Apple event (September 2014, Tim Cook smiling 001)

In less than 48 hours, journalists blessed with Apple’s “It’s been way too long” invitation will gather on the Town Hall Campus grounds in Cupertino, California for another dose of technology news.

With new iPads and OS X Yosemite on everyone’s mind, it’s time to step back and asses exactly what other goodies Apple may or may not deliver at its media conference. And what better way to make such a roundup entertaining than a listicle augmented by a poll?

Here’s a dozen predictions of our own so please kindly vote for your favorite one.

Before we get to the actual voting, I just want to touch briefly on the surprises Apple might or might not unload Thursday. And to help paint a more accurate picture, I’ve assigned each item one of the following descriptive probability ratings:

  • Certain: 100%
  • Very Likely: 90%
  • Likely: 75%
  • Maybe: 50%
  • Unlikely: 25%
  • Very Unlikely: 10%
  • Impossible: 0%

Apple typically refreshes its hardware products in tandem with applications and services, and this event should be no different.

Hardware

iPad Pro mockup (Martin Hajek 006)

  • iPad refresh: Unless Apple abandons its annual refresh cycle out of the blue, second-generation iPad Air and third-generation iPad mini will be no-brainers. Probability — Certain.
  • All-new iPad Pro: Given the iPhone 6 Plus phablet, Tim Cook & Co. would be wise to attack Samsung’s high-end Galaxy Tab Pro family next with a rumored iPad Pro model. Said to sport an ultra high-resolution 12.9-inch screen and a faster chip with more RAM for split-screen multitasking, it could become the ultimate productivity tablet. Probability — Maybe.
  • iPod refresh: iPod nano and shuffle received only minor changes in September 2013 so what if Apple simply doesn’t care about iPods anymore? After all, it quietly discontinued the iPod classic last month. More signs on the wall: Apple’s only iPod running iOS, the iPod touch, has been stuck with a four-inch screen and the outdated A5 processor since October of 2012. Probability — Maybe.
  • Retina iMac: Desktop fans have been clamoring for a Retina iMac for years. Having entered late testing last month, the all-in-one with a Retina screen seems to be edging closer. Code strings in Yosemite suggest an insanely sharp 5K screen with four times the pixels of the current 27-incher, good for a whopping 5,120-by-2,880 resolution. Probability — Very Likely.

Apple invite (October 2014)

  • Retina MacBook Air: Big media sees an all-new Air with a twelve-inch Retina screen in the pipeline. Though mass production isn’t expected to kick off before December, it could get announced Thursday and ship later, like the Mac Pro last year. Probability — Unlikely.
  • New Apple TV model: Apple’s “hobby project” received its last hardware update more than two and a half years ago so it’s ripe for refresh. Conceivably, Apple has a lot on its plate so the timing of a new set-top box hardware remains unclear. Probability — Very Unlikely.
  • Apple Watch updates: In unveiling its foray into the smartwatch space last month, Apple execs spent a large chunk of stage time discussing the Apple Watch while promising to “talk a lot more” about it in the weeks leading into its early-2015 release. Probability — Likely.

Software

OS X Yosemite (teaser, MacBook Air and iMac)

  • OS X Yosemite: Announced in June and coming later in October, the free Mac OS X update would deserves some stage time. Yosemite is needed for certain Continuity features between iOS 8 and OS X, such as Text Message Forwarding and iCloud Drive and we think it’s going to launch in the Mac App Store right after the keynote wraps up. Probability — Certain.
  • Magazine creation software: Based on Apple’s purchase of the magazine platform Prss, a brand new magazine creation app for the iPad and Mac could be on the horizon. Or, Prss’s functionality could be folded into Apple’s free textbook creation tool, iBooks Author for Mac. Probability — Maybe.
  • Third-party apps for Apple TV: Rumors are swirling that a software development kit is in the works for writing apps for the Apple TV, but don’t bet your farm on it being released Thursday. By the way, a new Apple TV software with HomeKit support is lurking around the corner. Probability — Certain.

Services

beats

  • Apple Pay: According to Apple, a brand new mobile payments service it announced with great fanfare last month is starting later in October with the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Probability — Certain.
  • iTunes/Beats Music update: Apple is currently moving Beats Music to iTunes servers so don’t expect Earth-shatering new features until the transition is complete. A minor iTunes compatibility update with support for new hardware is a no-brainer, just don’t hold your breath (yet) for Beats Music integration. Fun fact: Apple recently bought Swell, the “Pandora for talk radio” podcast app. Probability — Very Unlikely.

With all of the above off our chest, we now turn our attention to what you’re most excited about for Thursday’s event. Armed with the analysis above, cast your vote now.

Note: you can only pick a single item.

We’d also love to hear the reasoning behind your vote so feel free to elaborate further.

Wrapping up, how many announcements can Apple realistically compress into a two-hour presentation, do you think?

  • Anthony Snyder

    “Third-party apps for Apple TV: Rumors are swirling that a software development kit is in the works for writing apps for the Apple TV, but don’t bet your farm on it being released Thursday. By the way, a new Apple TV software with HomeKit support is lurking around the corner. Probability — Certain.”
    I don’t believe this one…

  • I still don’t understand why people aren’t seeing that way too long does have some reference to apple TV. it has been WAY too long.

    • Anthony Snyder

      Well theres also Mac Mini..

    • Alberto Espinal

      True, I was thinking about that too, it’s been a long time since their Apple T.V last upgrade

    • Byron C Mayes

      Apple TV has never been the primary focus of these events. Even when it was new it was an add-on..

      I think they mean it’s been “way too long” since they introduced something totally new. iPad/Macbook Air convergence is what I’m thinking.

  • Zac Bishop

    I’m not that excited for the apple event but I cannot wait for Google’s event tomorrow

    • iRy757

      I’m sorry, are you lost?

      • Zac Bishop

        Sorry, wrong blog (heads over to androidpolice)

  • Insise

    Zibreg is wrong. – Certain

  • Kevin Chen

    Title grammatically awkward is Yoda. Maybe should read more like “What are you most excited about FOR Apple’s Thursday event????”

  • jack

    Sapphire

    • GuyWithTheThings

      Sapphire screens…?

  • Mee

    Mac mini!?!?!?

  • Darth Geekonius

    I’d like to see the Mac Mini upgraded and that 12 Macbook air end up being a replacement of the old school Macbook. Maybe Black MacBooks again too! I’m content with the iPad Air I have, could care less about iPod unless they come up with an iOS iPod that starts at 99 dollars. Apple TV having an AppStore would be good, but I’d prefer that Phillips rumor to be true. Having Apple TV already built into a TV would be great and better than Apple trying to make their own sets.

  • Benjamin J Schwartz

    5K for the thunderbolt display or the iMac would be a huge mistake. 5K is a DOA resolution that will never have meaningful support or any native content. 4K is the future. At least 8K can scale 4K at 2:1. 4K content interpolated to fit a 5K screen won’t look much better than 1080p.

    • JukeLuke

      I think the point of 5k monitors, is that they allow 1:1 pixels 4k content editing with room for editing tools. By the way, I am sorry for any technical terms that I missed/misused. Hopefully you understand.

      • Benjamin J Schwartz

        True, that would be a legitimate use of space and the 5K format.

  • Andrew Roth

    Interesting. New iPads and new Nexuses (Nexi?) will go on presale the same day.

  • Andrew Roth

    iPod Touch 5 was released two years after the iPod Touch 4, so it’s not that surprising it’s been two years since an update again. Also probably should’ve added something about the Mac Mini.

  • Jayden H

    iphone 6s

  • @dongiuj

    I’m not getting “excited” about any of the above.

  • iBanks

    “Way too long” meaning a possible Maps refresh since it’s been so long to correct it’s many issues? I for one would love to hear of enhancements to the maps app but a new Apple TV woikd be even better.

  • andy

    PLEASE apple release an ipod touch 6th generation, look i understand ipod touches these days are becoming lame due to Iphone over taking the ipod now. Not all of us can afford an Iphone, personally myself who cant. Ipod touch is the brotherhood of the Iphone. If they do announce it, please at least have the updated chip and not one below the gen. At least A7X or A8 chip…..

  • Jonas Stoltenberg

    A Space Grey 12″ MacBook Air Retina

  • Xee

    Where is all the new exciting stuff that Tim Cook said Apple was working on for this year? The iPhone 6+ was good but not really that exciting.

    Apple watch was just….

    Where is the TV? Where is the sapphire glass? Waiting for some wow factor/feature/product to get exciting about. Its difficult to get exciting over incremental updates.

  • Ricky

    Surprisingly as of now, iPod is the one that people are excited about and im sure they will be updated tomorrow

  • JulianZH

    None

  • Waleed

    🙁 here should be an option of “iOS 8.1 release”
    i’m really excited for it, it will bring the jailbreak near

  • Rares

    “An iMac with a 27″ Retina Display, a thinner iPad, and a new MacBook Air. These are not three separate devices!” #ItsBeenWayTooLong

  • Arsanny Lintang

    I’m pretty surprised when I see the poll and everyone is so excited for the iPod refresh more than the new iPads.

  • noracuts

    No Love for the Mac Mini??

  • Byron C Mayes

    I’m most excited about learning what they’re really going to be doing. All the talking head speculation is getting a bit tiresome.

  • nickelnickel

    Most excited about: New Mac Mini.