October 12, 2014

Predictions for Apple’s October event

There’ll be an Apple event on October 16, and it’ll be livestreamed for all to see. The previous event, announcing the iPhone 6 models and showing off the Apple Watch, was a major fuckup for most viewers, so Apple’ll want to get this one right.

The tagline, “It’s been way too long”, hints at a new iMac, I think. The fact that Apple’s using the rainbow colors makes me think there’ll be color variations of the new iMac yet again. All speculation of course. I’d also expect a Mac mini, but I don’t think there’ll be anything particularly interesting in terms of design there, just a bump and possibly some minor tweaks.

There’ll be updated MacBook Pros (spec bump, assuming Intel’s processors are incoming) and MacBook Airs (might be a design change/tweak, no retina Air though). These might or might not get time in the keynote, although I think they will, now that Apple’s gaining further traction in PC marketshare. Although I really do want a 12″ retina MacBook, I don’t think it makes sense with a 13″ retina MacBook Pro. The only way to make it make sense is to do a 12″ retina MacBook Air, and discontinue the 11″/13″ models in the long run, offering them as budget alternatives for the transition period. I’d buy a 12″ retina Air in a heartbeat.

Mac Pro gets a spec bump. I hope we’ll get a new retina Thunderbolt display to go with it, but I’m not too sure about that, even if there are retina iMacs. The Thunderbolt displays have been all but forgotten the past years, despite the previous iMac refresh. There’s also the issue with current Macs and their inability to power such a resolution. Launching a retina Thunderbolt display that’ll only work with Mac Pros doesn’t make sense.

Apple will release OS X Yosemite. This one’s a given.

I hope we’ll see iPod touches built on the iPhone 6 models. Unfortunately I doubt this’ll happen. It’s a lot more likely that Apple TV will get an update, but not the one I’d want, which involves a proper App Store and support for MFi controllers. The latter is already doable through an iOS device, but I doubt Apple’s ready to tackle apps in the living room. If I have to pick one thing in this prediction piece that I’d love to be wrong about, this is it. Seriously, I want an Apple TV with controller methods so that I can play games and stuff on it. And I want to be able to hook up said Apple TV to a Thunderbolt display and put my iOS up there. None of this is likely at this point though, although they’ll probably talk up HomeKit with the new Apple TV, despite that really is just a software update.

And finally, there’ll be new iPads. A slimmer iPad Air seems reasonable, and I think they’ll slim down the iPad mini too. Both will get essentially the same spec bump. There won’t be a larger iPad Pro, not enough leaks to support that, although they might choose to announce it to give developers time to adapt. It’s not likely though, not with all other things going on. A larger iPad, with a 12-13″ screen, would need a higher resolution than the Air and mini to make sense. Such a size has different demands on interaction, so it’d be a good idea to give developers a heads-up. I just don’t think it’s time yet, if ever. And the rumor that the iPad Pro will dual-boot iOS and OS X is obviously bollocks. Not gonna happen.

So there you have it, my best guesses for the October event. Get ready to prove me wrong, Apple.

Thoughts? Let @tdh know on Twitter, or find me elsewhere. There is also a newsletter.