What we think we know about Apple’s Oct. 30 iPad Pro launch

Who sends out an invitation with more than 350 different image designs? Apple, of course.

Apple, iPad, iPad Pro, iPhone, Mac, Mac min, iOS, macOS

Who sends out an invitation with more than 350 different image designs? Apple, that’s who, and this is precisely what the company has done inviting media to its next big iPad Pro and Mac reveal, set to take place in New York on Oct. 30.

'There's more in the making'

Apple on Thursday invited selected media to a special event at the plush surroundings of the 2,000+ capacity Brooklyn Academy of Music on Oct. 30 at 10 a.m. ET.

We’ve since discovered that more than 350 iterations of the brightly colored Apple logo image on the front of the invitation exist. The slogan is "There’s more in the making."

It’s the second time this year Apple has chosen to host a launch east of San Francisco. The event reminds me of my annual pilgrimages to Apple’s annual product announcements at Macworld Expo in New York and big moments such as the G4 Cube, 17-in. iMac introduction and then-CEO Steve Job’s explanation of the "digital hub" concept, which basically means we now carry everything on our wrists.

What’s in it for the enterprise?

Enterprise users will be looking for performance and productivity enhancements across Apple’s mobile products and (see below) they won’t be disappointed; expect the company to introduce lower cost Mac notebooks, vastly improved iPad Pros, and improved Mac mini systems (at last) all squarely focused on enterprise use cases, such as low-energy servers and more.

apple oct 30 event logo 53 Apple

What will Apple introduce?

We never truly know what Apple is going to reveal. Even Mark Gurman’s fleet of nanoparticle-sized HYDRA spy drones (or whatever they are) can't quite see everything, can they?

What we think we know is that Apple plans to launch updated iPad Pro tablets, new Macs and (potentially) updated versions of the Apple Pencil, AirPods and –  conceivably, but probably not – the AirPower wireless charging dock.

We’ve looked at most of these expectations before, but here’s a quick reprise:

New Macs

Apple has been expected to introduce a new high-end, higher priced Mac mini along with a more affordable Apple notebook, possibly a successor to the MacBook Air.

It’s also thought the new Macs will use Intel’s eighth-generation Kaby Lake processors and the laptops will be equipped with Retina displays.

These new Macs should help boost Apple’s PC sales, pending introduction of new higher-end Mac Pros next year. It will be interesting to see what effect the recent speculation that Apple intends switching these machines to its own A-series chips in 2020 might have on sales. It will also be interesting to see what apps come to the Mac from iOS once Marzipan ships in 2019.

apple oct 30 event logo 49 Apple

New iPads

Productivity is everything and the event invitation seems to show that the new 11- and 12-inch iPad Pros will be heavily focused on creativity. The company will want to stress how you can create art, make music, edit images and movies and do real grown-up productive work.

As predicted in more detail here, significant highlights may include:

  • Face ID on the iPad Pro;
  • Desktop-like performance
  • The loss of the traditional headphone port;
  • And better battery life.

Those changes should also be a strong argument for the likes of Gartner and IDC to immediately begin to count iPads as PCs in their PC sales charts, even though doing so would make Apple the world’s biggest-selling PC manufacturer. Questions: Will Apple produce an improved iPad Pro keyboard? Might its new low-cost notebook actually be some form of Mac/iPad hybrid? We’ll soon see what Apple’s been making.

Apple accessories

Both Apple Pencil and AirPods may see a refresh. Apple Pencil could gain wireless charging, perhaps via the new iPad’s improved Smart Connector, which may also be magnetic. Expect even less latency and improved pressure-sensitivity.

With a 98% customer satisfaction rating, it’s no surprise you’re seeing AirPods in ears more often on most city streets. This year, we should see hands-free Siri and the introduction of a new W-series wireless chip. Water resistance is also possible; it was originally predicted to arrive in 2019, but that’s now just a couple of months away.

AirPower may remain a no-show, but I’d be very surprised not to see some positive attention paid to HomePod – perhaps a new model for cars?

What else to expect?

Apple never says one more thing any more, but I rather like the expression. I suspect we might learn a little more about international rollout of Apple TV deals with cable operators, and perhaps a short glimpse at some of the video content Apple is planning to introduce next year.

How to watch the event

Apple will be streaming the event live from its events website.

(Visit the site now and look at the image there, then refresh the page to see a completely different design.)

You’ll also be able to watch it using the company’s Apple event app on Apple TV and other devices. I will, of course, be writing as the announcement takes place – stay tuned for details.

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Copyright © 2018 IDG Communications, Inc.

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