Apple’s October Event (Macs!): What to Expect

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Image: Apple – Expect new MacBook Pros, macOS Monterey, and maybe new AirPods. Yes, folks, another Apple event is on the horizon. It will begin on October 18 at 10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET. While we saw new iPhones, the Apple Watch Series 7, and two iPads at Apple’s last presentation, there are still a few surprises in store for the company’s upcoming event, which has the ambiguous slogan “Unleashed.”

This event will be live-streamed from Apple Park, as is customary, and it’s widely expected that we’ll learn about new MacBook Pros. The event tagline is usually a good indicator of what items will be available, however this isn’t always the case. This time, Apple’s hyper-space-themed invitation and the phrase “Unleashed” may allude to something very quick. Here’s what we think we know about Apple’s future plans.

Will New MacBooks Be Released?

Following months of rumors and conjecture, it’s reasonable to assume that the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros will be revamped. This is the first big update to the MacBook Pro in a long time, and it will be particularly noticeable for the 16-inch model. Last year, Apple released two M1 MacBooks—a 13-inch Air and a 13-inch Pro—but the 16-inch Pro hasn’t been updated in two years and still uses an Intel processor.

Photo: Joanna Nelius/Gizmodo

According to rumors, the Pro versions will include a new chassis, the reintroduction of the MagSafe connection, and more port choices. This includes the reintroduction of the HDMI connector and the SD card slot, which were both removed when Apple switched to USB-C exclusively in 2016. The divisive Touch Bar at the top of the keyboard is also rumored to be on its way out. Last year, reliable Apple prognosticator Ming-Chi Kuo projected that two MacBook Pros with mini-LED screens will be released this year. Apple released a 12.9-inch iPad Pro with mini-LED display earlier this year, so introducing the technology to its MacBooks wouldn’t be surprising.

Both laptops will be powered by a “higher-end version of the M1 processor,” according to Bloomberg, with ten cores: eight high-performance and two low-power. The chip has been called the M1X by most leakers, while it has also been dubbed the M2 by others. In any case, we’ll find out on Monday what it’s named.

Is there a chance we’ll see more Macs?

There has been speculation that the M1X might be used in a higher-end Mac Mini. Expect it in the next “few months,” according to Bloomberg’s Marc Gurman, who also mentioned the Unleashed event in a newsletter earlier this summer. The M1 Mac Mini was released in November, although it was designed to be an entry-level computer, which made its lack of ports a source of frustration for several creative professionals. More ports, a MagSafe connection, and a redesigned design would be included in the higher-end Mini.

We’re not likely to see any additional Macs. Apple is rumored to be working on a new MacBook Air, a smaller Mac Pro, a lower-end MacBook Pro, and a bigger iMac, according to Bloomberg. Apple does not want its gadgets to compete for attention, therefore we are unlikely to see such until 2022.

Photo: Caitlin McGarry/Gizmodo

Is Mac OS X Monterey ready to go yet?

From macOS Monterey, we already know what to anticipate. It’s the final of Apple’s yearly OS upgrades that’s still in development, and once the new MacBooks are officially released, it’ll most likely get a public release. Although macOS Monterey isn’t as ground-breaking as macOS Big Sur was last year, you can expect it to operate better with your iPhone and other Apple devices in general.

However, it’s unclear when Universal Operate, a useful feature that allows you to control your Macs and iPads with a single keyboard and mouse, will be released. It, as well as FaceTime’s SharePlay function for arranging watch/listening parties with pals, have been pushed out to a “future release” date.

What Are the Chances of a New AirPods Release?

We were expecting to see the AirPods 3 at Apple’s presentation last month… but they didn’t show up. They were still on schedule to launch before the end of the year, according to a DigiTimes story earlier this month. They’re also said to be in mass production, so we might see them at the Unleashed event. Of course, Apple may just release these later, quietly and without fanfare.

Photo: Adam Clark Estes/Gizmodo

For quite some time, speculations about an AirPods 3 have been circulating. What we do know is that they’ll look similar to the AirPods Pro in terms of appearance, but they won’t have high-end capabilities like ANC and Spatial Audio. It’s unclear if they’ll come with ear tips for a better fit or an U1 chip for Precision Finding in the FindMy app.

So that’s all there is to it. The Unleashed event will most likely be smaller than the iPhone 13 event last month. That again, this is Apple, so a “One More Thing” moment is never totally ruled out. As usual, Gizmodo’s consumer tech team will be live-blogging Monday’s event with our trademark mix of mayhem and analysis—and you know you want to be there.