This week, tech analysts and bloggers were sent invitations
featuring a splash of pastels and a vaguely cryptic caption in
Helvetica Neue. That can only mean one thing:
) is gearing up for another event.
Taking place next Tuesday, October 22, in San Francisco, the news
event is expected to put Apple's iPad line center stage with
upgrades that hopefully add some distinction to its standard and
mini models in an overcrowded tablet market.
Like in the smartphone arena before it,
) tablets have overtaken iOS devices in terms of market share,
although the iPad and iPad mini remain the most popular models
) Surface tablets unlikely to pose a threat and
) looking for new ways to make inroads with Kindle, Apple still has
to keep adding bells and whistles so as not to be completely buried
by less expensive options.
But heading into next week, what can consumers expect to see from
Cupertino this time around
Almost certainly, the iPad and iPad mini will see a boost in
processing speed. Judging from previous events, the standard iPad
will most likely receive a revamped version of the A7 chip
currently found in the iPhone 5S. The iPad mini, however, might
skip a generation and replace last year's sorely outdated A5 chip
-- which powered the iPad 2 and fifth-generation iPod touch -- with
the same A7 chip found in the iPhone 5S. The reason for that is a
much-welcomed display upgrade.
The iPad mini is expected to join its iPhone and larger iPad
brethren and sport a high-resolution Retina Display packed into its
7.9 inches, giving it a greater pixel density than the larger iPad.
But with great resolution comes greater power, so analysts suspect
the iPad mini will be slightly thicker to make room for a larger
But the fifth-generation iPad is expected to undergo a more
substantial redesign. Using smart technology to detect when a user
is actually interacting with the screen rather than just holding
it, Apple will be able to narrow the bezel on either side of the
screen when held in portrait mode. Reflecting the evidence seen in
leaks this year, the size and weight of the new iPad will be
reduced while retaining its current screen size.
Folks who enjoy awkwardly taking photos with a giant tablet won't
be left out in the cold either: The 5-megapixel camera found in the
current iPad is likely to see an upgrade to an 8-megapixel sensor.
And consumers might soon be able to buy their iPad in gray, white,
or silver; the flashy gold color is still up in the air.
Also unclear is whether the new generation of iPads will sport the
Touch ID button that made headlines when the iPhone 5S was
introduced. Considering Apple just debuted the technology in its
smartphone line, it may want to hold off on diving into the
fingerprint-sensing waters for its tablets just yet.
And what about that caption on the invitation itself? Cupertino
claims it "still [has] a lot to cover." Many in the tech world are
taking the hint literally and suspect that could mean a new
magnetic iPad cover with a possible keyboard option. However, no
one is sure if they would retain the look of existing iPad keyboard
accessories or be remodeled to resemble the snapping keyboard of
the ill-fated Microsoft Surface. But taking the caption to the
limits of plausibility, perhaps the most farfetched and yet
entirely possible rumor is that Apple will release a 12-inch
MacBook with a touchscreen and detachable keyboard "cover,"
rendering it an "iPad convertible" of sorts.
Apple's tablets won't be the only products getting upgrades. Back
in June when Apple
touted the redesign to iOS 7
, the company granted a peek at the new Dyson-inspired Mac Pro
desktop computer. The company hinted at a fall release, so it's
entirely possible we'll see if the device can do more than just
suck up dust bunnies or grind coffee at next week's event.
And speaking of curious choices, the terribly named OS X 10.9
Mavericks will likely have a demonstration and potentially see a
consumer upgrade for $19.99 -- the same price as last year's 10.8
Mountain Lion -- on the same day.
Other than that, some analysts suspect Apple might show off some
speedier MacBook Pros, which are certainly due for an upgrade. And
while an HDTV or iWatch aren't likely to make an appearance,
there's a chance a revamped Apple TV could be given a cameo; it may
even try to steal the spotlight from the well-received Chromecast
and the new Roku boxes unveiled earlier this year.
Although the event doesn't garner nearly as much press as Apple's
iPhone debuts, next week will certainly pique the interest of those
who want another glossy screen around the house.
Apple Inc. Whips iPhone Users With Their Own
For Samsung, All Roads Lead Away From Android
Apple's Flagship iPhone 5S Outsells Cheaper
Sibling Two to One