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October 24, 2018

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

by John_A

If you weren’t satisfied with three iPhones and a new Apple Watch this year, Apple announced it’s hosting another hardware event on October 30th, sending out invites to a number of media outlets (including yours truly). For those not keeping score, this is Apple’s fourth event this year, following the iPad event in May, June’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

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 The design looks outdated for a 2018 laptop, the fifth-generation i5 is old, and the display is not great.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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MacBook Air 2018 news

iPad Pro 2018

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 Pro 2018 news

Mac Mini

The Mac Mini is another 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 due an update.

An updated Mac Mini would see a big specs bump to an eight-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.

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Mac Mini news

AirPods 2

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 cancelling and water resistance seem to be at the top of the list. Being able to summon Siri with a hotword 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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AirPods 2 news


AFP Contributor/Getty Images

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.

Unfortunately it seems that AirPower may have been a little too much, even for Apple. Mention of the AirPower charger has disappeared from Apple’s website, and rumors say that heat management was an enormous issue with the mat, as were communication issues with devices.

It’s entirely possible that this project is completely dead for the time being, so don’t hold out much hope that we’ll be seeing it at the October 30 event. Might it get an update? Maybe, but Apple will probably prefer to ignore that AirPower ever existed. Don’t bet on this appearing on stage.

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AirPower news

Editors’ Recommendations

  • What to expect from Apple’s September 12 ‘Gather Round’ event
  • Is Apple planning an all-Mac keynote later this fall?
  • Refreshed MacBook Air and iPad Pro are absent from Apple’s website leak
  • Apple could announce a new MacBook this week. Here’s what we want to see
  • Here’s everything we know about Apple’s AirPower wireless charging mat

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