Apple In The Big Apple

Last week we received the news I, and many other iPad fans, had been waiting for. The expetected iPad Pro (and maybe Mac) event was a go!
On Tuesday, 30th October, at 2pm (U.K. time) the team at Apple will take to the stage of the (very glamourous looking) Howard Gilman Opera House in New York City (specifically Brooklyn) to showcase some of their latest products. The iPad was noticably absent from the iPhone event in September, so it’s pretty much a given we’ll be seeing this refresh at this event.
The event invites were sent with the tagline:

‘There’s more in the making’

Alongside this, the team at Apple created some amazing looking custom Apple logo designs which, presumably, were created on iPads. I’m sure we’ll hear more about this on the day, but here are some of my personal favourites:

If you wanted to check out all 371 custom icons Apple created, someone has created a Git repository to house them all. This is well worth checking out.

Prior to seeing that the October event had been confirmed, I started to have some doubts it was actually coming. I felt that very little had been leaked, so far, for this to be an imminent event. Sincet then, however, I’ve realised that there is actually quite a lot out there that seems to have propogated quite widely, and I assume will come to be true. So, what do we think we know so far? What are the obvious things we’re likely to see:

iPad Pro refresh

Firstly, updated iPad Pro’s not only seem to be a given, they are likely the reason this event isn’t just a press release. Rumours of an 11″ version of the iPad Pro has been doing the rounds for some time now, so my guess would be that we’ll see the 10.5″ replaced with a device with the same footprint, but with a larger screen, but also another device that does the opposite, namely keeps the 12.9″ screen size, but reduces the body / footprint down to make the device a bit more managable. To allow for this to happen, Apple are clearly going to need to ‘do an iPhone X’ and remove the home button, add Face ID and then also reduce the bezels as much as possible. The 10.5″ iPad Pro already reduced the side bezels quite considerably, but the ‘forehead’ and ‘chin’ still have a lot of shaving potential. As you can see from the renders below, courtesy of 9to5Mac these devices could potentially look pretty fantastic.

Along with this fantastic new look, you can be sure there will be the usual bumps to the spec sheet, such as the use of a new A12X chip, to the already high powered beauties.

A new port?

Another rumour that has been floating around for a while now is that the iPad Pro line will drop the Lightning connector, for USB-C, to move the iPad Pro away from the iPhone line, and in line with recent Mac models. This gained quite a bit of attention, with many praising this as a huge step for the iPad Pro to move into ‘real computer’ territory (though it’s there for me already, but that’s a story for another day).

I have to be honest and say that I don’t really understand how this makes that much difference. I already connect my iPad Pro 10.5″ to a 4K display, and it’s not the fact that the device isn’t pushing 4K content to the monitor that’s the issue. It’s the fact that, unless I’m playing a film, the iPad display is still letterboxed in the middle of the screen (due to the unusual 4:3 aspect ratio), and it’s also still just a mirror of what the iPad screen is showing. Driving the 4K monitor is a small step in the right direction, I guess, but there will need to be fundamental iOS changes before this adds any tangible benefits. It sounds like Springboard updates will be coming in iOS 13, after being pushed back from iOS 12 earlier in the year, so this might be far too many things to add in a single release. The way things have been going, however, after limited iPad focused updates in iOS 12, it would seem logical that iOS 13 would include the next big leap for the iPad.

To me, I expect the iPad Pro updates to be 99% on the hardware side, with any real software developments happening with iOS 13. Apple will often lay the hardware foundations first, ready for new software developments to catch up and I don’t expect this to vary from this trend.

Throw away all of your accessories

If the rumour is true about a switch to USB-C, along with whispers of the Smart Connector also going (or at least moving) it’s likely we’re all going to have to get all new accessories to go along with our new devices. An Apple Pencil v2, that connects the same way the Logitech Crayon currently works is likely, as is a new Smart Keyboard, though as far as I’ve seen not a single thing has leaked on that particular front. I’ve worked my way through many keyboards for my iPad Pro, but I always come back to the Smart Keyboard. I really love it, so I’m intrigued by what a revision to this may look like. It’s possible that Apple will just refresh this to add compatability with the new connector type / location, and I’m not sure what I’d change beyond this really, but I’m interested in seeing what happens on this front.

Location, Location, Location

The last time Apple went outside of their campus for an event was back in March, for their Education focused event. This was held in Lane Tech College Prep High School, in Chicago. In this case, the venue tied in perfectly with the reason for the event. Will the October event, in an Opera House, follow suit? I assume we wont see Eddie Cue belting out Nessun Dorma as Scott and I theorised in the latest episode of Pocket Sized Podcast (shameless pun intended), so what may this mean?

Apple has been positioning the iPad Pro line, as the name suggests, as Pro hardware. Apple already has some professional grade software that has, to date, be the domain of the Mac. Logic Pro X is a professionally focused music recording and editing tool which may well be the first candidate to be transitioned to the iPad Pro line. As Scott put it, again in the latest episode of PSP, it’s perhaps time for Apple to put it’s money (and it’s apps) where it’s mouth is and bring some truly ‘Pro’ apps to the iPad Pro.

Something, Something Mac

I’m not even going to pretend to know anything about what may be coming on the Mac front. Having moved to iOS as my main OS back in 2011 / 2012 I’ve not followed Mac developments at all. It’s now so far out of my area of knowledge I wont even patronise any readers with a rehash of what has been written elsewhere. I can’t add my own thoughts or commentary to it, so I’d rather just refrain from commenting. What I will say, however, is that while not for me, the Mac line is still a very important area for many people, and my beloved iPad Pro would be devoid of any apps without it, so I hope the Mac people get whatever it is they need to help keep this area fresh, exciting and more importantly, usable for them.

All in all, I’m beyond excited for what we’ll see come 30th October. My wallet, on the other hand, is dreading what expense it will have to endure, a month before Christmas, but it’ll be fine! I’ll be watching the event live, along with millions of others, and will be sure to share my thoughts on what I see via the, the companion podcast and, also, via another podcast that will, for now, remain nameless.