With only hours to go before Apple's special event kicks off in San Jose, Calif., AppleInsider offers a collection of the latest news and rumors about the "iPad mini," 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display, and other products said to be in Apple's pipeline.
The highlight of Tuesday's event is expected to be a new 7.85-inch iPad, which is said to have a display resolution of 1,024 by 768 and will run existing iPad applications. The device is expected to lower the barrier to entry for the iPad lineup, undercutting the $399 iPad 2 that currently serves as Apple's entry-level model.
Like the existing 9.7-inch iPad, the smaller model is expected to have forward- and rear-facing cameras, as well as a thinner bezel on the sides that would allow the device to be more easily operated with one hand. A leaked battery has also shown a 16.7 watt-hour battery, while the display is expected to have the same aspect ratio as the full-size iPad.
It's also anticipated that the new Lightning connector found on the iPhone 5 and latest iPods will be featured on the iPad mini.
The new Lightning connector may also make an appearance in an updated third-generation iPad with Retina display, if some rumors prove accurate. While a mid-cycle product refresh would be uncharacteristic for Apple, a handful of new photos have suggested the current iPad could receive a minor revision.
"iPad mini" rendering by Martin Hajek.
Last week, AppleInsider received a product list that suggested Apple plans to announce 12 different configurations of iPad models, each of which are expected to be available in two colors. Four models â described as P101, P103, P105 and P107 â were detailed via stock-keeping units ranked as "good," "better" and "best."
The expected launch date for the iPad mini is Friday, Nov. 2, which is less than two weeks after the device is expected to be announced. But the iPad won't be the only product line to receive stage time at Tuesday's event, if rumors are to be believed.
Apple is also said to be planning to unveil a 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display. Last week, images claiming to show the final product leaked online, featuring two Thunderbolt ports, an SD card reader and an HDMI output. The person who has their hands on the alleged MacBook Pro claimed it does not feature a discrete graphics card.
A new iMac could also be launched this week, asAppleInsider was told on Tuesday that there are whispers in the reseller community that the updated desktop could become available on Wednesday. The iMac is expected to be redesigned with a thinner profile, though reports have said it will not feature a high-resolution Retina display.
And the diminutive Mac mini, Apple's small desktop computer and least expensive Mac, is also overdue for an update to Intel's latest Ivy Bridge processors. Supply of the Mac mini has been constrained at third-party resellers since earlier this month, which is often one of the first signs that a product refresh is forthcoming.
One product not expected to see a refresh this week is the company's Mac Pro desktop. Earlier this year, Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook revealed that his company is planning a "really great" update to arrive in 2013.
iTunes & iBooks
First announced by Apple in September, the newly redesigned iTunes software for Mac and PC is scheduled to arrive in late October. That means it's likely that the software could arrive as soon as Tuesday, following Apple's keynote.
iTunes 11 features a redesigned interface that hints at new concepts that Apple could adopt in its larger OS X platform. Apple said in September that the new iTunes user interface is "dramatically simpler," while new features have been added like a redesigned mini player and tighter iCloud interation.
Finally, word also leaked over the weekend that Apple is planning to release a major update for its iBooks application for iPad and iPhone. It's expected that Apple plans to use iBooks 3.0 along with the new iPad mini to push sales of the lower priced device to education buyers.
The education market is said by people familiar with Apple's plans to be a major focus at Tuesday's event. Apple has also recently tweaked its education sales force to emphasize iPads, as they offer a lower entry price to budget conscious schools than the company's Mac lineup.