Thinner, lighter, faster.
Those are the three words to remember Tuesday as Apple holds its second media event in more than a month, this time to presumably introduce the newest lineup of iPad computer tablets.
It is expected that the Cupertino, Calif., company will take the wraps off of the fifth generation of its popular 9.7-inch iPad model in a media presentation scheduled for 11 a.m. in San Francisco. This time, the tablet is rumored to sport a thinner and lighter form factor and a faster processor.
This event comes after a Sept. 10 presentation in which Apple introduced the new iPhone 5S smartphone, which has a fingerprint sensor. But reaction from that event was tepid at best from company fans and followers because Apple CEO Tim Cook didn’t announce any more new products. Usually, when Apple introduces the new iPhone in the fall, it also comes with a new line of iPods and other product upgrades. But none of that followed the iPhone 5S’ introduction save for a new color for the iPod nano and touch. The music players didn’t get a bump up in specifications.
So all eyes are on the presentation today to bring back some of the excitement that dissipated from the September event.
Here’s a breakdown of what could be some of the major announcements coming out of the media unveiling.
iPad • There will be new 9.7-inch iPads, the computer tablet that ignited the whole trend in mobile tablet computing. Leaked pictures have shown that the revision will come in a new case that is slightly smaller than before and lighter. It also will have slightly squared edges similar to the iPad mini’s design instead of the current iPad’s tapered look. The size of the LCD screen will remain the same, which means the bezel around the screen will be thinner.
The new iPad also should get the new A7 processor similar to the one in the iPhone 5S. It also could get a new 8-megapixel rear-facing camera. Storage sizes will remain the same, ranging from 16 to 128 gigabytes, all for the same price as the models today.
iPad mini • The biggest question is if the smaller brethren to the iPad, the 7.9-inch iPad mini, will be ready for today’s event.
The goal for Apple’s engineers has been to include the higher-resolution Retina Display in the iPad mini, but there have been rumors that they have had difficulty including it without it taking a hit to the battery life.
But there’s a lot of pressure on Apple to bump up the mini’s resolution since other 7-inch tablets like the Google Nexus 7 and Amazon’s Kindle Fire HDX already have high-res screens.
If Apple does make it, the screen resolution should jump from 1,024 by 768 pixels to 2,048 by 1,536 pixels, quadrupling the resolution. It also could mean that the iPad mini might be thicker than before to accommodate a bigger battery. If Apple introduces a new iPad mini without a Retina Display, expect a lot of disappointed fans.
OSX • Mac desktop users have been waiting a long time for the latest version of the computer’s operating system, which this time is nicknamed “Mavericks.” Expect Apple to finally announce a release date.
The new OS will include desktop versions of Apple Maps, notifications and iBooks and will have improved performance with the Safari web browser. It also will have a redesigned Calendar app and a feature called iCloud Keychain that will store and encrypt all of your passwords.
MacBook Pro • One of the biggest disappointments from the media event last month was that Apple didn’t introduce a revised line of its higher-end laptops, the MacBook Pro.
So it would be an ever bigger disappointment if the company doesn’t unveil them today. That’s because everyone has been waiting for the Pro line to get the new Intel processor called “Haswell” that went into the MacBook Air laptops last summer. The advantage of the new processor is lower power consumption, so it will dramatically increase battery life. On the MacBook Air, the battery life jumped from seven to 12 hours with the new processor and other tweaks, so imagine what it could do for the MacBook Pro.
Mac Pro • Professionals such as graphics artists and video editors have been waiting even longer for the next upgrade to Apple’s high-end desktop computer. Last summer, Cook announced that the new cylindrical Mac Pros would be coming out soon, but he didn’t mention a release date or price. Finally, we should hear about both today.
The rest • It’s been a year since the last upgrade to the Apple Mini desktop computer and about a year-and-a-half since the Apple TV set top box was revised, so they both are definitely due. But so far there have been no rumors that these will get updated. It’s also been two years since Apple has introduced new desktop displays. Could the company introduce ultra-high resolution 4K displays this time?
Finally, this wouldn’t be an Apple rumor-mill story without mentioning the remote possibility that we might see an Apple iWatch or iTV television set. Not likely to happen Tuesday, but one can dream.