10 Last-Minute Predictions for Apple’s ‘Let Loose’ Event

I’ve been mostly offline for the last week, camping with my wife and dog, and taking a couple of trainings (Wilderness First Aid and AMGA Single Pitch Instructor, if you’re interested), so no big thinkpiece from me regarding Apple’s (presumed) iPad event tomorrow today. Also, I’ll be at work during the event itself, so don’t expect a live blog this time around. 😕

But I’m pretty excited to see what they have ready to unveil. It seems clear that it’s going to be iPad-focused — which is good since it’s been over a year since the last iPad refresh. I’m still pretty happy with my 2020 iPad Pro (except for a dwindling battery capacity), but my wife’s (7th-gen?) iPad has seen better days. We might have a hand-me-down situation in our near future.

Anyway, based on rumor mill and my own pondering, here are a few things I’m predicting we’ll see announced.

1️⃣ Apple Pencil Pro — This seems like the surest thing based on the event invitations, Tim Cook’s tweet, and the apple.com animation. What will come in a Pencil Pro? I think:

  • Vision Pro support for interacting with virtual objects and apps
  • Haptic feedback (important for operating in mid air” with Vision Pro)
  • Flip-around eraser mode
  • Physical or force-press button” (another Action Button?)
  • Magnetic attachment and charging will be a solved problem (maybe moved to a different edge?)

2️⃣ OLED Screen for iPad — Honestly, this is probably what I’m most excited for. The iPad Pro screen is great, but better contrast and true blacks will be awesome for what is a video-centric device for a lot of people.

3️⃣ M3 Chip Inside — This is almost a coin flip for me. It’d be kind of wild if Apple makes a splash by speeding onto the M4 chip even before the M4 Ultra makes its debut, but I also wouldn’t been too surprised. But if Apple can call the (fairly recently introduced) MacBooks Air the best laptops for AI with the M3 chips in them, I don’t see why they’d need to jump ahead to the next generation chip already. I think the new iPad Pro models will match the MacBooks Air chipset.

4️⃣ Every iPad gets an update — This is a bit risky, but, again, since it’s been over a year since any iPad was refreshed, they’re all plausibly due. Some might just get a chip bump, while other models get a design refresh as well.

5️⃣ New Pro” Keyboard Accessory — I think they’re going to learn even further into the Pro” moniker. The regular Magic Keyboard might stick around for some models, but I think they’re going introduce a newer, more advanced keyboard. Here’s what I’m hoping for:

  • USB-C data passthrough (the current Magic Keyboard’s USB-C port does charging only)
  • Wider hinge angle
  • Function row keys
  • Larger trackpad

6️⃣ Mac Virtual Display — While I’d love a virtualized macOS mode or (hybrid device), I highly doubt that’s coming anytime soon. But visionOS got a way to remotely control a nearby Mac, and since visionOS appears to be most closely realted to iPadOS, I think it’s within the realm of possibility that an iPad could get that functionality too.

7️⃣ Minimum storage space on the base-level iPad gets bumped up — The 10th-gen iPad starts at 64 GB and then the next tier up is 256 GB. 64 GB is simply too low. Even with minimal apps, that storage space is filled far too quickly, which makes installing any updates a real pain in the ass. And the next tier being almost a full 200 GB jump is kind of crazy. I’m hoping to see a minimum of 128 GB of storage across the lineup of new iPads.

8️⃣ Goodbye Home Button — Based on nothing but a gut feeling, I think we’ll the see the iPad (9th-gen), the last iPad with a Home Button, go the way of the Dodo. It’s time. They can keep the 10th-gen around at the sub-$400 price point and get all iPads on the full-screen interface. (That’ll leave just the iPhone SE with a Home Button — something else I think will get rectified in the next 12 months.)

9️⃣ Event video will be no longer than 45-minutes — 30 mintues seems a bit short, especially since I expect we’ll see some Pencil demos, but a full hour feels too long. So I’m splitting the difference.

🔟 AI will be said at least 15 times — Although I think Machine Learning” was a better term for this technology, at some point you just have to use the popular vernacular and Artifical Intelligence” won out. Apple really wants us to know that they’re working hard on AI features, and I think we’ll hear about it at least once every three minutes on average.

If all goes how I think it will, we’ll probably end up with a new 11-inch iPad Pro (with cellular, cause it’s the best), Magic Keyboard Pro, and Apple Pencil Pro in our household. I can’t wait to see how these picks turn out. Stay tuned for their grading!

Bonus, longshot, prediction: Updated keyboard, mouse, and trackpad accessories with USB-C, that work better across iPad, Vision Pro, and Mac (as ruminated on The Talk Show #499). And please, for the love of God, release a compact version in silver with black keys already.

Bonus bonus T-minus 7 minutes prediction: Freeform gets a major drawing/artist upgrade.

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