December 4, 2021

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How to Watch and What to Expect From Apple’s October Event (Macs!)

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Will There Be New MacBooks?

After months of rumors and speculation, it seems safe to say that we’ll see redesigned 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros. This is the first major refresh for the MacBook Pro in a while, and would be especially notable for the 16-inch MacBook Pro. Apple introduced M1 MacBooks last year—a 13-inch Air and 13-inch Pro—the 16-inch Pro was last refreshed two years ago and, as of right now, still sports an Intel chip.

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Photo: Joanna Nelius/Gizmodo

Rumors have suggested we’ll see a redesigned chassis on the Pro models, the return of the MagSafe connector, and more port options. That includes the return of the HDMI port and the SD card slot—both of which were nixed in 2016 when Apple decided to go USB-C only. The polarizing Touch Bar at the top of the keyboard is also thought to be going bye-bye. Reliable Apple prognosticator Ming-Chi Kuo last year predicted that we’d see two MacBook Pros with mini-LED displays this year. Apple earlier this year launched a 12.9-inch iPad Pro with mini-LED display, so bringing the tech to its MacBooks wouldn’t be unusual.

According to Bloomberg, both laptops will be powered by a “higher-end version of the M1 chip” that has 10 cores: eight high-performance and two low-power. The chip has thus far been mostly referred to as the M1X, though other leakers have dubbed it the M2. In any case, we’ll find out what it’s actually called on Monday.

Any Chance We’ll See Other Macs?

There have been murmurs that we might see a higher-end Mac Mini with the M1X. Bloomberg’s Marc Gurman noted in a newsletter earlier this summer to expect it in the next “several months”—which would put the Unleashed event right within that timeline. The M1 Mac Mini was introduced last November, but it was envisioned as an entry-level device and was therefore frustrating for some creative professionals due to its lack of ports. The higher-end Mini would have more ports and possibly a MagSafe connector and an updated design.

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That’s the only other Mac that we’re likely to see. According to Bloomberg, Apple is reportedly working on a newer MacBook Air, a smaller Mac Pro, another lower-end MacBook Pro, and a larger iMac. However, we’re not likely to see those before 2022, as Apple doesn’t want its devices to compete for attention.

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Photo: Caitlin McGarry/Gizmodo

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Will macOS Monterey Launch Already?

We already know what to expect from macOS Monterey. Right now, it’s the last of Apple’s annual OS upgrades that’s still in beta, and it’s likely it’ll get a public release once the new MacBooks are officially here. macOS Monterey isn’t as foundational a change as Big Sur was last year, but in general, you can expect it to work more seamlessly with your iPhone and other Apple devices. That said, we’re still not sure when we’ll see Universal Control, a neat feature that will let you use a single keyboard and mouse to control your Macs and iPads. It, and FaceTime’s SharePlay feature for hosting watch/listening parties with friends, have been delayed to some nebulous “future release.

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What About New AirPods?

We fully expected to see the AirPods 3 at last month’s event… and then that didn’t happen. Earlier this month, a DigiTimes report noted that they were still on track to be launched by the end of this year. They’re also rumored to already be in mass production, which means we stand a good chance of seeing them at the Unleashed event. Of course, Apple could also just launch these stealthily, without much fanfare, at a later date and time.

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Photo: Adam Clark Estes/Gizmodo

AirPods 3 rumors have been swirling for a while now. What we know is that they’re expected to borrow some design elements from the AirPods Pro, but will lack higher-end features like ANC and Spatial Audio. What’s unclear is whether they’ll feature ear tips for better fit or whether they’ll have a U1 chip for Precision Finding in the FindMy app.

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So there you have it. The Unleashed event will likely be a smaller affair than last month’s iPhone 13 extravaganza. That said, this is Apple and you can never truly rule out a “One More Thing” moment. As always, Gizmodo’s consumer tech team will be live-blogging Monday’s event with our usual blend of chaos and analysis—and you know you want in.

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