Apple is hosting its second big hardware event of the fall. It held its traditional September event to announce all the new iPhone 13s (as well as some new iPads and the Apple Watch Series 7), and now its upcoming October 18th event is expected to play host to Macs of all kinds.
Apple's official invite, which sports the word "Unleashed" as it subtitle, showcases the Apple logo with a lightspeed treatment. It's undoubtly a reference to the next generation of Apple's M-series chips, which will be the foundation of the upcoming series of Macs and Macbooks.
There could also be a little AirPods surprise to sweeten the deal as well. Here's all the rumors that have been stacking up over the past year or so, and what we expect to show up next week.
The event will be livestreaming on Apple.com (and presumably also YouTube) on October 18th, 2021 starting at 10AM PDT/1PM EDT.
14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros
Rumors have been swirling about the next generation of MacBooks for almost a year now, since Apple announced the M1-powered MacBook Air in November 2020, but there has been little if anything in the way of official news since.. New, fully-redesigned MacBooks (MacBook Pros in particular), completely re-engineered to make the most of Apple's new chips are all but certain to drop before the year is out.
The next-generation MacBook Pros are expected to have a new-and-improved version of the M1 chipset, which is reportedly being called M1X. Apple is also rumored to be working on an M2 chipset, which will have further performance and efficiency enhancements over the M1X chipset, but we'll likely have to wait until Spring 2022 to see it integrated into any computers.
Rumors suggest that shrinking bezels will see the new MacBooks sport larger 14- and 16-inch displays, despite remaining the same general size as they were before.
A high-end Mac mini
At last year's event, Apple announced an updated Mac mini that looked exactly the same as the previous Mac mini, but it now had M1 processor (just like the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air) so it was way more powerful and efficient. According to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, Apple is gearing up to announce a higher-end Mac mini with a second-generation "M1X" processor. This new Mac mini is rumored to have a new look —with a plexiglass top and magnetic charging connector (just like the new M1 iMac) — and more ports. It's unlikely that Apple will announce this new Mac mini in September, however, but instead announce it alongside the higher-end MacBook Pros in October or November.
A release date for macOS Monterey
The next, upcoming version of macOS, Monterey, was announced at Apple's World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) over the summer, as it generally is. While Apple said macOS Monterey would be coming this year, we didn't get an official release date and we still haven't. This just lends additional credence to the theory that Apple's next event will be a Macintosh jamboree, with a suite of new Macs and a release date for the operating system to boot.
We may not know when it is arriving, but we do know a decent amount about the features that macOS Monterey will provide, which include the ability to stream content from a phone to a Mac using AirPlay, the ability to seamlessly use your Mac's mouse and keyboard to pilot an iPad, an improved Notes app, updates to Safari and more.
While most of Apple's most anticipated announcements are Mac related, there is a potential "one more thing" waiting in the wings. Heavily rumored to break cover at the iPhone 13 event (which they did not), Apple is gearing up to announce the next generation of AirPods (not AirPods Pro). It's been over two years since Apple gave us its second-generation AirPods (back in March 2019) and we're due for an update.
The third-generation models are expected to adopt the design of the AirPods Pro — meaning shorter stems or swappable silicone ear tips — but won't likely have all the same premium features, like noise-cancellation and transparency modes. They could have the built-in sensors (accelerometer and gyroscope) to enable spatial audio, however, which would be a big upgrade for people watching videos or movies on their iPhone.