Apple's Unleashed event on Monday, October 18, is possibly one
of most anticipated tech events of the year—more than the WWDC 21
keynote and the California Streaming iPhone 13 event last month,
even more than any event put on by Google, Intel, AMD, or any other
tech company this year. Why? Because Apple is about to unveil some
of its most anticipated new products in years. Here's what we
expect to see on Monday.
14- and 16-inch M1X MacBook
The computers we've all been waiting for are finally being
unleashed. Reports about the new MacBook Pro have been
flooding the rumors mill all year, and to say the Mac community is
excited is something of an understatement.
That's mostly because these new laptops should feature the next
chip in the two-year Apple silicon rollout, which will likely be
dubbed the M1X to differentiate it from the M1 that was released
last November in the 13-inch MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, Mac mini, and this past spring in the 24-inch iMac. (Bloomberg's Mark Gurman wonders if Apple will call it something other than
M1X, but whatever it's called doesn't matter in the end. It's about
the technology of the chip itself.) The M1 was an impressive debut
for the Apple silicon that will eventually replace all of Intel's
processors, and after a year, we're ready to see the chips evolve.
Equally exciting is the outside of the new MacBook Pro. Rumors
are persistent that we will be getting a new design with smaller
bezels to allow for more screen area, so the 14-inch will be about
the same size as the 13-inch and the 16-inch will be about the same
size as the former 15-inch. The screen could also be getting an
upgrade with mini-LED like the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, which would have better
image contrast and greater dynamic range than the current MacBook
Pro display. It might even have 120Hz ProMotion, which would make
scrolling, animations, and video playback smoother.
An SD Card slot on a new MacBook Pro will be an appealing
feature for content creators. Image: Apple
Wait, there's even more we can see from the new laptop. It's
possible that Apple will equip the MacBook Pro with more ports than
on the current 13 models, and also include an SD Card slot. Apple
may change the power adapter to one with a magnetic connector that
can break away in case the cord is yanked. The FaceTime camera
could finally be upgraded to a 1080p camera, like the one on the
24-inch iMac. And the Touch Bar could go away or modified, and
there should be a dedicated Touch ID button. Add it all up and
you've got a spectacular upgrade and easily the biggest advancement
for the MacBook Pro in years.
M1X Mac mini
Apple released the M1 Mac mini about a year ago to replace the
Intel-based models at the lower price points of the lineup.
However, there's still an Intel-based Mac mini for $1,099, the
highest-priced standard configuration.
The $1,099 Intel Mac mini could be replaced at the Unleashed
event. Reports say that Apple is working on a mini
with an M1X SoC and a new case that's half the height of the
current Mac mini. The case could also be made with a material
different from the aluminum that's been used for years, possibly
with iMac-style colors. It also will likely have have four
Thunderbolt/USB-C ports and a pair of USB-A ports, ethernet, and
The M1 Mac mini (pictured here) could be joined by a faster
model with a case redesign. Image: Apple
This new Mac mini would be a higher-end alternative to the
M1-based Mac mini in the lineup. Those cheaper models will still be
available but might not be upgraded for monther six-to-12
This one is a no-brainer—it will definitely be part of the
Unleashed event. Apple usually releases the major update to macOS
in the fall, and iOS 15, iPadOS 15, watchOS 8, and tvOS 15 have
already been released. We just got the tenth beta, so developement
is nearly finshed, and Apple will reveal when macOS Monterey will
be available—it could happen right after the event. It will also
ship with the new Macs announced at Unleashed.
New features in Monterey include updates to Messages and
FaceTime, Quick Notes, Focus, Live Text, Low Power Mode, Finder and
window changes, and more. Several features that Apple showcased at
WWDC 21 will not be available at Monterey's release and will be
made available in later updates, such as Universal Control and
SharePlay. Read our macOS Monterey Superguide for a FAQ, tips,
how-tos, feature explanations, and more.
It feels like we've been hearing about the release of the
third-generation AirPods forever. They've been rumored to appear in
past events, but haven't yet shown up. Could they finally make
their debut at Unleashed? AirPods will be a hot holiday purchase,
and Apple likes to open its events with a smaller product
announcement, and AirPods both figuratively and literally fit.
Reports say that the third-generation AirPods
will have redesigned earbuds, shorter stems, and a case that more
closely resembles the AirPods Pro case. They will have the mostly
same features as the second-generation AirPods, including fast
device pairing and switching, optical sensors, and motion and
speech-detecting accelerometers. They will not have active noise
cancellation, since that's a feature reserved for the Pro model.
The case could support MagSafe charging and the new AirPods will
likely support the expanded Find My support that was added to the
AirPods Pro and AirPods Max in early October.
New AirPods could have shorter stems than the second-generation
AirPods (pictured). Image: Apple
Consumer display, 32-inch iMac
There are some other products that could be announced at
Unleashed on Monday. Apple could release a display that's more
affordable than its current Pro Display XDR, which starts at
$4,999. Such as a display would not be as feature-filled as the
XDR, but an affordable 4K display could go well with the new Mac
There's also a possibility that Apple could release a 32-inch iMac to replace the current 27-inch
iMac, though recent reports have said that it's more likely that
the larger iMac won't be ready until 2022. If it were to arrive, we
expect a design that's similar to the 24-inch iMac, with a smaller
footprint and thinner bezels.