All Aboard The Gossip Train!

Nobody– and I mean nobody– likes to speculate more on big announcements and new products than the world of Apple fans does. It’s a fun game, as Apple typically lives up to the hype that builds before these big events, and they really deliver with their well-timed announcements. Speculation addicts are in luck, as there’s some big stuff coming this week: Apple has announced an event on Tuesday October 22 in San Diego at 10am Pacific Time (which for those of you as easily confused by time zones as I am will be 1pm EST), and it’s expected that there will be some fantastic things unveiled. If the tagline on the media invitations means anything– “We still have a lot to cover”– we’re in for some great new products and upgrades. The murmurs are mostly about iPad upgrades, but are there’s also whispers about the new Mac OS X Mavericks update and a possibly redesigned Mac Pro. Let’s talk gossip!

If we take a look at what we’re hearing about a new iPad we’re talking thinner, lighter, smaller, but most importantly- FASTER. Design wise we can likely expect a larger version of the iPad mini; a smaller frame/bezel which will significantly cut down on device size while maintaining a 9.7 inch screen. We should see some faster “guts” and improved RAM, and for those of use who have been kvetching about iPad 4’s negligible photo quality MacRumours says “{iPad 5} is also reported to include an 8-megapixel rear camera with a larger aperture, providing better picture taking capabilities in low-light conditions.” Three cheers for saying goodbye to grainy, low def photos! Some of the more fringe rumors have suggested that iPad 5 may have a touch ID fingerprint sensor, but this conjecture remains unsupported as of now.

As far as a new iPad mini, most of the chitchat out there points to very little change in design but likely the addition of a retina display screen and, as with it’s larger iPad cousin, an improved rear camera and larger aperture, which will again make for vastly improved photos in low-light conditions. I’ll say it again– cheers to no more grainy low-def photos!

As far the OS 10.9 Mavericks update I’ll go into much more detail soon but for now suffice it to say you can likely expect OS X 10.9 Mavericks to introduce tons of new features, many aimed at extending battery life and enhancing speed, but many to also offer a new streamlined visual appearance. According to MacRumors, “Apple has promised 200 changes in Mavericks, including both minor cosmetic updates and major performance enhancements.” That’s not nickels and dimes; that is some MAJOR change. You can expect new iCould Keychain password functions, better Safari performance, and some integrated apps that have been long awaited by Mac users: you’ll *finally* be able to access and use iBooks from your Mac device, and the new update will also include a maps app. Look for a post later this week that will go into a lot more detail about the exciting changes you’ll see!

Desktop users who have been (im)patiently waiting for updates to the MacPro will finally find what they’re looking for with Tuesday’s unveiling, which was preceded by a MacPro sneak peek in June. MacRumors states “The new Mac Pro will take advantage of Intel’s latest Ivy Bridge E Xeon E5 processors, maxing out at 12 cores. Unlike the current Mac Pro, however, the redesigned machine will only have a single CPU with no room for a dual-CPU configuration. That Xeon CPU will be supported by ‘blazing fast’ memory, a four-channel DDR3 memory controller running at 1866 MHz. The setup will offer memory bandwidth of up to 60 GB/s, twice that of the current Mac Pro.” Blazing fast?! Never a bad thing! Additionally, “Apple’s new Mac Pro will use all-flash storage, an expensive proposition but one which offers significant benefits in the way of speed. With PCI Express flash storage, the Mac Pro will be able to support data transfer speeds of up to 1250 MB/s up to 2.5x faster than SATA flash drives such as those found in a number of Apple’s other Mac products. The Mac Pro’s flash storage will also be as much as ten times faster than 7200-rpm SATA spinning hard drives commonly used in the current Mac Pro.” The prospect of flash storage that’s ten times faster than the current MacPro is nothing to scoff at. As far as wireless connectivity MacRumors also states “The Mac Pro naturally includes support for the latest 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard, which is supported by Apple’s new AirPort Extreme and AirPort Time Capsule base stations, as well as the company’s new MacBook Air introduced in June and iMac launched in late September. The new Mac Pro will also include support for Bluetooth 4.0 connections, allowing for wireless communication with a variety of devices,” which users awaiting Bluetooth capabilities will likely be thrilled to see.

For laptop users the new Retina MacBook Pro (which is expected in early October) will see vastly improved battery life, as well as huge leaps in integrated graphics thanks to Intel’s “Iris” processor. Also in the works is larger flash storage and faster wi-fi, as well as a hugely improved 2.0 megapixel Facetime camera.

Updates to the Mac mini, while long awaited, haven’t generated much buzz in the Apple rumor mills. We’ll have to wait until Tuesday to see if and what is being offered in that arena.

MacRumors makes mention of a “wild card” announcement that could possibly be related to a major overhaul to the current Apple TV hardware, although there’s been no concrete evidence or leaks to back that up.

All in all, Tuesday looks to be a huge day for Apple users of all kinds; whether you’re a mobile device lover looking for a brand new iPad, a desktop user who’s been waiting for what feels like FOREVER for a MacPro update, or a software junkie holding their breathe for the Mavericks update, it seems that there will be something for everyone.

Stay tuned to Simply Macintosh for info on Tuesday as soon as it’s available!