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10/22/2012
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Apple iPad Mini Launch: What Else On Deck?

Apple is expected to debut the iPad Mini Tuesday, but that's not all. Here's a look at the other gear that may be coming our way.

Apple One Year After Steve Jobs: Hits And Misses
Apple One Year After Steve Jobs: Hits And Misses
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
The invitation for Apple's October 23 media event read, "We've got a little more to show you." The presence of the word "little" is clearly a play on the event's main attraction, which is to be a smaller version of Apple's smash-hit tablet, the iPad. It's also probably a bit of an understatement, since Apple is also expected to debut new laptops, new desktops, and other new hardware.

Apple typically updates its major hardware lines about once per year. We've seen this pattern with the iPhone, iPad, and iPod line of devices, as well as some of Apple's laptops. When the update cycle stretches past a full year, you can be sure new stuff is coming soon. Here's what Apple might show us, aside from the iPad Mini.

Highly Likely

1. New iMacs -- Apple hasn't updated its desktop machines since 2011. Were a radical new design on deck, Apple might have a special event just for the iMac. This time around, the update is going to feature under-the-hood improvements, such as speedier processors and stronger graphics engines. I wouldn't expect Apple to change the design or other specs much.

2. New Mac Mini -- The Mac Mini hasn't been updated in close to 15 months. That means it is ripe for a refresh. Whether or not Apple will change the design is debatable, but processor and graphics improvements will fall in line with updates made to the iMac line.

3. iTunes 11 -- Apple revealed some forthcoming changes to iTunes earlier this year, but has yet to deliver the new version of its desktop media management program. Apple will probably reveal the full details of iTunes 11 and make it available in coming weeks.

[ What should you buy: iPad Mini, Or iPad? 4 Deciding Factors. ]

Possible

1. Retina Display 13-Inch MacBook Pro -- Apple updated the MacBook Pro line earlier this year, but the top-of-the-line model was the only one given the Retina Display treatment. Recent reports have suggested that Apple will announce a 13-inch MacBook Pro with its own version of the high-resolution screen.

2. Cinema Display -- It has been well more than a year since Apple updated its standalone Cinema Display. It shipped the Thunderbolt-equipped displays starting in September of 2011. The Display is due for an update, but what new features Apple might add to the Display are a mystery.

Unlikely

1. Retina Display iPad Update -- Apple rarely updates products in the middle of their lifecycle, but images floating around the Internet purport to show a new version of the Retina Display iPad that loses the 30-pin connector and replaces it with Apple's new Lightning port. This would be an atypical move for Apple, though.

2. Apple TV -- Apple last updated the Apple TV in fall 2011. It's due for an update, but Apple has been cagey about its so-called "hobby." Some have expected Apple to go as far as combining the Apple TV with an HDTV set, but there have been no leaks, no screen grabs, no product numbers, nothing to corroborate this. It's possible Apple will update the specs and or design, but even that isn't all that likely.

Apple's media event kicks off at 1 p.m. Eastern / 10 a.m. Pacific on Tuesday, October 23. InformationWeek will provide coverage of the news and analysis throughout the day.

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