As had been expected, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) finally sent out media invitations to a special event, to be held on Oct. 27. What will AAPL announce? We’re pretty sure a new MacBook Pro is going to be unveiled. There’s likely to be more Apple gear making an appearance, too, and at least one popular Apple product is not long for this world.
Whether because of the distraction of new products like the iPhone 7, or a lack of key components like new mobile CPUs, Apple has let its Mac hardware languish. And sales have suffered as a result. Apple’s late-October event seems likely to be focused on playing catch up, and finally releasing new Mac models.
New MacBook Pro
This is as close to a “given” as you get with an Apple event. The MacBook Pro is a key product aimed at professional users and it hasn’t been updated in a year and a half.
The internet has been buzzing with spy shots showing an intriguing OLED strip of function keys. Also expect USB-C ports in place of the existing full-sized USB and Thunderbolt ports, and AAPL will likely turn to USB-C for power as well. New mobile Skylake CPUs from Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) are ready and should be powering the laptop. The new MacBook Pro is expected to be thinner, lighter and more powerful than ever.
Once the star of AAPL’s notebook lineup, the MacBook Air is in serious need of an overhaul. Its display dates to 2012 and it last saw a meaningful upgrade in 2015.
Rumors are flying that Apple is going to discontinue the 11-inch MacBook Air. If the company keeps the 13-inch MBA as the new entry level Mac laptop, it may get a CPU upgrade and possibly make the switch to USB-C. But it seems doubtful Apple will bother to upgrade that screen.
Apple’s sleek all-in-one desktop computer is another strong candidate to be featured. It’s been a year since the last upgrade. The iMac could be in line to receive a new CPU, new graphic card options and possibly some USB-C ports. Apple is big on USB-C, after all.
With Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) apparently poised to unleash its hardware design chops with a Surface PC aimed squarely at the iMac, AAPL would be foolish to leave this Mac to sit with its outdated specs for any longer.
While a new MacBook Pro is pretty much a shoe-in for the Apple Event, there are also some long shots. AAPL could unveil a new Mac Pro and/or Mac Mini. It has literally gone for years without upgrading these machines. Even throwing in a current generation Intel CPU would go a long way toward preserving some sense of relevance for these Macs.
Another long shot is a new 5K monitor to replace Apple’s only monitor (the Thunderbolt Display), which was discontinued earlier this year. AAPL has reportedly been in talks with LG about producing a new 5K display that would bear the Apple logo.
While new Mac announcements are expected to headline, a new Apple TV is a possibility at the Oct. 27 event.
The current streamer is a year old, and the entry-level third generation model AAPL kept around has been dropped. It seems unlikely Apple would go into the holiday season against competition like Alphabet Inc’s (NASDAQ:GOOG, NASDAQ:GOOGL) new $69, 4K Chromecast Ultra with the current Apple TV — which starts at $149 and maxes out at 1080p.
Other non-Mac long shots include a Siri-powered competitor to the Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) Echo and Google Home connected speakers, and a revised Apple Wi-Fi router (the Airport Extreme is now over three years old).
Circle back on Oct. 27 to find out which of our predictions turn out to be correct. We’ll have a full recap of the Apple event, including the new MacBook Pro and any other announcements.
As of this writing, Brad Moon did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.