Barely a month after announcing new iPhones, Apple Pay and the Apple Watch, Apple CEO Tim Cook will be back on stage tomorrow to announce more new products … just in time to grab a share of your money this Holiday season.
However, unlike the September event, this will be much more low-key. To be staged on Apple’s Cupertino campus and with a much shorter invitation list, it seems extremely unlikely that any major surprises are in store.
In fact, Apple has already gone some way to stealing its own thunder, by accidentally posting an updated version of the iPad User Guide earlier today which mentioned the iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3. The User Guide also confirmed that both new tablets will have Touch ID, which is no surprise as this will be required to support Apple Pay transactions.
More news about Apple Pay is likely to feature in tomorrow’s event, as rumours suggest that the first companies are set to roll this service out in the coming weeks. For now, this will be available only in the United States, and there is little to suggest that Apple will say anything further at this time about an International roll-out.
But, moving back to new iPads, it’s possible that Apple may finally be ready to announce plans for a 12.9 inch variant. Rumoured for some time to be in the pipeline, Apple will be hoping that this larger iPad will appeal to design professionals and mobile office workers. However, if it does get a mention tomorrow, it’s unlikely that we’ll see an actual launch until next year.
Other iPad rumours include the possibility of a gold coloured version and possibly a change in the storage sizes available (what we’ve seen with the new iPhones suggests that Apple may be rethinking its storage strategy).
It’s likely that the introduction of new iPads will see some older models retired as we see a shuffling in the range to accommodate a new pricing structure.
While much of the event will focus on iPads and Apple Pay, it’s extremely likely that Apple will also use tomorrow to officially launch OS X Yosemite. Don’t be surprised if the download becomes available at the end of the event. Having set the precedent last year, it’s almost inconceivable that this will be anything other than a free upgrade.
With Yosemite offering closer integration with iOS devices and Apple Pay support needing to be implemented, it’s possible that tomorrow will also see the release of iOS 8.1. Having been in beta testing with developers for a couple of weeks, it is likely that this update will be needed to make Yosemite and Apple Pay work as advertised. We can hope that it will also bring some fixes for the accessibility-related bugs which were introduced in iOS 8.0.
Many people were disappointed that last month’s event gave no mention to new desktops or laptops - although it’s difficult to see how Apple could have fitted more into the time available - but it seems likely that they will feature this time around. Upgrades to the existing ranges, mostly in the form of faster and more efficient CPUs, seems most likely. iMacs equipped with Retina displays are also rumoured, as is a long-overdue update to the Mac Mini. The latter could gain a faster CPU, SSD drives across the range and support for 802.11ac wireless networking.
There’s a chance that Apple could introduce a Retina MacBook Air tomorrow, although most credible sources are suggesting that we will have to wait until 2015.
So, what’s left? This time last year people were predicting that we might see an update to the Apple TV. This is now even more overdue. Perhaps the recent rumours that it will offer support for Apple’s HomeKit API are a hint that it’s about to get some attention from Apple.
This, and all of the other outstanding questions will be answered in less than 24 hours. The event starts at 10am Pacific time (that's 6pm UK time, 5pm UTC). You will be able to watch a live stream at www.apple.com/live (only available through Safari on OS X or iOS) or via the dedicated channel on your Apple TV.
As with other recent Apple events, we’ll be posting news to our @AppleVis Twitter account as it comes through. We’ll also be aiming to have a post on here shortly afterwards which will summarise the news and announcements.