As busy a year as Apple’s already had, the company may not be done rolling out new products in 2018. And if you’re in the market for a laptop or tablet, that could turn out to be very good news.
Rumors about everything from a MacBook Air successor to iPad Pro updates have been rumbling for months. And if Apple’s planning on unleashing those products in time to get them in front of holiday shoppers, this will be the month to finally reveal what the company’s been working on for both its MacBook and iPad product lines.
Curious about what we might see this October? Here’s a closer look at what to expect, based on the most-popular rumors now circulating.
Wait, didn’t Apple just hold a press event to introduce new products?
Yes. Back on Sept. 12, Apple unveiled new iPhones plus a new Apple Watch at the company’s Cupertino campus. Apart from some nods toward software such as iOS, macOS, tvOS and watchOS, those were the only products Apple discussed.
But Apple sells other things, too (even if critics feel the company may have forgotten that). And some of those products are in need of a refresh, ideally before the year is out.
Does Apple usually hold an October event?
An October launch event for something other than iPhones isn’t exactly unprecedented. Back in 2016, a month after rolling out the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, Apple was back on stage to introduce new MacBook Pros, including the model that brought us the Touch Bar. That event was necessary, because the MacBook Pro lineup at the time had gone years without a substantive update.
So, Apple has both a history of rolling out products separate from its iPhone launch and the motivation to do so this year. That’s why we’re pretty confident we’ll see something out of Cupertino in the next few weeks, even if Apple is as tight-lipped as ever about its plans.
What’s going to happen to the MacBook?
One of the most obvious things Apple could do to freshen up its laptop offerings is put new processors inside both the MacBook and MacBook Air. Currently running on 7th Gen Intel Core processors, the MacBook is a generation behind what’s inside Apple’s MacBook Pros. And that’s light years ahead of the MacBook Air, which is still making do with 5th Gen processors.
A persistent rumor for the last few months has been that Apple would come out with a sub-$1,000 MacBook featuring 8th Gen Intel Core CPUs. A Bloomberg report from August, though, suggested that this will be no mere MacBook Air refresh. Instead, the new low-cost laptop would have thinner bezels around its 13-inch Retina display.
MORE: MacBook Air 2018: Can Apple Stage a Comeback?
Apple could position this rumored laptop as a remodeled MacBook Air or give it an entirely new brand name. The new laptop could also knock the 12-inch MacBook out of Apple’s lineup if the company decides to draw a more distinct line between its MacBook Pro offerings and its low-cost laptop aimed at bargain hunters and schools. That said, rumors persist that Intel’s recently released Amber Lake CPUs will find their way into a new MacBook model.
What about the iPad?
If Apple has an iPad update in the works, it will almost certainly involve an iPad Pro. And rumors suggest that Apple’s going to roll out a new size for its pro-level tablet.
In this scenario, touted by respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo among others, an 11-inch iPad Pro would replace the current 10.5-inch version of the tablet. This wouldn’t just be a bump in screen size: Apple would shrink down the bezel around the iPad Pro’s display, get rid of the Home button and add a TrueDepth front camera similar to the one on the current iPhone X models. That would mean features like Face ID and Animoji/Memoji would make their way to Apple’s tablets.
MORE: iPad 2018 Rumors
Since it would make little sense to have just one iPad Pro offering these features, Apple would make the same changes to its 12.9-inch iPad Pro, adding the TrueDepth camera and all the capabilities it supports to that model.
What else might Apple announce?
Laptops and iPads aren’t the only Apple products getting a little long in the tooth. That same Bloomberg story also says the company may roll out a new version of its Mac mini computer. An update’s been a long time coming: Apple hasn’t touched that product since 2014.
The company’s iMacs have seen a more recent update, with 2017 ushering in a model that added a 5K display alongside processor and graphic improvements. The iMac Pro also shipped in late 2017, so it’s unlikely to get a refresh this month.
Speaking of products announced in 2017, Apple’s AirPower charging pad remains MIA even after September’s iPhone event, amid speculation that Apple may have even scrapped the product. The future’s a little rosier for Apple’s AirPod wireless headphones, with a new version reportedly in the works. Either of these accessories could be announced alongside a new iPad without too much trouble.
When will Apple’s October 2018 event happen?
Apple’s given no hint of when it might hold an October hardware event, though logic dictates the announcements would come in the latter half of the month. Apple generally gives the press anywhere from 10 days’ to two weeks’ notice when it schedules an event, which would mean the week of Oct. 15 at the earliest.
Keep in mind that Apple starts taking preorders on the still-to-launch iPhone XR on Oct. 19, with the $749 phone hitting stores a week later. Scheduling a hardware event around that time — even if it’s focused around MacBooks and iPads — might help remind people that there are other Apple products they may want to include in their holiday budgets.
Credit: Laptop Mag