What to expect from Apple’s October 2021 event

Apple is set to host its second big hardware event of the fall on Monday. The virtual event, dubbed “Unleashed,” is expected to spotlight new Mac products powered by Apple’s custom ARM-based processors.

Scheduled to kick off at 10 a.m. ET and broadcast from Apple’s Cupertino, California, headquarters, the event could see the unveiling of new MacBook Pros, new Mac Minis, and perhaps a new generation of AirPods.

The MacBook Pro line first got its taste of Apple’s custom silicon in 2020 with the release of its 13-inch MacBook Pro, but its 16-inch model is still powered by an Intel chip. The new Pros are rumored to come in 14-inch and 16-inch models and get Apple’s M1X chip, an upgrade over last year’s M1 chip, according to Bloomberg.

The new chip, which reportedly packs 10 CPU cores and 16 or 32 GPU cores, will need to provide enough performance to match the power of Apple’s existing MacBook Pro lineup, which creators like photo and video editors rely on as their workhorse machine.

In addition to the new chips, the updated MacBook Pros will get new mini LED displays, which unlike standard LED panels, offer more accurate colors, a major benefit for creators.

According to Bloomberg, the new Pros will likely bring back the HDMI port and SD card slot, two features that Apple dropped from its last generation MacBook Pros that left photo and video editors rather miffed, as they rely on such connections.

Additionally, according to MacRumors, the Pros will ditch Apple’s Touch Bar entirely. In its place, Apple will put a standard row of keyboard keys.

The new Mac mini is also expected to come equipped with Apple’s M1X processor, making it a solid desktop replacement and workstation.

Apple previously released a version of the Mac mini with an M1 chip alongside its first M1-powered MacBooks in 2020, but this one is said to be designed for users who need stronger performance.

Finally, Apple could debut its third-generation AirPods. Rumors of a third-generation version of the AirPods have been floating around for some time now. They were initially expected to be announced during Apple’s September iPhone event, but never showed up.

The new AirPods, Bloomberg reports, are said to feature a refined design similar to the AirPods Pro as well as a Pro-style charging case. Don’t, however, expect Apple to show off AirPods with any fancy new health features. Those, according to The Wall Street Journal, are still in development.

When they do come, if ever, they’ll pack a thermometer to take your in-ear temperature, a sensor to measure your posture, and the potential to function as hearing aids.

The Oct. 18 show follows Apple’s September event that unveiled the iPhone 13 line and the Apple Watch Series 7.

While initial reports indicate the iPhone 13 is selling well, Apple has also been stung by the ongoing chip shortage caused by the pandemic. As a result, the company had to cut its iPhone 13 orders by as many as 10 million units. Whether the shortage will hurt Apple’s MacBook sales remains to be seen.

The company’s Mac line of products has done well throughout the pandemic as consumers purchased laptops and desktops to work and learn from home.

For its fiscal 2020 Apple saw Mac revenue jump to $28.6 billion from $25.7 billion in 2019. And just last quarter, Mac revenue was up to $8.2 billion from $7.0 billion.