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Report: Apple Prepping iPad Upgrades, Refreshed Mac Lineup (The MacBook Air is Still Alive?)

Report: Apple Prepping iPad Upgrades, Refreshed Mac Lineup (The MacBook Air is Still Alive?)

A Bloomberg report – co-authored by Jungah Lee, and well-connected scribe Mark Gurman – claims Apple is working on new hardware and software features for the iPad Pro lineup intended to appeal to business users. The report also says the Cupertino firm is working on a widely refreshed Mac lineup, which still includes the MacBook Air.

Report: Apple Prepping iPad Upgrades, Refreshed Mac Lineup (The MacBook Air is Still Alive?)
MacBook Pro OLED Function Keys Mockup by Martin Hajek

Upcoming software upgrades for the iPad include wider operating-system support for Apple’s stylus accessory, while hardware performance improvements are also in development, according to the people. The refreshed Mac hardware line includes new versions of the iMac desktop, MacBook Air laptop, and a 5K standalone monitor in collaboration with LG Electronics Inc., in addition to a thinner MacBook Pro laptop.

The company hopes to ship the updated iPad software next year, while the Macs are expected as soon as late 2016, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing unannounced products. Apple has not updated any Macs, besides the 12-inch MacBook, since last year. The company declined to comment.

iPad Pro

The report indicates Apple is working to roll out new ipad software features as part of an update to the upcoming iOS 10, sometime in the first half of 2017. The new features could be delayed, and wind up as part of iOS 11, which would debut in the fall of 2017.

The planned updated would include improvements to the Apple Pencil, possibly allowing users to annotate objects in a number of applications across the whole operating system, including in Mail, the Safari web browser, and iMessage, similar to how Samsung Electronics Co. allows on its Note smartphones. Right now, Pencil functionality is only supported in specifically designed apps.

New iPad hardware would include a faster display, offering smoother zooming, panning, and scrolling. Apple won’t introduce a new iPad until 2017, when it will debut a new 10.5-inch iPad Pro, up from the current 9.7-inch Pro model.

Macs

Gurman’s sources also indicate Apple could release new Macs as soon as October. An updated Mac lineup would include new MacBook Air machines, sporting a USB-C port, and iMacs with new graphics chips from Advanced Micro Devices.

These would be in addition to the much rumored new, thinner MacBook Pro models with an OLED function key display in place of the MacBook’s current physical row of keys. The OLED keys would change, according to what software package was being used at the time.

Gurman’s people indicate the new Macs will not be announced at Apple’s September 7th event, where the new iPhones are expected to debut, but will instead see the light of day later in the year.

New 5K Standalone Monitor

The report also indicates Apple is working with LG Electronics to create a new standalone monitor to replace the 27-inch Thunderbolt display, discontinued earlier this year. The new monitor would boast a high-resolution 5K screen. A spokesperson for LG declined to comment.

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