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.
- 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 More signs on the wall: Apple’s only iPod running iOS, the iPod touch, has been stuck with a four-inch screen and the outdated A5 processor since October of 2012.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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?