iPad Event Still Full of Mystery

Now that Apple's iPad event has been confirmed for October 22, the internet has moved into full-on prediction mode. As a member of the Internet at-large, I will not break ranks. I have no inside info on the event, merely educates guesses (and calling them educated is a stretch).

The full size iPad maxi is the easy one. It's almost guaranteed to mirror the iPhone 5S internally (A7, and M7 both). Externally, it will be styled like a big iPad mini, likely with a TouchID sensor, and the same color lineup as the 5S. The gold looks pretty great on the mini. I hope both iPads get it.

The part I'm having trouble with is Apple's plan for the mini. It isn't terribly clear cut. Short of a major technological breakthrough, the mini either gets the iPad 2 treatment (faster, thinner, lighter), or it gets a retina display. I don't believe it can have both. My money (if I were a betting man which I am not) is on retina coming this year.

The iPad 3 was a bit of ungraceful product. It was slightly thicker, and heavier than the iPad 2, and had a subpar processor. I don't think Apple wants to duplicate this turn of events with the iPad mini. They'll give themselves more or a performance cushion on the iPad mini than on the iPad 3 (lots of tiny pixels are expensive resource wise). The A6, and a slightly bigger battery should be sufficient to power the retina display.

I suspect next year's mini will see more substantive gains on the battery front as well as some of Apple's patented (lol) thinner, and lighter action (or an outside chance of a full on redesign). I've seen a few rumors saying the mini will get an A7, and retina display this year. That seems like too significant a batter drain/margin reduction for one year. The iPad mini > iPhone 5C as iPad maxi > iPhone 5S. Putting the mini on par spec wise with the iPhone 5S, and iPad maxi would be ill-advised for Apple's bottom line is many ways. It would drain supply constrained resources for the money making products, and further cut into the mini's margins. Apple, and Wall Street would not pleased, and customers would be confused.

On the software side, my gut tells me we'll see iOS 7 updates for either iWork, iLife, or both. My gut did not explain why, but my head rationalized the reason is that iWork debuted with original iPad. I think it makes sense to update at an iPad event as well. iBooks will get a coat of paint as well as some new features. I have my fingers crossed for an iWork for Mac update, but I'm not counting on it. Apple seems totally uninteresting in this particular product.

We'll likely get a ship date for the new Mac Pro, and OS X Mavericks. A new Thunderbolt Display has to be released some time. If they don't do it alongside the new Mac Pro when will they? We could see modest hardware spec bumps on the laptops, but no major hardware upgrades. The battery life improvements in both Mac hardware, and software are paving the way for retina to hit, but it's too early for now.

I didn't realize before I wrote this, but this event is looking to be jam-packed. This one could be a barn burner. Which now makes me think Apple might stream this event live. I still don't know why they don't do it for every event, but I digress. Apple isn't tipping their pitches, but this has the makings of a good game.

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