What will Apple's September 9th event mean for the Mac?

What will Apple's September 9th event mean for the Mac?

Apple's let the cat out of the bag: There will be an Apple event in September. It's scheduled for September 9th and it happens at the Flint Center, where Apple historically introduced the Macintosh 30 years ago. It seems like a sure thing that Apple will introduce the iPhone 6, but what role will the Mac play at the event?

All the invite says is "Wish we could say more," but the fevered imagination of some folks went into overdrive Tuesday after images of the invitation was published online. In typical fashion, as has become almost an annual tradition, some are trying to divine meaning from each pixel of the invitation image to see what they can learn ahead of the actual announcement.

We'll have to wait until September 9th to know for sure what Apple has up its sleeve, though it seems obvious that the iPhone 6 will be a central feature. What else Apple has to show is left open to speculation, though. An iWatch, perhaps? A demonstration of new technology in iOS 8 like HomeKit? Something else?

With the iPhone 6 tantalizingly close, and with beta development of iOS 8 winding down, what about OS X Yosemite? After all, iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite are inextricably linked: Apple's erasing the lines between them with Continuity, which enables you to more seamlessly transition between using your iOS device and your Mac. What's more, iCloud Drive is dependent on iOS 8 and Yosemite as well.

Apple's been churning out regular biweekly updates to OS X Yosemite to registered developers throughout the summer. And it's definitely looking better than it was in June — I've switched over to it full-time on one computer and can't wait to make it my regular operating system for my "daily driver."

I don't know if Yosemite is going to be done in time for the September event. My gut tells me no, but that it shouldn't be that far behind iOS 8's release, which Rene and others have speculated will be the week following the announcement.

I don't think it's an absolute necessity for Apple to release both operating systems at the same time. After all, tens of millions of iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users happily use their devices never having tethered them — or shared data on them — using a Mac or PC. For any of those people, an upgrade to iOS 8 will unlock new capabilities that they'll be just fine with regardless of what happens on the Mac.

On the other hand, the Mac is a burgeoning platform that's more popular than ever before. Apple clearly wants to make sure the Mac benefits as much as possible from iOS's popularity.

At the very least, I'm certain we'll get a better idea on September 9th when OS X Yosemite is coming.

I don't think there'll be any hardware-specific Mac announcements at the September event. If we take Apple's behavior over the past couple of years into account (and off and on years before that), then October is more likely for Mac refresh.

In October 2013, Apple introduced the iPad Air and released Mavericks at the same time, along with offering more details about the Mac Pro and refreshing the Retina MacBook Pro. In October the year before, Apple also tag-teamed iPad and Mac news, introducing the iPad mini, the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro and the newer, slimmer iMac at the same time.

Apple sometimes uses an October event to introduce new Macs or new Mac software, but not always. Before 2012, you have to go back to 2009 to find any Mac news of import in October. So don't expect Apple to have an October Mac event just because.

Apple's Mac roadmap may be affected by Intel and its ability to release its new Broadwell microprocessors. The version of those chips Apple needs for the MacBook Pro won't be available until 2015, though a lower-powered version will ship in quantity this fall, aimed at the emerging class of "two-in-one" devices and potentially suitable for MacBook Air.

Apple's also due for a refresh of the Mac Pro. That computer uses a heavy-duty Xeon processor from Intel, based on the Ivy Bridge-E architecture. Intel began shipping Xeon processors updated with the Haswell architecture used throughout the rest of the Mac line over the summer; the new chips can sport more cores than the old ones and use faster memory for improved performance and computational power.

Anyway, expect September 9th to be about the iPhone and other stuff, not about the Mac. But don't worry, Mac mavens. Apple's got plenty up its sleeve and there'll be lots of fun stuff for us to drool over in the months ahead.

Peter Cohen

Managing Editor of iMore, Mac and gaming specialist and all-around technologist. Follow him on Twitter @flargh

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Reader comments

What will Apple's September 9th event mean for the Mac?

29 Comments

"After all, iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite are inextricably linked: Apple's erasing the lines between them with Continuity..."

Agree. Continuity requires Yosemite, and the Yosemite beta is looking really solid (and oh so snappy.) Time for Apple to set a very-near-future release date.

I'm still having issues with safari, slow start up speeds and going to new sites is very slow, have you noticed this?

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"Reset" Safari to clean out its database.

Restart your router. If you live in a population-dense place, set up and use 5 ghz wireless as 2.4 ghz can be stupidly saturated with noisy radios.

Make sure you have at least 20% disk free for caching and disk io performance.

Beware of disk io tools like anti virus and other file system monitoring tools - they can kill performance.

My 2007 vintage iMac is a great performer so it is likely to be one or more of the above.

I've done all of that and don't use disk tools, when I first installed Yosemite it started right away, and has only gotten worse. Sometimes it's completely unusable. I have no other performance issues with any other computers, tablets, or Apple TV, just on my mac. I get 40 Mbps up and 10 down.

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I'm running yosemite on a 2012 retina macbook with a 512gb ssd. I have plenty of free space, the 2013 time capsule. Not sure what's going on, I don't have problems running chrome or Firefox, specifically safari.

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I am so glad that they might release the Apple I watch I wonder how if the keyboard will be available for the watch?

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My initial guess would be that it pairs with a bluetooth keyboard. That way you can watch the text appear on your watch as you're typing with both hands...

? what ? Why would you want to read text on a watch screen? Or even bother with connecting a keyboard to a wearable? If we do see an iWatch, I would imagine it's purpose would be to collect data, and be a notification center to tether with your iPhone. Data input would be somewhat insane on such a small screen.

When has the Apple TV historically been updated (hardware, not software)? Has it been announced at iPhone/iPod events, or Mac/iPad events? I want to wait to purchase one because I'm expecting the next one to be announced and/or come out any time now...

Apple is offering $25 itunes gift cards if you purchase Apple TV now. That may be a hint.

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Do you think we'll see a retina MacBook Air announced in October?

What updates do you think the iMac will get?

I'm planning on buying a new Mac, but wanted to wait until the September event to see what new things were announced first. I guess I can wait another month.

I'm in the same boat. I am delaying a MacBook purchase while waiting for an announced update to the line. However, I don't think you'll see any Mac news at the September event. Maybe October.

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Which MacBook were you thinking of getting? And any guesses as to what the updates will be in October (assuming there is a Mac event in October)?

I just can't see a reason for a Retina MacBook Air. What would be the difference between the 13" rMBA and a 13" rMBP, an extra USB port? Doesn't make sense. It would have to about as thick as a the pro. Nah, Apple wants a distict line between the two machines. Ones a consumer machine and one is for more graphic intensive work. No reason for a Retina screen on a MBA.

Peter why did you have to sensibly destroy my hopes of a new Mac at the September event? I'm really holding out for a new model. But then again my birthday is in October, that will give me a good reason to make a trip to the Apple store.

How do they deal with the iCloud Drive upgrade if people's Macs can't get updated as well? Remove the option until Yostemite comes out?

It seems to me you can't let users upgrade iOS and not their Mac or they would orphan their files.

Unless there is an iCloud Drive update for 10.9

Peter - Majority of the people are excited about iOS 8 as iPad/iPhones are Apple's heroes and largely used by the customers. I agree Mac has become much popular now and is favourite amongst those people who already own iDevice(could be iPod/iPad/iPhone).

I always use to skip Mac sessions in WWDC as I never owned one however I picked MBA 13" 2 weeks back and I am waiting with bated breath for Yosemite. I am so thankful to myself(lol) that I picked one. This thin machine is incredibly powerful. I am a IT engineer and was a bit skeptical in picking one but I am glad I did. The only gripe which I have is RAM which unfortunately is not upgradeable in India.

Anyhow, I am eagerly waiting for Sep 9th and weeks followed by WWDC where we get to download the official release of Yosemite. For the first time, I am not as excited for iOS 8 as I am for a Mac OS :)

I am selling my 2012 retina macbook for a MacBook Air. I hope they release a new air so the prices on the early 2014 models drop a little!

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Apple might have changed things up. WWDC was an OS only event for the first time ever. I liked that. For anyone not chomping at the bit for upcoming hardware it is a presentation of how your current stuff is going to be better.

Obviously this is going to be a hardware event. I'm waiting with baited breath to see larger iPhones if that is really going to happen. I'm seriously considering changing from iMac, iPad Air, iPhone 5 to Macbook Pro and Apple phablet, paring down my devices from 3 to 2.. A wearable would really have to shock me.

I'm wondering if Angela Ahrends (sp?) will be part of the show. It's high time a female became part of the presentation. And Beats might play a part too, or is it too soon?

WWDC was an OS only event for the first time ever.

Nope. Last time it happened was actually in quite recent memory: 2011. Apple introduced Lion, iOS 5 and iCloud, but there was no new hardware announced at that show.

Picked up the late 2013 MBP retina 13in almost a month ago now and thoroughly enjoy it. I considered updating my 2011 iMac but went this route instead. There's always gonna be another update coming (unless you own a mac mini). Get in there and get what you want or need when you can. Thanks Apple and iMore for all that you do.