Apple may have announced new iPhones, watches, and iPads at its September event, but what was missing? Macs, Macs and more Macs. Oh, and the iPad Pro. There’s no way the company will close out the year without touching on those key products.
Though it hasn’t been officially announced yet, here’s what we’re expecting from a hypothetical October 2019 event from Apple.
When will it be?
Apple has held a special event in October almost every year since 2011, with 2015 and 2017 being the only exceptions. The Mac has featured at every one of these events except the 2011 show in some capacity. Combine that with the complete absence of the Mac at Apple’s September event, and it’s a safe bet that if Apple does host an October event this year, the Mac will feature heavily.
Those previous October events have occurred either late in the month or midway through. All have taken place on either a Tuesday or a Thursday. That gives us four probable dates for 2019’s October event: October 22, 24, 29 or 31.
We won’t know the exact date for sure until Apple sends out invitations. It sent these out for its September event just under two weeks before the show’s September 10 date, so it’s possible we could get invitations for the October event as early as around October 10.
16-inch MacBook Pro
Apple’s much-rumored 16-inch MacBook Pro was a big fat no-show at its September event, but that wasn’t too surprising. Apple usually has so much to cram into its September events, with iPhones, iPads and Watches all usually making an appearance, that there isn’t much time for the Mac. That was the case this year.
Still, given the sheer volume of rumors swirling around the 16-inch MacBook Pro, we’d expect it to make an appearance in October. What exactly are we looking out for?
Well, word has it that Apple is going to completely overhaul its 15-inch MacBook Pro, giving it much thinner bezels so that the display can expand to 16 inches diagonally. That’d make it Apple’s largest display on a MacBook Pro since it phased out the 17-inch MacBook Pro in 2012.
It’s also possible that a new scissor-switch keyboard will replace the much-troubled butterfly keyboard in current MacBook Pro models. This will supposedly be a custom design from Apple that comprises several durable layers and light-emitting elements in an attempt to be both long-lasting and thin. At the same time, Apple has also been patenting refinements to the butterfly keyboard, so it’s possible we could just see another iteration of the current design.
Finally, it’s likely the 16-inch MacBook Pro will come with Intel’s 9th-generation Coffee Lake-H Refresh chips. Although Intel has recently launched its 10th-generation processors, they probably won’t get wide availability until 2020, which would be too late for Apple if it’s going to announce the 16-inch MacBook Pro this October.
Although Apple debuted a brand-new 7th-generation iPad at its September event, the iPad Pro was noticeably absent. As with the MacBook Pro, that’s not too surprising seeing as Apple saved the iPad Pro for its October event in 2018.
So, what could we see this year? The biggest news is that Apple will supposedly bring the triple-lens camera system of the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max to the iPad Pro. This idea originates with tech website Sonny Dickson, which claims to have received a “final design mockup” of the iPad Pro from “a source that has repeatedly been reliable.”
The lens design in this mockup is noticeably different from that on Apple’s latest iPhones, however. Rather than the triangle arrangement seen on the iPhones, with a flash much smaller than the device’s lenses, the Sonny Dickson mockup shows the lenses and flash arranged in a square shape and all being roughly the same size. Whether this adds to or detracts from the leak’s authenticity, only time will tell.
Other iPad Pro rumors have been thin on the ground, aside from Bloomberg reporting that both the 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models will get minor processor bumps this year, as well as “upgraded cameras.” These will both be “similar upgrades” to those found in the new iPhones, lending weight to the Sonny Dickson leak.
Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR update
At WWDC in June 2019, Apple spilled the beans on its totally redesigned Mac Pro, as well as the all-new, all-powerful Pro Display XDR. With Apple showing off every minute detail on both devices, we don’t expect it to be hiding any major surprises up its sleeve for October.
However, there is the issue of both products’ release dates. At the moment, Apple’s website only says both the Mac Pro and the Pro Display XDR will be released “this Fall.” We therefore think there’s a strong possibility Apple will announce the availability of both at its October event, with them perhaps going on sale a roughly week after the event, as often happens with other Apple launch events.
Launched in 2017, the iMac Pro was Apple’s first proper attempt to lure back serious professional users since 2013’s Mac Pro. Whilst it was a killer machine two years ago, the world of tech moves fast, and the upcoming Mac Pro is making the iMac Pro look a little long in the tooth.
October 2019 would be a good time for Apple to announce a spec bump for the iMac Pro to stop it getting left behind by the modularity — and sheer power — of the Mac Pro. For example, the best processor you can equip the iMac Pro with right now is an 18-core 2.3GHz Intel Xeon W chip. Pretty good, right? Well, the Mac Pro can be configured to come with a 28-core 2.5GHz Intel Xeon W processor.
We don’t expect the iMac Pro to get quite that much power due to its thermal constraints (it’s a thin machine, after all), but a more recent, more powerful processor is a must. Specifically, Intel’s Cascade Lake X chips are due out this year, so it’s entirely possible they’ll be making their way into an updated iMac Pro.
We wouldn’t expect many other changes though — a small graphics bump here, a higher RAM configuration there — and definitely won’t be seeing a new design this year (despite the iMac’s current look being with us since 2012).
AirPods 3, StudioPods, and a Tile competitor, and more
As always, there are a number of rumored Apple products that could make an appearance at an October event. In particular, there are a couple of audio products that could get some stage time. It seems unlikely that Apple would follow up the AirPods 2 quite so quickly, but rumors have pointed toward a release sometime in 2019. The AirPods 3 are said to have active noise canceling functionality.
Apple’s rumored over-ear headphones, the StudioPods, could also make an appearance. These feel a bit more likely, as they could be paired up with a new MacBook Pro or Mac Pro fairly easily for the “Pro” market.
Lastly, some kind of a Tile competitor is said to have been in the works for a while now. Though it would have made sense that these were launched with the iPhone 11, MacOS Catalina does now include the Find My app, which could be a good excuse to launch a Tile competitor that lets you track items such as wallets or keys.