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Apple Unleashed vs. Google Pixel vs. Samsung Unpacked — your guide to next week’s big tech events

Apple Unleashed, Google Pixel Fall Launch and Samsung Galaxy Unpacked happen from October 18 through October 20
(Image credit: Apple/Google/Samsung)

Get ready for a very busy week on the tech front starting next Monday (Oct. 18). Over the course of three days, three of the biggest players in consumer tech — Apple, Google and Samsung — are hosting product launch events. By the middle of next week, we're expecting to have a host of new gear and gadgets from those companies to sort through, just as holiday shopping is ratcheting up.

Having a hard time sorting out your Unleasheds from your Unpackeds? Not to worry — we have quick summaries of each of the three big tech events happening on successive days. We can tell you when each event is taking place, what the rumor mills are saying about each one and what we're hoping to see.

Here's a closer look at Apple Unleashed, Google Pixel Fall Launch and the latest Samsung Unpacked events.

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Apple Unleashed event

Apple will hold its unleashed event on Oct 18

(Image credit: Apple)

What the company has told everyone: Apple doesn't tell anyone anything about its plans, so there's no official guidance on what to expect. All we have is the official announcement that an Apple fall event called Unleashed will take place Monday (Oct. 18) at 10 a.m. PT/1 a.m. ET. 

We also have the knowledge that just a month ago, Apple was showing off the iPhone 13, iPad 9, iPad mini 6 and Apple Watch 7. That really narrows down the guesswork to figure out what's on tap for Monday. You'd have to assume it's something related to the Mac.

What's been rumored: Here's where the rumor mill can help us out. We know that Apple is in the process of migrating from Intel's chips to Mac Silicon. Rumors point to both a 14-inch MacBook Pro and 16-inch MacBook Pro being locked and loaded to launch with Apple's new M1X chip. That's a variation on the original M1 chipset with boosts to GPU and CPU as well as more Thunderbolt channels. 

14-inch MacBook Pro

(Image credit: Apple)

There's more to the rumored MacBook Pro models than just an updated chipset. Reportedly, the laptops will feature mini LED displays with fast refresh rates and a new design.

There's also rumblings of an update to the Mac mini lineup, with that desktop getting an M1X chipset as well. And we'd be remiss if we didn't mention the AirPods 3 are still waiting for their moment in the spotlight after being left out of Apple's September launch event.

What we're expecting: The new MacBooks seem like a natural fit for an event called Unleashed — especially if there's an improved chip for Apple to talk about. We're less certain about the Mac mini, which feels more like a "While We Have Your Attention"-style announcement. 

The big wild card is the AirPods 3: they don't really fit in with a laptop-focused event, but if Apple spends any time recapping the iPhone 13 launch, maybe there's an opening to talk upgraded earbuds with noise cancellation features. The new AirPods would certainly be the sort of thing Apple would like to get out for the holidays, and really, isn't that what these fall events are all about?

See our guide on how to watch the Apple event.

Google Pixel Fall Launch event

google pixel fall launch for pixel 6 header image

(Image credit: Google)

What the company has told everyone: It might be quicker just to say what Google hasn't revealed yet. When it comes to the Pixel 6, Google's been especially forthcoming.

First of all, we already know that there are going to be two phones — a 6.4-inch Pixel 6 and a 6.71-inch Pixel 6 Pro. The larger phone will have a 120Hz refresh rate and three rear cameras, one of which will be a telephoto lens. The smaller Pixel 6 retains the two rear cameras of the Pixel 5 and offers a 90Hz refresh rate. Both phones will be powered by Google's new Tensor silicon instead of a Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset.

There are a few details left to announce — pricing chief among them. But for the most part, when Google unveils the Pixel 6, there should be few surprises.

We'll find out for certain this Tuesday (Oct. 19) when the Google Pixel Fall Launch event gets underway at 10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET.

What's been rumored: Apart from price, there's a few things about the Pixel 6 that are only rumors at this point. We're expecting the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro to get faster charging, and it sounds as if Google is boosting the battery sizes on its new phones as well. The main camera on each phone will reportedly feature a 50MP sensor, too.

Google Pixel 6 on display in NYC Google store

(Image credit: Future)

The biggest issue surrounding Google's Pixel Fall Launch event is if any other product will be included. We've probably heard the persistent rumors around the Pixel Fold, a foldable phone that's reportedly in the works at Google. But the lack of concrete specs in those rumors makes us wonder how far along the phone is. A Pixel Watch has been rumored for years, though we'll believe Google is actually making one the moment we can slap it on our wrist. A new Pixelbook or even a Pixel tablet are possibilities, too.

What we're expecting: Obviously, the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro will get their moment in the sun, as well a new Pixel Stand that supports those faster charging speeds, as we assume that rumor is solid. We'll even go out on a limb and anticipate a Pixel Fold teaser if not a full announcement, though that could be wishful thinking for another foldable phone to challenge Samsung's dominance.

See our guide on how to watch the Pixel Fall Launch event.

Samsung Galaxy Unpacked Part 2 event

What the company has told everyone: Instead of an event announcement, Samsung might as well have just leapt out from behind a tree shouting "Surprise!" No one was really anticipating yet another Unpacked event, not so soon after one in August introduced us to the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Galaxy Z Flip 3.

Yet, another Unpacked event is what we're getting, with Part 2 taking place on Wednesday (Oct. 20). This one streams at 10 a.m. ET/7 a.m. PT. You can watch it on Samsung's website, and we'd expect a YouTube feed to spring up as well.

What's been rumored: Surprise events mean little in the way of rumors to guide us about what could be cooking with Samsung and Galaxy Unpacked Part 2. The most frequent rumors center around the Galaxy S21 FE, a lower-cost version of the Galaxy S21 flagships that's reportedly in development. But rumors of this Galaxy S20 FE successor have been so on-again/off-again, we've lost track as to whether an S21 FE launch is imminent or if Samsung's pushing it back to next year where the phone can launch alongside the Galaxy S22 as a budget alternative.

Samsung Galaxy S21 FE render

(Image credit: 4RMD)

So if Wednesday's Unpacked event isn't about the Galaxy S21 FE, what could it cover? The speculation online is focusing on the event teaser itself. That one shows different apps and multicolored boxes. The latter could be a reference to Samsung's One UI 4 update, currently in beta with Galaxy S21 users. With Android 12 likely getting a formal launch at Google's event the previous day, Samsung could show off its own take on the interface. Speculation is also raising the possibility of new color options for one or more of Samsung's current phones.

What we're expecting: We're honestly stumped. It doesn't help that the Unpacked events in the past year have introduced us to smartphones, smartwatches and laptops, Samsung could plan on unveiling almost anything, and it wouldn't surprise us. We certainly hpe the electronics giant does just that.

Philip Michaels
Philip Michaels is a senior editor at Tom's Guide. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics and old movies. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.