Apple sent out invites Tuesday to its much-anticipated October product launch event. The tagline is “Unleashed,” and the streaming event almost certainly will bring the debut of redesigned MacBooks and perhaps an iMac running an updated Apple processor.
Cupertino could squeeze some other new products onto the agenda as well. The event is scheduled for October 18 at 10 a.m. Pacific time. Here’s what to expect.
‘Unleashed’ Apple event on October 18
The invitation is short and to the point: “Please join us for a special Apple Event broadcasting from Apple Park.”
With the COVID-19 pandemic still going on, this will not be an in-person presentation of new products. The Apple October event will instead be a virtual one that takes place entirely online … as has been true of every Apple event since early 2020.
The shindig is listed on Apple’s website but Cupertino didn’t give an agenda, of course. Still, leaks and rumors say there’ll be multiple new Macs running an updated Apple processor.
All about the Apple M1X processor?
Moving Apple computers away from Intel processors is an ongoing process, with the first M1-powered Macs landing last November. The next step involves Apple’s second-generation chip. It’s supposedly an improved version of the original, likely dubbed the M1X.
The 10-core processor will pack eight high-performance cores and two energy-efficient ones, according to published reports. For comparison, the original M1 features four high-performance cores and four energy-efficient ones. The M1X allegedly will sport either 16 or 32 graphics cores, depending on configuration. That’s up from eight graphics cores in the M1.
The M1 Macs blew everyone away with their killer combo of power and efficiency. These enhancements should bring considerable performance gains for regular tasks as well as graphics-intensive ones. And that could benefit every Mac at the Apple October event.
Redesigned 16-inch and 14-inch MacBook Pros
Even if they didn’t come with a faster processor, there’s still plenty of anticipation for a new round of macOS notebooks, as they’re supposedly getting significant redesigns. That includes the return of a built-in SD card reader and an HDMI port. And a MagSafe charger. But no LED Touch Bar. Plus, these could be the first Macs with mini-LED displays.
Apple supposedly plans two sizes of pro laptops. One will replace the current 16-inch MacBook Pro, while the other will be the first 14-inch MacBook Pro. Supposedly, the size will be the only significant difference between these two.
That gives macOS notebook fans plenty to look forward to until October 18.
A bigger iMac
Earlier in 2021, Apple replaced the 21-inch iMac with a super-slim 24-inch version built around the M1 processor. It’s possible this device will get an upgrade to the M1X.
But the 27-inch iMac is one of the few products left in Apple’s lineup with an Intel chip. A replacement is rumored, with an M1X and a larger display. That said, how much larger remains unknown. It could be 30 inches, could be 32 inches. Whatever the size, it’s likely to borrow much from the 24-inch iMac, like a svelte design and a magnetic power cable attachment.
That said, very few details have leaked out so far. That’s surprising for a computer that is supposedly going to be unveiled in less than a week.
Mac mini speed bump
If Apple does unveil a new chip, it only makes sense to put it into the Mac mini as well. Remember that the 2020 Mac mini was one of the first with an M1 chip.
And that’s not all — there’s rumored to be a redesign that could shrink the device even further. But the M1X Mac mini reportedly will find room for double the number of Thunderbolt ports. And a magnetic power cable attachment like the 24-inch iMac.
Sources point to a launch before the end of 2021. And the Apple October event seems the most likely venue.
AirPods 3 at last
Obviously, AirPods aren’t Macs. But Apple supposedly has AirPods 3 ready to go and these might be on the docket for the October 18 event, too.
The third-gen version is expected to be a mix of AirPods 2 and AirPods Pro, with shorter stems but no silicone tips. And no active noise cancellation. Alternatively, Apple could just announce its upgraded AirPods via a press release sometime this autumn.