What to expect from Apple’s October 30 event: New MacBooks, iPads

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If you weren’t satisfied with three iPhones and a new Apple Watch this year, Apple is hosting another hardware event on October 30, sending out invites on October 18 for a Brooklyn event to a number of media outlets (including yours truly). For those not keeping score, Tuesday will mark Apple’s fourth event this year, following an iPad event in MayJune’s WWDC 2018, and the iPhone reveal event in September.

What’s left for Apple to realistically announce on October 30? Quite a lot, as it turns out — we’re expecting to finally see some of the year’s hottest new Apple tech, including a new MacBook, an updated iPad Pro, and possibly even a new Mac Mini. Here’s what to expect from Apple’s October 30 event.

An updated MacBook Air

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The MacBook Air is the oldest model of the MacBook currently sold by Apple, and it’s long filled a lower-cost slot that the MacBook 12 and MacBook Pro simply can’t fulfill. But while the Air’s staying power is clearly strong, it’s suffering from a loss of identity as the smallest and thinnest MacBook since regular MacBooks have gone on a serious diet. The design looks outdated for a 2018 laptop, the fifth-generation i5 is old, and the display is not great.

An updated MacBook Air is rumored to tackle a lot of the common issues with the current model, and would come with a Retina display, modern USB-C ports, and an eighth-generation Intel processor. Bezels would likely be slimmed down, and a larger display could be present as a result.

The MacBook Air has been the “affordable” MacBook for some time now, and we expect that to probably stay the same with an updated model — expect a price of $ 1,000 or lower.

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iPad Pro 2018

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iPhones got a huge new style update with the iPhone X, and many are expecting to see a similar design update come to the new iPad Pro. Along with the usual bump in specs, prospective iPad buyers can expect to see a significant drop in bezels surrounding the screen, along with a removal of the iconic home button. While there’s a limit on how much bezels can reasonably be reduced on a tablet-sized device — since you need them to hold the device — there’s still room to reduce bezels, based on the slimmer iPad 9.7 2018.

The removal of the home button will mean the new iPad Pro would rely entirely on Face ID for bio-based unlocking, which previous rumors suggested would not work in landscape mode. Thankfully, the most recent rumors claim Face ID will work in any orientation, so it’ll work on the iPad Pro even when docked with a keyboard. A new Apple Pencil might be introduced alongside the iPad Pro too, so expect to see more features for Apple’s stylus if that does happen.

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iPad Mini 2018

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Recent iPad-related rumors have largely focused on the iPad Pro, but it looks like the iPad Mini could be heading for a refresh, too. According to a new report from well-known Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the iPad Mini — which hasn’t been refreshed in a few years — will get updated with a better and newer processor, along with a lower-cost display panel.

It’s possible that the new iPad Mini may not arrive at this particular event, however. Kuo suggests that while he’s sure a new iPad is coming, he doesn’t know if Apple will announce it at this event or at a later date. If a new iPad Mini is being worked on, we think it would make sense to launch it alongside the iPad Pro — but Apple may have other plans in mind.

New iMacs & Mac Mini

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Apple hasn’t exactly kept its computing wing as up to date as its iPhones and iPads, but that could be about to change with the introduction of some new desktop Macs.

The Mac Mini is one of Apple’s lines that hasn’t seen an update for some time — in this case, Apple hasn’t released a new Mac Mini since 2014. For comparison, that’s the same year Apple launched the iPhone 6, so it’s clear that the Mac’s smallest brother is well past due for an update.

An updated Mac Mini would see a big specs bump to an 8th-generation Intel processor, would probably replace outdated hard drives with smaller solid state drives, and would also probably see the inclusion of some more modern ports — USB-C anyone? While the Mac Mini was usually intended for people who need a small machine tucked out of the way, a new design may also be in the works.

Even if a new Mac Mini isn’t on its way, it seems likely that we’ll see some new desktop iMacs introduced. Four new model numbers have been spotted on a regulatory filing on the Eurasian Economic Commission’s (EEC) website. One of the four reportedly refers to a laptop — likely a new MacBook Air — but three are tied to desktop iMacs.

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AirPods 2

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You might feel it has barely been any time at all since the release of Apple’s AirPods, but you can be sure that Apple is working on an updated version to cash in on the success of the originals.

There are a lot of rumors circulating features that would be added to AirPods 2, and noise canceling and water resistance seem to be at the top of the list. Being able to summon Siri with a hot word rather than tapping the earphones are just a few more features you may expect. Another claim holds Apple is working on getting some form of biometric functionality into its earphones — possibly a heart-rate sensor.

It’s not all about the earphones themselves too — a recent patent shows Apple is playing with the idea of adding a storage capacity to the Airpods case, and making them capable of storing music. That would certainly be a huge advantage — but don’t expect to see them yet. It’s far more likely we’ll see these in early 2019.

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Apple first introduced the AirPower charger last year when it revealed the iPhone X’s wireless charging abilities but we’ve seen precious little else of Apple’s multi-device-charging pad since that initial reveal.

All mentions of the AirPower charger have disappeared from Apple’s website and rumors say that heat management was an enormous issue with the mat, as were communication issues with devices.

Despite the issues Apple may have run into, it’s entirely possible the company could still launch the charger. In fact, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo recently predicted that Apple would launch AirPower in the fourth quarter of 2018 or the first quarter of 2019. While the company could wait until early next year to release it to the public, it could still have more information about the charger in the works.

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