Apple’s California streaming event – where the company unveiled the iPhone 13 lineup, a revamped iPad Mini, and the Apple Watch Series 7 earlier this month – was full of surprises. But we were also surprised by what was completely missing from the show.
Rumored products like the AirPods 3 and the new MacBook Pros never hit the market. The good news? We probably won’t have to wait long for them to take the stage. It is widely expected that Apple will plan another show as early as October. If you’re itching to find out what might be revealed, you’re in luck because we’ve rounded up everything we expect from Apple’s next showstopper.
This event has not yet been officially announced, but we can make some guesses about the date based on guesswork and some recent reports.
Reports from leakers Jon Prosser and Mark Gurman both claimed Apple was planning two September events, one focused on the iPhone 13 and one on the M1X MacBook Pro. This always seemed unlikely and in fact did not happen.
That is, our attention is now turned to October. An event here would allow more space between events and also match the timeframe that Apple has traditionally followed. Apple loves hosting events in October and has done so seven times in the past decade. Most (but not all) of these shows took place in mid to late October. Gurman reported in mid-September that the M1X MacBook Pros would hit the market in “several” weeks and pointed to an October event.
Any Tuesday in October is possible, but based on previous years we would consider October 19 or 26 as the most likely candidates for the next Apple event.
We’ve known for a long time that Apple will radically update its MacBook Pro lineup this year. With the company’s penchant for Mac events in October, the time seems almost to be right.
So what can we expect? Well, according to numerous reputable sources, Apple is planning a major redesign of the MacBook Pro 13 that will shrink its bezels and expand its screen to turn it into a 14-inch model. This display will feature the same mini-LED technology that graces the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, which greatly improves brightness and contrast. The Touch Bar is also expected to be phased out for the first time since 2016.
Elsewhere, the chassis will be redesigned to a flat-edged design and there will be a lot more connectivity options (including the return of the popular MagSafe, plus HDMI and an SD card slot). New chips are also expected, most likely the M1X, which will offer vastly improved graphics performance. All these changes are also expected for the MacBook Pro 16, which for the first time receives an Apple silicon chip – the M1X chip with additional GPU cores.
In October we expect not only mobile MacBooks, but also the Mac Mini will be updated. At the moment there is only one chip option made by Apple for Apple’s small computer (the Apple M1). This year, a high-end edition with the new M1X chip will replace the Intel models that Apple is still selling.
There have also been other rumors of an updated Mac Mini with a new design that includes more Thunderbolt ports, a MagSafe power connector, and a “plexiglass-like top”.
It’s only been a year since the M1 Mac Mini was launched, but we expect Apple to keep selling this cheaper model while offering this “Mac Mini Pro” model to creative professionals.
We were sure AirPods 3 would appear on Apple’s California streaming show, as were a number of high-profile reporters, analysts, and leakers. But for one reason or another that didn’t happen. Nonetheless, given the widespread rumors surrounding this product and the highly skilled people they came from, we would still expect to see them sometime this year.
What is then in the cards for the AirPods 3? Rumors have been circulating for months that Apple is planning to bring them closer to the AirPods Pro in terms of appearance. That means much shorter stems that make the overall product leaner and more compact. You won’t get the silicone tips from the AirPods Pro, however, likely because these are the key to active noise cancellation on the AirPods Pro, and Apple likely wants to keep this as an exclusively high-end feature.
Apple’s mixed reality headset is one of the world’s worst kept secrets. Numerous analysts and outlets have reported on the headset, including its features, design, and more. We now know that it should combine augmented and virtual reality, offer 8K panels for every eye and weigh much less than competing products. All we’re waiting for now is a release date.
In March 2021, Gurman claimed Apple plans to showcase the headset “within the next few months” at a personal event, followed by a launch in 2022. That has waved tongues that the device will be discontinued for a reveal sometime in 2021 could.
But that now seems very unlikely. Given that Apple is not showing any signs of slowing down in its online-only events (California streaming, for example, was completely virtual), an in-person event in 2021 seems a long way off. We don’t doubt Apple will want to showcase and explain its new toy at an offline event for people to try, but given the current state of the world, we doubt the company is ready for it right now.
However, other reports coincide with the start date of 2022. It’s possible Apple will hold a personal show in early 2022 and launch the headset later in the year. Or the release date could have been postponed to 2023. Regardless, it seems certain that we’ll see a completely virtual October show – and thus not the place for Apple’s mixed reality headset.
There are many other Apple products in the pipeline that have been heavily rumored but probably won’t be ready in time for the next Apple event. That said, we’re going to cover them briefly so you know what to expect if one of them gets a surprise on the show.
First up is the MacBook Air. In 2020, Apple launched the latest version of its lightweight laptop at the same time as the MacBook Pro. This year, however, things should go a little differently. According to leaker Jon Prosser, the next MacBook Air will have a redesigned case and come in a range of bright, fun colors, just like the 24-inch iMac. However, don’t expect it to happen until spring 2022 at the earliest. In fact, respected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes it might not arrive until the third quarter of 2022.
Another product that could appear in the spring of 2022 is a high-end iMac. Apple updated the smaller model with the release of the 24-inch iMac in April 2021, but the 27-inch version remains unchanged. Expect it to get the same redesign as its younger brother, along with a new Apple Silicon chip.
Even at the Pro end of the spectrum, Apple is said to have a new Mac Pro – and an additional half-size Mac Pro – in the works. However, it’s coming next year so Apple can focus on the MacBook Pro in late 2021.
After all, the AirPods Pro are due for a revision in 2022. They haven’t been touched since they were launched in 2019, and it’s said Apple wants to completely eliminate the strain with its new version.
As I said, we don’t expect any of these devices to be at Apple’s next event in October. But given the many surprises that came out of the California streaming show, Apple may have something unexpected up its sleeve for its next show.
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