Fall is one of the best seasons to buy a new gadget and with this year’s barrage of exciting announcements from virtually every tech giant, it’s truly a great time to be a tech fan.
And why not — the new iPhones are out, Amazon just unleashed their army of Alexa gadgets, Microsoft’s new premium Surface tablets are shipping and Google’s new line of Pixel phones and Google Home products are on their way to wow us.
Heck, even Facebook is joining the hardware fun with its own Portal smart speaker/virtual assistant.
Notice something missing? Yep, new iPads, specifically new iPad Pros. Well, something’s brewing in Apple land and press invites have gone out for an upcoming event on October 31 to be held in Brooklyn, New York.
Everything’s pointing to more shiny new gadgets so if you’re eyeing to get a new iPad or Mac in the next week or so, you may want to pause a while and wait for what Apple has up its sleeve.
New iPad Pro with Face ID
Here’s one gadget that’s likely to get a major update come October 31 — the iPad Pro.
Credible leaks are saying that the iPad Pro will follow the latest iPhone design trend and it will get significantly thinner bezels. This edge-to-edge design is now accepted as the future of iOS gadgets so it’s a given that it will eventually make it to the iPad Pro line.
Would a bezel-less iPad be better? Not necessarily. Unlike smartphones, bezels have more practical use in tablets because they can act as grip areas, making them easier to hold. The best compromise then would be slimmer bezels but not a completely edge-to-edge screen.
Another iPhone X design that will likely make it to the next iPad Pro is the absence of the physical Home button. Without the Home button nor Touch ID, Apple will likely introduce Face ID to the next iPad Pro. However, will Face ID work seamlessly with an iPad? Reports are saying that Apple has figured out a way to make Face ID work in both portrait and landscape modes so that’s something worth waiting for.
How about the processor? A very reliable report from Guilherme Rambo at 9to5Mac stated that the new iPad Pros will get the new A12X Bionic chip, an even more powerful processor than the current iPhones’ A12 chip. This chip is also said to sport an upgraded image processor and GPU for even better graphics performance than the iPhone XS, XS Max or XR.
Another big change we might see is the switch from the Lightning connector to a USB-C port for charging and other functions like 4K video output to external monitors.
But there’s an upgrade we shouldn’t expect — an OLED screen. Due to technical limitations, Apple is probably going to stick with LCD screens on the new iPad Pros. Since there are no 120Hz OLED panels (that we know of yet), Apple is likely outfitting the new iPad Pros with LCD screens to keep their higher display frame rates.
As usual, we could see price drops to the older iPad Pros, and hopefully, the regular iPad gets a price cut, too. $299 for an iPad sounds like the sweet spot, don’t you think?
New Mac Mini
The Mac Mini has not been updated since 2014, so it’s definitely due for a makeover. It might finally get one.
Trusted Apple analysts Ming-Chi Kuo and Mark Gurman have both suggested that a new Mac Mini will be unveiled later this year. A processor upgrade is a given but Gurman also hinted that the Mac Mini may get the “Pro” treatment and get higher storage and processor options.
If this year’s Mac Mini retains its affordable price point, it should be a great option for people who want to upgrade their personal media servers.
New entry-level MacBook?
The MacBook Pro had its processor and memory upticks last July, but they were mostly ho-hum improvements that didn’t warrant an upgrade for owners of last year’s model. However, another Apple gadget that desperately needs a refresh is the MacBook Air.
Except for a slight processor upgrade in 2017, this entry-level MacBook line hasn’t been updated for years and casual users who want a simpler and cheaper alternative to the MacBook Pro have been waiting for a long time.
Is 2018 the year of the major entry-level MacBook revamp? According to Kuo, it could very well be.
In fact, Apple may even drop the MacBook Air line in favor of a new budget-priced laptop that will simply be called the MacBook. Similar to the MacBook Pro, this new entry-level MacBook may be dropping all existing ports (SD Card slot, USB 3, Thunderbolt, MagSafe 2) in favor of a single USB-C port.
Touch ID may also be incorporated with the power button and unlike the MacBook Air, the 13-inch version will finally sport a Retina Display. Another improvement we might see in the new MacBook Air is a Force Touch trackpad (a feature already in the current MacBook Pro).
Wireless charger for all your Apple gadgets
Another Apple product we’re excited about is the AirPower, a charging mat that can wirelessly juice up your iPhone, Apple Watch and AirPods simultaneously.
Although Apple announced the AirPower together with the iPhone 8 and iPhone X last year, there’s no pricing nor release date yet. The October event may just be the venue where Apple finally releases it.
Ming-Chi Kuo also hinted that an upgraded version of the AirPods will be released in the second half of 2018.
There aren’t any substantial details about the upgrades, but Kuo wrote that the second-gen AirPods will include a “smaller quartz component” and they will be compatible with a new AirPower charging mat. We’re also hoping that Apple will have solved its AirPod production problems by this time.
High-end Mac Pro
Another Apple product that’s due for an update is the Mac Pro line. Apple said last year that it is working on an expandable and modular Mac Pro. With the non-upgradeable iMac Pro in the mix, professionals will definitely appreciate the return of a user-customizable Apple desktop.
There are no details about the next Mac Pro and it’s unlikely that it will make it to Apple’s October event lineup of new products. But given Apple’s penchant for surprises, we never really know for sure.