The rumor mill always says that Apple will update nearly everything in the Fall, and it's almost never true. Here's when to expect updates to iPad, AirPods, Mac, MacBook Pro, and more.
Apple's "Wonderlust" special event in September saw the introduction of the iPhone 15 lineup, the Apple Watch Series 9, the Apple Watch Ultra 2, and an updated AirPods Pro case with USB-C. With the main iPhone release done for 2023, the attention now shifts to the rest of Apple's product catalog.
We know there are rumors about Apple's most popular product lines, but there are quite a few items in the collection that simply haven't seen an update in quite a while, and could be due one soon. A product that hasn't been updated in a while stands a good chance of being updated eventually.
What follows is a comprehensive look at everything else that Apple didn't include in the September event, when they were last updated, and the chances of an update running until May.
This article was last updated on October 9, 2023.
Apple did touch upon AirPods during the September event, albeit in a very limited fashion. At the time, all Apple did was introduce a new charging case for the AirPods Pro that uses USB-C instead of Lightning.
The AirPods were last given a bump in October 2021 to the third-generation model, two and a half years after the second-generation release, which itself was two years and 3 months after the original version.
Based on this cadence of two years and a quarter or thereabouts, an AirPods update could easily occur in early 2024.
Apple's AirPods Max is the considerable outlier of the group, with the least information to work from since there's only been one release in December 2020. That's two years and nine months ago at the time of writing.
A release in early 2024 would give the AirPods Max a three-year cadence, which seems plausible considering the rest of the AirPods range. Since we have only one real data point to work with, this is a best guess as much as anything.
The AirPods Pro were last updated in September 2022, with the second-generation release, while the first-generation came out in October 2019. Apple has also added a case change between releases, such as the MagSafe Charging Case release in September 2021, and the September 2023 USB-C version.
With a gap between the actual releases of three years, and with case updates also occurring between releases, we may not necessarily see an update for another year or two.
The desktop Mac lineup consists of a few models, if we exclude rumors of a large-screened iMac for a moment. For most of them, we have a good idea of a release cadence, or at least we can take an educated guess that nothing's happening anytime soon.
Apple has a tendency to release Macs in order based on the schedule of its M-series chip releases. Some Macs use the lower-end chips, so will arrive early in the chip cycle, while others gravitate towards the other end.
That would mean the Mac mini would be among the next Macs to launch, since it is usually equipped with the lowest M-series chip. As Apple's last two Mac mini launches took place in January 2023 and November 2020, and rumors point to an M3 launch starting in October with a somewhat shortened M2 generation, that may be good news for the Mac mini.
A three-quarter gap between generations is tough to consider for the Mac mini, but a one-year gap for early 2024 seems quite a bit more plausible.
Another one that is more likely to be early in the cycle is a new 24-inch iMac. It is a strong contender for an update as it arrived in May 2021.
Since it's over two years since the initial release, and with the prospect of the start of M3 on the horizon, a new 24-inch iMac stands a good chance for an early release in the new chip generation.
The rumor mill initially suggested the fall in, but that's less clear at this point. We predict an early 2024 update for the iMac.
One of the less-likely upgrades is the Mac Studio, which got M2 Ultra releases during WWDC 2023. With a two-model cadence of a year and a quarter, it seems doubtful that anything will be announced until WWDC 2024 or beyond.
The Mac Pro is a similar story to the Mac Studio, in that it was only just updated in the Summer, so an immediate update seems unlikely so soon after its introduction.
The chances get even slimmer when you consider that the Mac Pro last got updated in 2019, and it suffers from multi-year gaps between cycles. This may reduce a bit with regular M-series upgrades in the future, but the long cadence doesn't help the Mac Pro's case for a quick update turnaround.
The MacBook Air does follow a similar release structure to the desktop Mac side when it comes to releases based on M-series variants. Just as with the desk-bound Macs, there's a fairly familiar release structure at play.
Early in the M-series release schedule, Apple introduces a 13-inch MacBook Air. The first release in November 2020 were followed by the M2 versions announced in July 2022, producing a rough year-and-a-half cadence for the models.
Based on that, and the expected M3 introduction in late 2023 or early 2024, an arrival can easily be expected to happen during that timeframe.
As Apple brought out the 15-inch MacBook Air in June 2023, it may be a little too soon for another update to arrive at the end of 2023, or even early 2024, as that would make it less than a year between generational jumps.
Then again, Apple could easily introduce an M2 version just so it can offer 13-inch and 15-inch models side-by-side in the future.
13-inch MacBook Pro
Like the 13-inch MacBook Air, an updated 13-inch MacBook Pro using the initial chip in an M-series generation is a continuing trend for Apple.
It would be reasonable to expect that the 13-inch MacBook Pro would follow the same pattern as the 13-inch MacBook Air, and so a late-2023 or early 2024 launch is highly plausible.
14-inch MacBook Pro and 16-inch MacBook Pro
The top-tier MacBook Pro models, the 14-inch MacBook Pro and 16-inch MacBook Pro, are generally updated in the middle of the chip generation, with the Pro and Max chips. Since they also get updates at the same time, they're similarly bundled together here.
Apple last updated the models in January 2023, making it a bit quick for a late 2023 or even early 2024 update.
An update to the premium model MacBooks is more likely towards the middle and late 2024, given Apple's usual timings for chip updates.
Even so, an update to the lineup isn't entirely out of the question. A somewhat dubious report from October 5 claimed new editions fo the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models could land before 2023 finishes.
That same report also claimed the mini LED backlighting would be updated to be 10% brighter compared to the first-gen version, with the intention of reducing power consumption.
Apple's iPad lines last saw a hint of an upgrade in 2022, with most models being updated during that year. With the prospect of an October press release launch on the cards, as well as the fairly rapid year-or-so cadence for most models, updates for iPads during October and to the end of 2023 are very plausible.
The iPad was updated in October 2022 to the tenth generation, with the ninth out in September 2021, and the eighth introduced in September 2020. On a one-year cadence, the iPad is a very strong contender for an October introduction.
On October 5, anonymous sources seemingly corroborated rumors of a 10.9-inch iPad update happening in late 2023 to early 2024.
The iPad Air was last updated in May 2022 to the fifth generation, over a year and a half after the fourth from October 2020. The fourth was a year and eight months after the third's release in March 2019, which puts it over a year and a half again between releases.
For that cadence, an October launch is plausible for a sixth-generation iPad Air, or an early 2024 launch too. However, since it's an M-series tablet like the iPad Pro, Apple may want to release it at a different time to partner with the iPad Pro.
The October 5 iPad report covered a number of areas, but a key element was the iPad Air. The source claimed that four iPad Air models were in the works, with a Wi-Fi and Cellular iPad Air 6 expected to reuse the current design but give it a spec bump.
However, two other models were raised, codenamed J537 and J538. While nothing is known specifically about the models, it is proposed that they could be a new size option for the iPad Air, if they do get released.
The iPad Pro last got updated in October 2022, with the previous one a year and a half prior in May 2021, and also a year and two months before that one too for the predecessor.
An October launch for iPad Pro, at one year, is a slightly tight turnaround for the release, but not entirely impossible if Apple's doing its overall M3 launch at the same time.
The iPad mini last had an update in September 2021 to the sixth generation. The fifth-generation update was in March 2019, and the fourth was in September 2015.
The iPad mini has somewhat sporadic and lengthy periods between generational releases, but the two-year gap since the last model does offer hope that an update could happen sooner rather than later.
The October 5 iPad report mentioned a spec-bumped iPad mini 7, though didn't go into detail other than a late 2023 to early 2024 launch.
Apple Watch SE and iPhone SE
The Apple Watch SE Gen 2 was introduced in September 2022, but the first was brought in during September 2020, making it a two-year gap between models. If Apple continues the cadence, we're not going to see another Apple Watch SE until September 2023, most likely.
The iPhone SE has a similar problem, in that Apple last updated the model to the third-generation version in March 2022. The second generation arrived in April 2020 and the first landed in March 2017.
With generational update cadences of approximately three years and two years, that could put an iPhone SE Gen 4 in place for a release during Spring 2024 at the earliest.
Of course, with the sporadic release schedules for the SE models, there's no guarantee that Apple will actually stick to its cadence.
The time between Apple TV releases, including the Apple TV 4K, are somewhat lengthy in general. The first-gen Apple TV 4K arrived in September 2015 two years after the Apple TV HD, the fourth-generation model.
The second Apple TV 4K was launched in April 2021, about three and a half years after the first, while the third-gen model was introduced a year and a half later in October 2022.
An October 2023 launch, just one year after the last one, seems unlikely for the product line, however Apple's focus on the Apple TV+ service may prompt some more rapid changes for the set-top box in the future.
The first-generation HomePod arrived in February 2018, but was discontinued by Apple in March 2021. A revival of the model didn't happen until February 2023, almost two years after Apple effectively killed of the model.
During that time, Apple did introduce the HomePod mini in November 2020. However, while Apple did introduce new HomePod minis in November 2021, one year later, it was more an introduction of new colors than actual feature changes, so we can't really call it a new model release.
While it's fair to say that the February 2023 HomePod revival dampens the chances of a new model in the same year or early in 2024, the same can't be said about the HomePod mini. The end of 2023 would be three years since the original's release, which seems like a good product lifespan for Apple to bring out another one.
Whether it does is another matter entirely.
Apple Vision Pro
Of all of Apple's products that are expected to arrive within the coming months, the only one we have an actual confirmed intent from Apple that it will release at some point is the Apple Vision Pro.
Apple itself has targeted a release of its mixed-reality headset sometime in early 2024, which seems to be quite plausible to take place since it's handed out developer kits and demonstrated the hardware.
Of course, there's no actual guarantee that there will be a release in that timeframe, since there's the small possibility for Apple to encounter a supply chain problem, a design flaw, or other development issues that could delay the release.
The Apple Vision Pro is the only item on this list that Apple has declared it will release during a specific period of time, while everything else is based on previous Apple behavior. As a brand new platform and hardware category for the company, it's also the riskiest scheduling bet to make.