveil a number of system updates. Bajarin put his money on Intel Broadwell, or 14-nanometer architecture, CPUs for laptops like the MacBook Air. The Intel chip could also show up in an updated Mac mini, which hasn’t seen an update in almost two years.
There’s also a chance that Apple could introduce a Retina MacBook Air, though Bajarin said it’s unlikely.
What’s more likely is the introduction of Apple’s first 4K display on its 27-inch (and maybe 21-inch) iMac. Design professionals would go crazy, though they may not like the price — which would probably be significantly higher than Apple’s top-of-the-line iMac.
The great unknown
Despite these predictions, Apple can be a vast and unknowable beast. The event may focus squarely on iPads and leave out almost everything else.
Tim Cook might avoid mentioning Bendgate completely, or he could tackle it — along with Hairgate — with a smart quip.
The company could also blow our minds and finally unveil the first real Apple TV set, or iTV. (I know, I know; it probably won’t.) Baker certainly doesn’t see that in cards; he said, “Thursday is just a “business as usual event” without “much impact.”
He makes it sound like a yawner, but I’m not buying it. After almost a year of “meh,” Apple is going for the “wow.” It may not always succeed, but I think the days of “business as usual” are done. At least for now.