Perhaps we should’ve gathered from iOS 8.1’s expected launch date of October 20, but Apple’s iPad—which was conspicuously missing from the company’s September iPhone/Watch event—will be hitting the spotlight around that time as well.
Actually, reports Recode’s John Paczkowski, it will slide in on October 16, putting its debut slightly ahead of the rollout for the mobile software. It also fits with Apple’s pattern of October iPad announcements.
Let’s consider what could be heading our way very, very soon.
Bigger iPads (And Just Maybe, Macs Too)
Anticipation is high for a next-generation iPad Air, as well as a new version of the iPad mini. Rumors suggest there will be a new 12-inch version joining the 9.7-inch and 7.9-inch models, as well as the same Touch ID fingerprint scanner—the latter of which fuels speculation that the tablet will be capable of Apple Pay, the company’s new mobile payments system.
It’s a strange thought—who would carry around a big tablet to pay for things in stores?—and it would require a Near Field Communication chip, like the iPhones 6 have. Given that, there’s a chance that the tablets could merely hook into Apple Pay to pay for online shopping.
Apple has also stayed curiously mum about its desktop and laptop offerings, so CEO Tim Cook and his crew could dedicate some time to chat about Macs, as well as OS X Yosemite, the desktop operating system Apple introduced, but still hasn’t publicly launched.
However, the company just released the first candidate for Golden Master, one of the last few pre-release versions before the desktop software goes into wide release.
Tying Up Loose Ends
Those computers and final desktop software will be key to the iOS-to-OS X integration that Apple promised when it announced its new iPhones.
That integration—designed to make switching between docs, webpages and more on iPhones, iPads and Macs easy and seamless—forms a cornerstone for features like iCloud Drive, the document syncing tool between Apple’s mobile devices and computers. Until now, though, such features have been essentially half-baked. (And apparently kind of buggy.)
See also: Why Apple’s iPad May Have Peaked
Hopefully iOS 8.1, the latest version of its iPhone and iPad operating system, will cure whatever glitches may still remain. The update is also expected to flip the “on” switch that officially grants access to Apple Pay functionality, as well as appease people upset about losing the Camera Roll that iOS 8.0 eliminated. There are strong suggestions that the new software will restore the familiar iPhone photo folder.
Fingers-crossed that this version doesn’t kill features like some of its software predecessors.
As for the tablets that will be the foundation for Apple’s next event, there’s a lot riding on whatever the button-down and jeans–wearing executives have to show us. iPads have seen sales decline in recent years, so there’s plenty of pressure on Apple to deliver announcements that reignite the public’s appetite for new ones. We don’t have long to wait now before we know whether a fire has been lit, or has in fact burned out.
Lead photo by Max Herman for Shutterstock