It may seem like just a few days ago that Apple was announcing a slew of new products — because it was. But there could still be an encore in October.
You may have thought Apple's Sept. 10 "By Innovation Only" event pushed enough new Apple gear toward retail shelves just in time for the holiday shopping season. After all, Apple gave us a trio of new iPhones, the Apple Watch Series 5 and a 10.2-inch iPad. That's not even counting the new subscription services the company is planning to launch — Apple Arcade on Sept. 19, Apple TV+ on Nov. 1 — or the watchOS, iOS and iPadOS updates rolling out this month.
As jampacked as that lineup may have been, it didn't tick off all the products that Apple is reportedly ready to unleash. So it makes sense that an October Apple event would be in the works, even if Apple is sticking to its normally tight-lipped ways and not even hinting that such an event is planned.
But there's no need to wait for confirmation from Cupertino. Here's everything Apple could announce at a second press event in October if the company is so inclined.
Wait, Apple's holding a second press event? In this economy?
It certainly wouldn't be out of character for Apple to hold product launches in consecutive months. For evidence, all you have to do is cast your mind back to last year, when the company followed up the debut of its new iPhones and an updated Apple Watch by holding a late October event in New York. That event saw the release of the MacBook Air with Retina Display, brand-new iPad Pros and a long-awaited Mac mini refresh.
That's a pretty Mac-centric slate of releases, so you could easily see Apple repeating the same pattern in 2019, with new Macs coming soon, especially with macOS Catalina slated for an October release.
Fine, but is there anything left for Apple to announce after all the phones, watches and tablets it just unveiled?
Oh my, yes. Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo makes periodic predictions on what Apple's going to do next, and while no analyst is infallible, Kuo's track record for these things is pretty good. Back in February, he outlined Apple's product road map for 2019. You can mark off a lot of items on that list — the iPhone 11, new Apple Watches, even a new generation of the iPod touch — but other items, like new Macs and iPads, have yet to emerge. Presumably, these are the things Apple would like to refresh in time for the holidays.
So what is Apple likely to announce at an October product event?
If Apple holds an event — and remember, we're still waiting for Apple to confirm that it will — we're certainly not hurting for possible product unveilings. These are your best bets.
New MacBook Pros: Just like last year, the focus of any Apple event in October will likely be laptops. And there's one laptop model, in particular, that Apple may concentrate on.
That would be the MacBook Pro, which could be coming out in a new size next month. Earlier this year, multiple reports suggested that Apple was planning a 16-inch version of its laptop, and the drumbeat around that particular rumor has only gotten louder in recent months.
If a 16-inch MacBook does surface in October, it will likely be the first to trade in Apple's reviled butterfly-style keyboard for more-traditional scissor-style switches. Other Apple laptops are likely to make that transition in 2020. The new MacBook Pro is also expected to feature an LCD panel that improves upon the resolution of Apple's current Retina displays. And all signs point to Intel's 9th-Gen H-series processors powering the upcoming MacBook Pro.
Would that be the only laptop Apple unveils in October? A more recent report suggests that a MacBook Air powered by Intel's 10th-Gen Comet Lake Y-Series chips would debut this year. That seems pretty close to the MacBook Air update Apple rolled out in July, but that was a pretty modest release, adding a True Tone display and a lower price.
An Apple tracking device: Just before Apple's Sept. 10 product event, rumors began popping up that Apple was working on a key finder, similar to the popular trackers offered by Tile, that would work with the new app Find My in iOS 13. Honestly, we're surprised that Apple's tracker didn't debut at the recent Apple event, precisely because one of the features that enables it appears in the latest iPhones.
Apple didn't make a big deal of it on stage, but the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max include a new Apple-built chip called the U1, which supports ultra-wideband technology. With the U1 chip, the latest iPhones will be able to more precisely detect the location of other U1-equipped devices. For now, that means faster AirDrop transfers between iPhone 11 models, as your new phone will be able to find other iPhone 11s within range and prioritize them over other devices.
That's nice if you do a lot of AirDrops between your assorted Apple devices, but it's a pretty pedestrian way to make use of a new chip. A tracker that's also equipped with a U1 chip, though, means the iPhone 11 could also pinpoint the location of anything attached to that tracker, such as wallets, keys and backpacks. And the use of ultra-wideband connectivity would mean more-precise tracking than what you get from the Bluetooth-connected trackers made by the likes of Tile and Chipolo.
More iPads: "Wait, didn't Apple already give us new iPads this year?" you're asking. Yes, besides the $329 model that debuted this month, Apple added the A12 Bionic chip and Apple Pencil support to the iPad Air and iPad mini lines this spring.
But that still leaves the iPad Pro lineup, which last saw an update at the October 2018 Apple event. Reportedly, Apple's keeping the 11- and 12.9-inch sizes for its Pro edition tablets, but the new iPads will get upgraded processors and cameras. Presumably, that means the A13 Bionic chip debuting in the iPhone 11 lineup will make it to the iPad Pro, too. That could also mean that the cameras on Apple's updated tablets will support features that rely on computation photography. Such features could include the new Night Mode capabilities for better low-light images and the upcoming Deep Fusion feature that blends multiple exposures for a more detailed shot.
New AirPods: Again, AirPods already got an update this year, with the AirPods 2 introducing wireless charging and hands-free Siri to Apple's popular line of wireless headphones. So, is there anything left to add six months later?
Quite possibly. Apple's AirPods aren't water-resistant, so that would be a welcome new feature. Reportedly, Apple is also working with its suppliers to bring active noise cancellation to the company's earbuds, replacing the passive noise isolation currently available. That's going to be a challenge in an audio product as compact as the AirPods, and it's likely to cost a lot more than the current model's $149 asking price. So it's more likely that a new version of AirPods won't arrive until 2020.
Another HomePod: From the department of products you never really asked for, Apple could be coming out with a revamped version of HomePod, the company's oft-overlooked smart speaker. A report in Bloomberg claims that a cheaper version of HomePod is on the drawing board — the speaker currently costs $299 — though, like with the rumored AirPods update, Apple may not have the new HomePod ready until next year.
Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR: Apple already unveiled a pro-focused desktop and its eye-poppingly expensive companion display during the company's developer conference in June. But Apple neglected to give us a release date for the $5,999 Mac Pro or $4,999 Pro Display XDR, saying only that they would ship in the fall. Well, the start of football season and the kids' return to school are pretty good signs that fall is here, so Apple's desktop and monitor should be along shortly — best line up financing with your banker now.