Being practical about iPad Pro, Mac mini, iMac and other possible Apple launches in Octobe...

Posted:
in General Discussion edited September 2018
We can't even guarantee that there will be another Apple Special Event in October -- yet that hasn't stopped, squashed, or even dented the rumors of how great it will be. AppleInsider looks at the facts behind other October events, and what could still be on the way.

Mockup of an Apple Special Event invitation


It's reasonable to bet that there will be another Apple Special Event in October. You can't be certain, but it's reasonable. What's not reasonable is just how much people are assuming will be in it.

If you're waiting for a radically redesigned iMac, an incredibly powerful Mac mini, cheap MacBooks, plus an early release for the 2019 Mac Pro then, well, you've forgotten all the iPads that we're supposed to be getting too. And new AirPods. Plus, a cheaper HomePod.

Apple is a big company but it can't change so many things at once and, more, it's a very smart company so it simply won't. You've seen how the Series 4 Apple Watch arguably stole the limelight from the new iPhones this month.

Apple won't ever deliberately do that.

Plus, there's the whole logistical issue. The iPhone will command a giant portion of quick shipping from China. In fact, most of the first two weeks of consumer's orders will come direct from the factory.

For logistical reasons alone, it's not reasonable for Apple to have launched new everything in September. Plus, why command the tech press cycle for one month, when you can do it for two?

Instead, this is when, and how, and probably what we can expect to see from Apple in October.

When and How

We're saying it's reasonable to expect Apple will have an October event because there's evidence in the supply chain that new iPads and Macs are on their way. That doesn't mean they'll definitely come in October, though -- and it's far from definite that there'll be a Special Event at all.

Detail from Apple's 2014 October invitation
Detail from Apple's 2014 October invitation


Whatever Apple's bringing out next, it might release them without a presentation or Special Event at all. There could be just a press release one morning, like the company did with the MacBook Pro, and some happy faces at an Apple Store that afternoon.

This time it seems likely to be an event given the volume of whaat we're hearing. But we're cautious because while Apple has had September events for six years, it has only had just over half that many October ones. There wasn't one last year, for instance, nor in 2015.

Apple has been having October events since 2011, though, and from the dates of those we'd expect a 2018 one to be in the fourth week of the month. Apart from 2011's very early October 4 event, none of the rest have been sooner than five weeks and two days after their corresponding September launches. The longest is seven weeks and one day: that was the last such October event in 2016.

That 2011 event throws any statistics out: its main launch was the iPhone 4s with Siri. If we only go from 2012 onwards, though, we can see clearer trends.

Specifically, at those four October events -- 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2016 -- there were three MacBook Pro refreshes. There were two iMacs. Then three iPads plus three iPad minis.

What?

Forget what we believe is coming and definitely forget what we'd like: think instead about what market Apple will be aiming for in October. It's a little late for academia but not too much. And it's bang on target for Christmas buyers.

Detail from Apple's 2016 October invitation
Detail from Apple's 2016 October invitation


Revamped, revised iPads with thinner bezels and FaceID are the things that are going to sell in the highest numbers this Christmas.

Mind you, Apple has a poor track record for actually delivering on Christmas demand. The AirPods, the HomePod and the AirPower were all due out in time for a Christmas rush and failed to appear in time.

Cheap MacBooks

Apple has just conned us all into regarding a $749 iPhone as the cheap one: this company does not do inexpensive. What it might do, though, is a little less pricey.

Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who got September's iPhone details right, believes there will be a revamped MacBook Air line.

What's not at all clear is what the revamp might be. Except that the MacBook Air is currently the cheapest Mac notebook and its replacement is expected to keep to that price or lower.

Audio

AirPower could still make an appearance -- nothing's impossible -- but it seems unlikely. That's one we'd expect to see launched with a quiet, even apologetic, press release and certainly not a "One More Thing" fanfare. Or, Apple will ship about six of them on December 31, like it did the 6,1 Mac Pro and declare victory.

AirPower charging mat with iPhone, Watch and AirPods case


Similarly, there is another product that Apple promised which we haven't seen yet -- a revamped AirPod charging case. The only new feature of this, that Apple has told us about, is its ability to charge wirelessly on the AirPower pad. No AirPower, no AirPod charging case. Then if we don't get that new chase then it might be reasonable to expect that we won't see revamped AirPods at all.

However, this is surely the most-Christmas-enabled Apple product. The company's had two years to get its AirPod manufacturing working at full speed so maybe this is its time.

Plus there have been reports of increased audio quality or perhaps health features such as a heart rate monitor.

Maybe those reports were really misdirected and referred to the new health options of the Apple Watch but Apple does definitely have a thing now for remarkable health features. And things you stick in your ear seem ripe for exploiting biometric information for us.

And, after missing the 2017 holiday sales period, this will be the HomePod's first Christmas. It doesn't seem that likely that a new model will be released before then, rumors or no.

iMac 4K and iMac 5K

Again, this is about what's likely and not so likely at a possible Special Event in October. It's not about what what will ever come from Apple. We haven't heard a lot about a new iMac, but Kuo believes the iMac is about to get a "significant display-performance upgrade."

Apple's current iMac lineup


Some are taking this to mean that the iMac will lose its distinctive chin and go edge-to-edge display. That would be very nice, thank you, but it would also make the regular iMac significantly better than the iMac Pro in at least that one way.

It seems unlikely that Apple would undermine the iMac Pro design at the same time it's using that to plug a gap before the Mac Pro launches next year.

So we're expecting that the iMac display-performance update will be that the screen is improved to a 120Hz refresh rate.

That would definitely be welcome but even Apple would struggle to stretch that into a Keynote presentation. As big a change as it could be, it's something that feels likely to be treated as a spec bump and so get only a press release launch.

Mac mini

The Mac mini is a small machine with a big history and is surely one of the very most significant Apple products ever made -- but try telling that to the iPad-buying audience.

These Special Events are meant to be showcases of what Apple wants to sell the most of. We're going to get an October event, but it will be about the iPad and maybe nothing else.

You know this, really. Every Apple event now goes through the same cycle. Whether it's a March education event, a WWDC, a September or now also the October events, everyone predicts so much except the one thing you can be sure of.

Which is that in the lead up to the event, there will be rumors of every single possible Apple product under the sun. Some of it will be substantiated by AppleInsider-style reporting on supply chain evidence but most will be wishful thinking.

There's nothing wrong with that. Except that it means inevitably -- inevitably -- Apple's event is a let down. This is the peak moment for Apple-is-doomed reporting, too, as what it did release is rubbished by some quarters and others decry the company for not releasing what it never said it would.

Detail from Apple's 2013 October invitation
Detail from Apple's 2013 October invitation


Remarkably quickly, though, this all turns into how no, it's actually Apple's next event that is going to have every possible product under the sun.

None of us have actually received the new devices we ordered after the September Special Event. Let's enjoy those when we get them. And let's look to what we need now, what Apple makes now.

Although we possibly won't buy an iMac for about seven weeks and one day yet.




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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 22
    ... I keep asking about an iPad mini with Apple Pencil support...
    netmage
  • Reply 2 of 22
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,894administrator
    ... I keep asking about an iPad mini with Apple Pencil support...
    I suspect this is going to be a long, long wait.
    ronnMetriacanthosauruswatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 22
    xgmanxgman Posts: 152member
    I'm probably completely wrong, but I wonder if the whole modular mac thing might extend from the mini "pro" rumor, right on up to the actual mac pro? In place of a real mac pro line.  Well in any case I think most people make too much out of the idea that the imac pro shouldn't be shown up by a better imac case.  Seems to me if there is a new case it could fit both, plus if you want an imac pro, it isn't to pay $5k+ for the color but rather to get server style hardware for whatever pro purpose suits you.
    edited September 2018
  • Reply 4 of 22
    I'd been following AI's line of thought on the iMac bezels. However, it could lose bezels and retain a clear consumer branding; the Pro needs that extra space for its savory guts. How they would pull that off would be interesting, but, they're the geniuses. I'm just a man.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 22
    Quashed.  Not squashed.

    You guys seriously need to hire an editor. I comment about spelling and grammar mistakes in your stories. You just delete my comments and leave the mistake there. What gives? Do you care at all about poor quality writing in your stories?

    Standing by to see this comment get deleted in 3... 2.... 1.....




    edited September 2018 hubbaxwilliamlondon
  • Reply 6 of 22
    Does any else think Face ID on an iPad is just so not needed (ie will convince nobody to upgrade for that feature alone)

    Will probably happen though , just because. Probably a similar upgrade like from X level to XS  too just in iPad form. Nothing major.

    ie lack luster. Evolution, not revolution. 
    Let's hope for price stability though on the iPad line. Some new colours too ? 

    I forecast the mini (like the SE) is gonna be put out of its misery and killed off for good. A shame, but it's presence is making Apple a laughing stock.

    The iMac.... No fantastical redesign, just a few tweaks to faster cpu, gpu etc. Don't expect a new form factor till after the mac pro in 2019. For many, this will be enough. Still 8GB starting ram for premium pricing... sigh.

    MacBook (to replace and kill off  the air) will arrive though,  but be more expensive than people want (as usual) but nice specs. People will complain about the keyboard...

    Mac line up is gonna be simplified.. air and mini are dead.

    Really wouldn't surprise me if we saw some kind of cross over branding soon happen to the Mac.

    MacBook X anyone? 

    Expect 50% of the above to just not happen and those products will languish till Feb 2019 as is. Sigh.

    None of the above is what I want of course! 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 22
    MacMini, willing it to happen, with support for any two monitors you want to use to it... I am on an old mac mini right now 2014 and waiting for the next... 2018, 4 years on, surely an October event will deliver? Hopefully.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 22
    ... I keep asking about an iPad mini with Apple Pencil support...
    iPad mini? HAHAHAHA! That is a dead product! You're lucky it's still available right now.
    edited September 2018 ronnMetriacanthosauruswatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 22
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,894administrator
    chris.com said:
    Quashed.  Not squashed.

    You guys seriously need to hire an editor. I comment about spelling and grammar mistakes in your stories. You just delete my comments and leave the mistake there. What gives? Do you care at all about poor quality writing in your stories?

    Standing by to see this comment get deleted in 3... 2.... 1.....




    Either quashed or squashed works there. We are aware that they are different words.

    Also, feel free to peruse the commenting guidelines. We welcome input on word choices, and what you feel may be grammatically correct. However, we prefer them in an email.
    edited September 2018 ronnsteveauwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 22
    xgman said:
    I'm probably completely wrong, but I wonder if the whole modular mac thing might extend from the mini "pro" rumor, right on up to the actual mac pro? In place of a real mac pro line.  Well in any case I think most people make too much out of the idea that the imac pro shouldn't be shown up by a better imac case.  Seems to me if there is a new case it could fit both, plus if you want an imac pro, it isn't to pay $5k+ for the color but rather to get server style hardware for whatever pro purpose suits you.
    You mean like the Mac Mini is an OpenCompute Blade and any hardward within a particular Interface or range would be a MacPro? 
  • Reply 11 of 22
    With a 6.5” iPhone, who needs an iPad Mini?! LOL I just installed 12 on my iPad Air 2 and the first thing I noticed was the status bar is rearranged. Preparing the next generation iPad for a notch, perhaps? Hmmmm.... I thought it would only be with us for a year or two, until they figured out how to get the TDCS behind the screen, but that doesn’t seem to be the case now. *sigh* Looks like I’m just gonna have to deal with it. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 22
    joeljrichardsjoeljrichards Posts: 9unconfirmed, member
    I say: iPad Pros, AirPods, and Macbook Airs. The iMac and AirPower may be a silent refresh/release—although I'm increasingly skeptical of AirPower. If it does suddenly start "shipping" I think it will be a *very* limited stock just to say they did it. It would be cool to see a Mac Pro/Mac mini release but I think that will wait for 2019. The market for those products will buy them anytime, the market for the first three products will care about holiday shopping. The big caveat is will the blow-out sales of the iPhone XR impinge on the delivery logistics enough to warrant delaying *everything* until 2019?
  • Reply 13 of 22
    mcdavemcdave Posts: 1,178member
    Unless there’s something to show, they won’t need an event to show it.  I can’t see Cook appearing on stage to show yet another Intel spec bump.

    They could do a whole ‘Pro’ presentation with services & software, iPad Pro & Mac Mini Pro (too early for Mac Pro).  Something about ‘our amazing enclosures’ lasting longer than the internals and announcing an m.2/PCIe5.0 bus with custom GPU card.  However, I’ve lost faith in their A12 GPU as it’s just an extra core showing no CPU or GPU core improvements (team on holiday?)

    I’m just configuring Office365 - there’s definitely a Small Business Server market for Apple.
  • Reply 14 of 22
    macguimacgui Posts: 1,470member
    If there's a new iPad mini I'll grab one. Thinking a phone is the universal replacement for a mini is dumbass.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 15 of 22
    nhtnht Posts: 4,496member
    macgui said:
    If there's a new iPad mini I'll grab one. Thinking a phone is the universal replacement for a mini is dumbass.
    Me too...the plus is a bit small as a iPad mini replacement so I really like the mini size.
  • Reply 16 of 22
    k2kwk2kw Posts: 1,807member
    mcdave said:
    Unless there’s something to show, they won’t need an event to show it.  I can’t see Cook appearing on stage to show yet another Intel spec bump.

    They could do a whole ‘Pro’ presentation with services & software, iPad Pro & Mac Mini Pro (too early for Mac Pro).  Something about ‘our amazing enclosures’ lasting longer than the internals and announcing an m.2/PCIe5.0 bus with custom GPU card.  However, I’ve lost faith in their A12 GPU as it’s just an extra core showing no CPU or GPU core improvements (team on holiday?)

    I’m just configuring Office365 - there’s definitely a Small Business Server market for Apple.
    They just update the iPadPro last year.   I'm not expecting a new one till next year.  The earliest for the MacPro is WWDC 2019.   Hopefully they refresh at least 2 of the 3 of the MacMini, MacBookAir, or MacBook.   I would like AirPower but not at the expense of updating something else.   Its a peripheral. 
  • Reply 17 of 22
    I'm expecting only a minor spec-bump to the existing iPad Pro's this October.  Any significant changes (like smaller bezels, Face ID, etc.) I think are more likely in March 2019. 

    As for an updated Mini, as much as I appreciate and enjoy my Mini 4, I can't see how Apple can fit it in to the existing iPad lineup... specifically price-wise.  The 2018 iPad @ $329 makes it near impossible for them to price an updated Mini that would make it attractive to customers and provide Apple with a profit.  Having said that, I'd love to be wrong about that. :smiley: 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 22
    If Apple made a plan and develop Mac mini correctly then I would say it will be shrink down size of Mac Pro.
    And it called Mini Pro. User able to upgrade RAM(4 slot) and SSD+HDD. Single graphic card.(or intel+amd graphic CPU)
    Most of all they will say it made in USA.

    iPad Mini.. This will be either renew as Mini Pro or will die as iPhone SE. I don't think this will be this year.
    I would say this will be happen on next year WWDC.(6/2019)

    iPhone Xr is cheap compare to SE for hardware spec.
    Apple currently under going China manufacturing cost down and simplify parts in use.
    Think about it.. IPhone X line use all A12, same camera(s and max has additional camera) and face id stuff. All same components.
    Also same logic board. This will cut lots of money to Apple.

    If Apple keep SE then people still complain about it.. People will buy discounted iPhone 7 instead.
    Spending R&D for SE, at this point is waste. Apple still sell 7 & 8 so it people want cheaper iPhone then they can buy that.

    iMac.. This will be interesting. Either no side and bottom bezel and It is time to ditch thin stuff.. Waste space of usage.
    They should design as same thickness through entire monitor like older iMac. cooling will be much easier.
    Who looking at iMac from side anyway. They need redesign iMac PRO as well.$5000 PC with thermal throttling is just failure.
    edited September 2018
  • Reply 19 of 22
    Excellent grounded-in-reality, knowledgeable article, thanks!
    ronn
  • Reply 20 of 22
    macgui said:
    If there's a new iPad mini I'll grab one. Thinking a phone is the universal replacement for a mini is dumbass.
    Not nearly as dumbass as thinking the mini will ever be updated again. 
    macxpresswilliamlondon
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