Tim Cook and friends plan to show off a new wave of product announcements at 10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET on Monday, Oct. 18. This one’s most likely gonna be a little bit leaner and less explosive than the average iPhone announcement stream, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything to watch out for. When Apple does two fall events, the second one tends to be Mac-focused, and that’s what we expect to see this time.
Without wasting any more time, here’s what we think Apple will show off on Monday.
New MacBook Pros
It’s a virtual certainty that Apple will show off new MacBook Pro laptops on Monday. This is what most expect the event to be centered around, actually. Rumors have pointed to a new MacBook Pro launch in October for several weeks, and we’d be shocked if that’s not exactly what happens at the event.
MacRumors has a handy breakdown of what various reports say to expect from the new laptops. The common thinking is that there will be a 14-inch model and a 16-inch model, both of which will offer similar performance in different sizes. The big internal change is said to be the inclusion of a new, more powerful “M1X” chip that builds upon the M1 chip that powered last year’s MacBook Pro. Exactly what kinds of specific performance enhancements come with M1X remains to be seen, but in general, expect a faster and more powerful system this time around.
Other potential changes include 1080p webcams, three Thunderbolt ports for connecting to external monitors and other accessories, and the removal of the touch bar atop the keyboard.
New Mac Mini
Less certain but still pretty likely is the inclusion of a new Mac Mini announcement. Stop us if you’ve heard this before: Last year’s model had the M1 chip inside it and the rumored new model will run on M1X instead.
Aside from whatever performance enhancements come from M1X, the new Mac Mini has a few areas where it could use upgrades from the 2020 release. The M1 model’s USB-C situation was relatively dire, with just two ports. Apple leaker Jon Prosser has claimed the M1X model will bump that up to four ports, to go along with two USB type-A ports, an Ethernet port, and an HDMI port. According to Bloomberg, RAM could also jump up to 64GB on high-end configurations, compared to the 16GB cap on the M1 model.
There’s enough circumstantial evidence and reporting to say that the new Mac Mini is pretty likely to show up on Monday.
macOS 12 Monterey
Last but not least in the “it’d be surprising not to see this” category is some kind of update (most likely a launch date) for macOS 12 Monterey. The follow-up to Big Sur was revealed earlier this year at WWDC, but hasn’t gotten an official release date yet. That said, we know it’s coming this year, and there isn’t that much of this year left… and Monday’s event is expected to be Mac-focused, so you do the math.
As for what Monterey actually brings to the table, it doesn’t look like it’ll make quite as many big changes as Big Sur. There are some really neat-sounding new features, like “Universal Control,” which lets users wirelessly connect multiple Apple devices like an iMac and an iPad together, so they can move the mouse cursor back and forth, drag and drop files between devices, and so on.
Aside from that, Monterey brings a new version of Safari with standard fare from other browsers like tab groups and a new shortcuts feature that lets users group multiple apps together into one-click macros to open up a work setup with little effort. Again, this is is more of an iterative macOS upgrade, but those features still sound pretty handy. Monterey could go hand-in-hand with new MacBook Pros and a Mac Mini.
Unlikely but worth mentioning: New AirPods
Since this is a Mac-focused event, it’s unreasonable to expect anything other than Mac or Mac-adjacent reveals on Monday. However, we need to pay lip service to the fact that we’ve been hearing rumblings about new, redesigned AirPods for almost a year and a half, which did not materialize at the September iPhone event like most of us thought they would.
The new entry-level AirPods are said to look more like AirPods Pro, with silicone ear tips that should hopefully keep out more ambient noise than the open, plastic design of the current model does. Unfortunately, Apple apparently doesn’t plan on building active noise cancelation into the new AirPods, keeping that exclusive to the Pro. Bummer!
It’s worth reiterating that new AirPods are probably not going to be at the Oct. 18 Apple event, but they’re so overdue for a reveal that you should keep them in mind until Apple finally does pull the curtain off of them. As for what we do expect to see, this is probably going to be a Mac event through and through. Sorry, you won’t get two new iPhone events in one season, as exciting as that might be.
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