It’s been just over a month since Apple lifted the lid on the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus and Apple Watch and iOS 8 including Apple Pay (phew!), but autumn is traditionally a busy time for the Californians, and indeed there’s tons more stuff on the way this very Thursday. As the digitised voice at the beginning of Afterburner yelled: Get ready!
Team Tim is expected to bring a bulging sackful of goodies to the Apple campus in Cupertino, though the stuff we’re interested in, primarily, are the new iPads for space year 2014AD.
While the iPhone 6 – and to a lesser extent the iPhone 6 Plus – was leaked to within an inch of its life, the next generation of iPads remains comparatively mysterious.
That’s not hugely surprising, however, as the pre-release iPads tend to be more elusive than the work-in-progress iPhones. In October 2012, for example, the iPad 4’s arrival came as a complete shock to many.
Here’s what we’re vaguely expecting this time around.
Apple iPad Air 2
The iPad Air 2, or whatever it’s called, is the one we’ve been hearing most about, much like those iPhone 6 rumours focused primarily on the smaller 4.7in model.
Details have been fairly sketchy, with most anonymous sources making entirely predictable claims like “thinner design” and “faster processor” and “enhanced camera”.
One particular report stands out like a sore thumb, however. It was incredibly thorough, encompassing full iPad Air 2 specs and an in-depth description of the design.
Rather than repeat everything I wrote this time last week, I’ll quickly mention the iPad Air 2’s 7mm thickness (0.5mm thinner than last year’s model), and specs including an 8MP rear camera, Touch ID fingerprint scanner, 2GB of RAM, and an Apple A8 processor.
A subsequent story claims the processor will in fact be of the Apple A8X variety, the ‘X’ denoting a more powerful chipset than the one found in the iPhone 6 (as established by the A5X (iPad 3) and A6X (iPad 4)). Could we be talking a higher resolution (than 2048 x 1536)? And does the leap in RAM, from 1GB to 2GB, suggest split-screen multitasking? Tim(e) will tell.
Apple iPad mini 3
Much like the then-unannounced iPhone 6 Plus back in August/early September, we’ve heard so little about the iPad mini 3 that we’re starting to wonder if it’s actually happening.
Larger phones are eating into the ‘tweener tablet market no doubt, and only a madman with more money than sense would buy – for example – an iPhone 6 Plus and an iPad mini 3, but we’d be surprised to see the iPad mini range dumped completely at this stage.
iPad mini 3/Air specs will likely match those of the iPad Air 2 (the iPad mini 2 was essentially a smaller iPad Air), including the thinner design, Touch ID fingerprint scanner, 8MP rear camera, Apple A8X processor and 2GB of RAM.
Apple iPad Pro
The iPad Pro is a funny old thing. It feels like it’s been on the horizon forever, perpetually in pre-production, while everyone knows it’ll have a 12.9in display and focus on the education and enterprise markets. Launch is merely an inevitable formality, one more thing in Apple's never-ending To Do list.
It’s unlikely to debut tomorrow, but you never know. Having said that, an anonymous Foxconn source reckons production has actually slipped back on account of the iPhone 6’s ludicrous popularity.
Split-screen multitasking might well be reserved as a USP for the iPad Pro, though some argue that the bog standard iPad could really use a shiny new headline feature to keep the competition at bay.
Apple’s October 16 launch event won’t simply focus on the new iPads. OS X 10.10 Yosemite looks to be a certainty, while a Retina iMac with 5120 x 2880 resolution would inevitably go down a treat.
We’re still not sure what to make of Apple’s “It’s been too long” teaser. It hasn’t been particularly "long" since the launch of the last iPads (an annual launch cycle is entirely acceptable), so it could be something Apple TV-related.
In any case, we’ll get the full story on Thursday night, and scribble a few hundred words so you don’t have to sit through the entire keynote.