For the fourth time in the past decade,
is holding a second event to announce new versions of its gadgets ahead of the holiday shopping season. The technology giant, which last month unveiled updated iPhones and smartwatches, is scheduled on Tuesday to take over the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York City, where it is expected to show off new members in its iPad and Mac product lines. Here’s what you need to know:
Apple’s invitation for Tuesday’s event said more was in the making. So what’s in store?
Apple is likely to unveil a new iPad Pro with speedier processors and new sensors that bring the facial-recognition technology featured on its iPhones to tablets, analysts say.
The update is part of Apple’s effort to reinvigorate its tablet business whose sales have tumbled 40% from their 2013 peak. Its last iPad, launched in June 2017, updated the display and processors.
Though the iPad Pro, launched in 2015, carries a higher price of $649 to $1,279 and includes additional features like keyboard compatibility, Apple has been unable to return annual sales growth in a business that has declined the past four fiscal years.
A new iPad will be critical to the company’s efforts to remain the leader in the high-end segment of the tablet market, said Rob Cihra, an analyst with Guggenheim Partners. “You have to keep refreshing the product if you want to keep a hold on the high end,” Mr. Cihra said.
Did you say updated Mac?
Apple has caught flak from its customers in recent years for its failure to update its lower-priced MacBook Air and Mac mini devices. Though the company improved the processor speed on the MacBook Air in 2017 and updated the Mac mini in 2014, major changes haven’t come to those devices in years.
Analysts expect Apple to introduce a new, lower-priced MacBook that features an updated display and a quieter keyboard. Pricing of the new device will be critical to determining how broadly adopted it becomes. Currently, the MacBook Air starts at $999.
The Mac mini, which currently starts at $499, has long been a popular device among families who prefer to have an Apple desktop at home. The company is expected to update the device with new processors that analysts hope will prompt many longtime users to update their existing devices.
Mac units have been declining since fiscal 2015, so this “refresh is sorely needed,” Mr. Cihra said. Though its PC business won’t become a growth driver for the iPhone maker, the new Macs could help Apple dispel the notion that “they’ve been lagging the PC market rather than leading,” he said.
New Macs. New iPads. New iPhones. New Watches. What’s up with all the Apple products this year?
This week’s expected updates to the iPad Pro, MacBook and Mac mini would mean that Apple is launching a record seven new devices ahead of the all-important holiday shopping season. Its previous high was five new gadgets in 2016 and 2017.
Apple is releasing all of these products while wrestling with stagnating iPhone shipments. That people are holding on to iPhones longer has translated into slowing unit sales of the company’s most profitable device. Adding new tablets and Macs could help offset the iPhone malaise by triggering sales of its other signature products.
The increase in Apple devices ahead of this Christmas fits into a broader trend across the gadget landscape that is going to make holiday shopping more challenging this year. Amazon.com Inc. announced some 70 new devices in September.
Could there be anything more?
With Apple, there is always that possibility. The company didn’t announce an update to its AirPods in September, as some had expected. Hosting the event at Brooklyn Academy of Music has prompted some Apple observers to speculate that the wireless earbuds could be part of the show. Invitations with digitally-drawn art also have raised expectations that Apple will talk about the digital stylus the company first introduced in 2015.
Write to Tripp Mickle at Tripp.Mickle@wsj.com