Apple’s M2 iPad Pro Launch and Future Plans Home Hub for Google Tablet

Apple's M2 iPad Pro Launch

Apple’s next product release is just a few days away. Furthermore, the firm withholds new employee perks from its unionized retail store, yet this did not prevent a major labor victory at another site. Furthermore, Apple Card holders will receive Goldman Sachs savings accounts, Intel is planning huge layoffs, and Apple Watch Ultra bands are still scarce.

Last week, Power On reported that Apple’s forthcoming USB-C changeover is really a stopgap solution before the company’s wireless future.

The Starters

The latest iPad Pro from Apple Inc. will be available in a matter of days. The business plans to release new 11-inch and 12.9-inch models of the tablet, codenamed J617 and J620, with the same M2 chip found in the current MacBook Air.

The M2 chip is the most significant modification to the company’s pro tablet range in a year and a half. The processor will provide a nearly 20% speed improvement, which isn’t as significant as the M1 did last year, but it’s still nothing to scoff at.

The new iPads will resemble last year’s pro model, maintaining the same flat-edge design into its fourth year. In comparison, the initial iPad Pro design from 2015 lasted only three years. However, the existing design is cleaner and more in line with Apple’s other iPads and iPhones, so it makes sense to continue with it for the time being.

Apple is also developing a new entry-level tablet with a USB-C port and a design identical to the iPad Pro, bringing the look to yet another gadget. When it arrives, the new low-end iPad will be the most major update to that range in recent years, signaling a slight shift in strategy: Typically, the entry-level model receives only annual CPU upgrades.

On the software front, Apple intends to release iPadOS 16.1—the first iPad version of iOS 16—around Oct. 24. If all goes as planned, development should be completed the previous week. Apple’s quarterly earnings call is scheduled for Oct. 27, and the company has traditionally released new items in the days or weeks preceding that report.

According to my sources, the new iPad software update and the first version of macOS Ventura have support for the latest iPad Pro models as well as the future 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models. The first M2 Pro and M2 Max chips, which are more powerful versions of the normal M2, will be used in high-end laptops. Otherwise, changes to the computers will be limited.

While the new MacBook Pros are expected to be introduced soon, I don’t think they’ll be released alongside the iPad Pro. Historically, the business has released new Macs in November, as it did in 2019 with the first 16-inch MacBook Pro and in 2020 with the first Apple Silicon-based MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and Mac mini.

In terms of new goods, Apple is developing an M2 version of the Mac mini, the first update to the company’s smallest Mac in two years. An Apple TV with an A14 CPU and 4 gigabytes of memory is also in the works. That’s a 3 GB increase over the A12 processor.

Apple’s late-fall iPad and Mac updates have usually been heralded with grand ceremonies, but this year’s release will be more understated. Apple will launch the products on its website sans the crowds that greeted the iPhone 14’s introduction in September.

Apple's M2 iPad Pro Launch
Apple’s M2 iPad Pro Launch

My guess is that Apple skipped another event due to the very mundane nature of the announcements. It’s a swarm of updates that are mostly spec bumps or new designs. Another explanation is that Apple is most likely conserving its marketing resources for the Reality Pro headset’s release next year.

Of course, Stage Manager, the company’s new and contentious multitasking interface, will be a prominent component of the forthcoming iPad Pro. That software is still disconnected and problematic in my opinion, but I see no reason to assume Apple will remove it from iPadOS 16.1 and not include it with new models out of the box.

Apple has sought to appease Stage Manager critics by reintroducing the feature to non-M1 iPads and delaying the troublesome external monitor integration until later in 2022. There have also been internal debates about referring to the feature as a beta test, but because it is currently optional, I don’t believe that would do anything.

Beyond the new iPad Pro, Apple intends to take its tablet further into the home, with plans to transform it into a smart hub and speaker. The strategy would be similar to what Google is attempting with its upcoming Pixel Tablet.

When Google first unveiled the gadget in May, it appeared to be a standard tablet with standard Android functions. However, the business said earlier this month that it will also sell a new adapter that allows users to dock the Pixel Tablet and use it as a smart display and home-control device.

According to reports, Apple is working on bringing similar features to the iPad as soon as 2023. Last year, I reported that Apple is considering developing a standalone gadget that combines an iPad with a speaker hub. The goal is to provide customers with something that they can put on a kitchen counter, in their living room, or on their nightstand. However, Apple has also been working on an iPad docking attachment that could be sold separately and accomplishes much of the same thing.

Regardless of its ultimate strategy, the move would be one of Apple’s most major forays into smart-home products, adding to the company’s still-slim presence in set-top boxes and speakers. It already has the Apple TV and HomePod, but nothing that competes with Inc.’s Echo Show or Google’s latest initiatives.

Apple is also working on an updated HomePod that is larger than the product’s tiny version, as well as a combined Apple TV and smart-speaker gadget with a camera for FaceTime and other functionalities. Until those arrive, the 12-year-old iPad may be the company’s best shot for making a splash in the smart-home area.

The new items will cap off an eventful year for Apple, which saw the arrival of the Apple Watch Ultra, iPhone 14 Pro, Mac Studio, and new iPhone SE in 2022. But, with the mixed-reality headset, larger MacBook Air, iPhone upgrades, and more home products on the way, I believe next year will be even bigger.

The Bench

Apple introduces new benefits, but only for nonunion employees. This does not prevent an Oklahoma City store from organizing a union. As is customary at this time of year, Apple announced additional benefits and perks for both corporate and retail employees in the United States.

Here are the modifications:

Apple is paying for some outside education expenses. The corporation has historically compensated employees for a percentage of their college fees, but now the sum will be paid in advance. This will begin with a small number of colleges, but the list will be expanded over time.

Beginning on January 1, it will launch a partnership with Coursera Inc. that will provide Apple employees with a free subscription. Coursera is an online learning platform that charges $399 a year for its premium subscription.
Employees in Connecticut, New York, Georgia, Washington, and New Jersey will have access to a new healthcare plan that waives co-pays for some Apple-approved doctors inside the UnitedHealth Group Inc. network.

The greater story is that Apple withheld the adjustments from its freshly unionized Maryland location. This is because the corporation feels that new benefits should be negotiated as part of the workers’ collective bargaining agreement. According to some legal experts, the technique could be considered a breach of labor law by the National Labor Relations Board. Apple increases its financial services offering with Goldman Sachs savings accounts. I reported in March that Apple was planning a huge new push into financial services. Since then, the business has unveiled its long-awaited “buy now, pay later” option and has recently introduced savings accounts for Apple Card users in collaboration with Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

Google Pixel 7 preorder incentives may include the Pixel Watch and Pixel Buds Pro

The savings account will be accessible via the iPhone’s Wallet app and will be primarily funded by Daily Cash, the Apple Card’s cash-back program. Users will be able to deposit their cash back into this account rather than the Apple Cash debit card using the new service. The advantage is that the new system will produce interest, allowing users to profit from their rewards.

The interest rate for the savings account has not been published by Apple or Goldman Sachs, although the banking giant’s existing Marcus account now yields 2.35% yearly. The system will also function like a typical savings account, allowing users to transfer funds from and to other banks.

Depending on the final interest rate, the service could be an intriguing first-time account for many people. It also serves as another lock-in product for Apple. Would you really want to trade in your iPhone for a Galaxy Fold if you have money invested in Apple?

But I do have some questions. Will customers trust savings accounts built directly into their iPhones over a separate offering? Will this savings account receive the same customer service and other advantages as a more traditional account or the Marcus version? Are checking accounts on the way?

It’s still difficult to say. After all, we don’t even know when the offering will be available. It will be available in the “coming months,” according to the business, but we heard something similar with Apple Pay Later. That product has been plagued by delays and uncertainties, and it is still not accessible.

During a decline in PC sales, Intel is bracing for significant layoffs. The chipmaker will be the next in a long line of technology companies to lay off thousands of workers. Following a drop in the personal computer industry that has affected sales and earnings, Intel is about to announce its largest round of job losses since 2016. The layoffs are expected to be particularly harsh on sales and marketing personnel, with such operations facing a 20% cut. The overall percentage loss will most likely be lower, but with over 110,000 employees, a significant number of jobs will be lost.

Good luck in your search for a new Apple Watch Ultra band. Customers who order the new model are encountering weeks of shipment delays, which may be due to the new selection of watch bands rather than the gadget itself. Good luck if you’re seeking a Trail Loop in any size or color, or the orange Alpine Loop in a large size. The Trail Loop in yellow or blue in any size will not be available until November, while the medium/large strap in black will not be available until the week before Christmas. The orange Alpine Loop will not arrive until mid-November.

The Timetable

Oct. 25:

In Southern California, Apple’s marketing and software executives talk. That evening, Greg Joswiak and Craig Federighi will speak at the WSJ Live technology conference in Laguna Beach. I’m sure they’ll have a lot to say about the next offerings. I’m also hoping Federighi is quizzed on Stage Manager. Stay tuned for my coverage of the debate.

Oct. 27:

Apple has released its fiscal fourth-quarter earnings. Because the timeframe includes a couple of weeks’ worth of sales for the new smartphone, the newest numbers should provide investors with a feel of how the iPhone 14 is doing. Executives will also discuss how the company is dealing with a weak economy and a general decrease in consumer tech expenditure.

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