Apple invite (October 2014)

Following claims by ReCode’s well-informed John Paczkowski that Apple’s been prepping to hold an iPad-focused media event on October 16, the Cupertino company on Wednesday morning confirmed the report by issuing invites to select members of the press, The Loop first reported.

Featuring a colorful Apple logo outline adorned by the the tagline “It’s been way too long,“ the invite prompts the media to attend the event which begins at 10:00am Pacific / 1pm Eastern at the firm’s Town Hall Auditorium in Cupertino, California.

BTW, grab your event wallpapers here.

The media conference is widely expected to serve as a launchpad for new iPads, namely the second-generation iPad Air with Touch ID fingerprint scanning.

We’re also expecting the public release of OS X Yosemite and maybe even an Apple TV hardware refresh and a few additional goodies, such as a Retina-enabled 12-inch MacBook Air in Space Gray, Silver and Gold, a brand new “5K” Thunderbolt Display and Retina iMacs.

The iPod lineup — especially the iPod touch — is ripe for refresh, too. Note that the beleaguered iPod classic got phased out ahead of the iPhone 6 keynote.

Given the steady decline in iPod sales ever since the original iPhone was introduced, it’s entirely conceivable that Apple might even opt to exit the standalone MP3 player market altogether.

In terms of the iPad Air 2, we’re expecting a number of rumored features including a new speaker grille design, a relocated microphone, a brand new anti-reflective screen coating, Touch ID, an in-house designed A8, or an improved A8X chip, possibly with 2GB of RAM for the rumored split-screen multitasking function.

There should be a gold colorway, too. The device isn’t expected to feature NFC, meaning Apple’s upcoming mobile payments solution, Apple Pay, could only be supported for online payments on the tablet.

Earlier today, Vietnamese blog Tinhte.vn posted a series of images depicting what appears to be a prototype chassis or a dummy unit for the iPad Air 2.

iPad Air 2 (tinhte.vn 006)

The photos show the Touch ID sensor on a thinner device and no mute switch on the side.

iPad Air 2 (tinhte.vn 003)

The device is said to measure just 7 millimeters thick. By comparison, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are 6.9mm and 7.1mm thin, respectively, and the iPhone 5s measures 7.6mm in depth.

Stay tuned as iDownloadBlog will be providing 24/7 coverage of the event to bring you all the news as it happens. Let the guessing game begin — feel free to share your expectations with fellow readers down in the comments.

[The Loop]