The guessing game is over and Apple has finally sent out invitations to a special October event that simply state "We still have a lot to cover." But how much is a lot?
Although new iPads are likely to be key announcements at the event, Apple is also expected to officially launch the latest version of its desktop operating system, OSX Mavericks, updated notebooks and the final pricing and availability details of its long-awaited and teased Mac Pro desktop.
New iPads and a new gold standard for tablets
The fifth generation 9.7-inch iPad will probably, like its recently launched smartphone brethren, come in the choice of silver, space grey and potentially, gold. And, like the latest flagship iPhone, it will also feature a fingerprint sensor built into the homekey. Apart from new colors, the new iPad will also likely be a slightly different, narrower, slimmer shape thanks to a reduced display bezel and the use of different LED backlighting technology that would also make the tablet lighter.
Inside, it is set to have Apple's latest A7 64-bit processor and sport much better front and rear-facing tablets.
As well as a new form factor, the full-sized device is also expected to be presented with a choice of newly designed smart covers that protect the screen when not in use and double as an angled prop stand when in use.
It too is set to get an internal overhaul that includes a better processor -- most likely the A6 chipset in the iPhone 5C -- and cameras and unlike the original model, will sport a Retina HD display. However, incorporating a screen that is more energy draining will mean that the second generation 7.9-inch tablet will be thicker than the device it replaces, to make space for a bigger, longer-lasting battery. Reports suggest that because of manufacturing issues, the second-generation iPad may be in short supply if it indeed hits shelves at the end of October.
The company's pro-standard notebooks are set to make the shift to Intel's Haswell processors, meaning better battery life and graphics performance and there is also the distinct possibility that the company will discontinue the option of optical drives on both the 13-inch and 15-inch models, using the extra space to include bigger batteries, more RAM and even more internal storage. Expect similar internal upgrades to the Mac Mini too.
The next version of Apple's desktop operating system, "Mavericks" will also be launched at the event. It brings over 200 new features including tighter integration with iOS so that information, apps and services can be shared across devices, for instance, pushing maps details from a tablet screen to the desktop or forwarding a FaceTime call from a notebook to an iPhone.
The cat's already out of the bag with this one. Apple, quite uncharacteristically, offered a sneak peek of the computer and its capabilities at its World Wide Developers Conference in June and now all that's left to reveal is pricing, real-world benchmark performance and an official release date. The latest reports, courtesy of French Apple news site, MacG.co, suggest that creative industry types will be able to make their first orders for the computer on November 15.
What not to expect
Apple will also more than likely reveal a tweaked Apple TV set-top box, but don't expect to see an Apple-built television set, a 12-inch monster tablet or a smartwatch at this month's event. The same goes for a cut-price tablet or an affordable notebook. However, reports are gaining momentum that a cheaper 'consumer' range of computers and mobile devices may be launched in early 2014. But, as with every Apple event, we'll have to wait and see exactly what Tim Cook, Phil Schiller and Jony Ive have up their sleeves or on their wrists next Tuesday.