Well-connected and oft-reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has penned a new research note packed with predictions about next week’s Apple event, and Kuo is typically accurate with his forecasts..
That makes his most recent TF Securities note all the more interesting, since it features a couple unique predictions about Apple’s upcoming keynote — slated for 10 a.m. Eastern Time on Tuesday, Oct. 30 in New York City.
Notably, Kuo says that Apple is likely to launch a refreshed version of the iPad mini this year.
That comes as a bit of a surprise, since the general consensus has been that the device — which hasn’t been refreshed in years — is on the chopping block.
Kuo says that the new iPad mini, presumably the iPad mini 5, could feature an upgraded processor and a lower-cost display panel.
On the other hand, the analyst is not entirely sure that Apple will debut it at next week’s event. While it would make sense for the device to launch alongside new iPad Pro models, Kuo maintained the possibility that it could be announced and shipped later this year or early next.
AirPower & AirPods
In his research note, Kuo also touched upon the delayed-but-likely-still-coming AirPower wireless charging mat.
He forecasted that Apple could launch the device late into the fourth quarter of 2018, perhaps before the busy holiday shopping season. Or, Kuo added, Apple could launch it in the first quarter of 2019.
Kuo didn’t say conclusively whether AirPower’s release date would be announced next week or not. But, if it launches in December, it could still make sense for Apple to finally confirm next week when AirPower will ship.
Alongside the AirPower charging mat, Apple is largely expected to debut a new version of AirPods with a Qi-compatible charging case and a new wireless chip.
Now, onto the more routine predictions. As he’s forecasted in the past, Kuo still expects Apple to debut two new iPad Pro models at next week’s keynote event in New York.
Kuo said both devices will sport improved displays and a USB-C port instead of Lightning. A new version of the Apple Pencil will also likely be announced alongside the tablets.
While Kuo didn’t expand on what the so-called Apple Pencil 2 could look like, other rumors indicate it could feature a magnetic attachment clip and wireless Bluetooth connectivity.
The two new iPad Pro models are rumored to come with 10.5-inch and 12.9 displays, though in a smaller footprint. Both tablets are also expected to sport an edge-to-edge display, no Home button, and Face ID.
Finally, when it came to Mac hardware, Kuo didn’t add any new details to his forecast.
The TF Securities analyst still expects Apple to debut a low-cost, 13-inch Mac notebook — though it’s still unclear whether it would be marketed as a MacBook Air or a larger MacBook.
There will also probably be updates to the company’s 12-inch MacBook, iMac and Mac mini.