You all know by now that Apple doesn't always host an event in October. Thanks to the iPhone, the September event is lock, but October…. it's much more like a… likely. Some years, it's brand new Macs and iPads for everyone. Others… press releases just dropped at the dawn.
This year… this year… it feels like Tim Cook and company might just put sneaker to keynote stage one more time. But… announce what exactly?
When and where?
Unlike the iPhone Event, which always lands on the second Tuesday, sometimes Wednesday, of September, the iPad and Mac Event has just been scattered around the second half of October. October 23rd, October 13th, October 16th, October 27th, October 30th.
The location has also moved around more. Where the September events have all been in and around the Bay Area, the October event has moved from its root in Town Hall at Infinite Loop to, last year, the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York.
This year? Well… we'll just have to wait and see.
There is one thing I can guess at with a high degree of certainty, though — video montage or no, when the lights come on and Tim Cook walks out, he'll say…
The September event came and went, and with nary a mention of one of the biggest rumors of the year, and something I'd been particularly interested in seeing made manifest: Apple Tags.
We did get the new U1 spatial positioning chip in the new iPhones 11, though right now relegated to singling someone out for priority AirDrop. But we didn't get the little U1 disks to go with them. You know, the ones with tiny Apple logos that we could put on or in anything and use Apple's new Find My service to precisely track down.
If the tags simply weren't ready for September, and Apple didn't want to risk another over promise and under-deliver AirPower moment, well, maybe they're ready now?
Tim could do the honors himself but, since we didn't get to see senior Vice President of software engineering, Craig Federighi, back in September, and the bits here are going to be so much more interesting than the atoms, maybe he could do the honors?
If so, run and done, and back to Tim.
Last year Apple started with the Mac. And they needed to. The MacBook Air hadn't seen a major update since Steve Jobs re-announced it almost a decade prior and the Mac mini had been stuck in a rut for years.
This year there's arguably a Mac that needs an update even more today, but I think it might just be a headliner worth holding off on until the end.
So, maybe this year the iPad Pro takes the lead? Tim could give us a recap of last year's big redesign, show us a video of what we're all doing with it, and then hand off once again to Vice President of hardware, John Ternus for the next iteration. After all, Joz already had his fun with the new 10.2-inch iPad last month, and Phil might be saved for that aforementioned headliner.
Now, some people might be wondering, even out loud, what Apple could possibly do to get those of us who bought the new iPad Pro last year to upgrade again this year. The answer is… that's the wrong question. Apple doesn't think that way. Outside of tech pundits, no one does. There are people who upgrade every year, sure. Personally and professionally. But they're basically a done deal. Apple has them at new. For everyone else, the vast majority of everyone else, Apple just wants to make int so that, whether you're buying for the first time in a few years or the first time ever, you have something good to buy. The best current product you can get.
What does that mean for this year? Well, rumor has it, a very iPhone Pro-like camera system with telephoto, wide angle, and ultra wide angle. And it wouldn't just be the first three-camera system. It would be the first multi-camera system and, if memory serves, the first time the iPad camera is treated with anything approaching iPhone parity. Given how good that camera is and how big the iPad Pro viewfinder is, that might just be a match made in cinematic 4K heaven.
An A13 or A13X processor is the closest thing we have to a sure thing, which should propel iPad performance even further ahead of what anyone else is doing at anything approaching mobile.
As to the rest of the usual nerd wish-list… Apple hasn't gone OLED on the iPad yet because of supply limitations, price points, and the problem getting uniform brightness on a panel that big. If any of that has been solved for, we could see it. But, recent Kuo Ming-Chi rumors suggest Apple is holding off for miniLED next year or the year after. Get your Beyond Retina XDR snarks ready!
We got USB-C last year, but Thunderbolt 3 would still require PCIe architecture, something which I think is still limited to just the internal storage controller right now.
Personally, I'd love it if the TrueDepth camera would move from portrait to landscape position, and for the Smart Keyboard to get a Smart Trackpad so the universal input circle would be complete.
But, as we know, I don't every time get what I want.
Maybe we'll get an update on Adobe Photoshop for iPad, if that's making progress, and we'll no doubt get a video.
Then back to Tim.
Apple's been really aggressive with MacBook Pro updates lately. Even after we got Coffee Lake last year, we got Vega Pro in the fall, then Coffee Lake refresh again this spring. So did the iMacs. Non Pro, of course.
The other MacBooks, not so much. Sure, the Air is running Amber Lake, which cries every time it sees an Apple AX-Series… at least for now. But maybe Intel could do something to put just a little more punch in its performance… you know, before Apple announces the first MacBook on ARM at some point in what feels like the increasingly fast approaching future. Any event now. Seriously. Please.
The Mac mini, though, which absolutely languished until last year's October Event could use an overt sign of Apple's continued love. So, it'd be great to see Tim hand off to head of Mac Product Marketing, Tom Boger for that or Colleen Novielli, head oof iMac Product Marketing, for something similar on the iMac Pro side. Since those Xeon's are still the same as they were when Apple announced it back during WWDC 2017.
Roll it into a single "We're also updating some of our favorite Macs" slide or two if they have to, just keep that stuff regular.
And, yeah, a redesigned iMac would be terrific as well. It's been a 5K minute since the last one. But Apple sells far more portables than desktops, so I'm thinking they'll let those take the lead on leaps. Even though, now that there's a new Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR coming this year, that iMac Pro is going to have to stay on its toes… and maybe even up its own display game.
Speaking of which, some final details on the Mac Pro, including how much those damn wheels cost… thanks Joz… would make the kind of sense that does. And so would exact availability.
Then, back to Tim.
New MacBook Pro
Is it One More Thing worthy? I don't know. But I know that I want it. The butterfly keyboards have been the most divisive thing to happen to the MacBook line in general, and the Pros in particular since… well, ever. And the failure rates have been one of their biggest failures.
So, what I want to see, is that new scissor switch keyboard. Rumor has it Apple's been working on it for a while, and hopefully give the Pro Workflows team full time and furious feedback on it to make sure it really stands up to pro usage. That alone would be a huge upgrade… regrade… fixgrade…? But rumor also has it Apple is going to continue their war on bezels by taking the 15-inch display all the way to 16-inches, and in roughly the same package size.
There could be other stuff thrown in as well. I for one would capitol L love Face ID on the Mac. But just fixing the keyboard and escalating the display would make it the upgrade pretty much everyone has been waiting for.
And if the Air gets the new keyboard too, so much the better.
Any more things…?
Apple TV+ is still coming up, so there's always the chance we'll hear more about that, and possibly more about the expansion of Apple's other services. An updated Apple TV with an A12X that could slay composited 4K HDR would be awesome. So would an Apple TV stick we could take with us. HomePod, HomePod mini, HomePod Theater, and all that would also be grand. But, I'm only going to expect all that when I see it.
Last year we had Angela Ahrendts up, in between Mac and iPad, talking about Today at Apple, so this year we could get an update from Deidre O'Brien, including highlights from the 5th Ave. Apple Store grand re-opening. Or, since Lisa Jackson didn't make an appearance back in September, we could get an update on environment this October. Maybe Susan Prescott if there are any big iWork or Education announcements to fold in.
And, while it still feels way too early for glasses, there are also rumors of over-the-ear AirPods — AirCans? — that have yet to see the light of… stage light.
Some, none, or all of that could make an appearance before Tim comes out one last time to wrap everything up with a big...
Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.
The only thing that matters is the 2019 Mac Pro. Everything else is just minor iteration on consumer-facing goods. Even the 16 inch Macbook Pro (and I would have loved to see a full-on 17 inch Macbook Pro, with a 99.5 Whr battery), and a new keyboard (and I admit, the butterfly keyboard negatively impacts a lot of people), pales in consideration to the new Mac Pro, the first reasonable desktop machine Apple has made since 2012. It's a device that finally pays homage to Apple's roots with the Apple II (a modular machine with card slots), and the personal computer revolution itself. Just ONE SKU that reflects this ethos and reality, and I'm grateful that Apple has finally relented and is seeing the wisdom in having this one device that meets that need. There's an awful lot of coverage for all the shiny overpriced, appliance-gadgets (and don't get me wrong, I love my iPad Pro and, to a lesser extent, my iPhone 11 Pro Max, and even my 3 HomePods), but....you know....I've set aside enough money to buy 4 Macbook Pro's, a couple of iPhone Pro 11 Max's, and maybe a few iPad Pro's, some AirPods, and ..etc. I've been waiting a LONG time for this device. I sold my two 12-core 2013 Mac Pro's to raise cash for this. I've spent hours poring over tonymax86 (site) deciding if I want to take the plunge and build a Hackintosh (decided against, for the record). I read Macworld and iMore and Macrumors, and AppleInsider every single day, and do Google searches hoping to hear word of the release of the 2019 Mac Pro, and here is this article about some possible October Apple event, and possible Macs, and there is ONE sentence about the possibility of the Mac Pro. I know, clicks, and views, and advertising revenue, and the eyeballs of the person who buys a 16 inch Macbook Pro or worth as much as my eyeballs, but....jeez....let me up, OK? A little more coverage, OK? If there's nothing to say, because Apple is silent, I mean that doesn't stop the opining about the MBP 16 inch or the colors of the new iPhone, or whether it'll have a camera bump or it's shape be more of a parallelpiped like the iPhone 4, and..... Since June, there's been pretty much crickets about this product in the press. Yeah, it's priced out of reach for most people, and it's neither pretty nor light nor thin, but, c'mon, priorities. It's time, finally for Apple, and the Apple press, to throw us (the audience for the Mac Pro), a bone.
I'm ready for a refresh of my development device at work so I'm excited to see a new MacBook Pro. A 16-inch screen would be fantastic. Considering the iPad Pro, however, I have an unpopular opinion. I do not want any cameras. I've had six iPads (including 12.9 and 11 inch Pro models) and have never used the camera in any of them. This is money that I'm spending that provides me no benefit.
The iPad is designed for everyone, I'm surprised the amount of people I see taking pictures on the iPad, it looks awkward, but people do it. Also I assume you mean back cameras, as loads of people use FaceTime on the iPad
The Pro systems need: Ports! Cooling! & Power! Ports onboard forget the dongles or hubs! Onboard USB-A, Ethernet & SD. Working pro's workflows don't have time to waste fighting with dongles. Cooling - Get more of what the i9 can offer the current CPUs are still thermally throttled! Until Intel offers cooler running CPU's better cooling is needed. Power - Anyone doing rendering vids can runout the battery & power adapters ability to supply the needed power. Need dual power adapter support! We also need a USB-C MagSafe plug which is flush with the case with a charging LED. Such a simple thing that makes working and diagnosing charger issues easier.
get over the ports... they are so ugly. My work PC sits here with all those ports and they are only used seldomly. The dongles are a good trade off. My MacBook Pro is connected to a number of items via a port and one cable to a hub that is hidden. On that hub, I have drives, keyboard/mouse, ethernet, and other items... To think I would have all those ports and all those cables hanging off my MacBook Pro laying across my desk in a tangled mess! Please keep the dongles as they are a small price to pay.
Agreed, USB-C is the way forward. Dongles are only a temporary measure anyway, the more devices with USB-C there are, the more peripherals will use USB-C
I think much more could much be happening with the U1 chip. If Ultra Wideband really has "precise location" information available, then it can do a heck of a lot more than directed airdropping (and, presumably, Tile-like tracking). Imagine U1 disks providing precise tracking for hands and feet. This could have immediate utility for both business and gaming VR apps. Trainers could use this for remote monitoring of athletes and for tracking patients performing motion-related "homework". If there were all driven by the same disks that would perform Tile-like function, then the development could go under the radar. It could be a huge expansion of Apple's health/fitness initiative. Do you have connections to track what this part of the industry is doing? Jason's SixColors article ( https://sixcolors.com/post/2019/09/the-u1-chip-in-the-iphone-11-is-the-b... ) is the only thing I've seen with a taste of what's possible.
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