Apple sets next event for Oct. 30 with iPads, Macs likely on tap
We'll likely see new tablets and computers from Apple that include some features already found in iPhones.
Shara TibkenFormer managing editor
Shara Tibken was a managing editor at CNET News, overseeing a team covering tech policy, EU tech, mobile and the digital divide. She previously covered mobile as a senior reporter at CNET and also wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. Shara is a native Midwesterner who still prefers "pop" over "soda."
Apple plans to host an event on Oct. 30 in Brooklyn, New York. While the company never actually says what it's announcing, Apple is widely expected to introduce new iPads and Macintosh computers.
Apple sent hundreds of versions of its invite. For CNET's invited writers, one was colorful with sketched images of people, buildings and other items, possibly indicating a new Apple Pencil or other artistic features. The other was black and white with what appeared to be water droplets.
Watch this: Apple's October event: What we're expecting
Rumor has it that new iPad Pros will get bigger displays and lose the Touch ID fingerprint-sensing home button in favor of Apple's Face ID facial-recognition technology. The tablets may also have USB-C connectivity, as well as updated Apple Pencil styluses. And Apple may finally redesign its popular but outdated $999 MacBook Air. At the very least, the computer should get faster processors and other updated components.
This'll be Apple's second event in as many months. In September, the company unveiled its new iPhone XS, XS Max and XR phones during a flashy launch at the Steve Jobs Theater on its new campus in Cupertino, California. It also updated its Apple Watch with a slimmer design.
Apple has hosted events in October before but not since 2016.
The tech powerhouse has been soaring over the past few years and last August became the US' first trillion-dollar company. That's largely thanks to the success of the iPhone. Apple makes about two-thirds of its revenue from the device, and the gadget has also helped bring quick growth to its services businesses, which include the App Store and Apple Music.
iPads and Macs haven't done quite as well. Both hover at about 10 percent of Apple's total revenue, despite the company's efforts to grow those operations.
Apple's iPad lineup, once the company's hottest product line, in particular has been having a hard time for the past few years. Consumers have been holding on to their tablets for longer and opting to purchase bigger-screen iPhones and Macs instead. Apple's launch of its Pro lineup, which has an optional Pencil stylus and keyboard case, has helped the lineup, but it's nowhere near the size of the iPhone business.
There currently are four iPad models to choose from: the old iPad Mini 4, 10.5 and 12.9-inch 2017 iPad Pros, and Apple's new, affordable 2018 iPad that the company introduced in March. But much of Apple's iPad lineup is feeling its age. The iPad Mini 4 was released in September 2015 and last refreshed in March 2017, and it costs more than Apple's latest full-size, "sixth-generation" iPad.
The latter device, the only iPad released by Apple so far this year, is more of a basic model aimed at schools. At $329, it's affordable, comes with a speed boost and supports Apple's pressure-sensitive Pencil stylus, but its components, such as its display, are far from being top of the line.
Apple's Macs, meanwhile, are also feeling their age. In October 2016, Apple finally redesigned the MacBook Pro laptop, for the first time in four years. In place of physical function keys, Apple added a Touch Bar, which is a multitouch display built into the top row of the MacBook Pro's keyboard. It lights up with a menu of buttons, control sliders, dials and tools, which change according to what app you're using.
One computer that's been update-free for years is the popular, entry-level MacBook Air. The 13-inch computer, which starts at $999, finally got new chips during WWDC 2017. But Apple has resisted including a high-resolution Retina Display in the device, despite pleas by customers and reviewers.
Apple's desktops also have been overdue for an update. The company hasn't made big changes to its high-power Mac Pro since 2013. Notable for its cylindrical design, the Mac Pro is favored by graphic artists and others who need a lot of horsepower for professional purposes. Apple said in April 2017 that it's working on a big refresh of the computer, but a year later it said the device wouldn't hit the market until sometime in 2019.
Tune back to CNET for full coverage of Apple's October event.