Apple has confirmed that it will host an event next week where we will likely see the new iPad models unveiled alongside new Mac models with OS X Mavericks. With the tag line, "We still have a lot to cover" does Apple have more than just hardware updates to show, or is something more interesting afoot?
Sweating the Small Stuff
As expected, Apple is sticking to its meet-and-release calendar like clockwork with a new event scheduled for Tuesday 22 October. That should be a few hours after Nokia's Innovation Reinvented event, where we could see the first Windows Phone 8 phablet, and will put the new iPads on the streets for the beginning of November.
While the iPad 5 hardware should track that of the recent iPhone 5S launch, more interest is focused on what Apple can do with the iPad mini, given the intense competition from the Kindle Fire HDX, Google's Nexus 7 and other devices. Last month there was talk of not enough retina screens being available for it, but its easy to imagine Apple cracking a sizeable whip to get them produced, if that was true.
One thing not to expect is Apple budging on price, despite reports of orders being cut for the iPhone 5C and massive competition from lower-end devices, Apple still remains supremely confident that the iOS experience and ecosystem can sell tablets. So, what else is left to cover? Surely not literally a new iPad cover that's got some Apple techno magic rubbed into it?
Also on show will likely be a new line-up of MacBooks, the new cylindrical Mac Pro and perhaps a new Apple TV update to bring more of the iOS feeling to your TV screen, ahead of any 2014 HD set products. With Android TV becoming more of a challenge, will the squat black become more than just a hobby to Apple now?
Tablets In the Wider World
As Apple prepares its new devices, Intel's latest results have just been announced, with the company's CEO, Brian Crzanich, making an interesting statement about the new power efficient and competitive Haswell and Bay Trail processors. These are likely to help bring devices down to killer price points. He expects $99 tablets, $299 Haswell laptops, and $349 hybrid devices to hit the market, which could leave Apple looking pricier than ever.
Among the endless tablets, lower-priced notebooks are also back in vogue, with the new Chromebook 11 generating lots of interest That might not leave Apple feeling under threat, but the availability of a second generation of netbooks running mobile-friendly operating systems could do as much damage to Mac sales as they did to Windows sales in the late 2000s.
While tablet prices will likely remain static when announced, Apple could find some leeway to bring its notebook prices down, with processor prices falling and the Asian memory market recovering from recent troubles. could the company look to bring out a more price competitive product? That would be a challenge, but one that could help boost the company's PC market share.