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Apple's October 27 Mac event: What to expect

A new MacBook Pro, a possible 13-inch MacBook, and maybe an iMac or a display could be on deck. But don't look for iPads.

Sarah Tew/CNET
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They're back.

Apple's October 27 event in Cupertino promises a whole lot of Mac. Although Apple just had an iPhone 7 and Apple Watch event in September, this October follow-up should be all about the computer part of Apple's hardware portfolio.

Apple didn't even have an October event last year, opting for a single September event that revealed the iPad Pro, iPhone 6S and new Apple TV (and no Macs). But it's been a long time since there was any substantial Mac-related news besides the new 12-inch MacBook, which debuted in early 2015 and was refreshed back in April of this year, so there should be plenty of ground to cover.

So, what can you expect? Here's what the most informed insiders are saying.

A new MacBook Pro, with an OLED touch bar. Apple hasn't had a significant MacBook Pro redesign since the 2012 model. But this time, expect a thinner model that feels more like a cousin to the 12-inch USB-C MacBook, according to Mark Gurman at Bloomberg and other reports. Its biggest feature could be a context-aware OLED strip above the keyboard that turns into app-related controls and keys on the fly. Also likely to be onboard, according to Gurman: a newer Intel chip, faster graphics and a larger trackpad. (A new report on Macrumors further bolsters the report that the function keys will be replaced by a touch-screen strip.)

A 13-inch MacBook...or a new MacBook Air. Two different reports have pointed in two slightly different directions: there could finally a MacBook Air update, but possibly only one that adds USB-C ports, per Mark Gurman. Alternately, there could be a larger 13-inch version of the aforementioned 12-inch MacBook, according to a recent report from KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has been very accurate with Apple predictions in the past. We'll find out on Thursday whether these are separate products, or really just different reports of the same one.

A new iMac (maybe). The iMac hasn't had any updates in a while, and the updated model could feature new AMD graphics. Beyond that, information has been slim (no, there won't be any touchscreens). Kuo says the new desktop might not be available until next year but could be unveiled this week.

A new display (possibly). Apple hasn't had a new monitor in years, and a rumored 5K cinema display could fit the bill. Just like the iMac, this could end up arriving next year but be previewed at the event (again, according to Kuo). The last monitor Apple made, the Thunderbolt Display, was discontinued earlier this year.

USB-C everywhere. Rumors say the new MacBook Pro will only have USB-C ports, just like the 12-inch MacBook. (Even the MagSafe charge connector could go away.) USB-C could carry over to the rest of the Mac line, and some accessories.

No new iPads. The iPad Pro and its iPad siblings probably won't be anywhere to be seen, despite the fact that the 12.9-inch iPad Pro is a year old and could use an update. Instead, a 2017 event could unveil three new versions across the board.

Probably no new Mac Mini or Mac Pro, either. The rumor mill has been dry on both Apple's entry-level and highest-end computer. That means anyone looking for an update on the Mac Mini (last updated 2014) or the Mac Pro (from way back in 2013) is likely to be disappointed.

CNET will be there in Cupertino on Thursday: follow us live as we look at everything firsthand.