Apple is about to hold its third big event in three months, following launch events for the iPhone, Apple Watch and iPad.
The latest event is expected to focus on Apple’s Macs. More specifically, it’s set to bring some significant changes to their insides.
The event is widely rumoured to serve as the introduction of the first Macs that feature Apple Silicon inside – which Apple had promised would be shown off by the end of the year. The company announced in June that it was working on new chips to replace its current intel processors, but the products using them are now presumably ready.
There may be more else besides, of course. But the main focus at least is expected to be Apple’s computers.
Here’s everything we expect from the event, which begins at 10am local pacific time, or 5pm in the UK.
As with Apple’s other recent events, it will be streamed online, taking the form of a live broadcast of a video from its Apple Park campus.
At Apple’s developer conference in June, it said it would make a historic change to its Macs: moving away from Intel’s chips, and instead designing its own, just as it already does for its iPads and iPhones.
Then, it said that the first computers including the hardware would be out by the end of the year, and that the transition would be complete within two years.
Now it seems to be ready to show off the first of those computers. That will almost certainly be the central part of the event.
What’s less certain is what exactly those computers will look like. Rumours – as well as an augmented reality design hidden in the invitation – suggest that Apple will initially release laptops using the new technology.
It’s likely to arrive at the cheaper and more consumer end of Apple’s laptop line, perhaps in a new MacBook Air, and maybe with the revival of the smaller “MacBook”. Eventually, it will come to the rest of the line – Apple is rumoured to be working on a re-designed and smaller Mac Pro – but that is likely to cause more disruption and so will probably be delayed.
Apple appears to have managed to keep the details of those laptops largely under wraps. It’s not clear how much of a design departure they will represent from the current line-up, for instance, or whether they will also have new features.
What will really be interesting is what Apple has managed to do with those chips. It has promised vast efficiency and speed gains, which should amount to both improved battery life and performance – but we won’t know by just how much until they show it off.
At the same time, Apple will almost certainly announce a release date for macOS Big Sur, which was first revealed alongside the new iOS and watchOS in June but is yet to make it to the public.
This has to happen because the new operating system is required for the new chips. (There will really be two versions of Big Sur, one for each chip family, though they will look identical.)
Apple could announce that the software is coming almost straight after the event. That is what happened with iOS after the Apple Watch introduction, in September.
One more “one more thing”
While the event will almost certainly be mostly Mac focused – and there’s very little left to announce, with almost all the other big Apple products having been announced – there might be the opportunity to highlight something else. At last month’s iPhone introduction, Apple snuck the HomePod Mini in before it started talking about the headlining handsets, and it could do the same this time around.
The company is rumoured to be working on “AirPods Studio”, which will include the technology from the earphones but in a design that goes over the head, and might show those off. It’s also long been rumoured to be planning “AirTags”, which can be stuck to items such as wallets or keys and then found using an iPhone, so those might arrive too.
Other Apple products, such as the Apple TV, have gone some time without an update. But there have been no firm rumours suggesting that it, or any other products, are necessarily likely to be part of the event.
Leak reveals Macs Apple is expected to announce at next major event