What Big Things To Expect From Apple's "Little" Event

iPad Mini

What we think we know: Apple really is poised to show us a new iPad, smaller than its previous siblings. There's been too much leaked data for this to be an elaborate ruse, and Apple's own invite promises a "little" something extra.

It's a smaller device overall, with a smaller 7.85-inch screen and its design is a little closer to the brand-new iPod Touch rather than the full iPad. The scuttlebutt is that it'll come in both Wi-Fi and 3G-capable versions, with black or white fronts and aluminum back shells. As per Apple's new design, it'll have the new Lightning connector instead of the old iPod one.

Since rumors began about the mini, over a year ago, we speculated it'd have a lower price. There's much debate about that now. An early inventory leak for European stocks hinted at a price slightly above $300 as an entry point, but due to differences in tax and currency this may indicate a $299 price for the U.S. One current position points to a minimum $329 price, but according to a different argument build cost estimates may imply a $299 point. Of course, this is Apple here and the mercurial company may surprise us all and offer the mini at a $249 entry point (below the iPod Touch) in order to spur the market.

Our money is on $299, but we're open to other possibilities. It's even plausible that Apple will adjust the iPod Touch's price downward so it doesn't clash, and threaten sales of the mini. Apple did adjust the original iPhone's price downward shortly after its launch, if you remember.

November 2nd is said by TechCrunch to be the on-shelf date for the device.

Refreshed iPad

There have been rumors for some time that Apple would partner the mini with a refreshed iPad 3 at launch, with the full-size tablet being more or less identical to the original early-2012 iPad 3 but sporting a Lightning connector.

Leaked photos and murmurs are reinforcing this rumor right now. We're still a little skeptical, given the proximity of a likely November launch window to the arrival date of 2013's iPad 4. But Apple could easily adjust its launch timing, and the Verizon iPhone 4 arrived around this time of year, not too many months before the iPhone 4S was revealed.

Retina 13-Inch MacBook Pro

Apple's 15-inch retina resolution MacBook Pro shook up the portable computing world, but before its launch it was hinted that Apple also had a 13-inch version in the works. It was suggested that the smaller device had final production-run issues that prevented its debut at the last minute, however. These complications may have involved heat and power. But now it's said Apple's conquered the issues and is going to reveal the 13-inch unit tomorrow alongside the iPad mini.

Coming at a more manageable price than its bigger brother, this computer may be as important to the near future of portable computing as the iPad mini itself would promise to be, thanks to the game-changing nature of a retina display.

New iMacs

Apple's iMacs have lacked attention for some time now, and while many other Apple computers have been updated the circuitry and design of the iMac hasn't changed much.

That's now set to change, according to some commentators, who suggest Apple will reveal new iMacs tomorrow too. They'll borrow heavily on the existing design, but taking a cue from the retina MacBooks and the MacBook Airs they may have a skinnier chassis. This could imply Apple is finally choosing to ditch the DVD superdrive from inside the iMac's case.

Website MacRumors has been aggregating rumors about the Mac Mini and suggests that a refreshed version of Apple's small desktop PC may also happen this month. We know precious little about the devices, however.

iBooks Upgraded to Version 3.0

As TheNextWeb points out, there was recently a little slip-up in the French App Store that mentioned iBooks 3.0. This would represent a major upgrade over the existing 2.0 software, which may imply much more functionality.


Revamping iBooks also plays along with a recent but compelling rumor that Apple will promote the iPad mini as a great device for reading, particularly in terms of school books. This would build on an earlier push by Apple to appeal to the educational market.

iTunes 11

Alongside its new portable devices and computers, Apple is also likely to formally reveal iTunes 11 at its press event. It may slip under most people's radar, but it's possible this news is as important as the hardware releases. That's because for hundreds of millions of people around the world, iTunes is the main computer-based portal for accessing music, movies, apps and so on as well as being the hub for organizing and backing up their iDevices.

iTunes 11 is set to dump a lot of unused heritage functions that have built up over the years, and much like Apple's newest Mountain Lion operating system it'll take many design cues from iOS itself. Hopefully this will make the entire iTunes experience much more relaxing.

UPDATES


iPad 4 FaceTime Camera, LTE. The rumored "new" iPad (which may be called the iPad 4, or the new iPad or...well, it's anyone's guess under Apple's new naming regime) is said to have expanded 4G capabilities, which will please Europeans, and possibly contain an upgraded front-facing camera. Currently the iPad has a VGA-resolution camera good enough for low-res video calling but not much else, so speculation is that the larger camera hole seen on a leaked iPad 4 part may be for a 720p camera, like the iPhone 5's.

Lightning Accessories. Apple's also set to release more Lightning adaptors today, including an SD card reader and digital audio and video connectors. A larger 12W USB charger is also listed in Apple's new inventory and that hints that iPads may now charge more quickly than with the earlier 10W one.

Apple To Stream Event To Apple TVs. Astute Apple TV fans have noticed a new icon has popped up in their devices' menu screen, titled "Apple Events." It's not clear at the time of writing if a stream will also be accessible via the Net.

Price for Retina MacBook? Our own Noah Robischon has, in his rambling among the Intertube's tunnels, discovered what looks like a snippet of data from Apple's Store site that has 13-inch Retina MacBook pricing. From "$1199.00 to $2799.00" is what it seems to say. Is this real? A fragment of data that Google's robots managed to sniff even while the Store is shut? Or is it a leftover confused entry relating to the older MacBook Pros?

[Image: Flickr user James Jordan]

Chat about this news with Kit Eaton on Twitter and Fast Company too.

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2 Comments

  • Cjwilliams2008

    So Many New Tablets This Week -- Another tablet maker has introduced a series of new Android tablets with some impressive features -- one is called the Novo 7 Flame - priced at $189 at a site called TabletSprint - it's a 7 Inch tablet that gives the $249 Nexus 7 & the new $300 Mini iPad a little competition-- the Novo 7 Flame has 16GB, Android 4.1 O/S, a high resolution 1280x800 screen, Micro-SD portable storage, HDMI to view movies and media downloads on a TV in HD, Two Cameras - a 5 MegaPixel camera with AF & Flash, and a 2 MegaPixel Webcam; plus Bluetooth, Ethernet, WiFi and an option for 3G... The tablet is made by Ainol Electronics - an Award Winner of "Best Tablet of the Year" at CNET/Consumer Electronics Show 2012 -- and they also have two new 10-Inch tablets coming out soon with high resolution screens -- one has a Dual Core processor with a 1280x800 screen for $220; and a powerful Quad Core with a 1920x1200 Liquid Crystal display (like Apple's Retina screen) for around $260 -- all great specs/price ratio -- one of the first sites to offer these new models in the U.S. is called TabletSprint --